Thursday, June 21, 2012

Flipping My Dog

Remember when I said I was going to get healthy? And that I was going to start doing things that were good for me? Yeah. Well, now I've been going to hot yoga for a week, which is a major accomplishment for someone like me.

Two doctors told me I really needed to be doing yoga and that it would really help me with joint health, overall well being blah blah blah. I think that was like four years ago. I stalled. I hate yoga. I had fantasies about prenatal yoga, but a whole nine months of procrastination followed and I never did end up doing it. Right after the baby was born, my husband started going to yoga a lot and he lost something like thirty pounds and he started really being much more tolerable to be around. My husband is extremely Type A and possesses an energy I often describe as frenetic. He is always in motion and never calm. Yoga seemed to slow him down a lot, in a good way and the change was obvious and dramatic.

I am the sort of person who likes the aesthetics of yoga - the clothes, music, incense, all that, but I hate actually doing anything physical and difficult. My idea of heaven will be a huge feathery bed full of books and someone delivering me tea and scones with strawberry jam at regular intervals. I am an inherently lazy person.

I've never been athletic. It simply isn't part of my makeup. When I was little they almost put me in special ed classes due to my utter refusal to skip and throw balls and I was always the only girl who couldn't do a cartwheel. In gym class I was the proverbial picked last and my report cards always complained that I "didn't participate." Why should I? I thought the games we played were barbaric and I was petrified of getting hit in the face with a dodgeball. I even got suspended in high school for cutting gym and there was a girl in my class who had an enlarged spleen and got to go to study hall instead of PE. I prayed for an enlarged spleen.

So I don't like moving. We've established that.

I'm also a wuss when it comes to pain and not just pain but even mild physical discomfort and I suffer from a common millennial affliction. I like instant gratification now. Delaying immediate gratification or pleasure in order to reach a future goal or benefit has been proven to lead to greater success in life and I am well aware of that fact, but it's very hard for me to do. If something hurts, even if the pain will be good for me, I am more apt to say "screw this" and look for something that feels good to me in the moment.

Another personality flaw I have is that I avoid doing things I'm not good at. If I try something and don't take to it immediately I quit and move on. I've done this my whole life. I'm not into practice. I have a few things I have natural affinities for, so I just stick with them and it has, to some extent, worked for me, but to another extent it hasn't because I don't ever challenge myself. Some people say, like in job interviews, that they love a challenge. Fuck a challenge. I'm a people person. Or something. 

So combine all these flaws and one can see how hot yoga and me aren't exactly a good match. But I have to go. I have to get through this.

My sister goes to hot yoga every single day, sometimes twice, which is pure madness. She is going for fitness reasons. She has run a marathon after all. I can't even run one single block. She doesn't enjoy the spiritual part of the practice, as they call it, and wants no part of meditation or intention setting. I, however, eat that up. I love that part best. I could sit around and meditate for years, because it involves being quiet and doing nothing.

But it's not just that. I believe human beings are threefold: mind, body and spirit and that to be healthy, all three parts must be balanced. I've spent too much time in the mind, barely any time in the spirit and no time on my body, so I'm all out of whack. I don't know why I have lupus, but maybe that's why, and I don't want to die young and leave my child alone. I can't bear that thought and that's why I'm doing all I can to be as healthy as I can. Yoga can help me.

Except it's so hard and I'm not good at it, which makes me want to cry because I am the very worst student in the whole class. The worst. I've never been the worst in a class, even in math, and yoga is to my body what college algebra was to my intellect. I am so ashamed at being not good and at how pathetically weak my body is, but I know that this is something I need to get over. I feel like to be healthy I can't keep avoiding things I'm not good at. I can't always need to be the best one. I have to learn to live with being imperfect. It's so hard. And I have to learn to practice in order to get better.

I think that yoga is going to help me heal my body and my personality flaws if I can stick with it.

But lest you think I'm going all serious on you all, yoga is freaking hilarious at the same time. The people watching is as good as a trip to Whole Foods, if not better.

The place I go is huge and there are usually at least thirty people in a class and there are all types.

First we have a man I've come to call Old Gay Sean Connery, which should need no further explanation. He puts his mat right in front of mine and he wears nothing but a skimpy black speedo and a shark's tooth necklace on a leather string and he has the biggest set of balls I have ever seen. When I move my "eye gaze forward" all I can see is his enormous ball sack in my face. God bless him.

As this is South Florida we also have a woman whose fake boobs are so huge on such a tiny body that I can't comprehend how she doesn't tip over. She's close to 70. I fear the heat will melt her silicone and at the end of class there will be nothing but a puddle of melted chemicals and some frizzy hair left on her mat. And I'm not exaggerating. These boobs are at least the size of watermelons each. They are a sideshow and since she's old, they've dragged down past her bellybutton. I think when she takes off her sports bra they probably fall even further and cover her crotch. Picture bowling balls in a tube sock.

We have a large number of skinny, rich housewives too. I kind of hate them. Partly because I am jealous and partly because they are a pack of overachieving, side-crowing bitches who can casually do handstands in a hundred degrees while chatting about expensive preschools and not sweating. They all wear as little clothing as possible - another motivator for me. I want to wear as little clothing as possible too because it's so damned hot in there, but there's no way I'm ready for their teeny yoga bikinis yet. I've been wearing these awful bike short things and tank tops that cover up a lot because I'm trying to avoid the pose known as Toeing Camel.

Then there are the single twenty-something girls who are just as skinny as the housewives, but even prettier and I hate them too. They do inversions and are limber as Twizzlers and they vocal fry about their upcoming weddings that they are doing yoga for so they can fit in size zero wedding gowns. Ah, to be young and hopeful like that again.

I've set my intentions and they are to just keep going at least three times a week for now, and just keep on keeping on with it, trying my best and being ok with not being a yoga prodigy. (I'm still paddle boarding too by the way, but haven't done it since my trip due to rough surf.)

Getting healthy is hard.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June Reading

I've attempted to read several books in the last few weeks, maybe more actually, and they've all sucked and disappointed me beyond belief and two of them were by my favorite authors, so I was kind of devastated. It was so bad that I couldn't even find anything to read on my trip and that's sad.

But then Oprah started her book club again! Yay! Oprah and I have the same taste in books and I credit Oprah for setting me on the path which eventually led to me becoming a writer. It's a long story. It's in my book, but basically I started reading Oprah's book club selections, got really into reading good quality fiction and memoirs, realized I wanted to major in English because I liked stories so much, started writing myself and now here I am. Because Oprah and I have a long history of liking the same books, I was so excited to read her first pick and really excited that it was a memoir because I'm not so much into fiction the last few years unless it involves a lot of magic, but that's another story.

FINALLY, a book I loved. Thank you Oprah for Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah's Book Club 2.0)

Cheryl Strayed's Wild is a memoir about her solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, a journey she made to heal the wounds from her childhood with an abusive father, her mother's tragic death from cancer at 45 and her divorce from what appears to be a very sweet and understanding man. At first I had a hard time understanding how hiking in the woods for several months could possibly heal a lifetime of suffering like that, but as I read on I came to understand that Strayed needed to learn to be by herself and to face fear and discomfort of all kinds head on without any convenient outs to numb her pain like drugs or sex. It ended up making a lot of sense.

I am not an outdoorsy person in this sense. I've never been to an REI and probably never will. I like being outside but only if I'm close to an inside and I've often said if I were on Survivor there is no doubt whatsoever that I wouldn't make it through the first episode. I'd probably vote myself off the island. I am a wuss about those things, but I love reading about people who aren't and I loved reading about Strayed's trek through the mountains of the west coast. You'd think that a story about a long hike might be dull but Strayed switches back and forth between her present (the hike) and her past which led her to the hike and she's a damn good writer. Scary good. What have I always told you? A good writer can make ANYTHING interesting. This book was more than interesting. I was absolutely riveted and kept reading and reading to see what she would encounter next on the trail and how she would get past the next obstacle in her (literal) path. It was fascinating, and she doesn't gloss over a single detail. Yes she poops in holes and yes her toenails turn black and fall off. She often describes how bad she smells and I appreciate those details for their honesty and because that's the stuff I wonder about when I hear about people living in the wild.

Next November, my birthday weekend to be exact, Cheryl Strayed is teaching a memoir workshop at the Sanibel Island Writer's Conference and I'm just going to put this out there for the Universe. I need to be in that class. I need this to happen.

Writers like Cheryl Strayed humble me. She made me want to pack it in and quit writing because here I've been struggling to finish a memoir about a strip club, typing on about boobs and pubes and then I read something like this, of real and lasting substance and I feel like I'll never be that great of a writer or that brave of a person, but then it makes me want to keep writing anyway, a word at a time over and over, in hopes that one day I can find my way on the trail of good writing and get better.

Last week I started going to hot yoga and I'm going to write about that in its own post for you this week. I hate hot yoga but this was something I had to do and something I'd tried and failed at in the past. Hot yoga is my Pacific Crest Trail and reading Wild has actually helped me get through yoga, though it seems to really discount and trivialize a several month wilderness hike to compare it to an hour and a half of hundred degree stretching in a room of rich white people, and I don't mean to do that. The comparison I'm making is about getting over one's fears, whatever they happen to be and about learning to endure physical unpleasantness, for which I have zero tolerance. 

In reading Wild I was constantly reminded of another favorite book of mine,Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I'd LOVE to be in a book club, or better yet a nonfiction class, that would read these books together. A compare and contrast discussion of the two would be pretty cool and I love the idea of reading books about two people who went into the wild: a woman who saved herself and a boy who couldn't and I'm interested in contrasting a memoir about it as compared to a second hand account by an author trying to piece together the mystery and motivation of another person who felt compelled to leave his life behind to also heal, but who didn't make it out alive and thus, could not tell his own story. Both books, by the way, are excellent. If you haven't read Into the Wild, buy it along with Wild and read them together as I've suggested. I think that the books complement each other and that reading them together would be a fuller and more enriching experience for the reader.

So yes, Oprah hasn't lost her touch. Loved this book and can't wait to see what she picks next. If you've read Wild, let me know your thoughts on it. I'd love to discuss it with other readers in the comments.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Wide Lawns Guide to the Best iPhone Photo Apps

Last week, while on vacation, I received one of the best compliments of my life. My friend, who directs actual movies (and a Bugles commercial of all things) called me, ME, the "iPhone Photo App Guru." 'Tis true that I love my photo apps and I certainly have plenty of them, so I decided to write a post to share my favorites with everyone, though ironically I hardly ever share my pictures on this blog. Luckily, I've resolved to work on that. The Blogger app on my phone actually makes posting photos significantly easier and faster, though I haven't yet figured out how to move them around. They all appear at the end of posts and I prefer them at the top. Work in progress though. Anyway...

I started really getting into taking pictures with my phone back in 2010 when I downloaded Hipstamatic, my first photo app, and I was instantly hooked. I loved how easy it was to take really cool looking pictures.

Having a baby made it hard for me to be as creative as I used to be. I used to paint, sculpt and craft a lot in addition to writing and having a little one in tow made those things virtually impossible. I really missed that part of my life.

But I still had my phone and it became my creative outlet because I could easily still take pictures while caring for the baby. I could go on walks or play in the yard and conveniently photograph my world without any effort at all and playing around with photo apps made it all the more fun, interesting and unexpected for me. I loved seeing how the various effects worked on the things I snapped and photographing my life helped me see my surroundings as exciting and beautiful when I was slogging through some horrible bouts of depression. The lens of my phone helped me gain a more positive perspective.

Two years later, I'd even call it a hobby. Laugh if you must, but taking pictures with my phone is one of my greatest little, daily joys.

Most often, I find out about cool apps from friends posting unique pictures on facebook. I see something I like and I ask them how they did it. Every few months I google search "best new photo apps" or something to that effect and I actively seek articles on the subject. There aren't usually that many unfortunately, so once again, I see a need and I write my own. Sorry if I've been writing a lot of how-to's and guides lately. I like to share knowledge. I miss teaching or something.

Here are my current essential photo apps for the iPhone:

1. PhotoStudio - If you could only have one photo app, this would be the one to get. I particularly like that you can import photos, save the original and then apply the effects to a new version of the picture. You have a lot more freedom that way. PhotoStudio has an unbelievable amount of tools and filters. There are 189 effects alone, plus you can crop, add frames, text and edit. It's all easy too. I figured it out by playing around and it only cost me $1.99. Best two bucks I ever spent.

2. PicFrame - I like this app because it lets you make your own photo collages and has sixty different templates for how the pictures can be positioned. Once you choose which photos to collage, you can choose from a variety of frames and adjust their colors, widths and styles. Ridiculously easy and I love the look of tiling several pictures together. I'd like to use this one to illustrate blog posts. Pic Frame is 99 cents. Well worth it.

3. Pic Grunger - I have a friend who is a photographer and she turned me on to this one. It only has four effects but they are unique and aren't effects found on Photo Studio, so I enjoy it. Pic Grunger really makes your photos look old and damaged. The effects are called Aged, Bleech Spill (sic I know how to spell bleach), Scuffed and Streaked. Depending on your subject you can do some cool things with this app. I got the free version but there's an upgrade that does more. Didn't figure I needed it though.

4. ShakeItPhoto - This is my favorite app and it turns your phone into a Polaroid, except better. I don't really care about the old camera sound effects or having to shake the phone to make the picture appear. I like the contrast and resolution, which are way better than in a real Polaroid. The colors you photograph come out beautifully saturated and sharp and I just love it. I use ShakeIt probably more than any other app I have. Sometimes I wish the pictures didn't come with the white Polaroid style borders, but ultimately I don't really mind them either. They can always be cropped out in Photo Studio if need be. ShakeIt is also $1.99.

5. Hipstamatic - This is an old standby and I don't use it as much as I used to. The app has gone through a lot of upgrades and frankly, they aren't improvements. I liked the original a lot better. I like the grizzled edged film (Kodot XGrizzled) with the John S lens. I rarely use any of the other film and lens combos because I don't like the washed out 1960s, yellowish look very much. It makes everything look like the cover of a bad folk album from the early 70s, which is not my preferred aesthetic. One great upgrade though is that you can now order prints from this app. Since the photos are square I haven't had any luck printing them from Walgreens or Costco where only rectangular prints are available. My version of Hipstamatic was free but you can buy more lenses and films. I haven't found them necessary.

6. MarbleCam - I just got this one last week and it was free, which is good because it doesn't do a lot. Mainly, it turns your phone's camera into a macro, or fish-eye lens and makes it look like your subject is seen through a glass marble with a blurred background. It's not something you'll use a lot but it's fun to play around with since it doesn't cost anything and you might come up with something neat.

7. Walgreen's - Are you shocked? I know. I love the Walgreen's app. It makes uploading photos and ordering prints insanely quick and simple and that's a task I normally hate. This app really saves me time though because now I don't have to get the pics off of my phone and onto my laptop before uploading them to Walgreen's photo. I can do it on the phone and have my pictures in an hour. I love it. And then I can refill my prescriptions from the same app at the same time. You can't beat it. The joy this has brought me. You have no idea.

I have several other photo apps, all free ones, that I've collected in the past couple of years but I've found that a lot of them are redundant, so in this list I've tried to include the essentials and the ones that are unique to themselves. For instance, I don't need my black and white camera app anymore because I can make any photo black and white with Photo Studio.

I hope my list has been helpful. Please let me know in the comments what your favorite apps are and if I'm missing any that I should try out. All of the apps I've listed can be found in the Apple App Store, naturally.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tips on Traveling with Toddlers

 All last week, before our trip, which entailed a six hour flight with a nineteen month old, I searched the Internet for some sort of tips on traveling with the demon possessed, I mean toddlers, and found very little that was of any help and all the while, just a couple weeks ago a very famous mommy blogger wrote her own post about going on planes with little ones. I was excited. Until I was disappointed. Here was her advice: sync your phone and your iPad and oh, look at my pictures from my free trip to Hawaii, and oh by the way this was a sponsored post aren't I lucky? I wanted to smack my head on a dirty tray table. I was like, come the f on woman. You can do better, especially if you're getting paid. So I decided to actually do better myself, come up with my own ideas (and some of my sister's) and I'm doing it without being sponsored and with having to pay for my own damn vacations like all of us normal people with nasty looking hair.

How to Travel With a Toddler (on a plane or elsewhere)

Before You Go

1. Don't forget your kid's birth certificate. I did this. It almost got ugly. I now remember it. If you're going abroad, your baby needs a passport and you'd better remember it.

2. Make sure you do the advanced baby check in on your airline website. We forgot to do this one time too and that time it really did get kind of ugly so we remember now. Airlines like to know ahead of time when babies are flying and they don't want you to just show up and be like, yup, we're going to make your flight a living hell. Hi!

3. Never fly Spirit Airlines. Really. Even without a baby.

4. Pack as far in advance as is humanly possible. It will save you a lot of last minute stress.

5. Check the weather reports at your destination and pack accordingly. Living in Florida this is a big deal because our climate is so different from everywhere else's.

6. Get a good night's sleep before your trip and don't eat anything crazy that will upset your stomach or your child's. I try to eat pretty bland stuff when I'm going to be on a plane or car trip.

7. Red-eye flights are your friend. If humanly possible, schedule your flights at night or during nap time. A sleeping child is a not screaming on the plane child. Our flights were both late evening flights and the one time we scheduled an afternoon flight we both wanted to jump out of the emergency door mid-flight.

8. Dress in clothing that is as close to pajamas as you can get. I wear yoga pants and tees layered with a cardigan and dress the baby in something that will make diaper changing easy and efficient. Airport and airplane bathrooms are gross so you want to be fast and you don't want to be wrestling with the ridiculous snaps on onesies. You want to be comfortable and able to move freely yourself in the event of God knows what and plus, when you're comfortable you're less irritable.

9. Attempt to scam the airline or if you're rich, get the baby his or her own seat. I wish I could afford that, but alas, I can't so we choose our seats in advance. We pick an aisle seat and a window seat in one of the back rows, assuming that no one else will choose the middle seat in the back of the plane unless they absolutely have to. If you're flight isn't overbooked you can get lucky and end up with a free seat for your child. We did this on the way to LA and had the whole row to ourselves and it was glorious. We tried it on the way home and the seat ended up being given to a stand-by passenger. It might not work, but it's worth a try and if it works out you'll be thanking me.

Pack Your Diaper Bag Wisely

Here's what to include:

1. Change of clothes for the child.

2. Change of shirts for you and your partner. Trust me. You might thank me on this one.

3. A couple wadded up plastic grocery bags. Many possible uses, trust me. Toys are not one of them though. Do I need to tell you that? And jeez, who plays with grocery bags anyway?

4. Diapers and lots of wipes.

5. Anti-bacterial wipes for cleaning the armrests, tray tables and whatever else looks grimy. No, it's not OCD. Planes are filthy. I actually read recently that 20% of people on every flight get sick from germs on the plane.

6. DVDs. Even if you don't let your kid watch TV, let him or her watch DVDs on the plane for everyone's sanity. I hate Dora. I would like to crush her over-sized, goggle-eyed head but on a plane? Te Amo Dora. Te Amo Mucho. Our favorite DVD is by far Milo and Otis. Baby Lawns watched it in awe and there went a whole 90 minutes, just like that. A silent, contented 90 minutes. So don't forget to charge up your laptop before you go or download the movies onto your iPad or whatever technology you're using.

7. Books. Books are kind of heavy so choose books that will get you the most entertainment without taking up too much room. Anything interactive is great with flaps or pop-ups or things the child can mess with. My daughter likes these finger puppet books and I can entertain her for a while with them. 

8. Crayons and Paper. I prefer rock crayons for toddlers but anything will do. If your child won't color, another idea is for you to draw pictures for him or her and tell a story to go along with the pictures.

9. Snacks. I like to bring treats on trips that we don't usually have at home so the trip feels special and exciting. On planes we get to eat cheese puffs and goldfish. I also take familiar items and healthy snacks like cut up fruit, nut butter and wheat crackers, baby food packets in her favorite flavors, string cheese, yogurt cups or whatever it is that your family likes to eat. Please don't say Slim Jims, Flaming Hot Cheetos and Mountain Dew. Those are not ok.

10. Your child's favorite (small) stuffed animal. Really make it a big deal that the animal is coming on the trip too. Pretend like the animal is real and take pictures of it and really get silly. Little ones love this kind of thing.

11. A Puppet. I have this ridiculous sock puppet that my toddler goes ape you know what over and I'm sure the other passengers on the plane think I'm insane, but who cares, it works. I make it talk, pop up behind the seats, the tray tables, whatever. The child loves it and it's a sock so it doesn't take up any room in the bag. IKEA also has some really cute and inexpensive finger puppets that I'm in love with.

12. A Pashmina. This works as a blanket, a cover-up, a pillow if you fold it, a nursing cover, a stain-hider. It's a miracle item. I roll mine up and stuff it in a side pocket.

13. Stickers. Stickers are another life saver. Give your child some stickers and go completely wild. On my last flight I ended up with stickers all over my chest and on my shoes but I didn't care because it kept the toddler monster at bay. We like animal stickers and Hello Kitty stickers.

14. Doodle-pro mini. This thing is great and it's small, flat and light. Basically it's an etch-a-sketch sort of thing with a magnetic pen to draw with. I love it. Baby Lawns loves it. If she doesn't want to draw with it, I draw her pictures and tell her stories with it and she stays entertained and not climbing over the seats foaming at the mouth.

More Ways to Save Your Sanity

1. Switch shifts with your partner. If your child is really getting on your nerves and it's not your shift you can pretend you have to poop and go sit in the bathroom and calm down for a few minutes. I'm not joking. Pretending to poop has saved me from many meltdowns.

2. Carry your child around and show them the plane and the people if possible. This won't work if your kid is freaking out and don't let your child act like a lunatic and bother people. Obviously.

3. Games on your phone, iPad etc. My daughter loves an app on my phone called Animatch which is a memory game with animals on the cards and the animals make a lot of noise. She also loves the skee ball app for some reason.

4. Take pictures and videos. The other blogger said this and it's sound advice. Baby Lawns loves taking self portraits and videos and then watching them repeatedly. Loves it. She loves looking through the pictures on my phone and if you're visiting relatives a good way to familiarize kids is to show them lots of photos of the relatives (hopefully you can find some on your phone or facebook) and teach your child their names. That way the relatives won't seem like strangers when you arrive. This strategy worked great for us on this most recent trip and Baby Lawns was friendly and familiar with relatives she'd never met because she saw so many photos of them.

5. Planes sell wine. For you, not your child. Don't get your kid drunk on the plane, or yourself for that matter, but a glass could certainly take the edge off.

6. Some parents I know have drugged their children. Never do this without checking extensively with your pediatrician first. I shouldn't have to tell you that obviously. I've never given Baby Lawns anything, but I know someone who swears by an herbal remedy called Baby Valerian. CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR. 

7. Chamomile tea. You can bring some tea bags and ask for hot water. Chamomile is soothing for you and your wild-ass child and is pleasant tasting. Just cool it down. Please don't scald your baby on a plane for God's sakes. And while I'm at it, you can bring a variety of foods like cup o soups and instant hot cereal cups that you can add hot water to and enjoy a halfway decent meal on the plane. There are several brands that make healthy and organic instant soups and cereals in cups so you don't need to worry about eating the processed, sugar and MSG laden garbage.

These tips have all worked for me and have helped us to arrive safely and sanely at our final destinations. I hope they can help you too the next time you travel with a little one. If you have any travel tips that you swear by, please let me know in the comments. Any new ideas are more than welcome as I'm probably traveling again in a couple of weeks.

Now if I can only figure out how to deal with toddler jet lag...

Friday, June 08, 2012

Driving on the Peeway

Yesterday afternoon we left LA (alas) to come down to Orange County to visit my husband's family. Now I've been going on and on about how much I love Los Angeles and yesterday I learned that that was because I'd never been stuck in rush hour traffic on the 405.

To say the least, we didn't exactly plan our departure time well and things didn't go as we'd hoped. I have no idea what we were thinking. Clearly we weren't thinking at all.

Less than five minutes into the trip we hit a massive standstill. The freeway was a parking lot. A hot, dusty, smoggy parking lot. In hell. Irritable drivers laid on their horns. Air brakes on tractor trailers wheezed and whined and naturally we were stuck next to a pick-up blaring that Mexican music that sounds like polka.

The evil toddler that has replace Baby Lawns on this trip began to scream and beg to get out of her carseat. We played Small World for her on a loop until I swore blood leaked from my ears. We pointed out billboards and trucks and whatever we thought in our hopeless state might possibly interest her and get her to forget her incessant complaining and howl of "Moooommmmmyyyyyyy."

I can recall only a few other times I've been so miserable. Could it get any worse I wondered.

Of course. I had to pee.

I had to pee and we were in gridlock in the HOV lane. We couldn't move to get off the highway and even if we did the closest exit led into a neighborhood I'd seen on one of those terrifying shows they have on MSNBC on the weekends about gang violence.

There was nowhere to pee.

I decided to be patient although I was near hysterical in my mind. My kidneys cramped and I was pretty sure my bladder was about to rupture and I cursed the Starbucks tea I'd had earlier.

Just when the pain got so bad that I was honestly about to open the car door, walk out onto the freeway in broad daylight, rip off my jeans and let go right on the asphalt, I had a stroke of genius. Or insanity, but all geniuses are a little nuts, right?

Remember that astronaut that went off the rails a few years back and drove over night to go kill her ex lover's new girlfriend? Remember the big to do about that story was that she'd worn a diaper so she wouldn't have to stop?

I thought of her.

Then I looked at the baby who never had to worry about finding a restroom. Why? Diapers.

And I had plenty of them at arm's reach.

Was it possible? Could I pee in a diaper in a car in LA rush hour traffic on the freeway? Would it work? There was one way to find out.

The diapers were a little small. I couldn't put one on. I'd have to more so pee ON the diaper rather than wear it. It seemed a bit weird. I was kind of disturbed by the whole thing to tell you the truth but look, I had to pee so badly that my eyeballs were practically yellow. Desperate times people. I could attempt peeing in a diaper or I could end up peeing my pants and destroying the rental car.

The diaper won out.

I climbed into the backseat, shimmied out of my jeans and grabbed some diapers from the baby's bag. Once splayed open before me, the diaper looked troublingly small. I had second thoughts. My kidneys throbbed.

I took a chance and went for it.

"Are you tweeting this?" my husband asked.

I scowled.

"You're going to write about this aren't you? Are you doing this so you can write about it?" he suspected.

I wanted to gouge out his eyes. Sometimes my husband gets on my nerves and this was one of those times.

"No! I'm doing it because I have to pee so badly that I need dialysis and because my other two options are to A. Piss my pants in the rental car or B. pop a squat on the 405," I said.

He offered to snake through the traffic to the exit.

"No," I said, " it would take an hour to go fifty feet and I don't want to hover over a dirty bowl in a bullet riddled Carl's Jr. over there in New Jack City, thank you very much."

So I peed on a diaper. Three diapers to be exact. Apparently I pee a lot more than my child because about ten seconds in the diaper began to swell like it does when the baby goes in the pool and I didn't want a 35 pound pee bomb leaking in the rental or exploding urine soaked jelly balls all over the place.

A convenient box of baby wipes helped complete the adventure and when it was over I felt about a bazillion times better.

The traffic didn't improve. It took us three hours to get to Newport Beach where we got off and took PCH to Laguna to see the sunset and run on the sand which we all needed after that drive.

Chips and guac. Margaritas. Roses blooming on the cliffs. A line of dolphins in the distant kelp. All's well that ends well as Ma Ingalls used to say.

So what'd you do on your vacation Vic?

The usual. You know. Shopped in Beverly Hills, played in the Pacific, peed in a diaper.
Wednesday, June 06, 2012

LA, I Love You

So this is a little experiment post with the iPhone Blogger app which I thought I'd try out to see if it's more convenient and if I can post more while I'm on the go. I'm not big on phone typing but for short posts I can manage it.

This week we're in LA and Orange County, California visiting friends and family and helping a friend film a documentary. Baby Lawns is with us of course and is a pretty tough little traveler. We took her to Disneyland on Monday and pretty much blew her mind. I still can't get that danger Small World song out of my head.

I haven't been to LA in three years and I'd forgotten how much I love it here. This city invigorates and energizes me. I could see myself living here one day at least part time and it has been such a relief to get out of Florida. At home we're stuck in the soup of the rainy season. It's sweltering, humid and overcast which is a miserable combination of conditions, but LA is sunny, cool and dry and all I want to do is sit outside. Funny because at home I never want to do that. I dread going out.

I think that certain places become infused with specific energies as a result of the actions and thoughts of the people who populate them and that we can tap into those energies and feed off of them positively or negatively. LA is a city of artists, dreams, visionaries and it's home to some of the most spectacular creativity on the planet. People come here with aspirations. They have ideas. They build and make real the pictures formed in their heads. LA values imagination and honors people whose greatest joy is playing pretend. People like me aren't considered weird in LA. We're called talent. So when I'm here I thrive off of that energy. It inspires me and encourages me. I feel good in this city.

I could stick around a place like this.

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