Things I bought from Amazon in the past 24 hours: A top ten list. Also, unrelatedly, a resolution.

Part I: Prime Day – The Fallout

10. Toilet paper because I am literally too lazy to get it from the store. Or, more realistically, because bringing it home from the store on foot when I have the baby in the stroller is SUCH A PAIN. Maybe when he gets a little older and he can hold it in his lap it will be easier. Also, it will be nice when he’s finally contributing something to this family, the little free-loader.

9. A slicing/grating attachment for my Kitchen-aid stand mixer, because I saw it in one of those sped-up cooking videos where they showed someone using one and I have an internet shopping addiction (see part II). This thought had just never crossed my mind before. I could make a MACHINE DO THIS WORK FOR ME?

8. A new yoga mat and towel. So I can cut up my old yoga mat and use it as extra padding in my son’s Pack-and-Play. So you see this is really a thrifty solution to a problem.

7. A floating ferry toy that has cars you can load and unload from it. Dudes.

6. A couple things that are future presents for people and are therefore secret.

5. New photo paper for my tiny photo printer. Which, in case you didn’t know, is a thing. It connects to my phone with Bluetooth and I can send photos directly to it and it’s the only thing that has allowed me to stay on top of my baby-book-making. That’s right, my kid’s gonna have a baby book. I’m like a Pinterest Mom!*

4. Stuff to clean our dishwasher because you can just subscribe to this and they’ll send it to you every month or whatever and then you don’t have to remember to buy it. You just have to remember to do it.

3. Eight more bandana bibs because they were a GREAT PRIME DAY DEAL. I hope you like getting bandana bibs as gifts, everyone I know who ever has a baby again!

2. Melatonin gummies, because apparently the thing that was preventing me from trying a possible solution to my chronic insomnia was that I didn’t know it was available in GUMMY FORMAT?! What does that say about me?

1. A clutch handbag that looks like an anime pug because OBVIOUSLY. But I didn’t buy the pug shoes I found. Because I exercised restraint**.

*Amazon Prime mom.

**They didn’t come in my size.

animepugNone of this is a joke. I bought an Amazon Prime membership earlier this year because I learned that if you sign up for Amazon Prime > You can get Amazon Family for free > You can save 20% on diaper subscriptions. Which more than pays for the Prime subscription. I was all over that like a, well, like a me on Amazon Prime. So that was a good deal, except the part where I just began ordering EVERYTHING on Amazon because it’s convenient and I’m bored.

When you log into your Amazon account it says “x orders in the past six months” where X is normally a reasonable number like 10. Or if you’re me, 94. I’m not joking.

Part II: A Resolution

So this brings me to my next point: I made a resolution. I gotta do what my friend Meghan calls “not a no-spend month… but, like, a low-spend month.” And stop single-handedly financing Amazon’s various evil schemes to violate people’s privacy with drones or whatever they’re working on currently. Details:

  • No new craft supplies until I finish my current set of projects. Value Village craft supplies are ok though because I’m not gonna pass up great stuff there if I find it — I’m not made of stone.
  • No new clothes for Malcolm! That little clothes-horse is all set.
  • No new clothes for me.
  • No ordering anything from Amazon until the end of July AT LEAST.
  • Buying groceries and household necessities is ok.
    • Pug shoes don’t count as household necessities.
      • No matter how much I need them.

Amazon is probably going to send a drone to my house to make sure I’m still alive when I haven’t ordered anything for a week. Maybe when they do, they’ll see me out in my yard having wholesome family fun-times with my SON instead of INTERNET SHOPPING.

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Diversion: ‘building’* blocks

Before Malcolm was born, which I was pregnant, I had this idea for making a set of blocks for him. I did a bunch of the drawings then, and then just recently I finally finished this set.

*See what I did there? Because they’re buildings? Yup.

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I could not be happier with them. I mean, the drawings are crappy (because I am a crappy draw-er) and they’re cut unevenly but I imagine Malcolm won’t care because by the time he is playing with these, he’ll be used to the sort of awesome-yet-terrible things I make for him.

Here’s the house I built for myself this morning:

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It has a rooftop patio, a cafe on one side and a bakery on the other. Also it is conveniently next to an enormous glass of juice. For swimming.

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And of course there’s a storage pouch. Which has a screenprinted cityscape on it. Because I get carried away sometimes.

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My next project is going to be little washable kitchen scrubbers. This is not a joke. These are real things I am doing because I am SO BORED.

in which I triumphantly return some library books

two updates and some thoughts about space:

i. I finished The Lincoln Lawyer. I liked it a lot. I guess there’s a reason that Michael Connelly is a super-mega-bestselling author. Also, he has a new series with a female detective which seems like it’s probably going to be right in my wheelhouse. Also I have the second Mickey Haller book (the Brass Verdict) out right now but haven’t started it. Have you guys heard about this Michael Connelly guy? His books are really good. Also you should read Harry Potter.

ii. I read the second Wayfarers book, A Closed and Common Orbit. I loved it so so much. The first book, The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet was a Kickstarter project released as an ebook that multiple people recommended to me as a fan of Firefly. I liked it quite a bit but, if anything, I enjoyed the second book even more. I think the main criticism sci-fi fans have of these books is that they’re a big hug-it-outy, by which I mean they don’t have much in the way of explosions, or space battles. They are to sci-fi what cozy mysteries are to mysteries, I think. But that’s not a shortcoming, as far as I’m concerned.

James and I just finished watching all of Enterprise (it’s on Netflix) and one of my criticisms of that show is that all the aliens are so human-ish. They make almost no effort to be imaginative about what aliens would actually be like. They’re inevitably human-sized, human-shaped, and the more human-y ones (ie., the ones Tripp or Malcolm are going to try to hook up with) have subtle facial ridges, while the less human-y ones have more elaborate facial prosthetics. And their houses and cities and ships and everything always look exactly the way humans imagine those things.

Another one of my criticisms of that show is that the final arc was THE ABSOLUTE WORST. What the heck, tv?

Side note: Enterprise has both a Malcolm and an Archer (my son’s first and second names). So now I’m worried people will think he’s named after two different Star Trek characters? When in fact he’s named after a different space captain (Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly). Wow, this is very space-centric today.

Anyway, the Wayfarers books do such a good job, in my mind, of imagining what other species from other planets might actually be like and how a society that integrates humans and aliens might work. There is not a facial prosthetic to be found. They are also gently funny, warm-hearted, and they pay a lot of attention to characters’ inner lives and relationships, which is kinda my jam. So if you’re the kind of scifi reader who only wants space battles, this might not be the series for you. But if you are the kind of scifi reader who isn’t really a scifi reader because you think you don’t like scifi, maybe give this series a try. You just might find an alien species you want to hook up with.

Let’s see, what else? I’m reading a book called Feeding Baby that is about, you guessed it, baby food. It’s really laying the pressure on, though, by first going through the basics of raising a healthy eater in a way that is making me realize this is probably impossible for me. But it’s a nice day outside and James has gone to fetch coffee and Malcolm is sleeping so I think that’s a blog entry for another day, perhaps. A day where I feel like facing my own inadequacies. In other words, a never day.

And I am making ALL THE CRAFT PROJECTS. Yesterday I fixed the eye-balls of my kitchen sponge-holder frog with ceramic paint. He hasn’t looked this sharp since I got him from Goodwill many years ago. I can’t decide if all these domestic projects make me satisfied or depressed. I think it’s, oddly, a little of both. But I need hobbies I can do at home while Mal is sleeping so its not like the possibilities are infinite. I can’t go space-captaining in one-hour increments while he’s napping. So I’ll paint frog eyeballs and sew storage pouches for things. And make my own building blocks. MORE ON THIS TOMORROW. Spoiler alert: they are the best.

Another pouch I sewed

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For my Ergo (baby carrier). If everything in the world had a pouch to store it in, I would feel a deep sense of contentment in my soul, probably.

One other thing that make me feel a deep sense of contentment in my soul:

  • I hired two separate sets of roughly-twenty-year-olds to do a bunch of landscaping and to paint the exterior trim on my house. In the case of the painting, a guy came to my door like they always do and was like “are you interested in having any painting done blah blah blah” instead of saying no like every normal homeowner I was just like YEP LET’S DO THIS. The guy seemed taken aback. The landscaping is done; the painting is awaiting sunnier days. It turns out, you can just pay these people money and they’ll show up and do work that you don’t have the time or energy to do yourself. They’ll also make you feel very old and lame while they’re doing it, but that’s a small price to pay.

And one thing that does not:

  • I went on a tour of a daycare. It seemed fine and was pretty much exactly what you think every daycare in the basement of a church in your neighbourhood is going to look like. I know that my baby will probably go there (or somewhere else) and they will feed him crackers and read him stories and it will all be fine, but right at this moment it makes me feel incredibly sad and sentimental and nostalgic for something that isn’t even in the past yet, which is my son’s baby-hood. It’s slipping away at an alarming rate. Up to this point he’s only gotten cuter, but I know from looking at older children that this trend will reverse (I’m sorry, but you know I am right) and he’ll start hitting people and learning the names of 80 species of beetles and then reciting them instead of having conversations and I’ll think back on this time in his life and wish I had appreciated it more.
  • AAAH I AM NOT APPRECIATING THINGS ENOUGH I AM SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME SEWING POUCHES AND NOT ENOUGH TIME GAZING RAPTUROUSLY* AT MY BABY

*Or raptorously. Heh.

CleverGirl

in which I disappoint everyone with my opinions

OK, internet, this is the blog post I’ve been avoiding writing because so many people I like have tried to make me read Outlander over the years and I finally did and I didn’t really like it. Librarians have started lifelong feuds for less. We are, surprisingly, a vengeful lot.

I didn’t dislike it, exactly, but, for one thing, it is SO SO LONG and when you’re tired and only read for a few minutes before falling asleep with a book on your face an 800+ page book is not a good option. Because (a) it’s bad for morale and (b) when it falls on your face it kind of hurts, although the one I have is a mass market paperback so it could be worse I guess.

20170612_125836 I’m just checking how it would feel to fall asleep with all of these books on my face. Safety first!

Advantage definitely goes to Bitch Planet on this one. Graphic novels don’t hurt when they fall on your face, plus people will be like, “wow, she’s so cool! IS SHE EVEN A MOM OR IS SHE TOO COOL TO BE A MOM”

And then, secondly, Outlander just didn’t grab me in the feels the way I thought it was going to, and this went on for the first 700 pages or so; and then for the last 100 pages or so it made me very upset, somewhat confused, and made my insomnia worse because I was lying there fretting about sexual assault. I don’t want to go into too much detail in case anyone hasn’t read it yet and is planning to, but it’s very disturbing. This isn’t a negative reflection on the book, exactly, because sexual assault IS disturbing and it should be portrayed as disturbing; so my argument isn’t, “make the sexual assault less disturbing so I won’t be disturbed by it!” My argument is, “Don’t make me read books like this because I get upset easily!” I stopped watching the show partly because of the violence, and as it turns out, I didn’t even get to the main part of the violence! I was just in the violence prelude when I stopped watching! The part that I stopped watching at (where Jamie gets whipped) was just a violence appetizer. So I’m just gonna go ahead and write this one off. In a way, it’s good, because there are like 3,000 more pages of Outlander books I think, so if I just nope away from that I have more time to read other things.

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me, when things get rapey in books

The same thing happened with Game of Thrones (both books and show). In that case, it was violence + gutting effect of major characters’ deaths. I just don’t need it, you know? I have stuff to do, man. I am not going to spend my precious time while Malcolm is sleeping being bummed out and disturbed unless there’s some greater purpose to it.

Ironically, the two things I’m reading now that I’m finally done with Outlander are also both pretty rapey/violent, but in a more manageable (for me) way.  They are the second volume of Bitch Planet (President Bitch) and The Lincoln Lawyer. Here is a timeline of my reading productivity:

  • Sometime in March?: Watch The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix. Ponder Matthew McConaughey’s acting life. He is possibly an actor whose handsomeness actually doesn’t benefit him? Like maybe he would be taken more seriously as an actor if he was slightly less handsome. I think Scarlett Johansson also fits into this category. Discuss. (Also, both have names I can’t spell without looking them up)
  • Sometime in April: Put the book of the Lincoln Lawyer on hold at the library. Why are there holds on this old book? Is it the McConaughey factor?
  • Sometime in May: It comes in. Start reading it. Have to return it because it has holds. Memorize* what page I am on before dropping it in the return bin.
  • Sometime in June: Get it back. START READING IT AGAIN. Accidentally re-read quite a big section due to baby amnesia. That’s ok. IT IS GREAT.

*Forget instantly. Everything that happened to me in the first five months of my son’s life is basically a blur. It’s actually great because I am reading The Lincoln Lawyer now, and I watched the movie, but I do not remember how it ends. I am like the guy in Memento. Or Dory. So that’s good because I am able to enjoy the same movies and books over and over again without the endings being spoiled, but less good for, you know, being a functional human being. Other things I don’t remember: The Netflix A Series of Unfortunate Events; whether I thanked certain people for Christmas gifts; what my son looked like as a newborn.

Unrelated: Does anyone else have the remnants of a mosquito carcass crushed into their hand from earlier because they forgot to wash it? Cool, me neither. Nope. Never mind.

Brief commercial interlude

Do you ever worry that you haven’t let your entire identity as a human being be sufficiently subsumed by motherhood? Have any of the following happened to you:

  • You catch sight of a pair of dress pants in your closet, and before you can help yourself, you’re thinking wistfully of the days when you used to leave your house, accomplish things, and adults would have meaningful conversations with you.
  • When talking to your child, you accidentally refer to yourself as “me” or “I” instead of the preferred Parental Third-Person “mommy.”
  • You wear your hair down instead of tied up in a messy bun and your baby doesn’t recognize you*.
  • You and your partner make plans to go see a movie or a concert and for a brief moment you think you can just go and then you remember that you certainly cannot because you’re doing the most important job in the world — cleaning up vomit and pee?

No fear. You probably did permanent damage to your kid, you selfish monster, but now there’s an accessory that can prevent it from happening again.

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The MomScarf is an infinity scarf/nursing cover that matches your changing table mattress sheet. It’s the accessory that reminds you of your true place — the baby’s room! — and your true identity — the diaper changer! It’s the accessory that says, “I don’t know why I left the house. I should be changing a diaper right now.”

YOU’RE WELCOME. Now get back in there, mama! Those Sandra Boynton books** aren’t going to read themselves!


*This happened to me. Sob.

**Note: I AM JOKING. I love Sandra Boynton books. They’re the perfect length to read to a baby who doesn’t like listening to books, and also the one I just read reminded us, “you can pajammy in whatever you got.” An important life lesson for us all.

I haven’t read anything. Here are some things I’ve sewed.

Clockwise from top left:

  • Does your baby have an enormous noggin? If you have an old piece of an IKEA curtain and some velcro, you can create HatStrapExtender ™, a little strip of fabric with velcro on each side so that hats will actually stay put on his huge melon. PATENT PENDING.
  • Sleep sack. The arm parts of the starfish are organic cotton since he’s always gnawing on those, but I didn’t have enough of the fabric left to make the whole thing out of it. These sleep sacks are not affiliated with the Zippadee Zip (actual TM), and in no sense did I order one of those online, realize it would be the easiest thing in the world to sew, and then rip off their design. NOPE.
  • A little laundry bag for things that need to be pre-treated with stain remover before going in the laundry. Because items that are badly stained with baby fluids need to be stored in an adorable bag or else WHAT’S THE POINT? (the star fabric matches his curtains)
  • A stroller blanket with Boston Terriers on it. The carabeners allow it to snap into the buckles on either side of his stroller so it doesn’t fall on the ground. And then I sewed a little storage pouch for it (also from an IKEA curtain!), and *that* has Boston Terriers on it, because I can’t resist a good applique.
    • James: “Now can you make a pouch for the pouch?”
      Jocelyn: “I just like making pouches for things! Leave me alone!”
      You’d think after fifteen years of me making pouches for *his* items on request, he would be more appreciative, but he isn’t.

Coming in 2020: my Etsy store, where I try to sell products like these, charging a small amount for them so I am essentially paying myself minimum wage while also turning something I love to do into drudgery so it’s not fun anymore. I’m still working on the name. It will be twee as hell.