Sunday, February 28, 2010

Letter I Wrote to Stephen King

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT for the film The Mist

Dear Mr. King,

I'm upset by the ending of the film The Mist. I get the whole distopian (dystopian?) theme you had going there, but really? The father shoots the little boy in the head? My whole week is ruined. Where was the redemption?

(I DID enjoy when Mrs. Carmody got shot in the head. Crazy women out to sacrifice children getting shot in the head= good. Little children getting shot in the head= bad.)

My husband wants me to tell you that Roland is awesome. He is in favor of Christian Bale playing the part of Roland but I think the guy who plays Sawyer on Lost would be good and should be considered.

I am thinking of persistently e-mailing you until I get an apology for ruining my week. You may be hearing from me again.



(I'm a big fan.)

Response from one Jordan Hahn, "Webmaster?"

Jordan M. Hahn to me
show details 12:33 AM (11 hours ago)

Stephen did write the novella The Mist, but he did not write the movie. The movie and the novella ended differently.

The Dark Tower series is not being adapted into a film currently.

Mr. Hahn,

That is true. But the director of the film stated that Mr. King said he approved of the ending of the film and wished HE had thought of it first.

But you are right. Perhaps my anger is misdirected. I will now stalk and harass the director and writer of the script until I get the apology I believe I deserve.



Thursday, February 25, 2010

Down with Disney

There are a lot of bad things being taught to our children, especially our daughters, and these bad things are coming to us straight from the Disney Vault, which mysteriously opens and closes at random times. I’d like to see this vault one day. I bet it’s all gold and shiny.

I have listed just a few of the incredibly horrific aspects of certain films that we have subjected our kids to. Please take the time to read this. After all, our children are the future.

Beauty and the Beast: This is what we should be teaching our daughters: Sweetheart, if you’re living with a guy and he won’t let you leave the castle, throws things in anger, and growls at you- if you tremble when he walks in the room out of fear- this is not a good relationship. He is probably not going to soften up and turn into a strapping young man who cherishes you.

Beauty and the Beast goes against everything the feminist movement taught us. It is a very, very bad messed up message to send to our daughters.

The Little Mermaid: This movie stereotypes Jamaicans. Note Sebastian the Jamaican Crab’s little ditty:

Up on the shore they work all day
Out in the sun they slave away
While we devotin'
Full time to floatin'
Under the sea!

Jamaicans are not listless, free-loading beach bums! At least, I don’t think they are! I’ve never actually been to Jamaica, but I’ve heard good things. The bob-sled team won the Olympic gold medal one year! Remember? They made a movie out of it. The Jamaicans seem like a hardworking lot. Bob Marley worked hard and look at all he accomplished! I like that song, “One Love.”

Also, The Little Mermaid promotes witchcraft and bestiality. I don’t think, as parents, we should promote mermaid/ human relations. I’m also banning Splash from my household and you probably should too.

Snow White: My greatest beef with this movie is its wrongful stereotyping of the apple. The idea that apples are “bad” or “poisonous” began in the biblical book of Genesis. The myth that apples are intrinsically evil has been perpetuated over the years. Thanks to Disney, apples continue to get a bad rep. In fact, apples are full of antioxidants, clean teeth and gums, are full of fiber, and they also lower cholesterol. Children should not be taught to be afraid of apples. We should shove those suckers down their throats every day.

Don’t even get me started on the seven dwarves.

Sleeping Beauty: This film promotes slothfulness. We should teach our daughters to be proactive. Sleeping the day away waiting for your prince to come is just not the American way. Women will never get ahead with this kind of attitude.

Also, I don't condone frolicking with strange boys in the woods. It's not smart. Do you know how many rapes occur in the woods each year? Alarmingly, quite a few. Prince Philip, my eye. Men will say ANYTHING to have their way with you.

Cinderella: No matter what this movie suggests, large feet are not indicative of nasty people. Think of how many little girls with gigantic feet felt horrible after witnessing Cinderella stick her tiny foot into the glass slipper.

Also, I’m in favor of cats chasing and killing mice in the house. The villainization of cats is a common, disturbing theme in Disney films like Lady and the Tramp, Tom and Jerry, and the Fievel movies. Okay, so the last two examples aren’t Disney, but you get the picture, and it isn’t pretty.

Pooh’s Heffalump Movie: This is a great movie. You should probably get it.

This post is entirely the opinion of the writer of this blog. It is also completely facetious. It is a response to the continued objection of a certain husband to this blogger’s wish to join the Disney Movie Club, which offers four movies at only 1.99 a pop- even Lindsay Lohan films- plus two bonus films at discounted prices. Then, you have to buy like 50 more for 30.00 a dvd, but it’s probably still a good deal and I feel I am being unfairly treated. After all, I am a princess who deserves anything I want. At least, that’s what Disney taught me.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Three Years

The twins turned 3 on Saturday. We had a low-key hoopla sans balloons but with cake and ice cream and pizza. My favorite part of the day was when Daniel opened a Lightning McQueen remote controlled car and gasped. 3-year old gasps of utter joy are fantastic.

I have posted lots of pics chronicling their growth over the past 3 years. I am not a photographer. I got my second lowest grade in college during photography. These pics are not edited because I am lazy. I think I'm trying to make a kind of apology for my lack of artistic ability and my laziness.

Before we gaze upon the wonders that are my twins, here are some facts about their early, early years.

When the OB found Twin B on the ultrasound, I had a (smallish) panic attack. The doctor assured me he was more than capable of monitoring my pregnancy and delivering my twins because he had a lot of experience doing so. His office is strategically located right across the hall from a fertility clinic, and patients carrying twins just sort of drift in.

Daniel was born first, which was good, because his head was facing down. Ella came out second, feet first.

Ella weighed 3 lbs 8 oz and Daniel weight 7 lbs 15 oz.

Daniel had fluid in his lungs and they whisked him away immediately. He didn't cry. They wanted me to push to deliver Ella. It was a very bad couple of moments. It seemed like forever until I heard him cry.

Ella had three skin tags on her face, which John called her "floppies." This was a clue that something might be up with her kidneys. Two of the skin tags were by her ears, and the ears and the kidneys develop at the same time. Weird.

Ella had plastic surgery at six months to remove her floppies. The surgery left a dimple in her right cheek.

I named Ella and John named Daniel. When we were finally able to hold Daniel in the hospital, John gazed down at him and said, "Dan. Dan the man." It was then that I realized he had named our son after Dan Marino. (John is a Dolphins fan.)

I breastfed Ella and Daniel for over a year. Not because I'm a boob nazi, but because buying formula for twins would have bankrupt us.

Before Ella was allowed to go home, she had to pass a stress test. They put her in her carseat atop of a vibrating table and monitored her heartrate. I walked halfway into the NICU to take her home and saw the carseat across the room on the table. But Ella wasn't in it.

"She's not in there," I told the nurse. The nurse panicked.

"What do you mean? I just put her in there!" We walked up to the carseat. Ella was indeed there, her tiny dark blue eyes staring bright and wide at the lights above her. She was so small that the carseat had completely engulfed her, making her invisible unless you were about three feet away.

Daniel and Ella slept next to one another for the first two months of their life.

They slept most of the time.

The preemie clothes were too big for Ella.

I know. The cuteness is a little overwhelming.

First vacation August '07

First trip to see Gigi, my cantankerous grandma in Schroon Lake.

First Halloween.

Fall '07

Valentine's Day '08

Summer '08

Second Halloween

This happens a lot.

Daniel loves gowacks.

4th of July '09

You have no idea what a pain it is to get them down from up there.

First haircut at 2 1/2

I'm a very trusting mother.

3 at last. My friend Katie made the cakes. Ella wouldn't get off her cell phone.

I mean, really. That is so rude.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Last Romance

“Men always want to be a woman’s first love. Women have a more subtle instinct: What they like is to be a man’s last romance.”
~Oscar Wilde

John proposed to me on Valentine’s Day. The day has extra significance to us- it’s not just another sappy holiday like it is to the rest of you schlubs. We do something extra special, like order in Italian food and watch DVRed episodes of 30 Rock on the TV.

John had big plans on that Valentine’s Day. He had procured reservations at a restaurant on picturesque shores of Lake Ontario, where he was going to pop the question and then fill me full of chicken marsala. (Yum.) He had tickets to a local show at Geva Theater, where we were to cuddle and not actually pay attention to the performance because we would be duly intoxicated by the presence of one another and therefore unable to focus on anything else.

The ring had been burning a hole in his pocket for a good week, I believe.

I ruined his plans by coming down with strep throat and the most horrific sinus infection I have ever had. I spent that February break from college in a feverish daze on my mother’s couch, probably causing my family members more pain than I was actually in.

John couldn’t wait. He threw out his initial plans, sent my family out of the house, knelt down next to the couch and asked a make-up free, pathetic excuse for a girl who could no longer breathe through her nose to marry him.

She said yes.

I made a valiant effort to revive myself by ingesting Advil and insisting that John take me to the restaurant on the lake. I ate about two bites of chicken. I recall that it was an extremely painful two bites of chicken. We left rather quickly and went back to the couch and watched a cheesy movie.

I spent the rest of the week on that couch, sick as a dog, staring at the diamond on my hand and smiling stupidly.

(Best Valentine’s Day ever.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Weight lost, weight gained

As I lay writhing in pain on the hospital bed, a nurse leaned over and listened to my heart. She looked at me quizzically and said,

“Do you workout?” My friend, who had driven me to the ER, responded.

“Yes, she does work out. Quite a bit, actually.”

“I can tell,” said the nurse. “You have a very strong, low heart rate.”

Through the intense pain, which easily rivaled labor pains but without the in-between contraction reprieve, I felt a glimmer of pride. I was an exerciser. I was lean. I could run three miles without breaking a sweat. I looked better-than-average in my one-piece Lands End bathing suit with swim skirt. I weighed almost as much as I did when I was first married, ten years and four children ago.

After they sliced me open and took out my gallbladder, I couldn’t go back to the gym for six weeks. (Something about my stitches ripping open or me hurting myself or some other such post-operation silliness.) Six weeks went by. I got the okay to resume my routine. Eight weeks went by. Ten weeks. Three months. Six months.

I feel like I now finally understand Einstein’s law of energy: matter can neither be created nor destroyed. The pounds I lost slowly came wandering back from their vacations in cool places like Thailand and Hawaii and re-adhered themselves to my stomach and upper-arms. It’s like they never even left. They were perturbed, however, when I tried to squeeze them into the new size four pants I had purchased last March in their absence. They require more room than that. A lot more room.

Last night, things got bad. We had a Super Bowl party and for about an hour, I posted myself right next to the bean dip. During the course of the evening, I ate guacamole, buffalo chicken wing dip, pizza, cake, brownies, and munched on one piece of celery. Just one.

I don’t even know who won the stupid game.

It is time to get my increasingly rotund derriere back to the gym.

This February, I am committed to getting back into a workout routine. I am also committed to giving up oatmeal cream pies for breakfast and my kids’ leftover peanut butter and jellies for lunch. I am committed to discontinuing the use of my treadmill as a storage rack and repurposing it as an exercise machine. I did it once; I can do it again. Finally, I am committed to making sure those pounds stay overseas this time.

(I don’t even want a postcard.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Winter Songs

It is still winter.

This is how depressed I am: I have been teaching myself Jeff Buckley’s morose song “Hallelujah” on the guitar. Or rather, I was.

It was going swimmingly. I was strumming and singing along, probably as well as KD Lang, when suddenly, at the end of the third verse, the A-string broke during “it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah.”

Irony is never lost on me.

John came home to find me playing and singing- I had shifted from guitar to still out-of-tune piano- while the kids ran amuck in the kitchen.

John knew it had been a rotten week for me. (When it’s a good week, he finds me playing rousing Friday-evening tunes like “The Phantom of the Opera,” the theme to Tommy, or “Joy to the World” by 3-Dog Night.) He offered to go out and get new guitar strings THIS VERY NIGHT if that would make me happy.

I responded by crooning the words to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.”

(I guess I’m not THAT depressed. When it gets really bad, I sniff at John while singing “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”… both the Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand parts. Still, I’m really, really looking forward to spring.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


The twins are turning 3 on the 20th. They are in the process of transitioning from county services to being under the supervision of the school district. Their overall development needed to be assessed to determine what services they would continue to receive, and so two speech and development pathologists came to my house yesterday morning. They were early. I didn’t get to vacuum the living room.

The twins were fairly cooperative. It took about two hours to test them and ask me about a gazillion questions. The pathologists quickly came up with their assessments of my children.

They are going to recommend that Daniel continues the speech therapy he has now. Daniel is doing a lot more talking, but has trouble articulating words. He’s also still drooling. He’s moderately behind in terms of how many words he should be using, but overall, they weren’t very concerned. They were pleased about the progress he had made in the past year.

They were baffled by Ella. Apparently, Ella did really really well in various parts of the testing. She relates to the world visually, is great with spatial concepts and has an above-average understanding as to how things work.

Ella did poorly in the whole talking and understanding what people are saying bit. The pathologist pointed out a lot of things I had noticed, but hadn’t really dwelled upon.

Ella mimics. Often she says the last word I say in the form of a question. The few sentences she puts together are scripted: usually from something I or another person says often or something she has heard on television. The rest of the “words” she says are complete nonsense, what speech therapists refer to as “jargon.” Apparently, she should have dropped the jargon a long time ago. She rarely follows direction, which I attributed to her “silliness.” (I ask her to put her shoes away. She stares at me and smiles.)

On the other hand, she is social. She loves hugs and kisses and is happy to be in the company of others. She plays with her brothers (when they let her) and enjoys being read to. She makes eye-contact and smiles all of the time.

The pathologists said things like “processing disorder,” “need a full evaluation from a doctor who specializes in these things,” “huge discrepancy between her abilities,” “let’s see if we can find a why behind the matter,” and “autism spectrum disorder.”

They were interested in her preoccupation with music and her spinning, and asked about any obsessive behaviors she has. They jotted down notes when I mentioned that she doesn’t budge when the television is on, and that she plays with her toy computer for long periods of time. They noted how often she counted objects.

Ella doesn’t exhibit any of those symptoms that autistic people in television shows have: she doesn’t stack blocks or revert into herself nor does she require a rigid schedule. She is excessively happy, bubbly, exuberant, and is seemingly as passionate about life as a two-year old could be.

On the other hand, she often screams like a banshee when things don’t go her way. Much of the time she won’t stop screaming unless I put the television on, which has a calming effect on her.

I started crying when the pathologists were explaining all of the symptoms of autism that Ella didn’t exhibit: impaired social interaction, excessive repetitive behaviors, and they told me lots of kids with autism have food allergies.

I cried because I was planning to talk to the doctor about the possibility of Ella having a food allergy- she gets terrible stomach problems after she eats certain foods.

It’s been over 24 hours since they left. I stopped shaking three hours after they drove off.

Ella has already been put through a whole rigamarole with her heart and kidneys and the whole genetic testing thing to make sure she didn’t have some weird disorder.

Of course, I’ve spent the past day scrutinizing her behavior and browsing through information about speech delays and autism. Ella just doesn’t quite fit the mold. I don’t buy it. I’m 80% confident that she is going to make great strides in language development in the next year and that the discrepancy between her abilities will narrow and she will just be considered “brilliant.” Silly… but brilliant.

On the other hand, there are some odd things about Ella. She often exhibits asymmetrical facial features, speaks in a sing-song voice, and we have often joked that she lives in her own happy little world.

Either way, it’s okay. It could not possibly change the way I feel about her. Sometimes John and I get her out of her crib at night if we hear her singing to herself, just to have time alone with her, because she’s such a delightful little person.

I will do whatever it takes to make sure she gets whatever treatment or therapy she needs, but if there is something wrong, I promise not to freak out, not to blame vaccines, not to become obsessed with trying to fix her. I will pray and I will trust in God’s plan for my little sprite.

This is all, of course, after I get over this feeling of being sucker-punched in the gut.