Mysterious Illness

A week ago, I awoke to HIVES. Hives! All over by body, itching and burning. Shear misery. I went to the ER. They administered a cocktail of steroids and antihistamines (five to be exact). The hives persisted and I tried every antihistamine on the market. I was taking up to 20 OTC pills. Finally, four days later, Claritin was the magic drug that kicked those nasty hives to the curb.I was so relieved!

But my relief was short-lived. As soon as the hives left, horrible nausea crashed into me for two days straight. When that subsided I had a powerful dizzy feeling I couldn’t shake. I had bouts of mental confusion. I literally felt I was going to pass out every time I got up, walked or carried Andrew.

Yesterday everything disappeared at midnight. This is the first time in weeks I’ve felt normal. I’m seeing a doctor next week.

You never know how important your health is until you feel like you’re out of control of your own body!

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Newsweek Special Edition: Your Baby’s Brain

I just bought Newsweek’s Special Edition, Your Baby’s Brain. It is a visually stunning magazine and includes all the learning modules your baby’s brain develops.

Newborn-Brains-500

Some fun facts from the magazine:

  • Studies show that the presence of pets stimulate the release of Oxycontin, which makes pets a possible calming influence for the baby.
  • A fetus has some limited preferences for taste in utero. Sonograms have shown fetuses grimace with the presence of cigarette smoke!
  • Foods high in folic acid, such as oranges, help produce red blood cells and develop the spinal cord.
  • The sound of babies crying changes the brain activity of women, suggesting we are hard-wired to respond to infant cries.
  • Babies enter the word prepared to mimic stimuli as early as three months old.
  • Studies show that babies six months and older will playfully tease each other such as snatch away toys and then hand them back to their playmates.
  • Babies as early as eight months old benefit from lower levels of distress in adulthood with consistent affection, love, hugs and kisses.

Why I WON’T Be Seeing Fifty Shades of Grey

No, it’s not because I abhor the BDSM lifestyle, or because I believe the idea should stay in the dark dungeon of society, or because I’m a feminist. Feminism has nothing to do with my critique.  I haven’t read the book either, so my opinion of the characters and plot is solely based on pop culture, my friends, reviews and the trailer.

First of all, whomever put together the film’s trailer could not have made Anastasia and Christian more one-dimensional and boring. Both characters have horrific, monotone voices. It’s devoid passion required to excite viewers.

The “playroom” Christian alludes to in the trailer is a laughable moment, which isn’t the intention, but it’s SO lame (paraphrase):

Christian: Behind this door is my playroom.

Anastasia: You mean, like, for your Xbox and stuff?

[Cut to a smirk from Christian]

Rather than striking the nerve of intrigue, all I can think is “Ugh, this Anastasia chick is such an idiot. Please gag her from ever talking again. Or gag the writers of the script.”

The trailer also shows gratuitous sex scenes and body parts that can easily be found in porn. Why would I pay $15 for a theater seat when I have free access to the internet?

Clearly, a man is responsible for the promotion of this movie. The writers are also unimaginative. It doesn’t resonate with women. There’s nothing mysterious about a narcissistic billionaire who has the emotional capacity of a five year old by replacing authentic love with physical objectification/possession.

I know there’s supposed to be this “love” story woven into the plot. All I see is two self-absorbed, naive, kids gallivanting around with no basis in reality and no chemistry.

Codependent + Narcissist Characters and Plot= Pass

Always Late = Motherhood

I was always the one 15 minutes before a meeting. My ass was at my desk right at 8:30 am. I almost never had to call ahead and delay my dinner reservation.

These days, I am ALWAYS late. Even when I don’t have Andrew, I’m still late! Today, I came into work at 9:15am. Tisk tisk.

clockIt’s like Father Time handed me a pink slip as soon as I became a mother, saying “You’re never again going to be punctual as soon as this baby is pooped out.”

Is this a mindset of perpetual lateness to or is it the harsh reality of motherhood? Even my excuses and apologies come a little late.

A Fashion Show, Too Many Margaritas And Two Ubers Later

Dan meets me at a hip, modern Italian restaurant at the end of the bar. I later find out he’s strategically placed because he’s partially deaf in one ear.

He looks exactly like his picture: tall, thin, handsome and WASP-y. I arrive seven minutes late because my Uber driver was slow and fiddling with his GPS.

We make pleasant conversation, but nothing requiring rapt attention. I’m not sure there’s chemistry. He’s 36 but drinks like a someone ten years younger- his glass is always full. I have three glasses of wine and try to come up with interesting conversation topics. Inevitably, we talk about online dating and swap horror stories. It’s about two hours into the date and Dan suggests we check out a fashion show in the local mall. I’m game.

The fashion show is amateur hour, but I help Dan pick out ties from a local designer. To his credit, the ties are pretty crisp and artistic. I poo-poo the all the pink ties. I hate pink. We decide on a few purple and red ties. I’m pretty sure Dan over pays. The “models” are dawning Lady Gaga-like pink hair and bright pink lipstick. They are stoic in cotton candy patterns- they look gaunt and miserable. The male models are wearing suits cut a little too high in the leg.

The last designer sends his models in all black leather, midriffs exposed, with sheer skirts. It screams the latest trends from Elle magazine but with all the trappings of cheap material.

We leave the fashion show- I’m not interested in buying clothes for outrageous prices that might rip in the ass. We head to a tapas bar and I order some delicious margaritas. In my drunken stupor, I talk about the pink elephant in the room, something we haven’t touched: that I’m a single mom.

He is surprised, but it’s clearly in my profile. Had he not seen it?

I end the date because I feel queasy. I’m not used to the alcohol. Dan invites me to his place (down the street) for a nightcap. I can’t stomach another. I want to go home, so I say no. I call an Uber and struggle into bed. I think he was generally interested until he learned I was a parent. I haven’t heard from him since. I didn’t feel the chemistry, so it’s all a wash.

And another one bites the dust…

Mary’s Story: An Egyptian Wedding

I’m with my friend Mary at our usual cafe and she’s gushing. She gave me permission to talk about the newest developments in her life. After not seeing each other for about a month, I was getting worried; mostly concerned she somehow went back to her abusive ex. Mary lives on impulse (like many suffering from bipolar disorder) so I was waiting for the worse, hoping for the best.

Sitting down, she tells me that her mother arranged a marriage to a man living in Egypt, Whaleed. I’m gobsmacked. At first, Mary recounts that she hardly remembers Whaleed as one of the neighborhood boys.

“He was the little boy who always teased me that my nose was too big,” she laughs.

The two grew up in their old neighborhood of Alexandria, Egypt on the same street. As puzzling as this sounds to me, born and raised in the U.S., this type of arrangement is typical of the Egyptian community. In one emotional call, Whaleed’s mother in Egypt and Mary’s mother in Maryland, the two tearfully arrange wedding dates and celebrations. Since then, Mary calls her finance ten times a day, whispering “I love you” in Arabic. Every night, she sleeps to the sound of his voice.

The last few months of Mary’s story developed with a bang. Before her engagement, consisting of a dowry and gifts from her husband to-be, she was briefly planning a different wedding to a man 15 years her senior. He was a Christian and managed to weasel his way into her mother’s good graces on his “virtues.” Unbeknownst to Mary and her mother, he was already married with kids of his own. He wanted a one-way ticket to the U.S., a new life and a pretty, young bride at his side.

Mary confides to me the older man lacked emotional depth and his pronouncements of love were starting to wane.

“I felt hopeless,” she says to me, eyes downcast.

Mary’s new engagement is by sheer happenstance. She is a long time friend of Whaleed’s sister. Once Mary proclaimed desire for a husband and talked about her recent failure, Whaleed’s sister went to work setting the two up on Skype dates. They hit it off almost immediately. Whaleed sent the most beautiful poetry in Arabic. Weeks went by and Mary started to slowly forget about Sahib (by the way, I ran into Sahib last week at another cafe. He was alone, drinking a coke and obsessed with his cell phone. It was clear he had gained weight and hadn’t slept for days. We said nothing to each other).

weddingMary is traveling to Egypt in two weeks (20 days, to be exact, since she’s keeping count). They will have a traditional wedding and come back to the U.S. to celebrate in March.

“I am getting my hair and nails done with eyelash extensions and I’m picking out my wedding dress soon,” Mary exclaims.

I am asked to plan her bachelorette party, which will include a gay stripper (don’t ask).

Although I am happy for her, I don’t know what to make of such a shot-gun wedding. It’s not a custom I have familiarity. As her friend, I can only smile and listen when Mary scrolls through pictures of her fiance, take selfies with her, and overhear the two speak Arabic, which I only can imagine is full of love, hope and excitement.

Here’s hoping this type of true love exists and it’s lasting. For now this is the conclusion to Mary’s story. I wish her lots of love and only the best.

Love always, habibi.

I Have A Date This Afternoon…Hopefully He Doesn’t Cancel

He’s tall (6’3), good looking and wears kilts every once in awhile (as seen in his profile). We’re meeting for drinks and then going to the mall for some special sale (?). Yeah…a mall trip on the first date will be a first for me since high school… I DO need a new bra from Victoria Secret, but I think that might send the wrong message.

Let’s hope he’s not another D-bag who cancels two hours before we are supposed to meet…

How Dare You Park Near My Car!

parking lotYesterday, I was parking at the gym. It was pretty crowded. I had to make a wide turn into a large parking space. As I exited the gym, a woman who parked next to my car (with plenty of space), pointed to my car and said, “Is that your car?”

Me: Yes.

Woman: It’s dangerously close to the white line.

Me: Oh…my…gawd. Thank you so much for pointing that out!

Woman: Yeah, learn how to park.

I don’t know if it’s specific to this area, but people have some serious attitude about parking. Dare to be near the white line delineating the parking space and you might get clocked…