Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Evacuation over. All is well.

Well, I feel kind of dumb. I arrived at daycare and hurried into the office. Everyone was working calmly. "Is everything OK?" I asked. "Yes," they said. I couldn't even tell if they knew what I was talking about.

As it turned out, everything was OK. The kids were OK, the teachers were OK, the staff was OK. No one cried or anything, not even the adults. In fact, they were all back in their rooms within an hour.

Now, I would have known this if I had been receiving my email, but my ISP's email servers chose today to crash. Here is the email I should have received, if my soon-to-be-ex ISP didn't suck:

We got the all clear. The suspicious backpack has been removed. We're back in our classrooms safe and sound.

So we had our toddler parent meeting as scheduled. We talked about tantrums, and watched videos of our kids playing. And that was that.


Here's an email you never want to get from the director of your child's daycare center:

[The center which houses the daycare center] has evacuated us due to a suspicious backpack left between A and B wings. We are all safe and happy and hanging out by the Theater just off the big parking lot. If we are not there, we are in the big auditorium that borders that same parking lot. This is probably nothing to worry about, but better to be absolutely safe. We are fine with the children. We have water and crackers and bottles for the babies.

As you might guess...I'm headed over there. I'm having all sorts of visions of fire engines and police cars and news vans. I'm trying not to be too freaked out. Of all the things.

Monday, September 17, 2007

And the winner is...

Yes, I watched the Emmys last night, and somehow managed to keep from gouging out my own eyes.

This morning, I had much better news: the winners of the 2007 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Hard to pick a favorite, and sadly, there's no Sex Writing category, but this one comes close:

He held her desperately in his arms and stroked her silken hair, and as he drew her full red lips to his, he ravenously smothered her with lots of smooches.
Thank you, Bill Kerschbaum of Ann Arbor, Michigan. You made my day.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The doctor is in.

New doctor, new meds, new injections, new procedures. All in the last two weeks.

Once again, my body seems to defy its chronological age, responding to the new drugs like a hen on steroids. It peaked yesterday (the big day). I walked around feeling like someone was stabbing me in my lower abs with ice picks. It was all I could do to stand upright. Not that I'm complaining.

Yesterday we went to the birthday party for one of the kids from Cami's playgroup. I walked in and saw immediately that the birthday boy's mom was pregnant with #2. I'm happy for them. I certainly don't expect other people to stop expanding their families just because we don't seem to be able to. I just wish some of it would rub off on me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Vote for The Mind Reels

I thought I was done with cliques and popularity contests when I graduated from high school. Silly me. I didn't yet know about the Greek system. Or the corporate world. And just when I thought I had those milieus figured out, the Internet came along.

Please help me find a seat at the online version of the cool kids' table by voting for me in the blogger's choice awards:

Caveat: I'm nominated in the Hottest Mommy Blogger award not because I think I'm hot (I know what I look like when I wake up in the morning, and it's not Angelina Jolie), but because:

  1. I didn't think I'd have a snowball's chance in hell of winning the Best Parenting Blog, what with Finslippy and all.
  2. I write about sex. A lot.
  3. The cool kids in high school (or college, for that matter) would never in a million years have expected me to become a sex writer.
So here it is, in a nutshell: You can help me overcome years of bowl haircuts, glasses, braces, being the smart girl, having a Farrah Fawcett hairstyle, and being an overweight co-ed with a Dorothy Hamill 'do. And give me something to talk about at the next reunion.

Next up: My nominations for the world's worst parents, and my return to Human Pinchushion status.

Another milestone reached (Silicon Valley edition).

The scene: The curb outside my son's daycare. I was about to start my ignition when my son piped up from the back seat. "Apple! Apple!" he said. I looked in the direction he was pointing. No apple. Only car.

And then I saw it.

The white Apple Computer sticker in the rear window of the car in front of us.

Toddler developmental milestone reached: Logo Recognition.

I didn't know whether to be proud ("My son can recognize corporate logos. Can yours? No? Oh, I'm soorrrrryyyy..."), or deeply frightened. Because other than a single iPod, we don't own a single Apple product.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A sex writer's top 15 first-date tips for guys.

A male friend recently asked me for some "first-date advice." I haven't had a first date in about six years, but that didn't stop me. Here's what I told him:

1. Remember these words: "Swiss boarding school." Deport yourself at all times as if you attended an elite Swiss boarding school that emphasized manners and deportment. You don't have to bow or address her as "Milady," you just have to pay attention to #2.

2. Chivalry is not dead. Open doors for her. Pull out her chair. Help her on and off with her coat. Don't make a big deal of it, just do it. This tells her that your mother brought you up well and that you know how to treat a woman.

3. A tip for the Internet age: Don't email (or IM, or text message) back and forth for months without asking her out. Once you've established some basic rapport, seal the deal. Suggest meeting in person with a specific time and place. "Wanna meet for coffee sometime?" is lame. "Would you like to meet at the Savoy Cafe in North Beach on Saturday afternoon?" shows that you have some class. This benefits you, too: you won't waste weeks developing a deep online connection, only to discover that you have the chemistry of two Pet Rocks when you meet in person. (You do remember Pet Rocks, don't you?)

4. Don't call her on a Friday to see if she wants to "hang out" on Saturday. That's just disrespectful. She has a life. Give her some advance notice. A week is nice, but don't call her any later than Wednesday for a weekend date.

5. If you're meeting for dinner, MAKE A RESERVATION. A guy once asked me to the symphony, but neglected to make dinner reservations and so we did the Bataan Death March around the San Francisco Civic Center looking for a place to eat. I failed to see this as the first of many red flags, and my relationship with Evil Neal is now the stuff of legend.

6. Offer to pick her up (Evil Neal had me meet him at the local Starbucks for our second date, lame-o), and make sure to walk her to her car.

7. Pay for her. I'm a raving feminist, but this is the way it is. You ask her out, you pay. Even if she asks you you, you pay. Whether it's coffee or dinner, YOU pay. Comprendez-vous? If she's got any class at all, she'll reach for her purse (if she doesn't, that says something right there). But don't let her pay. Don't expect anything in return, although it's nice if she offers to pay for coffee or a drink later, if there is a later.

8. Treat waiters and other service people with extreme politeness. Nothing will turn a date off sooner than someone who's an asshole to the waiter.

9. Ask her questions about herself without turning it into an interrogation. I don't need to belabor this. You know how to carry on a conversation with another adult.

10. On the flip side, some women--especially those with training as journalists, not that I'm mentioning any names--are very good at drawing people out. Do not, under any circumstances, violate Cynthia's 20-Question Rule, wherein she asks you 20 questions before you've asked her a single one. Yes, this has happened to me. I counted. By the time our appetizers arrived, I could have written his biography.

11. Relax, and be yourself. Do not try to impress her or be someone you're not. Even if it's not a love match, it's nice to make a friend because it is a very small world. My husband tried way to hard to impress me on our first date, and I almost sprinted out of the cafe. Obviously, I gave him another chance, but that's another story.

12. Do not under any circumstances complain about your ex(es), unless you happen to find yourself talking about relationships and you can turn it into the world's funniest story without revealing the slightest trace of bitterness.

13. Relax, and be yourself.

14. A hug is perfectly OK at the end of a nice evening. So is a quick kiss if you can tell that there's mutual attraction. Note: on my second date with the man who is now my husband, I totally thought we were going to play tonsil hockey (the bottle of wine may have helped), so I went and brushed my teeth. He could tell, and gave me a hug instead. By being non-sluttish, he actually created intrigue. Nice strategy, and too bad he's forgotten.

14a. As for anything else...well, obviously one hopes for that, but perhaps not after a first date, even if you bought her a really, really nice dinner. I would worry a bit about anyone who jumps in bed with you too soon ("you" being generic because of course, you're irresistible). No matter what a woman says, assume that she will expect a relationship after you have sex.

15. Last but not least, relax, and be yourself.

I hope this helps my friend, who is inexplicably single despite his keen wit and well-developed biceps. I hope it helps you, or someone you know. Because even if you're one of my six married female readers...well, sometimes our hubbies need a reminder. Or 15.

Next up (eventually): A sex writer's top 10 first-date tips for gals. (You want sex tips? Buy the book.)

And now, because I can't get enough relationship angst, I'm off to watch "Tell Me You Love Me" on HBO.