It’s a Baby!

The Yaris’s motto or slogan or whatever is…. It’s a Car! …. so I thought on this day of gender days the title was meant to be.

And after two long hours of a lot of pushing on my stomach and a lot of goop being spread around and a lot of staring at a screen that was tilted away from me – we found out that…

we are indeed having a boy. Complete with picture of baby penis because… I might as well be the first one to put a picture of his junk on the internet before he ruins himself by sexting all over hell and back. (Pictured above: Two feets, spread eagle because yes he is my son, his little balls and his little penis. Photo proof my friends, priceless.)

And speaking of pronouns….

this sweet little boy is named: Gabriel. Or baby Gabe as I have been saying since the very beginning.

Gender day has come to a close, and I am really really tired and starving. And yes…. it’s weird that there is a penis growing inside me. I went there.

Kamel Turns 30! Today!

Several months ago I started plotting about what to do for Kamel’s 30th birthday. I wanted to get him something more extravagant than usual, something that would mark this birthday as one of the Big Ones. And I wanted to get him something he wasn’t asking for. Last year on his birthday I bought him cake and we signed the lease on this apartment. The year before we went on a sail boat in Monterey Bay.

I was hoping that we would also have some sort of big party thing. Maybe take a group up to Napa, maby have a big dinner at Kamel’s favorite restaurant – but I couldn’t pull that off this year. The whole making-a-human-thing set me back a few social planning points.

Anyways – back to my scheming. I wanted to get him a camera he never thought he would own. A camera that he always talked about renting, the camera he wished he could shoot our own wedding with. The camera he was using when we met! A Hasselblad.

The problem is I have no effing clue about cameras. Like… none. What I do know is that photographers are super picky about their cameras. They prefer certain lenses and brands. A camera is an intimate thing. So how was I going to pick this out not even knowing what the specs meant?! And! I had never used ebay before… I know, I know… but ebay is scary place of uncertainty for me and also the only place I could find the camera without a spending a lot of foot effort tracking one down. So! I asked Christy Tyler to help me figure out which camera would be a good fit for him.

We emailed back and forth, I sent her links to what I thought was doable and she read specs and told me which camera (500 CM, 500 CW, 501 CW, 500 CM?) would be a good one. To this day I still have no idea what these numbers and letters mean. So thank you Christy Tyler!!!! You saved Christmas Kamel’s Birthday and made me an awesome wife. I couldn’t help myself and gave Kamel his birthday present a few weeks early:

He took it to work to play with it and to test some portrait taking. But more on that on Kamel’s Saturday Post this weekend.

An actual film camera that limits the amount of photos you can take in one roll and makes the photographer really think about the shot. No automatic focusing and you don’t get to see how your picture turned out until they are developed. Kamel is now in medium format nerd heaven. Figuring out light settings, film type, what kind of focus he wants. And now that he is headed into old fart land, he has an old man camera to carry around with him.

We took the camera to the zoo. At one point a bunch of people started to gather around and say, “Wooaahh!! Look at that camera!” It’s pretty freaking cool.

Happy 30th birthday Kamel!! You will always seem so much younger than you actually are (in a good way) and I am incredibly lucky to have you as my buddy on all of our adventures. Here is to many many more years of your amazing laugh that makes me laugh, your magic forehead that never wrinkles, great food, building our family, and supporting each other through it all. I am loving you.

Taken this morning before 6:00 am because he is a Birthday Champ. You are 30 today Kamel!! YAY!

Real Life Conversations: Whose Are Those?

So this week is baby announcement hubbub, but in real life baby updates will come about once a week, possibly more if I’m rounding a milestone or something remarkable happens. The rest of the time will be regularly scheduled programming. Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll even be able to bring back Flo and try out some new noms. At this point we are slowly attempting to put our lives back together after the hurricane of oh-man-we-are-pregnant-and-wow-this-is-not-how-I-thought-it-would-be-ness. So, it’s little wonder that this happened yesterday morning.

I shuffled into the bathroom after sitting up in bed eating apples and peanut butter (pro tip: it helps greatly with keeping pregnant blood sugar even AND has the added bonus of aiding in the consto wars). Kamel was chattering at me, or singing, or something per usual. As I turned around and looked at him (in his boxers and undershirt) in the bathroom light I noticed something amiss:

“Kamel… those aren’t your underwear.”

Kamel looks down at his purple-ish boxers when all of his are either grey or black.

“They aren’t mine?” he says.

I laugh. “No! They are purple!”

“Well… they were in the clean clothes…”

“Whose are those?” I ask.

“Mine now!” he says.

This is what happens when you have shared laundry with our entire apartment section. Some poor fella is wandering around without his underpants. And I know who has em now…

One year ago we made Sarah’s Shredded Chicken Tacos in the slow cooker for the first time ever. And it was AMAZING.


A few weeks ago I started writing a new short piece about balding. Or really, about body hair in general. This matters because I watched a documentary this weekend about the recent trend in men’s grooming called Mansome.

I have two major fixations: Gender studies and Generational studies. So often they are linked in a twisty-twirly way. As one generation moves into adulthood, the way we define sexuality also shifts. Masculinity in particular has always been fascinating to me … maybe because I’m not a man, maybe because it’s an even more rigid box than femininity, or maybe because the way culture defines men (and the way men define themselves) has a direct effect on how culture defines women.

There are two things that are very true for me before I can move any further into this post. The first is I believe that preference is totally normal. If you love the muscl-y, tan, gell-haired Adonis – awesome. If you think chest hair is hot – fabulous. If you like skinny guys, or thick guys, or tall guys, or stocky guys – all good. I think there is somebody for every body and just because xyz doesn’t like abc, it doesn’t mean anything. Ok, the second thing: Masculinity and femininity or not hetero-specific terms. They reference how we define and express our gender. But! Because I am a straight girl, my experience with men is from a straight girl perspective.

Ok so! I find body hair to be a fascinating and divisive topic. And it’s interesting because for the most part we can’t control it. When I was 12 I started to grow a mustache. I am Italian. My dad has had a mustache his entire adult existence, I was doomed from birth to follow in his footsteps. My mother, on the other hand, is a red-headed, English-blooded, fair-skinned lady. Initially I don’t think either of us really knew what to do with my hairy-ness. I was teased a lot for my ‘stache. It happens. It was pretty dark. My 8th grade class photo is me at the height of my bushy-stache-ness. I knew that shaving was out of the questions, so my mother and I eased into facial hair handling with some bleaching. Well, one time while I was bleaching, I left the bleach on too long and all my ‘stache hair fell out. It was marvelous!! And I realized the only way to really handle it was total removal, so I began waxing.

Girls are not supposed to have facial hair. But we do. A lot of us do. Lately as I approach 30 I am now plucking out chin hairs by the handfuls. And oh the bikini line. Waxing? Shaving? To pube or not to pube? It’s a hot button issue. I have my opinions on it.

Women do a lot of grooming. A major part of why we groom and what we groom has to do with social norms. It’s weird to not do xyz, it’s not viewed as attractive to let abc go. But other times, it boils down to personal preference.

Maybe on the surface men and their body hair seems like a minor topic compared to women and their body hair. But I disagree with this. Balding I think trumps shaving my legs any day. Balding is the ultimate “You have 0 choice in this” scenario. It just happens. First your hair thins, then either you’re left with an empty patch, or an ever-growing forehead, or just the over all thinning until eventually you have none or you shave what little you have off. I knew a guy in college who was bald like my grandpa (and my dad) with only the side bits left, at the age of 19. He wore hats every single day. I never saw him without one. And now there is the dilemma of back hair. Magazines and TV and movies tell you that everyone HATES it. Everyone. That it is revolting, that men should be ashamed, that they should shave or wax or do whatever they need to do to make it go away as fast as possible. Or, they should never ever ever take off their shirt.

The affinity for a guy with a hairless back is a preference, but I don’t like how everywhere you turn the world is telling you how GROSS it is if you have hair there. Like it’s unclean, like it means they are broken and shouldn’t go to the beach or the pool ever. I don’t like that. If I have hairy legs and I go swimming I highly doubt that anyone would even notice (and not because my hair isn’t dark… let me assure you, I have my father’s legs).

Mostly I want to know what you think. Mansome basically says that the boundaries for men and grooming have been shattered. There are more products for men than there ever have been, they are free to have many different hair styles, to wax heir eye brows, to wear eyeliner (hello Jack Sparrow), to use concealer. To care about how they look – or to not.

Is there something to think? Where are we headed? I started writing this and then I think I lost my way. My point is somewhere within all of these paragraphs. Maybe I’ll find it in comments. Body image, gender, the bullshit of getting older and my million chin hairs, balding, Kamel has little black hairs on his ear lobes that I simultaneously love to feel because they are so soft, but would also really like if he waxed off. I have visions of him being an old man with tufts of bush growing from both sides of his head and him saying, “Eh? EH?!” all of the time because he can’t hear me.


Real Life Conversations: The One Ring (Of Many… Probably)

Kamel was out of sorts all weekend. He was anxious and distracted and easily defensive. I didn’t know why until Monday. Kamel hasn’t been able to find his wedding ring since… Friday, he thought. But now it seems he can’t actually remember having it since last Monday.

He is distressed.

Me? I know we can buy another one, no problem. It’s cool. These things happen.

But Kamel has ripped the apartment open looking for this thing, all while I’ve been elsewhere. He finally came clean while we were at work yesterday, while I was doing my best to console him.

Kamel: But I don’t want to buy another, i want the OG
Kamel: =(
Kamel: I’ll be crushed.
Me: the OG?
Kamel: original
Me:  hahaha… you will not be crushed babaloo [rhyming nickname I have no excuse for other than it makes me laugh]
Kamel: I always assumed you’d lose yours first
Me: hahahahahahhahahahahahahahahhahaha
Kamel: I didn’t even make it a year!
Me: We’ll find it! [note: so far, we haven’t.]
Me: =)
Kamel:  I’m gonna lose my hair, turn skinny, and wander lost looking for precious.

So, I think it actually happened. One of us lost our ring… and it wasn’t me! HaHaHaHa! Victory is mine!

One year ago I was realizing we went to Walgreens too much and I was having one of those Mondays

A Girl Who Reads

I’m still playing a bit of catch up after my week in Houston and my weekend of sleeping (So much sleeping! Even when I didn’t want to!), but I saw this on Saturday and it pretty much warmed my Outlander-accent-loving, book-a-week-reading heart. So here goes:

Sometimes when Kamel tells me I’m pretty or he likes something about my physical self, I remind him that I’m going to be old, saggy, and veiny when I get old. And probably hairier too. Most definitely hairier. And is he ok with that? This hot piece of ass isn’t going to last forever, my friend. He always says he’s fine with whatever. Lost limbs included.

1 year ago I was squeeing over custom books by ReadWriteBooks.

Saturday Edition: Get Off My Lawn!

Hey look! This is something new! A post on a Saturday?! Why yes, indeed, it is! The Saturday Edition is a post written by Kamel, about anything and all things. Even I am not entirely sure what most of these are about. Get ready…

Yesterday I was at the Apple Store in the nearby mall completing a weeklong exchange that spawned completely thanks to Dr Dre’s minions being totally rude to me. Therefore requiring me to go scam them back in order to get what I wanted. It’s a long story, for maybe another time…

Anywho, while waiting to get help at the Apple store, I noticed this group of five 12-13 year old boys come into the store. They were wearing the typical baggy pants, oversized sportsball jackets with matching sportsball hats. They had mussy, goobery “I don’t care but I really do” hair and they totally looked like they were up to no good. No good at all.

They snuck (or at least thought they snuck) past the greeter and went straight for the iPhones on display near me. Two of them went over to one iPhone behind me against the wall and another one (who barely had the pre-teen greasy mustache) went to an iPhone in front of me on center the island.

The mustachioed one proceeded to pull out his own iPhone (which was cracked of course) and began tapping along at it, while discreetly holding the store’s iPhone. He then looked over his shoulder to his buddies and gave them a nod. His buddies proceeded to each grab a display iPhone and began tapping away.

Now at this point I was already thinking the worst. These idiots think they are being all gangsta and slick, but I totally see them, and I bet you everyone in the store did too. They are up to NO GOOD (no good, I say!), and I would have bet money that in about two seconds they were going to steal the iPhones. “Where are their parents?!” I thought. They should be doing their homework! GAHHH! (Lauren Edit: Oh my god we are old people. We are SO OLD… goddamn kids!)

So, I creep closer to them, not wanting them to get away with their hijinks, and as i stand there quietly judging them I see that the goober with the facial hair in front of me is actually launching some sort of “Yu-gi-oh / Pokemon-y” App on his iPhone, while stealthily installing said game on the store’s iPhone. He looks over both shoulders, first his left then his right, and then to his buddies behind me and gives them “the sign.” They too proceed to download said App to their phone and all launch it at once.

I then realize that they are using the store iPhones to create fake accounts for their little tamagotchis or whatever and are using these fake accounts to send their own personal phones friend requests! Once they did this, they all looked around, cos you know they are being such BADASSES! And then they start to send each other fake diamonds via the apps to their own phones. OMG DIAMOND HEIST!

They are now moving super quickly, like little pre-teen Thomas Crowns and going from store display iPhone to iPhone, getting as much virtual shwag as possible. I bet they felt the rush doing this. Little did they know that NO ONE CARES if you do this. This isn’t illegal and they’re just posers with their ghetto mall clothes and secret looks and nods. I wanted to yell at them to, “Just be normal and do whatever! Or go home and do your homework!” But of course, they wouldn’t have listened to me anyway.

It was at that moment I realized – no re-affirmed – that I have become a cranky old man and I need these kids to get off my lawn! But at the same time, I was a tad relieved they didn’t actually steal the phones and instead were doing something innocent (in a a totally goober boy shady looking way).

They wrapped up their activity, deleted the apps off the store phones, and suspiciously walked out of the store, like the tough guys they are not. Once in the clear, they ran away, high-fiving each other and laughing with their broken, still developing vocal cords.

I’m such an old man.

Saturday Edition: The Pizza Breakdown

Hey look! This is something new! A post on a Saturday?! Why yes, indeed, it is! The Saturday Edition is a post written by Kamel, about anything and all things. Even I am not entirely sure what most of these are about. Get ready…

I love Pizza. But there are three things in the world that can totally ruin the idea of Pizza for me.

1. Pineapple on Pizza. Why would anyone ever think this is a good idea? Do not try to convince me. I cannot be swayed.

2. Too many ingredients / fancy “gourmet” “Pizzas”. No, I don’t want my Pizza looking like a recently loaded compost bucket. I don’t care that it has 5 different types of greens, olives, black olives, pine nuts, salmon, thin slices of almonds, onions, pesto, and to make it even worse – all on a thin crust. I just see a goopy disaster that probably tastes nothing like Pizza.

3. COLD. PIZZA. ew.

Pizza is supposed to be hot, but not too hot. You have to let it sit when they first bring it to you so the cheeses can settle. Eating it too hot will burn your tongue and invalidate the rest of the pizza. Or the cheese will be too melted and slide right off of it and you end up eating all the cheese first, it cannot be stopped. But when you eat it at just the right temperature, pizza is a magical food. So, why would anyone EVER eat cold pizza?! I didn’t even know it was a thing until I was an adult.

A long, long time ago. I had just moved to San Francisco. I was 19, about to turn 20 and it was the first time in my life I was living away from home and with roommates. To celebrate my first night in the new apartment, we had all ordered Pizza!

Two of my roommates ordered the wacky pineapple kind and the fancy kind from points 1 and 2 above. (ew as discussed before.) But my other roommate and I just got the classic pepperoni and cheese kind. It was from Mr Pizza Man and it was glorious. But none of us could finish it all. So away the left overs went to the fridge.

The next morning we were all hanging out and hungry. They decided to have left over Pizza. What I saw next was shocking! They had taken their slices out of the fridge and began eating it! Without heating it! Barf! Why?! I don’t get it?

At the time, we lacked a microwave, so I was unable to re-heat my pizza (Lauren Edit: because the stove was also broken? Oh no! What are 20 year old men to do without a microwave! Carry on…) so I was out of luck. But hungry, so I took a little nibble of a cold piece and it was just as nasty as I thought it would be. But the rest of my household noshed away, saying crazy thing like “MMM I LOVE COLD PIZZA!” and I was all poker faced and pretending to agree as I went back to the kitchen to figure out how to re-heat without a microwave.

In the end, I just threw it away. They finished theirs, and that same day I went to Best Buy and bought a microwave.

Problem solved for next time. The End.

Real Life Conversations: Surprise!

Kamel: Sooo…. let’s say one of us got the other a ‘surprise’ Christmas present? Do you think we would have to tell the other person?

Me: What? Why? Did you get my a surprise Christmas gift besides new shoes? Do you think I got you a surprise Christmas present besides the new suit?

Kamel: I’m just asking, Lauren.

Me: That’s it! I’m getting you a surprise Christmas gift! Brainstorming begins now! Shit, but what do I get you? A puppy? Would you like a puppy?

Kamel: Lauren… you don’t have to get me anything extra. I just… I just thought that maybe if I got you gift A: shoes, and then gift C: that shall not be discussed, then maybe I should let you know.

Me: Nope! That’s it! Surprise gift for you! Handled. It’s happening. I don’t know what I’ll get you but oh-ho-ho it will be a surprise!

Kamel: Lauren…

Lauren: Handled.

The Mucus. OH THE MUCUS.

Ok, so this post may or may not be a direct correlation to the massive amounts of cheering on from the survey (Um, THANK YOU… a bigger post on stats, etc will be coming soon, promise). So many of you were all “tell me more things about your relationship!” and I was all, “that’s not boring and/or lame-o?” and you were all, “hell no! give us the dirt!” and then I was all, “Mucus, you guys… MUCOUS.”

You know I love Kamel. You know this, I don’t have to remind you, but I will… because lately? Lately I don’t like him. He’s so annoying! And he’s been sick for weeks! Which, in general I am very sympathetic towards. I give him medicine and I make sure he drinks fluids and I rub his back and give him sympathetic looks (and then when he’s not looking … eye rolls) because I realize that his man cold is so much worse than any lady cold could ever be. Ahem.

The truth is, he’s been sick since November 29 and now he has a cough that won’t quit (much like my bootay). It’s keeping him awake, and sleeping in the bed is too uncomfortable for him, so he’s been living on the couch. And hearing him hack and cough and belch and be generally gross for weeks is giving me a case of the icks. I realize this is selfish, poor Kamel is sick and I’m all “ew get away from me.” But I can’t help it. It makes me gag. And I definitely don’t want to kiss it… it as in “the gross mucous pie hole that all of the hacking and gunk comes shooting out of.”

We’re low on “The Sexy” over here, let me tell you. Is this what they meant by sometimes marriage isn’t pretty?

It doesn’t help that he isn’t the most polite sick person. There’s a lot of gagging hacks that happen mouth UNCOVERED. And there could be a lot more washing of hands. And I don’t want him on my pillow, touching my computer, or using my phone. But somehow it’s like the world moves in slow-mo as he’s reaching for my things and then rubbing them all over his snotty face and hands, (Exaggeration and batteries included for your convenience) and as I reach for it and go nooooooooooo! I’m always too late.

This combined with the whining has my husband getting on my every last nerve. My patience is tiny when it comes to bad attitudes, leaving kleenex and dirty clothes and wet towels willy nilly, forgetting things I’ve asked him to do, and the list could just keep going.

This makes me look bad, I realize this. The general consensus I’m sure is, “But Lauren, he’s sick! How can you require that he acts like a normal human being during such a trying time?”

And I have some answers for the nay sayers:

1) Because I am not his mother. That’s the big one. Just because you have a cough doesn’t mean you suddenly have two broken arms and two broken legs (oh god, cue flashback to my own mother saying the exact same thing….). Now that he’s out of the fever and feeling like crap stage, I need him to go back to being an active member of our household.

2) Because no matter how hard I try I can’t escape him. He’s always here, touching all of my things!!

3) Because whine-y people are the most unattractive creatures on the face of the planet. [shudder] So although the whining is coming out of the man I love the most in the world, I still want to throttle him until he shuuuuts upppp.

So yes, the mucous is invading my marriage. I’m hoping to grit my teeth until it decides to MOVE OUT. And thank you sweet baby jesus that I didn’t catch the thing that Kamel got… cuz hell hath no furry like a Lauren who got sick because Kamel couldn’t keep his grubby hands to himself.

And scene.