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Friday, November 30, 2007

A Time to Give

It’s all Lucy Liu’s fault. A couple of years ago she was on Oprah, talking about how we should give to United Way. I’m totally a sucker for charities that tell you exactly where your money will go. Lucy said, “If you donate $10, that will give a family a meal kit for a week plus two warm blankets.” Awesome, I thought. So I gave $5 and patted myself on the back for feeding a family for half a week and giving them one blanket. Hopefully it was a small family.

Ever since then I get about three letters a day from various charitable organizations. The United Way totally sold me out. Sometimes it’s cancer victims, sometimes it’s heart attack patients, but most of the time it’s very sad looking children. I could wallpaper my entire office in charitable return address labels.

And what about those nickels? Do you ever get those? Now there’s a moral dilemma. I’ll get this nickel in the mail and it says if I just contributed a nickel a day, those sad kids wouldn’t be hungry. Now what am I supposed to do with that nickel? I can’t just throw away perfectly good money. But I can’t USE a nickel that’s supposed to go to poor, sick kids. And sometimes it’s a dime! They’re torturing me!

One day, after a particularly bad week of charitable mail, I went off on a guy in the Wal-Mart parking lot. He came up to me and this is how it went down:

Random guy in Wal-Mart Parking Lot: Hey, how are you doing? Did you get a lot of shopping done?

WG: Yup. Gotta go.

Random Guy: Wait just one second please. See, I’m raising money for kids with cancer.

WG: No, thanks.

Random Guy: But if you just give $10, you can help to cure a kid with cancer.

WG: No, don’t think so.

Random Guy: What? You don’t want to help kids with cancer?

(This is where I got steamed. How does the fact that I don’t want to hand out cash to a strange guy in the Wal-Mart parking lot equal that I don’t want to help kids with cancer? There’s no connection. So I decided to mess with his head.)

WG: Well, don’t you think they kinda deserved it?

Random Guy: What?

WG: Those kids with cancer. I mean, they must have done something pretty bad to get cancer. They’re bad kids. They deserve it.

Random Guy: You are the most horrible person I’ve ever met!

WG: Maybe, but at least I’m not begging people for money in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Charities, keep your return address labels, nickels and random parking lot solicitors away from Writinggal!

My next beef: Salvation Army Bell Ringers, where are your Santa suits?

Defending my People

This is a replica of the note I left on a MAN'S car who parked in the "mothers-to-be" parking spot at Kroger:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mobile Maid of Honor

Are you looking for a good maid of honor for your next wedding? Not sure you can trust your sister or closest gal pal with such a huge responsibility? I’d like to offer my services. Up until this past weekend, I had only been a maid of honor once (back in 2000 in my friend Jaime’s wedding). But now I’ve increased my experience 100%. On Saturday I served as maid of honor in another bride’s wedding.

I think her name was Monica. But it might have been Molly. Anyway, she looked like this:

And that's her groom who I think is named David. Or Danny. And then some lady from their cruise ship.

We met them on the beach in the Bahamas. Frank and I were just walking down the shoreline at 9:30am when we spotted these two people who appeared as if they had lost the rest of their wedding party. I said, “I don’t know you but you look so pretty I’d like to take your picture.” Obviously, flattery will get you everywhere because the next thing I knew she was asking us to be witnesses at their wedding! I was stoked.

When they got to the part where they exchange rings she handed me her bouquet. Boom. I was instantly upgraded to maid of honor! I quickly had to think back to seven years ago when I was Jaime’s MofH. I needed to throw a shower; I needed to fluff her dress; And what about the toast? It’s hard enough to think of something to say for one of your oldest friends but how about when you don’t even know the girl’s name?

I decided to keep it simple. When they kissed, we clapped and I said, “Congratulations! What a beautiful wedding!” I inquired about a reception but apparently we weren’t invited. That’s okay; we didn’t get them a gift.

So my point is that I’m very versatile as an MofH. I can go anywhere. I can wear anything (even a bikini if that’s what you want). I can smile pleasantly and I won’t lose your flowers.

Think about it. But don’t think too long. My calendar is getting pretty full.

Yes, I know my fly is down!

Have you ever gotten home from a long day and just unbuttoned your pants, pulled down the zipper and sat on the couch? Feels good, don’t it?

That is how I live all the time now that I’m pregnant. I refuse to buy maternity clothes until at least 20 weeks (I'm 18.75 now) so I either wear stretchy sweats or I just unbutton and unzip my regular pants.

I can even do this in public thanks to the miracle of the tummy tube! Check it out:

You can't even tell my pants are unbuttoned and unzipped, can you? The tummy tube is just like a tube top. (In fact, sometimes just out of habit I accidentally put it on like a tube top.) It goes over your waist band and it smooshes it to the point where you can’t tell that your pants are basically down. It’s very comfortable too.

In this picture I’m wearing my skinny jeans. They are very small. I am not. It appears as if I just have on a cute layered outfit. I do not. I’m like a pregnant illusionist! I should seriously take this act to Vegas.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Global Negotations

I've been in the market for a globe. Every house needs one, don't you think? It seems like I always want to know where some place is in the world, what's the capital of Lithuania or play that game where you spin the globe around and pick your next vacation by where your finger lands. Plus, it makes you look smart. Like a set of Encyclopedias.

Oh, and I wanted a cool tan, vintage one. Except I didn't want the geography to be out of date. That would just confuse me and make me look stupid. I mean, what if I was going around saying, "I can't wait for my trip to the U.S.S.R!"

But the thing is, globes like that are expensive. I saw one in the Crate and Barrel catalog for like $140! So after that I gave up on my dream of globe-owning.

That was until we drove by a garage sale in our neighborhood. It was weird because I'm not really into digging through other people's junk. But when we drove by I saw it. A globe. "Oh, I see something I want at this garage sale!" I announced. This globe was perf. And it wasn't $140. Try $135 less than that. Five bucks!!

Oh, but it gets better. I've heard that when you dig through other people's junk (i.e. attend a garage sale), you can negotiate. I said, "Can I give you $3 for the globe?" And the junk-sellers said, "Yes." Ah! Three bucks! I swear it's the same as the one from C&B. Check it out:

The capital of Lithuania? Vilnius!
My next vacation? Kansas :(
Wait that doesn't count...
My next vacation? The middle of the Pacific ocean :( But not too far from Hawaii!

And I can totally afford to go there with all the money I saved on my globe!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Which is weirder?

The fact that I'm still eating our Halloween candy (M&Ms, both of the mini and peanut variety)?
Or that I gave all the Now and Laters from our candy bowl to the exterminator so he could use them to catch mice?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Who eats pancakes on a Thursday?

A pregnant girl, that's who. A pregnant girl who saw a commercial for Golden Corral that featured pancakes and said to herself, "I sure would like some pancakes right, you can't have's Thursday! But why can't I? I can have pancakes on Thursday! So you're gonna get all that stuff out and make the big ol' mess just so you can have some stupid pancakes? Yes, yes I am."

It was all downhill after this picture was taken. I only ate one and then I felt sick. Next time I'll just go to Golden Corral.


Five years ago Frank and I went to meet a potential wedding photographer at Starbucks. We didn’t know what she looked like so we were surprised when the person who approached us appeared to be a teenager. This kid had a hyphenated last name: Gaston-Terry. And even though Ms. Gaston-Terry was clearly youthful enough to be our much younger sister, she was very responsible, affordable and most of all, understood that we didn’t want any pictures of our profiles (we have a thing about the sides of our faces).

After she left we both noted that is was interesting that someone so young would be doing such a big job. I mean, running your own photography business isn’t easy. But Ms. Gaston-Terry did a good job and we liked our profile-less pics.

A few months later we rented a duplex. (It’s like a fairy tale: get married and move into a rented duplex!) The agent who had the place listed was named Tiffany. Obviously, she was young. Another young person with a big job. Frank could never remember her last name so he just started calling her Tiffany Gaston-Terry.

We’d see a young person anchoring a newscast: We’d call her Debbie Gaston-Terry. I’d have a new client at work. “How is she?” Frank would ask. “Oh, she’s a total Gaston-Terry,” I would say. Barack Obama. He's a Gaston-Terry. It’s like our own version of calling someone Doogie Howser.

You’d be surprised how often this comes up. We’ve been calling people Gaston-Terrys for years now. You can start using it too. And you don't have to say it just because we said so. Check this out:

I Googled Gaston Terry and you won’t believe what I found. Third entry down:

Col. Gaston Terry was an amateur mathematician who made a significant contribution to combinatorics. Specifically, he confirmed Euler’s conjecture for order 6 in 1901.

So even the original Gaston Terry was an amateur, probably a young guy who didn’t seem like he knew what he talking about. Then he went on to wow everybody with his brilliance in combinatorics. Now I don’t know what combinatorics is but then again, I’m no Gaston-Terry.

Or maybe I could be a Gaston-Terry. The Gaston-Terry of writing. I would have to do something big since I'm not that young. Maybe I could score some big interview with someone like…oh, I don’t know…some big leader in another country…and then I could be on Oprah! And she would say, “Wow, you’re so young to get to do a story on someone so important.” And I would say, “That’s right. I’m very mature for my age. Now please don’t let your camera guys shoot me from my profile.”

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bikini Belly

We’re heading to the Bahamas next week for our babymoon. I would add this word to Frank’s daddy dictionary but I just learned it myself. Apparently it’s a trip that couples take before their baby is born. It’s like our last hurrah—sort of like a graduation trip minus the wet t-shirt contests.

I only had one condition for the trip: it had to be somewhere tropical. I was not going to go my entire pregnancy without getting to do that whole pregnant-girl-in-a-bikini look. Finally, no sucking in! No finding that perfect lounge-chair position to properly distribute belly bulge. No more hiding behind a tree or a tall pina colada in pictures because I just ate a big buffet meal.

When you’re pregnant, you can let it all hang out.

But last night Frank looked at my belly and said, “Maybe we jumped the gun on this babymoon thing.” My belly is not bikini ready! I’m only 16 weeks along; there’s not a whole lot to hang out.

“Oh, poor Writinggal. She’s not fat enough for her bikini. Wah, wah wah.”

Wait. You will be crying for me when you hear this: There’s a little bit hanging out, just not enough. It’s this terrible in-between stage where you can’t tell if I’m pregnant or pudgy.

Are the tears starting to form yet?

Imagine this:
“Hey, honey, look at that girl over there. Do you think she’s pregnant or just fat?”

“Well, she’s sucking down a big drink so she can’t be pregnant. I think she just made one too many trips to the buffet line.”

“Hahahahahaha! You’re right! I did see her totally pigging out at breakfast. And look, she’s scarfing down that hamburger and fries. It’s kind of gross.”

“Someone get that girl a sarong.”

“Or Jenny Craig’s number. Hahahahahahaha.”

In my defense that was a virgin drink! And I AM eating for two! Well, one and a quarter.

There’s only one solution: I’m going to have to buy a bunch of those pregnancy novelty t-shirts. They’re like $50 each but a worthwhile investment:

“Yes, I’m pregnant. No, you can’t touch my belly.”
“Does this baby make me look fat?”

“Dying for a drink.”

“He did this to me” (with an arrow pointing to Frank or whoever happens to be on my left side at the time).

“Got pickles?”

“I’ve got the golden ticket” (also works as a tribute to my mothering-idol, Britney!)

The good news is, with all these cool new tops, we might not have to rule out the wet t-shirt contest!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Frank's Daddy Dictionary

Frank is very excited about becoming a dad. (Hint for Christmas: he has his eye on a "Big Daddy" t-shirt like Doug Clayton's).

Ever since I became pregnant, he's had to learn lots of new words. Every time I teach him one I'll share it here. Hey, maybe you'll learn something too. Today, I have two words for you:

Trimester: A three-month period. Pregnancy is nine months (more or less) so there are three trimesters.

Frank is struggling with this one. Being the academic that he is, he prefers to tell people, "Elsa's in the second semester!"

Braxton Hicks: False labor; a pregnant woman may feel these contractions but they're not the "real deal." Our friend Shannon experienced this and when Frank heard us talking about it, he asked, "Is she naming the baby Braxton? I like that name."

Now, whenever we tease him about it, he still insists, "Braxton is a cool name!"

Stay tuned. I can pretty much guarantee there will be more definitions to add to the daddy dictionary.

Gap be Gone

It’s rude of me, really, to leave you hanging like this. I’ve been telling you about my teeth troubles for over a year now and then I suddenly stopped giving you updates. And while it's not like I've received an influx of emails, begging me to finish the story, I'm going to do that anyway.

Here’s a timeline to refresh your memory:

1989--Braces are put on
1993—Jaw Surgery
1994—Braces come off
1995-1999—Four years of dental neglect (also known as “college”)
1999-2006—Gum problems, gap in bottom teeth grows as a result of not wearing retainer
2006—Decide to fix it all:
June 2006: gum surgery
September 2006: tiny rubberbands (you know I STILL find those things lying around the house even though I've moved thousands of miles away since I last wore them?)
November 2006-September 2007- retainer
September 2007—lose retainer at Frank’s Aunt and Uncle's house in Alabama; panic. Gap continues to grow.
September 2007—go to dentist to see about getting new retainer; suggests veneers.
October 2007—Sell several organs to pay for veneers (you don't really need a spleen, do you?) Let the dentist torture me for first stage of veneers. Pain worse than jaw surgery.
October 2007—Frank’s Aunt’s cat drags my retainer out from under a bed. She mails it back to me. It’s too late. We’ve already begun the veneer process and I’ve already charged it to my credit card.
October 2007—After lots of screaming, tears and angry pleas, my veneers are complete.

Here's the best I can do for a before and after. If you look closely (or maybe you don't even have to look too closely), you can see the growing gap in my bottom teeth.

No gap!

Jealous of my new fake-teeth grin? You too could have a smile like Writinggal!
It's simple. Here are the things you'll need:
-Patience: (It took me 18 years to get this look.)
-Four dentists, two orthodontists, an oral surgeon and a periodontist
-About $15,000 (thanks to my parents for covering most of that in the early years)
-A high threshold for pain (or the ability to scream while people are drilling in your mouth)
Hey, don't get down. I've got some rubberbands you can borrow to get you started.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Pregnancy Perplexers

If this is true then how did Frank's Nana bear eight healthy children?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Don’t be fooled...

by the rocks that I got, I'm still Jenny from the block. Um, Jenny, wouldn’t it be more of a tribute to your “block” if you didn’t flash all those rocks?

I think J. Lo's anthem is responsible for launching a lot of songs with this theme: “I know I’m awesome. I know I’m totally rich, totally famous, I can buy whatever I want but hey, I’m still the same person. I still put my diamond-embossed pants on one leg at a time.”

I’m over it.

Take Fergie’s Glamorous:

We flyin' first class

Up in the sky

Poppin' champagne

Livin' the life

In the fast lane

And I won’t change

By the Glamorous,

Oh the flossy flossy

She won’t change, she says. Except then the token rapper in her song comes in with, “If you ain’t got no money take your broke ass home!” Sounds to me like you think you’re too good for your poor friends now, Ferg-o. What's the matter? They not flossy enough for ya? (Flossy, by the way, means flashy and showy. I had to look that up in the urban dictionary. That’s how unflossy I am.)

My favorite part is when Fergalicious says she still goes to Taco Bell no matter how many records she sells. Well, duh, I would too. When you’re rich it’s the best time to go to Taco Bell! And the awesome part is, when you stop selling records you can still go there. It’s an equal opportunity establishment.

Now I expect this type of behavior from J. Lo and Fergs but then Faith Hill had to go and do a country version of this tired theme:

Cause a Mississippi girl don't change her ways

Just cause everybody knows her name

Ain't big-headed from a little bit of fame

I still like wearing my old ball cap

Ride my kids around piggy back

They might know me all around the world

But y'all I'm still a Mississippi girl

Hey, y’all, she still wears a baseball cap! Now that’s totally slummin' it. And how kind of her to play with her kids even though she’s so rich and famous.

What do these singers want, some kind of prize? I’d even be inclined to give them one if they actually displayed some sort of “every-man” behavior. Like there’s an actor (I can’t remember which one) who drives some really cheap, old car (can’t remember which kind).

But let’s say it’s John Cusack and he drives a 1998 Chevy Malibu. Now that would be great material for a song. It could go like this:

I was the guy who held up the boom box

Everybody loves that movie; it totally rocks

Even though I’m a busy actor, makin’ lots of dough

I never forget that I’m just a poor kid from Chicago

People ask me why I don’t buy some beach house under the sun

I say, “I don’t live in Malibu, I drive one!”

Speaking of cars, I forgot that the Taco Bell part of Fergie’s Glamorous is actually my second favorite. This is my real favorite:

After the show or after the Grammies
I like to go cool out with the family

Sippin', reminiscing on days when I had a Mustang

A Mustang? Come on. You don't even know about crappy cars! I had a Crown Victoria. My friend Kristin had some brown and gold Chevy that couldn't make left turns. I remember when a guy at my high school got a Mustang and he suddenly went from total dork to semi-cool. He seriously had the best car in the parking lot. So no props for you, Ferg. That ride's practically flossy.