Friday, October 28, 2005

Pie in the sky

For all the travelling I did this past week, it would have been nice if I had needed this. But the Biker was on another flight, and anyway, I've never understood the point or the logistics of the Mile-High Club. It seems destined for getting caught, and as much as I may be a drunken exhibitionist, I wouldn't want to have to deal with the irate co-flyers waiting in line for the bathroom when I get out.

Only once would I have considered it, on a foiled trip to San Francisco with the cokehead alcoholic. We were supposed to go to SF for Dan's wedding, stay with Ian and Zanne for two days, and then head off to a hotel for two days. The day before, about 14 hours before our scheduled departure on American, he bailed for what I eventually found out was a typical reason: he had to attend a class for an old DUI conviction.

Which he'd never told me about, of course.

The conviction had happened in PA, right before he moved to NY, and the two states have some sort of agreement that let him fulfill his community service and class requirements in NY. But it had taken a while to get it all sorted out, and when they finally scheduled him, the class was starting right before our trip.

He didn't tell me, because he didn't want me to know he had a DUI record. So he went to the first class, which was the night before we left, and tried to negotiate a postponement, as sessions were scheduled for while we were gone. When he couldn't reschedule, he had to call me and tell me he couldn't go on our trip.

Of course, we broke up, the first time of several.

But back to the point of this post . . . when I got on the flight, my seat, and his empty one, were in this little private compartment in front of the Coach section. We were to the right of the plane galley, so across the aisle from us was a solid wall. There was another wall behind our seats, enough leg room in front of us to fit another row of seats, but it was empty, and a wall in front of that space. Then even though there was a wall on the other side of the aisle, there was a curtain on our side. It was a room designed for in-flight sex, the head of the bulkhead.

A totally bizarre, perfectly designed opportunity for Mile-High entry, and me flying all alone.

So I swapped seats with a nursing mother, since I didn't need the privacy, and I didn't want to be taunted with it for eight hours.

Sweet Smell of Manhattan

What an odd thing to come home to.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Katie Holmes' Missing Days

She went from flat-bellied and svelte to looking about five months along, seemingly overnight. Is it a prosthetic? Or has something much more disturbing happened to our little Katie?

Friday, October 14, 2005

First Comes the Baby Carriage -- NY Times

Some of you may have heard that I'm planning on having a baby soon. I was supposed to get pregnant in 2005, but since my next career step is a little bit up in the air, I'm going to try to get that settled first. Child care and health insurance issues, you know.

The closest intimate relationship I've got going is with my fire escape, it would seem, so this is something I'll be doing on my own. I've got a couple of potential donors in mind, and I'm thinking about the big issues and preparing for them.

Looks like I'm not the only one thinking this way lately. A friend sent me the following. As Times articles expire more and more quickly these days, and as I will want this for a reference later, here it is.

October 13, 2005
WHEN Diane Carr turned 37 with a compelling desire to have a baby and no true love to have one with, she began, gingerly, to explore the other option she had filed in the back of her mind.

Like other single women who have found themselves sifting through online profiles of anonymous sperm donors recently, Ms. Carr, a real estate broker in Atlanta, was quickly convinced that buying sperm was the easiest way to have a baby without a partner. She also concluded that it has quietly become a socially acceptable choice, if only because so many are making it.

Ms. Carr's hairdresser, it turned out, knew someone who had just conceived that way, as did one of her own clients. An Atlanta chapter of a national support group for "single mothers by choice" formed two years ago and had 26 members.

On the Internet, Ms. Carr discovered hundreds of pregnant single women trading notes. Some were arranging to send one another their leftover sperm.

"Five years ago you never heard about this," said Ms. Carr, who had the insemination procedure performed last month. "Now you can talk about it, and it's O.K."

In her effort to become a lone parent, Ms. Carr has plenty of company. The support group she joined is 25 years old, but it has grown to 24 chapters around the country from 12 in the last three years. About three-quarters of its 4,000 members used sperm donors. Sperm banks, which once catered largely to infertile and lesbian couples, are seeing a surge in business from single women, as are obstetricians who perform artificial inseminations.

The groundswell of single women deliberately having babies reflects their increased ability to support a family. It helps, too, that the Internet has done away with the need to leave the house to find a donor. A woman can now select the father of her child from her living room and have his sperm sent directly to her doctor. It is faster and cheaper than adoption, and allows women to bear their own genetic offspring.

Single women have always found adoption rules more restrictive than they are even for gay couples. Many hesitate to simply have a sexual fling or use a "known donor" for fear that the father may someday stake a claim to the child. But thousands are now gravitating to sperm bank Web sites, where donor profiles can be sorted by medical history, ethnic background and a wide range of physical characteristics. Like an online dating service where no one ever dates, written answers are given to questions like "What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you?" Some women screen for men with no cancer in their family. Some look for signs of high I.Q. Some search for a man who might have been their soul mate. Others are more pragmatic.

"You're paying for it, so you kind of want the best of the best," said Anna Aiello, 38, of Moriches, N.Y., on Long Island, the mother of 1-year-old twins, who saw her ability to select a 6-foot-2 blond, blue-eyed, genetic-disease-free donor as some consolation for not getting to fall in love with someone who would most likely have been more flawed.

Prices at sperm banks range from about $150 to $600 per vial, plus shipping. At some banks customers can pay extra for a donor's childhood photograph, or a tape recording of his voice. Fairfax Cryobank, one of the largest, charges more for donors who have doctorates. Single women, sperm banks say, are also driving demand for donors who agree to release their identity when children conceived with their sperm turn 18.

"A lot of times couples feel, 'This is our family and we don't want any external information,' " said Holly Fowler, marketing director for Xytex Sperm Bank, where sales of sperm from "ID release" donors have jumped 20 percent since the option was introduced in 2002. "But single mothers want their child to be able to have an understanding of where they came from."

Veteran "choice moms" say more single women are now trying to conceive in their mid-30's rather than waiting. Because they are starting before their fertility declines, they are having more success. Some are even having second children.

"It's not necessarily Plan B anymore, it's just the plan," said Melissa Singer, 46, a member of Single Mothers by Choice, a national support group, who had a donor-inseminated daughter 10 years ago. "It means there's a lot less desperation as a whole in the group."

When she was pregnant, she rarely told people how she had gotten that way, Ms. Singer said, because she did not want them to feel sorry for her. Other single women pretended to have had a chance sexual encounter. But the new wave of donor-inseminated mothers are not hiding; they are even portrayed on two new television shows, "Misconceptions," a WB sitcom, and "Inconceivable," an NBC drama.

No one tracks the number of women who actively choose single motherhood, but their ranks, while still small, seem to be increasing quickly. According to 2004 census data, about 150,000 women with college degrees have children under 18, have never been married and are the only adult in their household, triple the number recorded in 1990. Family sociologists say women in that group are likely to be single by choice, not chance.

"Women who order sperm are engaged in a kind of agency that is new and is gaining momentum," said Rosanna Hertz, a sociologist at Wellesley College who is working on a book called "When Baby Makes Two." "It's different from women who adopt, who are not breaking sexual norms."

Historically, far fewer women with high incomes and college educations have had children out of wedlock than those with less money and schooling. But some high-achieving women may be shifting their behavior based on the lessons of a generation that precedes them.

Professional women in their 50's regret not having had a child far more than not having gotten married, said Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist whose 2002 book "Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children" found that more than a third of women with high-status jobs were childless at 40.

"When push came to shove, the child was more important than the partner," Ms. Hewlett said of the women she interviewed. "It was an ever-present source of regret, where they were not so actively mourning the absence of a husband."

The boom in high-tech fertility treatments for women over 35 has raised women's awareness of the limitations both of their bodies and their demographic. But some women in their 30's who have seen friends divorced or in unhappy marriages say they are not willing to settle for "Mr. Almost Right" to have a baby.

Ms. Carr said she found herself waiting impatiently through the beginnings of relationships, acutely aware of her biological deadline. "What a difference dating is when you don't need them for that," she said. Ms. Carr's mother was initially skeptical: "It's not like a puppy; you can't give it back," Mary Gordon told her daughter, reminding Ms. Carr of the dog she had deposited at her parents' house after graduating from college.

"Mom," said Ms. Carr, who has long owned another dog, "I have a home and two cars. I know what I'm doing."

Even so, the decision was bittersweet.

"I was so sad because I didn't want to have to do it this way," Ms. Carr said. "But in the same breath I was so happy that I had the choice."

Many single women still find the choice to get pregnant met with incomprehension or even hostility from friends, family and some strangers. The most common accusation is that they are selfish, because of the widely held belief that two-parent homes are best for children.

"I had one psychologist friend actually suggest that I 'channel' my (neurotic?) need to parent into volunteer work in a children's hospital," wrote one mother on a support group Web site. "Can you say 'condescending'??"

Mothers who choose their solo status say the problems that have traditionally burdened families headed by a single mother - poverty, abandonment by fathers, teenage motherhood, parental conflict - do not apply to them.

But some suspect that what makes people uneasy is not so much their status as single mothers but that they achieved it by short-circuiting the traditional act of procreation. Experts on nontraditional families say the use of anonymous donors without a more conventional reason, like infertility or homosexuality, may seem more threatening to men's role in the family.

Dr. Hertz, the Wellesley sociologist, said that while nearly all the single-mothers-by-choice she studied actively tried to incorporate men into their children's lives, their presence was seen more as an enrichment activity, like piano lessons or summer camp, than a necessity.

Some single mothers do relish their autonomy, which they say can more than compensate for not having a partner to help change the diapers. Every decision, from what to name their children to how to discipline them, is theirs to make without negotiation.

"Even though it's only you, it really is only you," said Stacia Snapp, 43, of Woodinville, Wash., a technical writer for Microsoft who had two children with her ex-husband and used a sperm donor to have two more on her own. "It's really hard to balance when you have someone who disagrees with what you want to do. You're trying to be a good mom, you're trying to be a good wife, you don't feel understood by anybody."

Debra Taras, a psychologist in Philadelphia, would have liked to attempt that balance. But she was also acutely aware that she might not get the chance. "I don't know a way to say this that doesn't sound conceited, but when you're at the top of your field, the pool of available men is pretty small," said Dr. Taras, who bought herself some sperm for her 35th birthday. "You're looking to date an equal, and men are looking down, not across."

At the Northwest Andrology & Cryobank, Dr. Taras, who has a Ph.D., considered only donors with advanced degrees. Worried that a child who did not share her looks was more likely to be asked questions about an absent father, she eliminated blonds. To avoid a genetic mental illness that might not have surfaced yet in a younger man, she settled on a medical doctor in his mid-30's.

When her daughter, Olivia, cried much of the first few months, Dr. Taras's image of a blissful existence in a mother-daughter cocoon was hastily revised. She hired a live-in au pair and welcomed the attention of an older couple in her apartment building who have become Olivia's de facto godparents.

Dr. Taras, who has her own practice, says the weight of knowing that there is no one to fall back on financially can be stressful. But she has never had regrets. Now 23 months, Olivia is a chatty toddler who loves the merry-go-round.

"I could not have imagined my life without being a mother," Dr. Taras said. "This wasn't a hard decision for me. For me it was an absolute."

Sick Puppy

Call me twisted, but I actually like being sore and achy after a night of circus activities. It's like every twinge is a reminder of what a good time you had, and I find myself smiling as I wince. And then after the wince is that little flutter of excitement in your stomach, as your body remembers on its own.

But yesterday there was way more than wincing. I was actually having stabbing pains in my right hip that made me yelp out loud. And today my lower back feels bruised, and my tender parts are still tender. Two days of this seems a bit excessive.

Well, at least I found my cell phone.

Maybe this is why it's a good thing that I'm not married yet. Anything less than this, and honestly, I'm bored. But circus sex on a regular and frequent basis might cause irreparable harm.

The worst thing

. . . about running late, as I have been all week, is that I end up on the same PATH train as my Journal Square stalker.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Hi, my name is Maggie and I have a problem.

(Hi Maggie!)

After at least four whiskeys (wait, maybe it was six) that are totally not on my diet, I think I can only manage stream-of-consciousness this morning.

The biker woke up at six in a panic; he had to be at work by eight, and needed to go home to Harlem first to change. I washed all the smeared eyeliner off, grabbed a spare blanket (it was freezing; when will the heat come on?), set the alarm for 8:00 and went back to sleep . . . until 9:00.
The alarm had gone off, I'd just slept through it for an hour. My hair was a matted snarled mess and had to be washed, but at least it didn't wreak of smoke (thanks, Bloomburg!).

Where was my bra? Oh, right, in my purse. (but my cell phone wasn't, I discovered later. Still AWOL, egads.)
My boots? One was in the kitchen, the other in the bed.
My raincoat? Covered with pigeon droppings from the fire escape. I'd have to wear something else.

I barely managed to water the cat before I dragged my sorry ass out of the house. Late again. Those resolutions are dropping like flies. But at least I was wearing eyeliner while drinking more and not driving!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Not Enough Notes

At the time, I really thought I'd been paying attention. But maybe not, because lately all these men from my past have been correcting my memory of our histories. Old friends claim that we dated, guys I thought I'd just fooled around with tell me we slept together. I should have taken better notes.

Most surprising was my first love, who recently informed me that we did not fall in love over the course of a summer and then date for two years; he just cheated on his girlfriend with me. As she was dating someone else at the time, I find this hard to fathom. (Except that I later cheated on him with her by-then-ex-boyfriend, so maybe he's getting confused...)

So please do me a favor? If we've ever dated or had sex, or heck, even kissed, could you let me know? Because apparently I started going senile at 19.

Dammit, I did it again

It was pithy, concise and witty, I swear. But the brilliant post that sprang fully formed into my head this morning has washed down the shower drain, sorry.

Journal Square is for shit, innit?

This is why I always complain about working in Jersey City:

There is a large piece of excrement in the Journal Square PATH station this morning, and it is not at all surprising that it looks more human than canine in source.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The gift that keeps on giving

I may have become a crazy cat lady. I just ordered this, and I'm not sure if it's a birthday gift for Siena or for myself.

Friday, October 07, 2005

More reasons to heart Gawker

They keep helping me feel so much better about that AP position I didn't take.

"I'm wearing boots of escaping! I'm wearing boots of escaping!"

Thanks to Juggler (and yes I still think he's that secret international pick-up artist) for this Reno 911/D&D gem.

Men's Fitness

Have you guys been doing your exercises? For the love of God, why not? I want to see that towel jump!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Siena is a mischievous child

I can't remember if I've told you before how Siena marauds the secret treats hiding place. She can't open the dish-towel drawer itself (which is why it seemed like a good hiding place at the time), but she can open the cabinet door next to the drawer. And apparently there's a passage between the cabinet and the drawers, because since she learned this trick, I've come home countless times to find dish towels and pot-holders scattered everywhere. I no longer keep the treats in there, but either hope springs eternal or the drawer still smells like delicious treaty goodness, because she still opens the cabinet door, climbs to the back of the cabinet, squeezes through the space into the drawer well, reaches up into the middle drawer, grabs whatever she can reach and hold in her sharp and devious teeth, and then drags crap all over my kitchen, more days than not.

Lately, as I already told you, she's been particularly snuggly, and maybe because of that she hasn't done anything bad in a while. Two days ago, I came home and she greeted me at the door, all purring and lovey. I told her she was a good girl and headed for the kitchen to feed her.

And she ran ahead of me.

I turned on the light and saw that the cabinet door was open. But before I could even say anything...

She stood on her hind legs and pushed the door shut!

Then she turned around and looked at me like, all, What? What? No, I didn't open the door, what are you talking about? You don't see any dish towels lying around, do you?

And she had a point, nothing was out of place.

Yesterday, I come home, and the cabinet door is open again! But instead of running ahead to hide the evidence, she just keeps purring up against my leg, trying to distract me with cuddly love.

Siena, shut the door!

She cocks her head at me. a good girl and close the cabinet.

She walks over, gives it a nudge with her cheek, and gets it halfway shut.

Nope, all the way please, baby.

She had started walking back over to me, but she stopped and gave a little questioning squeak. I pointed, and she turned around and went back and pushed it all the way shut.

Seriously, this cat is way too smart for a housepet. I love her, and I think her stunts are cool enough to brag about ad nauseam here, but honestly? She's freaking me out a little. I half expect to come home tonight to find her reading my back issues of Newsweek.

Or at least Radar.

Pretty Miami Hate Machine

I am sitting at my desk, weeping with laughter. Seriously.

Told you, I don't actually need television reception. It couldn't have been any more entertaining than this is.

Foraging in New York City: Random Restaurant Reviews for the Aimless Diner

Crossposted from Spreeblick:

Foraging in New York City: Random Restaurant Reviews for the Aimless Diner

Yes, Sir, that's my baby

I really do love that husband of mine. He takes on the best projects.

On the English Language

Orwell's ruminations, courtesy of Nicfit.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Voice of the City

The best Wednesday One-Liners on Overheard are those that reveal the wit and wisdom of train conductors.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I disagree

Me, I love fauxhawks.


In preparation for my trip down south, I'm brushing up on a bit of Bayou culture.

How you can tell I'm a Bostonian

See, in this item, where I come from, you might want to explain who Mark Cuban is, but you'd never have to specify what band Ric Ocasek was in.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Siena is a narcotic effect

We all know that Seese, while pretty and funny and social and devious, is not too much of a snuggler. She loves to be at the center of the party, true, but she'd rather have her own chair, thanks, and maybe her own ride home, too. She's independent that way.

But yesterday she needed cuddles, all the time. Slut. She was purring and rubbing and head-butting and squinting up her eyes in unabashed bliss. It culminated in her sleeping in the crook of my knees, instead of at the foot of the bed as usual.

These moments are so rare, so unpredictable, so precious, that she is undeniable. Whenever the alarm clock goes off and I find her curled up in the crook of my knees, I just have to hit the snooze button. I can't bear to leave the bed and curtail the snuggle opportunity.

Mornings like these, Siena is about as bad for my on-time-to-work efforts as an overdose of Halcyon.

And speaking of on-time-to-work efforts, I do believe we're due for another Quarterly Report! coming soon....