Wednesday, July 25

30 weeks = An Outy

"Has your belly button popped out? Ah, the pregnant belly button: the knot of an overblown balloon, its puckered mouth holding back too much air, the cheeks stretched thin with the effort." ~Great with Child

Thursday, June 28

Thanks, Mom!

The Olympics are right around the corner. And, I must admit, my household is a-buzz with excitement. B and I regularly spend evening watching the Olympic trials and picking arbitrary favorites. The thing that consistantly shocks me is the age of many of these athletes. Thirteen year olds compete for a place on Olympic teams. There are high-schoolers to college grads.

A few nights ago, we watched a 17-year-old girl compete in the synchronized diving trails. She and her partner came within a tenth of a point of qualifying — falling just short of the dream. Every time she would dive, the camera would pan to her family holding signs, holding their breath, holding each other. When she came up short, her eyes filled with tears and you could see her searching the crowd for the one person who could make it better. Over and over she mouthed the word, "Mom." Afterwards, as NBC was interviewing the winners, the commentator asked what each girl was going to do to celebrate their narrow victory. One of the champions smiled demurely and said, "First, I need to give my mom a hug and a kiss."

I found myself weeping. Both girls had said so much. When you're happy and when you're sad and when you're sick, or excited, or anxious, or overwhelmed ... the person you most notably turn to is your mom. She's the sun that for years childrens' worlds revolve around. She makes things that are great seem better. And, things that are devastating seem manageable.

That's why P&G's commercials for moms are so priceless. So, to all the fabulous moms out there, thanks! A few of my favorite P&G commercials are archived here:

Thursday, April 26

What no one tells you ... about being pregnant!

I consider myself a fairly educated person. That being said, there are a few things I've learned over the past 4+ months. These are things that I have never readily seen posted on a website, I've never heard amongst my friends who are pregnant and, in many ways I suppose, are taboo in mentioning. It's like the guy who created the, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" rule also insisted that for future procreation — some things about pregnancy must stay under wraps. But, I'm saying to hell with it. After all, I might later use this blog as a reminder if I ever get baby amnesia and decide I want to try this again.

1. Horror Stories. I think it's fairly common knowledge that having an infant is trying work. However, what I never realized is the amount of infant/birth horror stories that people regale you with while you're sporting a bump. And these little tales don't come with s'mores (i.e. the benefit of campfire horror stories). Thus far I've been told I'll never be able to read a book, take a long shower, sleep in or in general relax again. That labor is so mind-numbingly painful that the horror can't fully be expressed in words. That epidurals sometimes don't work. And, that even when I can sleep, it will likely elude me for fear that my baby will asphxiate, throw themselves out of bed, attempt escape but get stuck between the crib bars or (worst nightmare) cry out without my noticing it. Note to parents out there ... there's no going back on this situation and all these things I'll figure out myself. Please stop with the scare tactic.

2. Body awareness. I think that I'm typically in touch with what's going on in my body. I can tell when I'm catching a cold. I'm smart enough to predict a hangover and its violent side effects. But, I never was as aware of what's going on inside me as I am now. If my boobs grow a centimeter, I notice it. I feel stretching in my stomach. And, during the first trimester, I could tell you down to the minute when I was going to throw up. It's uncanny. I know me too well!

3. Lack of sympathy. My husband might be one of the kindest men alive (and I'm not just saying that because his mom reads this blog). But, he doesn't really understand anything about pregnancy. For instance, I'll say "I'm so uncomfortable." And he'll reply, "Yeah me too ... it's sorta cold in here." No, you fool! Everything goes back to this pregnancy. So when I say I'm uncomfortable it's because my boobs are the size of watermelons and that's making my back hurt. Or, my pregnancy spanx are riding up in an unbecoming way. Get with it!

4. Unnecessary attention. This title shouldn't be misunderstood. I love attention! Thrive on it really. After all, that's basically what a blog is right ... a call for attention. And, when I got pregnant, there was a certain amount of attention I wanted. For instance, I wanted to get the seat on a crowded train. I did not want my local barista at a coffee shop to rub my belly and talk about nursery colors. I'm dying for a t-shirt that says, "Ask Before You Touch" because no one told me that it would be random strangers who wanted to rub my belly like it's some good luck talisman.

5. Look but don't touch cravings. One of the main questions people ask is "Are you having any strange cravings?" I swear I could choke the person who started that pickles and ice cream rumor. But, the answer is always yes. Yes, I crave things. And these are mostly things I'm not allowed to have because I'm pregnant. Like Feta cheese. My friend Amy swears she's getting me a big block of Feta cheese once this pregnancy is over and I can finally gorge myself on it. I would swim in Feta cheese and I dream about it almost once a week. I also crave Bloody Mary's. Sushi. Mussels. And, mostly, Feta cheese!

All this being said, I know what a blessing having a baby is and I'm excited. I just thought — for everyone out there considering pregnancy – that being fully informed is necessary. "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" guy be damned. So, if you're not pregnant — toast your spouse with a Bloody Mary, enjoy some Feta cheese, be blissfully unaware of what's going on inside you and have a happy Thursday!

Friday, February 24

The Land of Milk & Honey

My problem with putting together an outfit, particularly during the cool weather/layering months, is that I have a very specific image in my head of EXACTLY what I want to wear (whether this has been created or not). Now normally, this works to my disadvantage. However, I am THRILLED to have recently discovered the Land of Milk & Honey — also known as the website This online boutique was created by two sisters and, while they sell a selection of shoes ... they also allow you to create your own! You can choose the heel height, color, fabric and embellishments! Moreover, it's not too terribly expensive. If I was still a bride, I would be quick to create my dream shoes for nearly every event! But, as I'm not, I'll have to settle for creating fashionable shoes for my sister-in-laws impending nuptials!

Friday, October 21

The Lady or the Tiger?

Last night, per my usual Thursday schedule, I was watching an episode of Private Practice. Recently, the show has highly focused on the role of psychiatry in the practice — an area I've always found fascinating. During this most recent episode, Addison was waxing on about a moral dilemma which truly had no positive outcomes. She referenced a story that I honestly haven't thought about since I was an undergraduate and read it in a short story class. The Lady or the Tiger? Are you familiar? Below is a recap.

There once was a mildly barbaric king who discovered his daughter (the princess and the apple of his eye) was having a love affair with a guard (someone truly outside her social station). The king had a unique way of punishing such offenses. He would arrest the prisoner and place them on trial. The trial would take place in an stadium which housed two identical doors. Behind one randomly selected door, he would place a tiger (the most vicious he could find). Behind the second door, he would place a lady (one who was beautiful and one that the king felt would be ideally suited to the prisoner). The prisoner then had the chance to choose his own fate. If he picked the door with the tiger, he would be ripped to shreds. If he picked the door with the lady, he would be married immediately no matter what his personal situation was. Both rooms were sound-proof so there was no way for the prisoner to discover what was behind either door. However, the princess decided she needed to know in order to help seal her loved one's fate. She paid a hearty sum in gold and discovered behind which door the tiger was place and which door the lady was positioned. She also discovered the lady was one she knew and hated due to jealousy. As her beloved guard entered the stadium, the princess motioned for him to choose the door to the right. He did. What the author doesn't tell you is what came out from the door ... the lady or the tiger?

Frank Stockton, the author of the piece, claimed the reader's decision defined their character. So I pose the question to you ... who came out of the room? The lady or the tiger?

Thursday, June 2

The Fabulous Fairytales of a S.I.D., part II

As I previously explained, I could write an encyclopedia about my mishaps in the city. They happen daily and while I'm often traveling as a solo S.I.D., occasionally I get dragged into S.I.D. status. And so it was on a chilly Wednesday afternoon that a strange S.I.D-worthy experience took place. We'll call this adventure Kate + Crazy = Korean Television.

My sister, A, was best friends in college with a young lady who we'll call Crazy S. Crazy S wasn't mentally tweaked in the Single White Female kind of way. She was more outrageously wild. In fact, stories about her at WVU were legendary. She once disrupted a cafeteria by jumping from table to table singing "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" as a hair-netted lunch man chased her. To get into a psych class limited to juniors and seniors, she stood on a conference table and sang Britney Spear's pop hit "Lucky" as she performed the video dance. And my favorite of all legends is that of Anna D. When Anna D. got Crazy S's car towed from a small lot and then refused to pay the corresponding fine, Crazy S made it her business to mess with her. So, when Anna D.'s car wasn't in her parking spot, S and friends would set up folding chairs that had to be moved once she returned. When the car was there, she found buckets of cement and placed them behind her wheels. This went on for weeks until Anna D. caved (as anyone would given this level of mental torture).

I have always had a HUGE affinity for Crazy S and, as her uncle once lived in Chicago, she visits fairly regularly. A night out with Crazy S is sure to lead to fun and sure enough, our adventure/food crawl was a worthy one. (As a side note, S has been asking me to write a short story about her since we met. Darling, this is your tale!).

I got a call from Crazy S late on Monday letting me know that she was spending a few days in the city with her family and would like to see me. It was an impossible invitation to turn down. And so it was that I met her at a hotel bar overlooking the skyline. We chatted with her mom over chardonnay recounting stories of time spent in college. After her mom retired to their room, S revealed that they hadn't gone anywhere good for dinner (or lunch) but had opted for small fast food chains nearby. Now, after living here for three years, I must tell you that Chicago has THE BEST food of any city. Foodies salivate to visit this city as we have a dynamic mix of Americana favorites and upscale fares. So, I couldn't let S suffer. Knowing that she's a huge fan of hotdogs, I suggested we take a trip to Wiener Circle in Lincoln Park where Chicago Dogs are sometimes served alongside the Chocolate Shake (for those of you who know the underlying meaning of this ... pardon my crudeness). Without further ado, we hopped in a cap for a short 2 mile drive to one of my favorite neighborhoods (and the first I ever lived in). I asked the cabbie to drop us off a couple of blocks away so we could pick up dessert first at the delicious cupcake store, Molly's.

Molly's is ALWAYS crowded with a delightful mixture of yuppie parents, adorable children and hipsters looking for a game of scrabble with dessert. We ordered a red velvet cupcake to share and I automatically assumed we would take it to-go and eat it after dinner. To go is not Crazy S's style. So she suggested we share a table with a kind looking couple at the edge of the store. A kind looking couple who was definitely on a date. Not a late in the game, we already really know each other kind of date either. A first or second, we're still asking questions and a little uncomfortable date. So, what about this couldn't go smoothly? As we plopped down at the tiny table, the girls eyes go wide as if to say Is this really happening? Meanwhile S is busy taking pictures on her phone and forwarding them to Facebook while I split our cupcake. Finally, after two interjections into the couple's conversation (one from S regarding a television show factoid that was reiterated incorrectly and one from me regarding a public transportation question), I heard the girl comment that this was awkward before getting up and huffing out of the shop. Her date flashed us a scornful look as if to say Thanks for ruining my chance at some over the blouse action ... or even a good night kiss!

Shortly after they left, so did we ... on our trek to get a Chicago dog. I must admit that that experience was relatively uneventful. While S asked for the Chocolate Shake it was too early in the day. So, we scarfed down the Chicago delicacy that I must admire. Afterwards, I told S about a place nearby that has the best margaritas. So, we decided it would be our last destination. Now, I must tell you that Lincoln Park is a popular area for protesters. Mostly because it's heavily occupied by liberal college students. So, as we walked to the Broadway intersection, there was a large van with a screen on both sides. The screen was showing videos of what happens to chickens and pigs before they're slaughtered. We stood at the edge of the crowd watching the scenes play out. But, as you might have already guess, Crazy S is not a stand at the edge of the crowd kind of gal. Below is my best transcript of what transpired:

Crazy S to a Girl Holding Pamplets (GHP): What's going on here?
GHP: We're protesting for the rights of animals.
Crazy S - grabbing a pamphlet from the girls hand: Lemme see this.
Guy With Microphone (GWM) approaches S and asks: Do you eat meat?
S: Hell yes. I love meat. I just shoved a huge hot dog wiener in my mouth.
GWM salivating now at the prospect of pinning down his opposition. GWM: Don't you think the way animals are treated before they are killed is wrong?
S: Well I don't think that they should be tortured if that's what you mean but I'm also not going to stop eating meat.
GWM: And why not.
S: It tastes good. I eat at least one chilly dog a day.
GWM: So you have no problem with what's happening to those pigs before they're killed.
S: Well, I mean nothing should be tortured. This must be pretty controversial. After all, you're showing it on the side of a van. Right? Right? Am I right?
GWM ... stunned and silent. Me, in the background, looking slightly frightened, mildly embarrassed and hoping to make the next light so this interview will be over.

As we crossed the street, we asked a pencil thin man named Kenny where the interview would be played. He told us it was a documentary to be aired in South Korea. Great! If South Koreans have ever seen an episode of "The Office", they'll be able to read my lips repeatedly say ... "That's what she said!"

Monday, April 11

The Fabulous Fairytales of a S.I.D.!

Before I even begin with my first (of what is sure to be many) fabulous fairytales of a S.I.D., I must disclose the back story for this post's title. What, you might ask, is a S.I.D. To which I would kindly reply, "A S.I.D. is not a thing but rather a state of mind." Where did this state of mind originate? From my husband, of course. What many people don't realize about B is that he's remarkably witty, particularly when it comes to assigning nicknames. So, here's how it came to pass that I became notoriously known as S.I.D.

The origins of S.I.D. - As you know, we live in Chicago and have for the past three years. Since moving to the city, I have turned 25 (and then some). Most West Virginians know, at the age of 25, your drivers' license expires. Now, I am many things. I'm a talented writer, a proficient cook and a welcoming hostess. I can teach you how to throw a party in a lion's den like it's no bodies business. However, no one is perfect. And so, one of my many flaws, is that I'm a terrible driver. Now, had I been organized, I would have renewed my license long before it expired. But, that too is a flaw in my overall persona. And, that's how I ended up taking the Illinois driving test.

At this point in my life (2 years ago), since moving to Chicago, I had probably driven five times. All of these times were because B was either ill or not with me. Therefore, I was not only a terrible driver but I was a terrible driver who hadn't practiced in a very long time. That's a lethal combination. So, B decided I needed some lessons. Here's a news flash that everyone should know. YOU SHOULD NOT ALLOW YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER TO TRY AND TEACH YOU ANYTHING. After many tortuous parallel parking sessions, one fight where I threw a remote and more cuss words than anyone could imagine - we finally gave up. I decided maybe a license wasn't necessary. Maybe, in the land of unlimited public transportation, I didn't need it. And then, B did it. He nicknamed me S.I.D., which appropriately stood for State ID. Now at this point, you might wonder, how is that a state of mind? Well, think of the people who have State IDs rather than licenses. They're calamity Janes. We used to call it Griswold Syndrome in the Piccirillo household. Now, instead, it's the SIDs go to get Sammy's nails trimmed at Petsmart (and nearly cause a puppy riot in the process) or the SIDs celebrate Valentine's Day (and end up in two different cabs after one purse went missing). You see my point. We are not the Shermans, but the SIDs. [As a sidebar to this, I ended up taking the driving test, passing and not literally having a S.I.D. However, this nickname was much motivation towards that].

So, now that you understand the title (and I've written my second book) onto the first of the Fabulous Fairytales of a S.I.D. It'll otherwise be known as: Katie + Homeless Man + El = Disaster

Monday mornings are difficult for everyone. However, last Monday started an avalanche of a week that I thought would never come to an end.

The Chicago weather has recently improved. However, it definitely doesn't feel like spring. Last Monday, the whole city was a dingy wet sponge. Rain thundered down in spurts and the sky was a pewter gray. As a preface to this story, you should know that B and I call our bedrooms (both the master and the guest) the caves (see everything gets a nickname) because the loft setup doesn't provide any windows in that part of the house. Therefore, I rarely know the weather before I trot out the door (because checking would make too much sense). So on this gloomy Monday, I dashed out of my house in completely inappropriate weather attire (including leather platform heels). This is a S.I.D. move in and of itself ... but it gets better.

Despite my license, I still rarely drive. I definitely don't commute to work in the Jeep (as B takes the Green Monster - our nickname for the car - to work). So, off I go to the El stop. The rain coupled with the heels coupled with the fact that it was Monday were rapidly producing a salty mood and it would only get worse. Now, you must know that my purpose on public trans (hell - possibly my purpose in life) is to get a seat on the El. I don't have the balance that accompanies those who can stand on trains and my inappropriate footwear ensured I would spike several people in the foot. So, as usual, I elbow my way into a crowded El car. What I find is that there's one seat available. It's at the complete other end of the car. I can't wait for the next stop and the train starts moving. So I decide to launch myself in that direction - other passengers be damned. However, what I failed to do was survey the environment.

I have no idea why, but all homeless men and women have carts. I'm unsure where they get these deathly wire contraptions but I would like to put a city sanction in place to get rid of them. As I'm quickly crossing the train, in my search for the perfect seat, I don't notice a large homeless man with his cart in tow in the front row of seats. I definitely don't notice that the cart intercepts the aisle. I'm moving quickly now. Suspense and adrenaline are coursing through my veins. I imagine it's what an Olympic athlete feels like right before receiving gold ... as though all the pieces of a long awaited puzzle have fallen into place. And then it happens. The top of my foot catches on the cart and I go flying, face first down the aisle of the train. My heels (both the left and right) flail from my feet. My shirt ride up. My face smashes against a metal pole that people use to balance themselves on. My purse and it's content spills out. My cell phone cracks. My foot is cut and a pale green. The bruise wraps all the way around my toe and behind my heel.

The worst part - not one person helps dust me off, collect my belongings or hobble to the aforementioned seat. Moreover, the overweight guy who's occupying the adjacent seat takes up more than his 50% share. I imagine this is what the Olympic ice skater who falls on his/her face feels like ... literally.

And they all lived happily, hobbly and hatefully ever after. THE END!