Monday, April 27, 2009

Sex and Suburbia, Green Eggs and Ham, reinterpreted by a kvetchy mommy

Sex and Suburbia, Green Eggs and Ham, reinterpreted by a kvetchy mommy
By Julie Stankowski

I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam I am. I do not like the “aging” thing. I think it has turned me into a king. Oh, excuse me, not a king, a Buddha. But Buddha doesn’t rhyme with anything. Except, oh, woo-hoo-da, I am now a Buddha! And it’s kind of rude-ha. And it puts me in a bad mood-ha. And I don’t look so good in the nude-ha.

But, here’s the deal, Sam. I do not like nude bras with underwire. I might as well be wearing a rubber tire. But that’s a problem, Sam you see, for aging women like me, whose bellies are getting bigger and whose boobies are getting saggier. We do not like that Sam I am. Damn, damn, damn! Because, Sam, without the bra, the boobies are in a constant state of rest upon the belly. And it seems our bodies are turning into jelly. I looked at a tiny Buddha statue sitting on my desk and thought, “Oh, shit, that’s me!” And it’s not very pretty. In fact, I’m afraid if I don’t wear a bra one day, the boobies and the belly will simply meld together and become one. And that for sure would not be fun. Jesus, Sam! I do not like who I now am!

And how about those wrinkles, Sam? They show up every night with a big ‘ol wham! Do we go with the notion that wrinkles are good, part of who you are and what your life’s been so far; or with the notion that wrinkles are bad and while altering our face may be sad, we nevertheless seek a special disappearing potion, or the number of a great dermatologist or plastic surgeon? Out, out damn wrinkles. What do you think, Sam? Should I fix it, or stay who I am?

And Sam, what about those little pains and aches that magically appear when we awake? What the hell is that, Sam? I thought those were reserved for old people, man. And I didn’t think I was old yet. But you do, I bet. What happened to the theme: 40 is the new 30? Were you not told that by the little birdie?

And to be honest, Sam, I have a horrible neurosis. It’s called the Woody-Allen-I-think-I-am-dying-with-each-ache-or-pain psychosis. And Sam, this neurosis is not okay. It freaks me out every day. Can you please take it away? So I may live in peace today? And not think that a headache means a brain tumor, a backache means imminent death and a Buddha belly means some sort of serious ovarian problem. Sam, is that too much to ask? Too tough a task? If I didn’t think you could do it, I wouldn’t ask.

So, to summarize, Mr. Sam, I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam I am. I do not like big bellies and fat. I do not like looking like Saturday Night Live’s Pat. I do not like when boobies sag. I do not like being on the rag. I do not like getting older. It makes me feel like I’m cheese getting moldier. I do not like the wrinkles on my face. It makes me think I’m losing the race. I do not like yucky cellulite. On my tush, it just doesn’t look right. I do not like stray hairs on my neck. What the heck? And I do not like thinning hair. It doesn’t look glamorous with what I wear. I do not like being on a diet. I’d rather be standing in the middle of a riot. I do not like to exercise. I’d rather be eating homemade pies. I do not like my hypochondriacitis. It needs to go away or I’ll get arthritis. Or meningitis. Or go-crazy-itis. Are you getting the picture, Sam? I am starting to forget who I really am.

So I am asking please, Sam I am, to help me embrace aging with grace. Can you help me, Sam? To enjoy who I now am? And not fret and have no regret? And love my body without holding a hot toddy? And to look in the mirror and see, what appears to be, an even more beautiful me. Despite my wrinkles and frequent tinkles? If you can do this, Sam I am, I will make you a special ham. It will not be green. It will not include eggs. Instead, my Sam, this ham will be made of canned spam. And for your taste bud pleasure, I will add strawberry jam. And sauté it with a little fat-free Pam. And I will make like Emeril and add a “bam!” And even throw in a candied yam. All to reward you with a new kind of ham. And to thank you, Mr. Sam I am, for helping this aging lady feel more like a baby and less like an old-maidy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Citymommy interviews Sex and Suburbia

Hi all!

Citymommy just posted an interview with me about Sex and Suburbia. Check it out at, an informative site with lots of "mommy" info and tips, both in general and in the particular city you live! Then add us both to your favorites!

Enjoy your Tuesday!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sex and Suburbia, Vacation Vixens

Sex and Suburbia, Vacation Vixens
By Julie Stankowski

I’m all about cruising. Cruise ship cruising. From L.A. (where I live) to anywhere. Don’t care where the ship goes, as long as I don’t have to fly to get there. I will no longer have to deal with airports and airplanes and mean people taking a small snow globe out of my bag and throwing away my little present for my daughter because it probably contained more than 3 ounces of fluid, which I might use to commit a terrorist attack on my airplane home from Mexico. I will no longer spend 3 hours on the telephone with American Airlines trying to use the millions of frequent flier miles we have accumulated because regardless of how far in advance I call, there are never any frequent flier seats available to wherever the hell I’m going. I will no longer spend an entire day getting four overstuffed suit cases and four ultra-heavy carry-ons to and from my destination (which is typically only a two-hour flight away). I will no longer have to perform a strip-tease act taking off my shoes, my belt, my jacket and my jewelry just to get to my gate. Yes, I have had enough with air travel. Boat travel, here I come.

Nevertheless, whether traveling by boat or by air, I would like to introduce my fantastic idea for a new business: The Vacation Vixens. I think I have come up with a great business plan for some entrepreneurial mom out there (definitely not me, but my mom could run the business with her eyes closed). No need to go to law school, get an MBA or even have a college degree for this profession. A Vacation Vixen knows her craft inherently. As if she was born with the knowledge and sense to succeed at this career. Vacation Vixens are travel experts who know how to pack properly, organize appropriately and happily stroll through an airport as if it were an easy-breezy Cover Girl day. Vacation Vixens can handle all of their clients’ needs in creating a stress-free vacation, from planning and preparation to getting there to returning home. They greatly reduce the need for the traveling mom to indulge in too much alcohol and Ativan before, during and after the trip. Yes, I think the market is wide open for Vacation Vixens to become wealthy, wealthy people. I would hire one.

The target demographic: disorganized moms who, after 40+ years of living, breathing and traveling, still cannot figure out how to appropriately plan and pack for a family vacation. Why is this phenomenon so difficult to master? Well, apparently, an educated, generally got-it-together mom like myself cannot, despite sincere efforts, figure out how to go on a damn vacation without over packing, fumbling through the airport trying to find the passports in her humumgo bag with 5 million things to keep the kids occupied and having to do at least ten loads of laundry when arriving home because she packed two outfits a day for everyone, which were never worn, but nonetheless need to be washed because of the tropical suntan lotion smell that seems to have permeated all the suitcases.

Having just returned from celebrating the 12th anniversary of my 29th birthday in Mexico with my husband, kids and parents, I am awestruck by my mother’s ability to travel successfully. She typically has only one suitcase which is never over the airline weight limit (mine is over every time and I have to juggle clothes and shoes from suitcase to suitcase until we get it right and don’t have to pay a $1,000 fine for an extra 3 pounds of clothing). She has a small rolling carry-on bag which appears as easy to maneuver as her own arm. She wears a necklace-type thing on her neck which houses her passport, airline ticket and a pen for her to fill out customs forms etc. I used to make fun of her for this - - didn’t think it was very cool or Carrie Bradshaw-ish. I now eat my words. On this last trip, I was so jealous of her un-cool, un-Carrie-like necklace (which I had previously told her only old people use) that I really wished I had one! And another thing, as light as my mom traveled, she magically pulled out any strange thing anyone needed at any given time. My daughter said her stomach hurt and my mom just whipped out a special chewing gum made to ease stomach pain (I didn’t even know that existed!). Someone had a ripped nail, my mom pulled out a clipper. I spilled red wine on my shirt, out came the Tide-To-Go Pen. Where does she stash all of this stuff? I have a gazillion bags that are ridiculously heavy and I can never find a goddamn thing that would benefit anyone. Well, I take that back. The marshmallow peeps always seemed to be at my fingertips and would always placate one kid or the other. But, still . . . .

Unless I am the only loser who has yet to figure out how to travel practically, I recommend hiring a Vacation Vixen. (And by the way, Mom, I think you should start this business!) The Vacation Vixen will assist you from the get-go. She will magically get the airlines to accept your frequent flier mileage, saving you thousands of dollars right off the bat. She will also make sure you have the best seats on the plane, with the most leg-room and in close vicinity to exit doors in the event of an emergency. Or, if you prefer and have the funds, she will arrange for a private jet. She will assist you in canceling the mail, the newspaper and any other services you will not need while on vacation. She will make arrangements for Fido and make sure he/she is enjoying a pet Shangri-La while you are gone. Fido will be picked up and dropped off exactly when you request and will be fully cleaned and groomed when she gets home.

The Vacation Vixen will pack your entire family’s suitcases and carry-ons, weeks in advance so you need not stress. She will arrange for your bags to be at your destination prior to your arrival via FedEx (or something like that) so that you need not worry about losing luggage and you need not haul what seems like an army platoon’s bags along with you through airports, security, shuttles, etc. She will make sure that your luggage contains every possible thingy or gadget you may need in the event of an emergency or a child throwing a temper tantrum, or simply throwing up. She will also ensure that your lipstick, gum and passports are easily found. She will arrange limousine transportation on all ends where there will always be a tuxedoed man holding a card with your family name. She will arrange for the resort at which you are staying to wash and dry clean all clothes just prior to your departure. Those same folks will pack those clothes for you in such a manner that when you arrive at your home via your personal limousine, your baggage will be awaiting you at your front door and will be ready to open with clothes that go right into the closet and right into the drawers, no washing machine required.

And the Vacation Vixen will also have hired and supervised an out-of-this-world cleaning crew to make sure your house is in tip-top shape when you get home. They also will have cleaned out your refrigerator and cabinets and stocked the same with fresh milk, bagels and cream cheese and produce so that you are completely set to get on with your life, as if you had never been gone in the first place.

There are only a few things the Vacation Vixen won’t do: foot the bill; give you a massage when you get home and redo your manicure/pedicure that got thrashed on the beach during vacation. But, you know how you always need a vacation from your vacation? Well, the Vacation Vixen has an “in” at all of the Adults-Only Four Seasons, One and Onlys and Ritz Carltons out there and will hook you up! Worth it, huh? Well, I just want to say to my mom, “Mom, if you do start this business, which clearly I believe will bring in loads of moolah landing you a spot on the Forbes top ten most successful female entrepreneurs, please leave it to me in your will. Although I am completely incapable of independently acting as a Vacation Vixen, I am quite capable of making sure I hire the right people to carry on your legacy!”

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sex and Suburbia, Hormone Monsters

Sex and Suburbia, Hormone Monsters
By Julie Stankowski

Ummm, where do I start? My life is a sitcom, when I am in the viewing the glass as half full mood. Or, my life is a horror movie, when I am in the glass half empty mood. These days, I never know what mood I’ll be in when I wake up. I don’t think I have any control over it. I think my body has been taken over by the hormone monsters. I think that when I fall asleep each night, the hormone monsters gather in some imaginary saloon somewhere, have a few beers, play a little poker and then decide if they are going to bless me with the happy hormones or curse me with the horrible, yucky, hot-flashy hormones. The hormone monsters do this each and every night; they never seem to get bored with it. I wonder whether the hormone monsters realize how very much power they have and that their little decision during their stupid poker game affects every person that comes into contact with me. I wonder whether they realize they are making me look like a crazy person to the outside world. I think the hormone monsters are all male.

I bet the male hormone monsters are also contentious lawyers who would argue that they are innocent of my accusations and then try to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury by pointing the finger elsewhere.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, let us start out by saying that we are completely innocent of the charges alleged against us by the obviously unstable and loony plaintiff in this matter. During the course of this trial, we will show that said plaintiff lives a crazy, nutty overscheduled life and is surrounded by people and circumstances that clearly are the culprits of said plaintiff’s excessive moodiness. We will provide witness upon witness who will testify that he or she has actually caused this plaintiff to become a certifiable nut case. And by the end, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you will have no choice but to find us “not guilty” of these charges. And for your own safety, you may also want to ask the judge to commit this plaintiff to a mental institution for an indefinite period of time.

Your Honor, the Hormone Monsters (HM) call their first witness, the plaintiff’s son.

HM: Please state your age for the court.

Son: I’m 4.

HM: Have you done anything recently that you think may have upset your mommy?

Son: Well, last night I hit my sister. I wouldn’t stop playing Wii when my mommy asked me to. I cried a lot because I didn’t want to take a bath. I threw a temper tantrum because mommy was making me go to bed and I wanted to play Sandman Tower on the computer. I pulled the dog’s tail because I was really, really mad. Then after mommy tucked me in, I got out of bed and ate a whole bag of Skittles. My fingers got really sticky from holding the Skittles in my hand, but I wiped them off on my sheets, so I’m pretty sure my mommy doesn’t know I ate the candy. Then, I called for my mommy to come into my room in the middle of the night because I had an accident in my bed. Mommy took care of it, put me back to sleep in her bed because my daddy is out of town and then went downstairs to wash my sheets and my night-night. Then my mommy went back to sleep, but the smoke alarm went off because of a problem with the vent or something on the dryer and mommy had to find a broom and stand on a chair to bang the alarm down from the ceiling so that it would shut off, but that wasn’t my fault.

HM: Thank you, son. No further questions. We call our next witness, the plaintiff’s daughter. Please state your age for the court.

Daughter: I’m 8.

HM: Have you done anything recently that you think may have upset your mommy?

Daughter: No.

HM: Okay, can you think really hard about anything that may have happened recently that may have bothered your mom a little?

Daughter: Well, just that my little brother can be a poo-poo-dumb-head. But my mom never gets mad at him because she says he’s so cute and funny.

HM: Thank you. No further questions. We call our next witness, the plaintiff’s dog. Please state your name and age for the court.

Dog: My name is Sonoma and I am 8 months old.

HM: You’re with the plaintiff a lot. Have you witnessed anything recently that may have caused her to become upset?

Dog: Uh, maybe. First, I barked at the door because I had to go potty, but nobody opened the door so I peed on the floor. Then I was hungry so I chewed on the couch for a while. Then I had to have an operation so I wouldn’t have puppies. Turns out I also had an ear infection. I am home now, but, as you can see, I have a huge cone on my head so I can’t bite my stitches and my mom has to put 8 drops in my ear every day. I hate that so I make it very hard for her to get anywhere near my ear. It’s kind of fun. Then I heard her talking on the phone. She said she was at the doctor every day last week, but she’s fine now. She said that on the way to her doctor’s appointment she broke a tooth and had to go to the dentist. I think she was really unhappy about that because I heard her say that she would rather have a pap smear, a mammogram and a colonoscopy all in one day than go to the dentist. I also think she had an argument with my dad because all of the sudden I heard her say hello, hello, hello and then she hung up the phone. It appeared the person on the other end of the line was no longer there. Then I heard her say some pretty bad curse words. Then I followed her in the bathroom and saw her take out a kind of long skinny thing I think she called a tampon. Then I saw her take some Advil. Then she washed her face because she was sweating a lot, like she was really hot.

HM: Anything else?

Dog: Yes. Then I heard her say that she had to make an appointment with her gynecologist because the goddamn hormone monsters were making her crazy.

The jury found the hormone monsters guilty as charged. The jury further found the hormone monsters had to pay restitution in the form of sending plaintiff on an all-expense paid Crystal Cruise vacation including all spa services. The jury sentenced the hormone monsters to life in a girls’ sorority house where they can’t get anywhere near any pre-menepausal-40-year-old-women, without the possibility of parole.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sex and Suburbia, Mongolia, Anyone?

Sex and Suburbia, Mongolia, Anyone?
By Julie Stankowski

Are there any reasonably priced hotel rooms in Mongolia? Or Madagascar? Or maybe on Mars? Yes, I think far away Mars would be the best choice. Because right now, I feel like I need to pack a little suitcase and get the heck out of dodge! A Calgon bath is just not going to cut it this time. Everyone’s bugging me. And I am quite sure I’m bugging everyone. And I think at this moment the world may be a happier place if I just shacked up by myself for a while on another planet (at least until my cycle passes).

I thought I had recovered from dealing with the “room,” but it seems I have not. I am still uptight, irritable and basically unpleasant all the way around. I don’t know, maybe I’m just becoming a crotchety old lady. Or maybe some kleptomaniac psycho patients stole my patience, but all I know is I have none (I thought I did, but apparently, I was delusional). Or maybe I’m just a non-meditating, non-yoga-going, overscheduled, PMS-y stressed-out bitch. Or maybe I’m just having a very bad reaction to the bathing suit allergy I have, knowing that in less than two weeks on Spring Break, I’ll have to wear one. And did I mention everyone is bugging me and I’m bugging everyone?

On that note, does any one know where to find the person who coined the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff?” Do they have a course on some college campus somewhere that teaches you how to live by this motto? Because I’m sweating, man. I’m sweating like I’ve been living in a sauna. Soaking, dripping-wet-sweating. I know the Hormone Monsters are my roommates, but geeezzz! And sweat is gross and sticky and generally a people-repellant. I need to get rid of the sweat, or at least get some better deodorant to mask its odor. I wonder whether there are any products on the market that permanently remove neurotic women’s sweat glands. Because my people are being repelled by my excessive sweatiness and desperately need for me (and my Hormone Monster entourage) to be in a place where I am blocked from any and all types of communication. My people really, really need to be Julie-free for a few days. And I’m willing to give them what they need (I’m so considerate). I just hope I don’t die up there on Mars. Not sure if I know how to survive without Trader Joes, hot water, an actual toilet and wine.

Do you think maybe there’s a Four Seasons or a Ritz Carlton on Mars that we just don’t know about yet? Like a hidden oasis that aliens keep to themselves in order to avoid the company of crazy American moms. Well, probably not. For the sake of my family though, I should go. But I will only go if I can somehow know for sure that I will come back alive and if I can somehow manage to get there using George Jetson’s sky car (or whatever it is he floats around in). That would be cool.

And here’s how my loved ones would benefit:

For my husband, he would not have to deal with my moodiness, my nagging or my blogging and what he sometimes considers to be insulting depictions of him (even though I totally love him and don’t ever mean to offend him). For my children, they would not have to take baths, brush their teeth, eat their vegetables or do homework. Mean mommy would not be here to make sure they refrain from beating each other up. They could eat chocolate cake for breakfast, wear shorts and flip-flops to school in the rain and play Wii Fit until 3:00 a.m. They could fight to the point where they have blood spurting out their little bodies, but at least they wouldn’t hear mommy yelling at them! What fun! For my friends, they wouldn’t have to deal with my bitching and complaining. For my puppy, well hey, she could just chew the whole house apart and have a big-old-pee-fest and not be sent to the dog house. Yippee! And for all of the wine lovers in Ventura County, the shelves would be fully stocked since I’d be gone. Like I said, I think everyone would be happy if I vacationed on Mars for a little while.

And for me, well, I am obviously tired, cranky and hormonal. A little alone time may do me good. And bonus, I wouldn’t have to shave me legs! And hopefully, the Hormone Monsters are too stupid to find a way to get to Mars and I could get a much-needed break from those yucky, yucky meanies. And I could spend all of my time trying to invent some sort of something to keep women from sweating (the small stuff and the big stuff). Because sweating is not okay: for you, your husband or your kids, unless you’re in the middle of a work-out session with your hotter-than-hot personal trainer.