Friday, April 20, 2018

Transcript of Semi-Awkward Period Convo With My 10 Year-Old Daughter

[Scene: 8 minute car ride to school]

10 yo: When you get your period, do you bleed just like once when you pee, or for longer?

Me: For longer, like 5-7 days.

10 yo: Whoa. Can you take a medicine to make you not get your period?

Me: Yes, but that's basically birth control I think. We can discuss it with Joy [pediatrician] when the time comes.

10 yo: Where does the blood go when it comes out?

Me: Into a tampon or a pad.

10 yo: What's the difference between a tampon and a pad?

Me: Well, the tampon goes in your vagina, and the pad goes in your underwear, kind of like a diaper.

10 yo: Wait . . .  WHERE does the tampon go?

Me: So . . . um . . . your vagina actually has a hole in it. Did you know that?

10 yo: WHAT?!

Me: Yeeeeeah . . . about that. I can explain everything if you want. You also have something called a clitoris. Do you want to know about all of this right now or not?

10 yo: EW! Gross! No!

Me: Okay.

10 yo: I heard someone in the locker room at swimming say their tampon string got lost in their vagina. 

Me: Yeah, that happens sometimes but you can always find it again, I promise.

10 yo: How often do you get your period? Do you just get it one time?

Me: No, it comes every month--usually every 28 days.

10 yo: And HOW long do you bleed for again?

Me: 5-7 days.

10 yo: Wait . . . WHAAAT?!?! EVERY MONTH?! FOR 5-7 DAYS?!

Me: Yes, you bleed for a week every month for approximately 40 years.

10 yo: Wow. This is terrible news.

Me: Don't kill the messenger.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Do Flies Like to Blow Their Load? Science Says Yes!

Soooo ... lemme just say right off the bat that I suck at math and science, and I’ve been searching in vain my whole life for a way to blame the patriarchy for my intellectual deficiencies.

Also, I didn’t actually read this study, or even  Newsweek’s full report on the study, that says flies love to blow their wad. So the practical applications of this discovery remain a mystery to me.

And yet, I did get to the part of the article that claimed “this work is important in understanding sexual pleasure among male invertebrates,” (though the overall point of the research was a deep dive into why people love booze).


Unlike my mother, whose career lives and dies by the vicissitudes of NIH AIDS grants, I’m no “sceintician” and I don’t pretend to know where research dollars come from or how they are allocated. But, it seems to me that since science is more embattled than it’s ever been, “understanding sexual pleasure among male invertebrates” wouldn’t necessarily be the first thing to command the precious
 resources used to advance the cause of scientific progress.

Perhaps shit like “why do so many women around the world still die in childbirth?” or, “maybe access to women’s reproductive health care actually helps society as a whole,” or “how can we stop the earth from melting before it’s too late” or ... something? Like is it really a bigger priority to understand the sexual pleasure of male invertebrates?

I know I know. I get it. It’s not a one-to-one correlation. It’s not like the actual money that would otherwise have saved someone’s uterus or the planet helped a fruit fly nut off instead. 

But I mean, come ON. This is just a bad look.

Like let’s see ... What’s a really neglected corner of science ... oh I know! Do cockroaches like hand jobs? Do salamanders enjoy getting their dicks sucked? Do bro snails like to bang girl snails doggie (snailie?) style? Is the Pacific Octopus addicted to porn? Do squid need Viagra? How much jizz do caterpillars produce at one time?

Only science holds the answers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The REAL Recipe for the Alaska Cocktail

1 oz two-stroke motor oil 
1.5 oz Rainier
2 oz Snus juice
1 spray WD40
2 sprays foam insulation 
1 oz seawater 
1 sprig Fireweed

Mix ingredients in a 5 gallon orange bucket from Home Depot with duct tape on the handle. Place bucket in the bed of a Ford F-150. Drive down dirt road at 30mph until well-mixed.

Garnish with a spruce tip and serve over ice chipped off your metal-grated front steps with a pick-axe.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

My Teen Spinach is Acting Up Again

I’m at my absolute wit’s end with my teen spinach you guys. 

When my spinach was “baby,” it was so sweet and tender. Now that it’s had an “additional week of maturity,” though, things have changed. I’m just not sure what to make of my spinach’s adolescence or how to get through these tough few weeks until it wilts and liquefies in my refrigerator crisper.

Any suggestions from fellow spinach parents on how to navigate the next 14 days would be most welcome. I’ve read all the self-help books and I’m in the teen spinach chat forums, but nothing seems to be helping. 

My spinach just seems really emotional and withdrawn. It never comes out of its plastic clam shell unless I really pry the top off. And frankly, I’m just not sure what it’s up to in there. Two nights ago, in the middle of the night, I was getting a swig of orange juice and I’m pretty sure I found pot in the corner of my spinach’s box. Also I maybe heard it having sex with arugula. And three days ago, it went to a house party at the Romaines with some micro greens and kale and came home reeking of Caesar.

It never talks to me anymore. I mean, it never did, but now it’s like, really remote, you know? The only time it ever seems to express itself is when it demands Craisins, Feta, and a nice balsamic vinaigrette and I’m just like GET A JOB YOU’RE SEVEN WEEKS OLD. Am I being too harsh on it? I don’t know! Its grades have been suffering and I’m worried it’s never going to get into a good salad if it keeps this up.

Shit. At this rate, my teen spinach is going to end up living in my compost for the rest of its life.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Aggression of this Chocolate Bar Will Not Stand!

I like to think of myself as a low maintenance, easy going sort of a person. Someone who just needs a crust of bread, a glass of water, and a pallet on the floor to be happy.

But when it comes to chocolate, I simply will not abide “70% cacao blended with Yorkshire caramel and delicate flakes of Anglesey Sea salt.” I mean, who does Green & Black’s ethical chocolatiers think I am? Some sort of SAVAGE?! An ANIMAL who was born atop a hay bale in a dilapidated BARN?!

Absolutely not. To quote the Dude, this aggression will not stand.

First of all, I have a bright line rule when it comes to cacao percentage.I do not eat chocolate that is not at least 72.45% cacao or more. I’ve tracked this carefully, and my free radicals become trapped in my epithelial cells if I ingest a single square of chocolate that is less than 72.44% cacao.

Second, I refuse to consume caramel from Yorkshire. Everyone knows that as far as British caramel is concerned, Birmingham and MAYBE Manchester (in a pinch) is acceptable. But I’d eat a desicated turd straight off a lamb’s asshole before I’d let caramel from YORKSHIRE—of all places—pass my lips!

Third and finally, I simply cannot countenance sea salt from the Anglesey Sea. I haven’t even HEARD of this sea, much less would I trust “delicacate flakes” of salt from its questionable waters.


When I ingest salt, of course it must come from the sea and nowhere else like a shaker or—God forbid—a mine. Only the following seas embody the correct Ph balance of acids and bases such that the salt derived from them will not interfere with my karmic alignment of chakras: the Red Sea, the Dead Sea, and the Mediterranean. That’s it. Full stop. Anyone worth their salt knows this. Not to mention that when you flake salt—delicately or otherwise—you denature its healing properties. Salt must always be chipped into perfect hexagons. Never flaked.

For fuck’s sake, G&B. I might as well eat a fucking Cookies and Cream Hershey’s bar.  

Saturday, April 14, 2018

These Two Sentences Are Why We Are Totally Fucked

So I’m on a week of study abroad/friend visitation in Lower 48 America, doing Lower 48 America/Alaskan goober things like failing at Uber, marveling in horror at Boston traffic, and wandering the aisles of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods gaping at olives and vacuum-sealed hearts of palm in a dazed fugue state.

I actually remembered this sign from the last time I was in a Whole Foods several years ago, and went to check to see if it was still there. 

Sure enough, there it was:

These two sentences form an actual, legitimate warning. A warning about a problem that is apparently so widespread among Whole Foods customers that it warranted a sign in all of their stores. Like just imagine for a minute the kind of existence you must be leading for the “organic integrity” of your coffee and the cross-contamination of “conventionally grown” coffee beans and non-organic coffee beans in a grinder at Whole Foods to be concerning enough to constitute a “passion.”

First of all, you have to be a coffee snob, which in and of itself is a luxury. But okay, we’ve all got our tastes. Next, you have to care that your coffee is organic. Okay, fine, you’re being nice to the planet and your body. I’m down with that. 

But then you have to have enough money to buy that coffee at Whole Foods. And then you have to be so averse to consuming even ONE stray ground of “conventionally grown” coffee beans that you are catagorically unwilling to risk using the same coffee grinder that has made contact with such beans, because you are “passionate” about the “organic integrity” of your coffee.

All this in a nation where girls are being sex trafficked in meth rings; where kids get shot on the reg in second period algebra; where a mammogram is a luxury; and where the chasm of income inequality is so vast and deep, that the so-called “philanthropy” of the top 0.01% of hedge fund douche bags funds every public health and environmental initiative imaginable.

It’s only in this world that the “organic integrity” of coffee beans could POSSIBLY be conceived of as problematic in any way. Similar problems presumably include a broken light bulb in the aft cabin of one’s lear jet and sheets with a thread count of less than 50,000,000.

Seriously I cannot fucking EVEN with this so-called “passion.” Forget Trump. This sign at Whole Foods is Exhibit A of why we are irreversibly fucked as a society. 

Full stop.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Lower 48 Re-Entry Syndrome

If you’ve lived in Alaska for any significant period of time, you’ll instantly know what I mean when I talk about Lower 48 re-entry syndrome. Surely it’s more acute if you’re in rural Alaska, where there’s a better than 50/50 chance you don’t have running water, much less Uber.  

But even “urban” Alaska, by comparison to “urban” places down south, is ... well ... not exactly the same.

It’s hard to explain and a bit subtle, but so-called “urban” Alaska is just different enough from the rest of the country to make this noticeable. Personally, I get rusty at navigating big crowds, stores, new convenience apps, and traffic; and once among these things, I get a deer-in-the-headlights feeling of disorientation that takes about 72 hours to dispel.

There’s always some new piece of tech that’s slightly different from the last time you were there. Simple transactions like paying for a cab in New York or Boston using a touchscreen in the backseat can make you feel like a foreigner in your own country, a Martian, or like you just hatched out of an egg. 

You’re slow on the uptake. Everyone around you is stylishly buzzing about in the rhythm of their routine, and there you are, standing still, looking around blinking and kind of dumbstruck in a river of lights, cars, and people.

It’s like your brain hasn’t had to be used in this way for awhile and must reacclimate to the pace, culture, and trappings of the rest of the world, which seems to have forged ahead without you while time in Alaska remained more or less frozen.

When Isaac, then six, asked if there was “good fishing” in the Hudson River off the New Jersey Turnpike, called a pigeon a “ptarmigan,” and a cactus “devil’s club,” I knew that for better or worse, my kids were always going to suffer from Lower 48 Re-Entry syndrome.

At least they have a good excuse. They were born in Alaska and are thankfully semi-competent at being Alaskan and doing Alaska stuff. I left New York City 13 years ago and never even got a real handle on Alaska either, so now I’m just incompetent everywhere.

Mars is looking better and better every day.