Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mother Jekyll and My Fear of Turtle Rattles

So I have all these values and deeply-held beliefs about a lot of things I'm passionate about, but then there's another part of me that rolls my eyes at that principled part of me, and I don't know who the heck I am.


Enlightened Kimber: Believes in organic, whole foods for her family, especially her little cherub.
Sweatpants Kimber: Arms herself with a bags of MSG-spiked goldfish on plane rides and at church to appease her howling spawn.

Enlightened Kimber: Believes that childbirth is a spiritual, natural process that has been hijacked by a society plagued fear and ignorance.
Sweatpants Kimber: Is going with a certified nurse midwife again, but can't say the word "doula" with a straight face. Images of a dreadlocked woman of Irish descent waving a rattle made from a turtle skeleton over my pregnant belly (hate that word) haunt my natural childbirth dreams. Also, terms like "bag of waters" and "birth caul" make me feel awkward. Heck, I can't even handle "placenta."

Made by "Tommy Wildcat." No joke.

Enlightened Kimber: Loves art and self-expression through music and maybe (gasp) dance.
Sweatpants Kimber: Hates artists. Runs over dancers.

There's one part of me that loves the refined, the cultured, the meaningful ... then there's the other part that thinks it's hilarious when Graham burps and would prefer to laugh at Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect than watch Citizen Kane.

Is Sweatpants Kimber just the natural woman? She is kind of more fun to be around, though not as deep and principled as Enlightened Kimber. Maybe it's the know-do gap? I know better, but I don't always put my knowledge into practice?

I think some of it has to do with my family tradition. Hamsons aren't low-brows by any means, but we do know the value of a good pan of meatloaf (which we eat at the kitchen table because the formal dining room is home to not a formal dining table, but an air hockey table and a foosball table). Hamsons aren't openly emotional (unless spazzy is an emotion, or else when Dad is reading The Friend) or especially concerned with artistic expression or "culture." We often had deep conversations about religion, though, and I loved the analysis and meaning that always came from those talks.

Our family found connection in competitive games of backyard volleyball instead of trips to the art museum. But my mom instilled in all of us a love of reading books both classic and popular, and my dad took us several summers to the local Shakespeare festival, where we got in for free in exchange for spending intermission collecting empty wine bottles and picnic refuse from the boozy foodies with the good seats.

Then there was the year my mom took Nathan and I, newly married, to the festival. She'd prepared the most delightful little picnic of strawberry and turkey croissant sandwiches (with poppyseed dressing--sounds weird, tastes like perfection), fruit, and gourmet single-serving desserts. Then my mom accidentally broke the glass dressing bottle, and we tried semi-successfully to retrieve all the shards from the dressing. We missed one that ended up on Nathan's sandwich, and we all had a good laugh about how my mom was passive-aggressively trying to kill her new son-in-law via glass shard poisoning. Maybe that illustrates our approach to classiness. We appreciate our sophisticated croissant sandwich experiences, but we also laugh when we almost ingest broken glass.

Off to read a book about the divinity of birth while I eat a vegan cookie along with an Almond Joy.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2013 Resolutions Shmesolutions

Yeah, I'm late, and yeah, not all of these fit the criteria for a "good goal" (recordable, reachable, blah blah blah), but this is what I scribbled while finishing a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats (with almonds) this morning.

Anything good is built on a foundation of Honey Bunches of Oats.

Also, there are 25 things because I'm turning 25 this year and I wanted an excuse to scratch "experiment with laundry solutions" off my original list.

1. Go to a rock concert. Trans-Siberian Orchestra doesn't count.

2. Read the scriptures. I'm shooting for 90% frequency, with at least 50% consisting of true "study" that involves finding and opening and maybe writing in my scripture journal.

3. Birth a baby.

4. Buy a belt. And maybe that buffalo print Nathan doesn't like.


5. Organize my desk. Attempt to maintain the organization. Hang the buffalo print by my desk so Nathan doesn't have to see it when he leaves for/comes home from work because really I'd like to put it in the entryway.

6. Get rid of clothes I never wear. Be discriminating and ruthless.

7. Write letters.

8. Blog once a week. Maybe apply to Blogher to sell my creative soul for enough money to buy me lunch at Thai Spice (the lunch special comes with bonus spring rolls!) once a year.

9. Finish my novel and submit it to agents.

10. Submit a short story for publication.

11. Sew something. The plan right now is to save a grubby old t-shirt by upcycling it into an odd-shaped pillow. It won't be t-shirt shaped, though, because that would be weird, like child taxidermy or something.

12. Lose the baby weight. I'm actually excited for this because I took way too long to get my act together last time, and I regretted it because by the time I was back to where I wanted, it was time to sacrifice my vanity upon the altar of the pregnancy gods once more. Next time I want more than two months to enjoy fitting in my pants before I start barfing. Also, I genuinely like being healthy. Also, is it unethical to join a gym with free babysitting and then just read or something in the lounge area for a while instead of going to Zumba?

13. Go one month without processed sugar. This one might fall into the unreachable category, but I feel trendy and empowered putting it on my list.

14. Make and maintain friendships. Making friends isn't easy for me, but I do like having them once I've gotten through the awkward friend-dating stage. Also an excuse to go out to lunch more.

15. Play music in the house more often. This will probably involve moving the stereo to a location that doesn't require a child lock because dealing with those things are just emotionally exhausting for some reason.

16. Start a family journal.

17. Put my clothes away every night. No piling them up somewhere.

18. Buy art for my home. Maybe the buffalo print. Maybe this one.


19. Finish "styling" the buffet in my dining room. By "styling" I mean taking all the crap off the top and replacing it with more aesthetically pleasing stuff. I also want to get rid of the odd smell inside. Ideas for that?

20. Watch the five-hour BBC Pride and Prejudice. I've only seen the first four hours! I'm replacing this one with "Start buying whole chickens raised responsibly. That's the meat I eat the most and the increased cost of free-range meat will help us eat less of it. Also, I am scared and sickened by handling pre-butchered chicken meat, yet inexplicably amused and charmed by a whole chicken carcass. Also, try grass-fed beef."

21. Potty-train Graham. I'm thinking the juice box method might be my choice, or else the run around naked in the backyard until he figures it out method.

22. Go to a rodeo or fair. Eat lots of fried food.

23. Go to the temple twelve times.

24. Run in a race.

25. Go to the Houston Renaissance Faire and enjoy watching Nathan eat a turkey leg.

That's it. If I accomplish anything else this year it won't be premeditated.

What New Year's resolution are you not going to keep?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

That Time I Witnessed a Drug Deal

Some as big as your head!

First off, please notice my new blog layout (but don't pay attention to the right column as you scroll down ... it's still wonky) and be underwhelmed. It took an embarrassing amount of time, and I don't have much to show for a day of neglecting my child. But I like how the poodle looks ghostly. What do you think? Not enough white space? Not enough color?

So the drug deal. Nathan and I went on a cruise last spring to celebrate his graduation while cashing in on impending employment. Graham was old enough to be abandoned into the loving arms of his grandparents, so we jetted off to the Caribbean (okay, first we jetted to Houston, and then chugged on a ship around the Caribbean).

One of our ports of call was Montego Bay, Jamaica ... a colorful place. Our excursion of choice on the island was a zipline tour through the jungle. We were transported from the beach to the jungle in lovely air-conditioned vans.

Not the air-conditioned van, but the six-wheeled "Pinzgauer" that took us from "base" to the top of the mountain.
The harnesses make us look paunchier than we are.

The zipline adventure occurred without major incident, though I did notice that several of our guides had that suspicious/gross long pinky fingernail that I associate with drug-doers and The Good Earth. As long as they weren't partaking while also being responsible for fastening me securely to a cable suspended a hundred feet above the ground ...

Please don't be higher than the zipline.

We survived and even got to chew on some raw sugar cane. I felt like a monkey (although the only primate native to Jamaica is extinct). Then we got back in the vans to head back to the beach. It was there I witnessed the exchange ...

We were all buckled in, waiting for our driver to show up, and show up he did, though not at the driver's side. He appeared at the sliding door with one of our guides. He opened the door, and removed a plastic panel covering the step, revealing a secret compartment! What would he pull from its depths? A manilla folder full of confidential documents? A jewel the size of a monkey's skull? Was the whole zipline tour a coverup for a covert jungle operation?


Unfortunately, my desire for intrigue was disappointed when he pulled a baggie of what looked like lawn clippings from the compartment. He gave it to our guide in exchange for a wad of money, and that was that. Uh ... what happened to my Jamaican James Bond experience? A secret compartment for a Ziploc of marijuana? Didn't they know you could buy that in a cute little brown paper cone down the mountain in town? Psh. We were still fresh from Provo, though, so it was kind of exciting in a "we're about to be driven down a treacherous mountain road by a drug dealer, and I can't believe they did that right in front of us!" kind of way.

That is my story. I want to go check my minivan right now to see if there is potential for a secret compartment, for all my Cinnabon receipts.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

On Toilet Seats

When you're using a public bathroom, do you ever choose your stall based on how often you think it is used? I always hesitate to go for the first one in the row, assuming it gets used the most and is therefore the most ... you know. So then I head for the second, but then think, "How many other people have my same thoughts? Maybe it's the second stall that gets used the most because people think it actually gets used less!" Then I awkwardly stumble to the third stall, which I find un-flushed and grody, so I settle on the fourth stall.

The worst is when you sit on a warm public toilet seat. Or any warm toilet seat. Maybe in your house you have a tricky Japanese toilet with a heated seat that offers a comfy good morning free from any questions about how long the previous patron's stay was, but you probably don't. At least in your house you can be reasonably sure of who that patron might have been.

While in the Chicago airport over the holidays I noticed an exciting absolutely sick innovation in toilet hygiene. My first encounter was in a handicapped stall, so initially I thought this new feature was an exclusive, but on the return trip I encountered this again in a normal stall. Saran-wrapped seats are not just a perk for the disabled.


My first reaction was disgust. I imagined all the germy bum-sloughage cradled in each crinkle of the plastic, nesting in wait for the next unwitting visitor. Did someone fail to unwrap the new toilet seat? What was this unholy texture? Sick.

On my second encounter, I inspected the seat a bit more. I noticed all the fine print and the conspicuous green arrow directing me to wave my hand at a sensor. I waved. Then this happened (not a video of me. I'm not that much of a germophobe that I feel the need to use my shoe to activate a no-touch sensor):

And then I realized that this wasn't as gross an "innovation" as I thought, though the seat cover change wasn't as automatic as I would have liked. It didn't have the reliability of most auto-flush toilets, for example. There's also no way to tell if the seat cover is truly fresh when you walk in the stall. Now it seems more wasteful than cool, especially as "the toilet seat is not a common vehicle for transmitting infections to humans" (webmd.com). Maybe they could use the same concept to wrap airport hoagies, though.

To the champion of public restroom phobia, my dear friend Stephanie, would you use a toilet armed with such a device? Would you sit happily on such virginal plastic? To the rest of you beloved readers, what is your public restroom protocol? Are you a hoverer? An open-the-door-with-a-paper-towel-er? Teach me your ways.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Magic Nesting Pill

I know I said my next post was going to consist of my deep thoughts about culturism and poverty ... but sometimes I'm in a serious mood and I write about racism and sometimes I'm in a dorky mood and I write about dorky stuff, such as the following:

Yesterday I woke up motivated. It felt weird to want to be productive in a way that doesn't involve re-watching the first two seasons of Downton Abbey, but I decided to act on the feeling. I showered, put on non-frumpy clothes (and a necklace, people!), vacuumed, emptied and washed the vacuum canister (sick), vacuumed again, un-decorated the Christmas tree (learning some valuable lessons about light placement that I'll use next year; I also found one of Graham's shoes that had gone missing), hauled said retired Christmas tree to the curb while Graham sobbed the saddest tears of his life, swept up Graham's body weight in pine needles, went grocery shopping, made maple-glazed salmon for dinner, did the dishes, packaged three nativities, took care of some paperwork, and then re-watched the final episode of Downton Abbey season two in preparation for the upcoming season three. I think I even brushed my teeth somewhere in there.

What's Downton Abbey to polishing aluminum? Daisy the kitchen maid has nothing on me!

What's happening to me? I thought. First explanation: first trimester exhaustion/illness puts me in a semi-depressed funk that I'm finally free of. The contrast makes my behavior seem more radical than it really is. Hmm, this is likely, but not assuredly, as my regular, non-pregnant self isn't that great at getting chores done either.

Is this the face of a woman who loves to clean? No, it's the face of a truck driver. Side note: I've been trying to teach Graham to say "zit," but so far all he can manage is "bah."

Second explanation: nesting. Ahh, that one beautiful pregnancy symptom: the desire to clean, organize, and generally be domestic ... all while loving every minute. This explanation is more feasible, which leads me to one of modern womankind's deepest questions:

Why has the nesting urge not been captured in chemical form?

If it happens while I'm pregnant, it must be chemically-induced, right? Then how come I can't take synthetic nesting hormone to finally work up the motivation to clean the grit in my window tracks? Do you realize how amazing that would be? A pill that makes you an exceptional housewife? I don't care how feminist you are, that would be awesome.

Nathan pointed out that such a drug could come with other pregnancy-related side effects. I replied that I would gladly throw up in the morning if it meant the rest of my day was so productive.

What would it be called? "June Cleaver's Magic Potion"? "Domestizon" ( across between "domestic" and "amazon," naturally)? "Nest-ZING!"?

Sign me up for the human trials.
Graham and his best friend, in better days.

 P.S. I saw Les Miserables. I don't like that they sang their conversations. I like my musicals Sound of Music style, where they talk normally and establish themselves as normal people before bursting into song. But it's like the songs are intentional and not just thrust upon the characters as a requirement of the genre. Maria sings because she wants to sing.

Are you one of those weirdies who breaks into random song in public? Often with like-minded friends or family? I bet you loved Les Mis. You might think you're just as awesome as Maria and therefore deserve to dominate communal sound waves. You probably think everyone around you is exulting in your voice, your boldness, your songbird-like innocence and joy in melody. They aren't.