Caption Contest

One of Brian's more endearing qualities is his odd persistence.
The New Yorker magazine holds a caption contest nearly every week. And nearly every week, Brian enters.

Almost a year ago, a cartoon ran, and Brian showed it to me, pointing excitedly, saying, "I have the perfect caption! It looked like this:

Brian's caption was: "Who farted?"

He entered it, but did not win. The winning caption was "You're just like your mother." Hardy, har, har.

Almost every week since, Brian has entered the contest with that same caption: "Who farted?" Sometimes it fits better than others. He has yet to be chosen as a finalist.

This weekend, we told our friend Sam and Val about this. Mostly because last week he entered the contest with a caption that wasn't: "Who farted." The cartoon featured a sea lion or something reading a book and talking to an angry-looking woman.

Brian had suggested something topical — about the about ash cloud from the volcano in Iceland disrupting airline flights. I thought it was pretty okay.

Our friend Val just emailed us with this week's cartoon. It is really too perfect.

How could the caption possibly be anything else? This could be Brian's moment in the sun. Keep your fingers crossed.

Less than Six Weeks...

Less than six weeks to go.
I am terrified, but so incredibly uncomfortable. I can hardly breathe. I can hardly walk. I can only sleep for an hour a time before being woken up to pee/because I'm uncomfortable/because I've had a crazy-scary dream.

A coworker asked if my nesting instincts had kicked in yet. My guess is no. My biggest fantasy at this point is to hand this baby over to Brian, so he can hold it and love it and I can run out of the room and take a nice long nap on the couch.

People are now very aggressively offering me their seats on the subway. They will walk up and tap me on the shoulder — almost violently — and then point to their seat. I can only imagine this is because I look like I am about to give birth. For some reason, this makes me cry.

I guess it's like if you'd been sick for a while, and were dragging yourself to work, even though you weren't feeling well, and then some stranger said, "Hey, you look like you're about to drop dead! Sit here!"

My doctor assures me that everything is normal and I am not extraordinarily large for someone my size. The Schweller fetus appears to be relatively average too.

Here is a picture that Brian took of me last week, when I first intended to post this entry:

I am holding a candle that's supposed to look like a bowl of matzo ball soup. Ha, ha. Whatever. Leave me alone. I am running out of items from our mantel to pose with.

Did I mention I submitted a new story? I sent my submissions out on March 29. On April 8th I received my first rejection via email. Subtropics does not fool around. The rest of the journals to which I submitted seem in no real hurry.

I am also including a link to some pictures Brian took on a fieldtrip to the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. I thought the pictures were pretty.

I have a lot more to say, but I can't remember anything right now. Oh, except that we finally retired our blue futon. Because it kept breaking.

It was over a decade old and had lived a full futon life. After my second gluing-back-together, I kept having visions of coming home from the hospital, holding my newborn in my arms, sitting down on the futon, and having it collapse under me. We purchased a used futon that looks remarkably similar to our old one, except that it is higher off the ground. My feet no longer touch the floor. Every time Brian sees me sitting on the futon, he starts to laugh, because he thinks I look like Humpty Dumpty.


One of the positives of being so large is that I am totally getting seats on the subway. Where people once looked gallant as they offered me their seat, they now look terrified.

One of the negatives is that I am constantly being asked when I'm due, and when I say, "Not until the end of May," they always seem disappointed.

This happens most often in the elevator at work. I'm not sure why. I was complaining about this to my sister. Her suggestion was that I respond with a chipper "I'm due today!" Then offer a big, toothy grin.

Brian and I held our 5th Annual "Passover Seder of Mostly Gentiles Sitting on the Floor and Reading from an Old, Weird Coloring Book." It was a tremendous challenge for me to prepare food for nearly 30 people, especially as I call it a good day when I remember to brush my teeth. But everything worked out quite lovely.

My friend Christie was a tremendous help. She came over several hours before to help me set up. She kept saying things like, "What are you doing now?" And I would say, "I'm really not sure." Then she would say, "Wrong answer!"

Christie is Chinese-American, but may know more Yiddish than me. I guess this is one of the positives of growing up in New York City. She worked very hard on Saturday to keep me on task. She noted that I had on my list a tofu dish. She said, "It says here 2-3 contains of tofu, lemon, soy sauce, garlic, and rosemary. Do you have all those things?"

"Yes," I said."

"Lemon, soy sauce, garlic, and rosemary? So this is how white people make tofu."

I got very self-conscious. I said, "I don't really know anything about cooking. What would you do if you were making tofu."

She said, "I'd probably just steam it and serve it with a dipping sauce."

"I already bought all this stuff," I said, "I think I'll stick to making it the white people way."

Brian prepared a PowerPoint presentation expounding on the song "Dayeinu". It took him at least four hours. I'm not sure why. But I thought it was very cute and educational.

Click here to view the presentation (you may need to download the Office 2007 converter to view it).

Cold Case

Brian was leaving for work while I was still in the shower.
He poked his head in the bathroom to say goodbye, and then said, "The Miami Herald ran a story saying that Jeffry Dahmer may have killed Adam Walsh."

I almost fell over.

We moved to Hollywood, Florida in December of 1980. I was four. In late July of 1981, the story of a six year old boy's abduction from our local mall made national news.

Two weeks later, his severed head was found in a canal in Vero Beach, Florida.

This event gave me an endless supply of nightmares. It also gave birth to the "Don't Talk to Strangers" movement, which was the inspiration for the Rick Springfield song of the same name.

My parents could never understand why I wouldn't go outside and play. It was because I was clutched by the morbid fear that I would be abducted and dismembered by a freaky psychopath.

Adam Walsh's father went on to become the founding host of America's Most Wanted. The only real suspect the case ever had was a creepy, toothless drifter named Ottis Toole. He was never tried, and died in 1996 of liver failure. In December of 2008, Hollywood police formally declared that Mr. Toole was in fact the murderer and that they were finally closing the case.

Still, the story haunted me. And now this! Adam Walsh murder revisited: The case against Jeffrey Dahmer.

Florida does seem to have a special connection to serial killers: Ted Bundy; Aileen Wuornos; Danny Rolling. Who knew that Jeffrey Dahmer ever even visited Florida, much less began a'murdering there?!?

I'm totally sold. The severed head thing always bothered me. It's just not normal — even for a serial killer. And it bothered me that people assumed a six year old would walk off with someone who looked as snaggly as Ottis Toole. That man was missing some vital teeth! There would not have been enough candy in the world to convince me to follow someone who looked like that to his van. But Jeffrey Dahmer was relatively young and relatively attractive.

I am so glad the Hollywood police department did such a thorough job. I'm actually thrilled to be raising our child here in nice, wholesome New York City, where we have our share of subway stabbers, but very few serial killers.