Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Femininity

This one is something we've been working on and have wanted to post for a while. We're testing out some writing here. If you're commenting, be kind. If you're lurking, please no snarky faces. No eyerolls either! Hopefully this will generate some good discussion about motherhood and what defines us as women. Any men out there should feel free to add their own perspective as well.

Those who know Poker Chick IRL probably use just a handful of adjectives to describe her: Intelligent. Pretty. Sharp. Bitchy. Funny. Clumsy. You know, all the things that make her endearing to loved ones. Now take a moment and think about some adjectives that are absent from this list: Warm. Maternal. Feminine.

Now, Poker Chick has always been all right with this. After all, so what? Who cares if she can't manufacture a case of the fuzzy wuzzies at any given corny moment. She is a businesswoman. She'll trade the house for the boardroom any day. In fact, the whole idea of being responsible for a house is so bizarre she's swapped that notion for a small apartment where one phone call brings dinner. She skipped sororities in college because fraternities seemed like a heck of a lot more fun and she wasn't allowed in those. She'd much rather be at a bachelor party than a shower. And she is, of course, at home playing poker with "the boys". She's always been "one of the guys". And she'd always been able to avoid large gatherings of women so she could continue to enjoy this lie, this pretend world she built around herself where she can do what she's good at and outsource the rest.

But you know how most men "outsource" the stuff Poker Chick sucks at? They get wives. Now, we suppose that's not impossible. Poker Chick has often been known to comment "I need a wife". She even has a friend hand-picked for the role, though for some reason this woman seems genuinely uninterested (I mean, what gives, right?)

Why are wives so desirable? They help make a house a home, which seems to be some kind of necessary step towards the next holy grail of femininity: mothering. Mothers are widely regarded in society. In fact, as Poker Chick wrote this, she was watching the movie Primary Colors, where they all declare "G-d Bless the Mommas!". This rousing statement met with loud approval and it is indeed a common thought. Books talk about mommies who make everything better. When teachers need to resolve an issue, they call the mommy. Children's worlds are surrounded with "mommy" references. It's clear what a mother is supposed to be.

The feminist movement has come and gone, and despite female CEOs in droves these days everyone has neglected to address one irrefutable point: women are biological childbearers. Men can technically do everything else but women still have to go through 9 months of pregnancy, several weeks of recovery, and [for many] months of leaky, saggy lactating boobs. Going through 5 different dress sizes in the course of a year is just one consequence of this fact; one that means women will always fall behind in the workplace at least a little if they desire to bear children. And let's face it, as much as men are doing these days, as long as we women get to pull the "if I'm giving birth to this thing then it's my call!" card, we are the primary child-rearers, whether it's fair or not. It's biology. And who is Poker Chick to argue with biology?

The problem with biology is that it is not fool-proof. Typically, the universe prepares women for life by giving them mothers, aunts, sisters, cousins. Women surrounding them throughout childhood to passively educate them about what it means to be feminine. Not just the big things, but the little things one needs to know. How to brush your hair. How to iron a shirt. How to cook a roast. How to wear a scarf. Poker Chick is convinced that the combined knowledge is filled in some hidden encyclopedia called "how to be a woman." She fantasizes about a secret hazing ritual where you mix the perfect martini and then the encyclopedia is handed to you by the next-of-kin woman. Most people get this encyclopedia. There are many different versions, but everyone has the one that works for them. Surely, tomorrow, she will wake up and have some form of the book magically appear by now.

Nope. Poker Chick, it would appear, got royally screwed by the universe. Her mother was pretty much out of commission at an early age. She had no sisters. No aunts, female cousins or grandmothers close by. Not surprisingly, most of her friends weren't female either. Hers was (for the most part) an alpha-male family with women relegated to the role of wife or ex-wife. So the only way to survive and get any respect was to become one of the men. So Poker Chick learned business skills. How to negotiate deals. Use foul language (decidedly 'un-feminine'!) How to "raise a stink" when someone tries to take advantage of you and your money. And, of course, how to play poker!

You know where this is going.

Yep, biology bit her in the @ss. Enter motherhood and the whole facade was exposed. She was clueless. In the past, she had been able to avoid large gatherings of women; she felt uncomfortable with so much estrogen in one room. But with a newborn, she was forced to confront her insecurity. The reality was that she needed these large groups of women. She didn't have a clue and the poor screaming kid in her arms demanded their knowledge. But it felt like she had failed entry-level womanhood and was now in a PhD program. She was clearly out of her league. And of course, as luck would have it, she was given a daughter to somehow teach.

The older the mini gets, the more she realizes she missed from not having a role model in girl flavor. She thought she didn't need those xx genes, but suddenly every maternal encounter is an opportunity for someone to point out her fraud. Every time the MIL gently "offers" to do something domestic, say wash the mini's clothes, it's a subtle suggestion that Poker Chick should not be raising the child herself. She is not qualified. She does not know how it's done. She doesn't know how to be a woman.

What reminds her that she really is a woman? Besides hormone-driven emotional outbursts? For Poker Chick, it's stupid little things. A big powder brush. Sitting there putting makeup slowly brushing some big powder brush around your face feels female. High heels. Those are feminine. Painted toenails. Real women clearly always must have colored feet tips. Eight different kinds of wrinkle cream in her medicine cabinet. That's right, count 'em. Eight. And she can tell you the difference between each and every one. That'll make you a girlie girl. But it's not all looks, is it? (though keeping up appearances is certainly a big part of the facade). No, Poker Chick learned a few non-superficial lady tricks too. Buying the perfect present for someone. That feels feminine. Nursing. Nursing was awesome. Not only is it undoubtedly female, it's not something every woman can do. And Poker Chick rocked it. So as long as she kept nursing, she was entitled to that female title. But that's where it seems to end. Plenty of people see cooking and cleaning as "women's work" and therefore feminine. But Poker Chick sucks at that. Women know things. How to sew a button. How to take out stains. How to tie a tie. Poker Chick knows none of these things. No one taught her. Does that make her un-feminine? And if not, what does?

What makes you feel "feminine"?

Friday, March 21, 2008

It's the little things that make you smile....

Chocolate makes any celebration happy. Like, say, watching Lost. Does anyone else get as excited as Poker Chick by the annual return of the gooey, yummy, milk-chocolate-y fondant egg?

(mūd)

mood1, n.

In case you hadn't noticed, our girl's in a bad mood. Which got her to thinking. Why? Let's examine the options:

  • Stress. Work has been overwhelming and all-consuming lately. 'Tis true.
  • Lack of balance. Today Poker Chick had her first big mom f-ck up, she missed the Purim parade. It was a conscious choice as she had a big meeting at work. The parade was covered by the husband and Big Boy. But she hadn't been faced with that choice before and it sucked. She wished she could have been there to see the mini. The guilt, oh the guilt!
  • Inadequate sleep. For the past couple of weeks the mini has been getting up several times at night to "make a pee pee". We're talking like every two hours. Poker Chick hasn't been this exhausted since the newborn stage.
  • Jet-lag. Well, Poker Chick probably doesn't have jet lag anymore, but she has been on a whole heck of a lot of airplanes in the past week or so. 'Tis draining.
  • Malnutrition. Ok so that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But loads of travel and a redonculous work schedule = irregular meals. If you're Poker Chick stress means reduced appetite too. Counterintuitive, we know.
  • Bad news. Between sick relatives and a funeral this weekend for a friend's parent, 'tis hard to stay cheery.
Excellent illustration of bad mood flowchart. Thanks, mystery online person!


What puts you peeps in a bad mood? There's gotta be, like, 1,000 valid reasons out there for being pissed off. Don't let Poker Chick be pissy alone!!! Let's all share a good vent as we ponder why exhaustion is making Poker Chick pretend to talk like an Irishwoman.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Poker Chick Needs a Big Venti

Start with a 9am meeting. But wait! The husband is out of town today. Shoot. Wait for nanny. Pray she is not late. Bolt when she arrives. Run to subway. Arrive at work at 8:59, panting, wheezing. Mutter self-deprecating curse words.

Dial into call. Wait ten minutes because everyone else is late. Ignore call waiting two times, assistant takes messages and hands you a memo. Look at the clock. Uh oh. This call was supposed to end at 10 and it's 10:20. You have a 10:30 that's critical. Spend five minutes waiting for an opening to politely excuse yourself off the call. Silently beat yourself up for the awkward moment that results.

Team walks in for the 10:30. Hang up the phone and dial the next call. Knock your head on the desk a bit. While the outcome of the call was good, turns out it was not necessary. The call went well because someone had the discussion off-line beforehand and sold an idea. Excellent news. So then we are all on the call for...?

11am. An unexpected hour opens up. Spend hour returning phone calls and advising direct reports.

12am. Run for food, knowing it's your only window. Literally, run.

12:35, devour salad at desk (yes, we know you don't make friends with salad) while staring at your cell phone wondering why your 12:30 hasn't called. Other phone rings, pick up and answer a few questions. Notice voicemail beeping on your cell phone. D*mn phone didn't even ring! Mutter curse words. Pick up phone to return call. Notice this person is already on your other line. Press button to answer call waiting but no one is there. Assistant must have picked it up.
Return call (again). End call and go right into 1:30 conference call. Begin subsequent freakout when 2:30 end time turns into 3:00, which was the drop dead time you needed to leave to not be late for the orthodontist.

3:10. Run out to try and get a taxi. Mutter self-deprecating curse words as you realize how much money you are wasting today. Watch someone steal a cab from you. Twice. Finally get one and the guy inside takes forever to pay and get out. He is clearly a tourist (sorry, peeps, but there's a few things you have to know before you visit here. New Yorkers are not exactly patient. Have the money ready). Get in cab, go one block then get caught in gridlock. Mutter curse words and wonder if you are in fact in some cartoon hell.

3:30. Run to orthdontist, panting, wheezing. Barely made it. Go through exam, agree to be new guinea pig. Try and get another taxi. Force door open that keeps getting pushed closed through unusually insane winds. Mutter curse words against mother nature and the gods in the universe that are clearly against you today.

4:30. Arrive back at office. Run to desk. Begin to answer emails and check voicemail. Still in coat, purse on lap, phone rings. It's big boy. He wants to know when he can see you. A fair question, given he lives halfway across the world and has been in town for two days. He wants you to come home early tonight. You can't. He wants you to take off work tomorrow. You can't. He reminds you nanny is out tomorrow and it's Purim. Sh*t. You had forgotten. The costume parade in school. You were going to take off lunch the next day to go. But now you have meetings from 9-1:30 tomorrow. Not the kind that can be moved. So who's going to be there for the mini? Double sh*t. You can't deal with this now. Team member walks into your office, tells you they wants to run you downstairs to check some work. Sigh. Tell Big Boy you can't talk. Again. Think about how much you are disappointing everyone. Guilt feels like cr*p. Shoot. You're distracted. Throw off jacket, grab a folder and head downstairs. Wonder when you will get a bathroom break. Silently amuse yourself playing out scenarios of doom in your head where lack of bathroom breaks lead to some strange disease and wonder how you would explain that.

Arrive downstairs and go through several storyboards in painstaking detail. Field calls on cell phone while down there, assistant looking for you, she wants to confirm flight you asked her to book earlier. You tell her after the last meeting you need to stay an extra day and you're in a meeting. She calls back several times. Needs to get your arrangements straight because you keep changing them. Oh, and by the way so and so wanted you to call them on their cell. You stare at your phone, wondering how you're supposed to have two conversations at once. A split second later, you put the phone down, recognizing where you are is your biggest work priority and everything else will have to wait. Let the chips fall....

5:50. Run back upstairs. You're in trouble. Need to return some calls. Must leave office no later than 6:15. Husband is traveling. Must show nanny you can actually get home on time, for once. Wondering how this is going to happen. Boss IMs you with questions, Client calls at the same time. Try and figure out who to talk to first. Cover all but now it's 6:45. Start panicking. Call nanny and try to hide shame in your voice. Husband calls. Can't believe you're still at work. You can't talk. You must RUN.

Bad mood in full force. Pick fights with everyone you can. Realize you were supposed to make hamentaschen for school tonight and now can't. Mutter self-deprecating curse words. Stop at supermarket and buy graham crackers as subsitute. Beat yourself up for picking the wrong checkout line. Watch elderly man take what seems like 10 minutes to pay.

Run to bank. Nanny needs money for the week. See unusual line for ATM. Watch in amazement as you realize the holdup is the same elderly man from the supermarket. Begin calclulating odds in your head and wonder why the universe is (now undoubtedly) against you today.

7:20. Miraculously home only 20 minutes late. Nanny runs, bath needs to be started. Spend next two hours snapping at everyone some more. Watch dinner go cold (again) as you type out frustrations.

All this stress, everything's a mess. Full-on chaos. I do not like these days, not one bit. And if you've been snapped at by Poker Chick today, well, you got into the middle of it. But don't worry, she'll take care of it. Tomorrow she shall mutter self-deprecating curse words about it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Random

Hmmmm..... Poker Chick just got a friend request from her personal shopper. We swear this is not as pretentious as it sounds!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

More on Alltop

This other chick has a nice post explaining more about what this Alltop thing is. They're no longer in beta, so check them out. Apparently this site was started by Guy Kawasaki, and they still claim to have found the "best and brightest" bloggers in each category. Now before you go saying that the mom category must have all the mom blogs they could find (how else could Poker Chick find her way here) you might want to take another look. There are lots of blogs here, but not that many, peeps. In fact, many of these other awesome female bloggers are just as shocked (yet flattered). Like Glennia here, for example.

It's rare for Poker Chick to get such objective compliments so we are so honored by Alltop's inclusion, however the heck they made that decision. Please don't kick us off too soon.

Bizarre Travel, Part Two

Though there's no way it can live up to the hype after all this time, here is Part two of the travel story. Click here to read Part One.

We know the current state of airline travel in the U.S. is poor. But there's delays and there's bad luck. And then there's traveling with Poker Chick. If you've read her stories in the past, or even just Part one of this series, we think you'll agree she's surpassed bad luck here. We don't know what that's called, but it definitely warrants its own category. If she were in Vegas there'd be odds on this. We're sure of it.

The flight home was a bit stressful. Poker Chick had a family emergency and was deciding whether or not to take a redeye home. But she stuck with her plans as she was flying with an old and close friend. Ironically, her friend (who was going to a wedding), could not sleep and wanted to go standby on an earlier flight. But she passed so she could fly with Poker Chick. Poor thing did not know what she was in for (we love you wegray!)

It started out innocently enough. Left the gate on time. Taxied a bit. Captain got on and told evereyone there would be the usual La Guardia traffic delay but that they'd make up the time. And then...the plane stopped moving. No big deal, maintenance issue. A small one, captain was just going back to the gate to get a new part and he knew exactly what it was. Poker Chick looked around the half-empty plane and had a feeling this was not good.

Not surprisingly, the part was either not produced or just completely falsified. Either way, all got booted from the plane. They tried to get on the next flight standby. No such luck. A while later, the airline found a new plane. That plane finally left the gate and took off. About 2 1/2 hours after scheduled take off time.


Lessons learned for any peeps reading:
  1. Don't check luggage (in case you haven't learned that already)
  2. Bring snacks. Because even with a 2 1/2 hour delay, a half hour for boarding and 5 hour flight they still won't feed you.
  3. Bring extra underwear. You never know when you might unexpectedly take a detour for a couple of days.
The husband debuts his wee mee form.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Family Detour

Note: A couple of days until we post Part Two of the crazy travel week. We promise. Meantime, please to enjoy this sap-fest...

Emily's post had Poker Chick all sentimental and reminded her she had wanted to recount a moment to her own family (hint: family, this means you actually need to read this once in a while!). The other day, she and the mini were going through old pictures. This is a rare event, as anyone who knows Poker Chick is probably shocked she even knows where her pictures are.

At some point the mini found a picture of Poker Chick as a baby, maybe at 2 years old or so. She appeared to be whining and struggling to get out of her stroller. How appropriate. Anyway, the mini saw it and exclaimed "that's me!". Poker Chick jumped up too, because my g-d the kid was right. Had Poker Chick not been able to tell what year the photo was taken, it could easily have been mistaken for a photo of the mini. But what really amazed her was when she realized just how emotionally intelligent children can be.

The Mini: "Are you sad, Mommy?"
PC: "Yes, sweetheart, Mommy's sad".
Mini: "Why are you sad?"
PC: "Because I miss my Mommy".
Mini (throwing her arms around PC in a big hug): "Don't be sad, Mommy! You have me now."

Damn, that kid is smart.

Technical Dificulties...

Poker Chick had to take an unexpected detour to Philadelphia, so she has not yet returned from her travels. We apologize for this temporary lack of blogging and promise to return soon. Our team of experts suggest cupcakes or ice cream if you are suffering from Poker Chick withdrawal.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bizarre Travel, Part One

In case this is not obvious, this is part one of a two-part serious. The second part will come at the end of the trip, in case that is not obvious as well.

Poker Chick's on the road again, this time cutting her weekend short to travel. She was sick all weekend which always makes flying more interesting (note to other travelers: Airborne may be a taboo subject these days, but Emergen-C seriously does make you feel better pretty quickly!)

She checks in and proceeds to walk what seems like three miles to her gate. She's tired with the usual security drill. Take off coat, take off shoes, take off sweater around your waist. Take out computer, put two bags on track, take out your "potions". Poker Chick always hates this part because you have about one minute to do all this before people start yelling at you for holding up the line. You know what, peeps? It's impossible to do that fast. People need to chill.

She's putting her shoes back on when some security lady yells at her to take all her stuff away from the belt and get together there. Great, lady. Except she's traveling alone and with no hands free to carry her shoes she needs to put them on before picking everything else up and moving. Do people not understand this? It's important to note Poker Chick did not say this out loud, merely said she was doing her best and would move shortly. She said it quite nicely.

Now here's where it gets interesting. Poker Chick walks over to get together the rest of her stuff and gets pulled aside by "behavioral interrogators". Did you know these existed? Poker Chick did not. Apparently they observe people in security and pull out potential threats for special examination. So if you're carrying a big backpack around your waist and looking like a nervous would-be terrorist, they're suspicious. This "interrogator" was the same guy who was watching people in line before security, making jokes and witty comments which people (including yours truly) were bantering back to (is that english)?

It didn't help that Poker Chick thought they were joking at first. Seriously, she's never heard of these, but it is somewhat comforting to know our security is more comprehensive than we think. At some point she realized this was no joke and looked at the man and said "wow, you're actually serious?!" Unbelievable. In case you think Poker Chick exaggerates, you can read about "Behavior Detection Officers" here. Did anyone else know about these people?

We all know Poker Chick has a tendency to put her foot in her mouth. But this time, honestly, peeps, she has no idea what wrong answer landed her there.

Now back at the plane, we'll save you the long story and give you the short one: two hours after taxi-ing away from the gate the plane was back at the gate. Emergency vehicles surrounded the plane to help an alleged sick flight attendant and get a new one on board. At the same time, they boarded extra passengers. Hmmm......

Panic Schmanic

Once, a couple of years ago, Poker Chick had a panic attack. It was a scary event but somehow a friend recognized what was happening and she was able to hide for an hour or so until the medicine kicked in. Afterwards, she felt exhausted, like her body had run 10 miles or something (ok, let's face it. 1 mile would be an accomplishment at this point).

A couple of hours she walked home from the subway and felt really weird, but she figured it was common to feel such weakness after such an experience. Maybe not, because later that night she developed a high fever, about 103 and was sick for several days. So she concluded that the panic attack was a once-in-a-lifetime "perfect storm" kind of event" take an impending illness stealthily attacking her immune system, add unusual stress from both work and home, and pow! A fit of anger sends you into a tailspin.

This reassured Poker Chick, because she didn't have to worry about it happening again.

But last week, it did. Only she didn't recognize it until the next day. It was night, and everyone else was asleep. Poker Chick was trying to sleep too only her heart was racing so fast it scared her. It felt like it was skipping beats or something, like it was about to jump out. She was shaking. She felt like sobbing and she couldn't breathe. Seriously, no air. She considered whether to wake husband and go the doctor. She didn't know what, but something was horribly, horribly wrong. Somehow she kept talking to herself, told her mind to calm down and that everything seems scarier at night, she should relax. If it wasn't better in the morning, she told herself, then she could worry. Eventually she fell asleep.

The next morning she realized she probably had another panic attack and that she had been hyperventilating. She wasn't too surprised because she had had an inordinately stressful week. But she was disappointed because now her sick theory went out the window and did she need to worry about recurring panic attacks? What kind of a nut job is this girl? Okay, don't answer that peeps. Learn to recognize a rhetorical question when you see one.

Do you want to guess what happened the next night? Yep, that's right, she got sick. Not 103, but a pretty nasty cold with that all-over body sick feeling. She's never felt so relieved to feel like cr*p!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

First Person For a Change

The worst day of Poker Chick's life was without a doubt the day her mother died. Well, the day before and the day after pretty much sucked too. So with that in mind, when she tells you peeps that yesterday was up there with worst few days of her life, you get an idea of just how bad it was.

Sadly, this girl's got another long trip coming up. Good news for readers though...more travel drama to report on.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Politics

While watching the results roll in from mighty Rhode Island, Poker Chick is thinking of her friend Emily and wondering whether she really wants to give up the right to vote in a swing state for just some palm trees and sun?

More questions

For those of you wondering, we went with Amsterdam. A 12 hour layover. Sweet! But don't sweat - Poker Chick has other questions for you to ponder:

What should she do with her time in Holland? What should she do on a boring 6 hour plane ride next week? What about Airborne - does it really work? Does Pinkberry qualify as dinner? And are people really still watching American Idol?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Poker Chick Has a Question For You

Poker Chick is about to book a trip to visit Big Boy. Ahh, sun, beach! She has two options for the same price:
  1. Nonstop via El Al (redeyes both way, the only way to go)
  2. Connect via Amsterdam with KLM
Ordinarily, she'd never consider option #2. But she's flying solo and has never been to Amsterdam. It would cut into beach time and sleep time but she would have a whole afternoon to do a quick stint in the Netherlands. If you think she's crazy, check out this guy who's done it. For what it's worth, Poker Chick had the idea on her own and then looked into whether or not it was feasible when she stumbled upon this info.

Fun or crazy? What do you think?