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2017-08-10 (0 comments)

The Archetypes Of My Apartment Complex

Every building has a cast of characters and mine is no different. Let me set the scene for you a little bit. I live in a very old school building that you have to get on a list to live in. It was built in the early 1900s and has a shit ton of units in it. Hundreds. It’s massive. It has a large, sprawling, well-manicured courtyard that almost every apartment has a window that looks over.  A majority of the residents are, let’s just say, not from here. The median age range is, I’d say people in their 50s and the community is referred to as a “NORC”, a naturally occurring retirement community because people move in and it’s nice enough that they mostly never leave, at least not by choice.

So that’s the scenario. Here are some of the characters who I hear in the mornings from my kitchen window:

Mr. Sneezes
Mr. Sneezes, well, sneezes. A lot. 5, 6, 7 times in a row. Sometimes more. I hear him in the morning while I’m having oatmeal. His sneeze is a booming loud sneeze that often breaks the sound barrier and leaves goosebumps on my neck. Is it TB? Is he allergic to the flowers but MUST sit beside them due to potent OCD? Does he just have a cold all the time? WTF IS UP WITH MR. SNEEZES?

The Cat Lady
Every borough, every village, every street, every building in NYC has a notorious cat lady or 10. They are everywhere, and this city seems especially furry with them. But our building happens to have a very special cat lady. She has personally made it her job to take care of the stray cat community in the building’s courtyard. No one pays her, I don’t even know if she knows where she is. But she feeds all the sad, mangy, feral cats and pets them, every day. Thank Goodness–every creature needs to be pet from time to time.

The Mom From The Goonies
The Mom from the Goonies is a nice enough and in fact, quite pleasant older lady. She just happens to have the same voice as the mom from the goonies and a more than passing resemblance to her. I can imagine her smacking someone in the head or driving a beat up Jeep Cherokee as I type this. She’s cool, and The Goonies is one of my favorite movies of all time. But still. Mom from the Goonies. All that she’s missing is the beret.

The Friendliest Marine In The World
He has tinnitus in one ear. He’s super nice, and he’s, like, the mayor of the building or something. I think he was a lawyer a long time ago, or he went to jail enough times to know a lot about the courts, but that’s doubtful, he seems too awesome. I adore him. He hugs and kisses me every time he sees me. He was once a marine. He is whip smart. He is as tall as a light post and always well-dressed in a button down shirt and khakis. Nary a day goes by when I don’t see him. I think he has a timeshare in Florida. He has one of the biggest, fanciest apartments in the complex, a 3 bedroom, I think. He seems to be able to make things happen with a word and a whisper. He’s the friendliest marine in the world.

The Guy Who Always Says Hi To My Son And Is Super Nice For No Apparent Reason But I’m Still Wary Of Him
For some reason, this guy ALWAYS says hi to me and my son and waves at him and is super nice to us but I am still wary of him. I don’t know why. We are animals and instincts do their thing and that’s how it goes. He even gave me a water once when it was very hot out. But I’m still uncertain about him. Maybe he was my undercutting boss in a former life.

Gosh, there are so many more wack-a-doo characters. I haven’t even gotten into the lady with the giant white dog, the lady with the tiny white dog, the weird security guard who reminds me of the lead singer of Fine Young Cannibals, the older Asian lady who is always smacking herself in the back, stomach and chest, (there are actually like 20-30 or so of that particular archetype), the Russian nanny who is always sleeping, the wormy management guy who my actual nickname for is worm but upon further investigation of him, he’s not the worst guy ever, just wormy, and so on and so on.

I wonder how they’d describe me?

White Lady With A Baby Who’s Making All Our Rent Go Up
Every day, this corny white lady strolls outside pushing a giant carriage with her baby in it who is cute now but one look at him tells you he’s going to grow up and be a bruh or a pain in the ass. She always wears a big green hat like she’s on safari and giant sunglasses like she’s a celebrity or something but I’ve never seen her in anything except our courtyard. She and her husband always get a million Amazon boxes delivered. They are hiding from someone or are the most laziest people in the world. Her and her husband also sometimes take the baby for walks together. The husband is tall and always dresses in black even when it’s 100 degrees out. Kinda weird but at least they’re friendly – nice enough people, I guess.

2017-05-21 (0 comments)

7 Healthy Easy Meals That Every Brand New Busy Tired Hungry First Time Mom Can Toss Together With Her Eyes Closed (Or Swollen Shut From Lack Of Sleep / Crying) + A Few Handy Food Tips and a Shopping List

Top L to Bottom R: Oatmeal photo gallery with incredible assortment of delectable topping choices
I know, mama, and on behalf of all moms everywhere, WE know. This next few months is going to knock you on your ass, babe, but you’ll be OK. However, you MUST eat. And if you can, eat well. Your baby depends on you being healthy and sane. Maybe you have some help but when you don’t, refer to these easy recipes and eat. I know it feels like even putting on pants right now is a struggle. Pants are stupid. I call them “society shackles” and I try not to wear them indoors. You will be ok! But first and foremost, you need that good nutrition you hear people talk about. I lost 15 pounds from breastfeeding, because baby eats up to 20 oz of milk a day. So chomp down lots of foods that will fill your ass up for hours, if possible. Like some of the meals below.
The “This Shit Is Hard” Oatmeal Protein Bowl
Oatmeal. I swear by this one. Cook a giant container of it after baby is in bed one night and eat it through the week or set it up at night then make and let it cook in the am while you dress and feed baby. I measure 1/2 cup of oatmeal and one cup of water because 1 serving is a huge amount of satisfying food and has a filling 120 calories. Plus oatmeal aids in lactation, it’s good for your heart and colon, it makes you feel grown up and it’s cheap AF. And they even make it gluten free though I find it not as filling. But here’s what separates the girls from the moms: toppings. Go nuts with your bad breastfeeding calorie needin’ self. Try one, three or all of the following together: Banana, almond or peanut butter, cinnamon, chocolate chips, scoop of yogurt, blueberries, slice of pie, dash of hopes and dreams, new mom tears… you get the idea.
Pretty much anything works on top of oatmeal and that bad bowl of yes please will keep you full for hours. Eat it for lunch and dinner too, because why tf not?
Hot Tip: Try a slice of Whole Foods flourless chocolate cake on top. Repeat every few days for 6 months – the rest of your life.
“Power Through It” Chia Seed Pudding
This healthy meal is so easy to make, it actually preps while you sleep (ha, sleep!). Chia seeds are a super food  which means they’re good as hell for you. Plus a doctor guy I know told me that eating seeds 2x a week can add up to 2 years onto your life–more time to spend with your new baby love. Put a cup of seeds into any bowl and add a cup of almond milk, a squirt of agave, honey or your preferred sweetener, and mint, along with raspberries or any other fruit you have. Stick into fridge to set for a few hours and go to sleep.
Hot Tip: Wake up at 2 am, ravenous and eat cold, or heat up later when you’re feeling more civilized and top with cream or a scoop of sorbet.
“It’ll All Be OK” No Bake (Or Bake If You Wanna) Cookies
This one you can practically do while changing a diaper. In a large bowl, smoosh 3 bananas, a cup of oatmeal,
A large squirt of honey or your preferred seeetener, 2 or so heaping tablespoons of peanut butter, chocolate or butterscotch chips and any nuts or seeds you like. Add a little almond milk or water if you need some lube. Smash together until it has the consistency of a chunky bowl of granola bar. Scoop spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10 mins or don’t. Alternatively, you can mush this into a giant square, bake and then cut into bars. Put into a container and nibble when you get the hunger, or freeze.
Hot Tip: Eat right out of the bowl with a spoon.
The “I Got This” Smoothie
Leave your blender set up and out if you can and lean on it when you’re not strong, during the hard early days. Don’t measure, that’s for people without infants. You’re a mom now and you don’t have to do things like “use cups”. Eyeball in a couple servings of any kind of milk, toss a peeled banana or 2 or any fruit in, add a spoonful of cocoa, a glob of peanut butter, a scoop of ice, handful of nuts, the sweetener you like and blend, baby, blend!
Hot Tip: Cry loudly while the blade spins. No one can hear you.
“Do It For Baby” Protein Rice Bowl
When my LO was raisin sized, my mantra was, if I can’t do it for me, I will do it for him. I was tired, after an unplanned C section, I hurt, both physically and emotionally, and I was feeling abandoned by friends and family. PTSD hit hard and some days, I can’t count how many times I cried. But I knew I had to eat and eat well so I could feed him and refuel myself. I set up rice in the rice maker (do you have one? If no, why not? They are cheap and so easy to use.) I put one cup brown rice (use brown for better nutrition) and two cups water in the rice maker and went back to bed. With the rice, you can do a lot–eat it with your fingers, add butter and salt and it tastes like popcorn, add soy sauce  and mustard and hot sauce and it tastes like Chinese food. (I call this “white fire and ate it all through college, although today I’d call it brown fire and use brown rice instead). Add sugar, milk and cinnamon or chocolate chips while it’s still warm and it’s a dessert, kind of like rice pudding. Add avocado, olives, tomato and lettuce and it’s a Mediterranean style meal. Add beans and it’s Mexican. My point is, it’s stupid easy to make and use and cooks while you sleep. Keyword: sleep.
Hot Tip: Half the rice and add extra water plus any veggies in your fridge and a bouillon cube to the rice maker and you’ve got a nourishing soup.
“It Will Get Easier” Soup
Fill a large pot with water and add a few scoops of miso paste to the water. Let it boil. Tada! Miso soup. You can also do this with bouillon cubes for chicken, beef, seafood or vegetable soup. Add veggies if you have them but it’s not important right this second. For now, drink the hot nourishing broth and live to fight another day.
Hot Tip: Don’t add salt and add less bouillon or miso than you think you’ll need because that stuff is way mega salty. This is also a sneaky way to drink more water to help promote breastfeeding.
“Welcome To Your New Life!” Egg Dishes
Boil a whole dozen eggs and then put them in the fridge. When you’re hungry, eat a hard boiled egg. Take an egg and chop it up. Add it to the rice bowl above. Mash up a few and add mayo for egg salad or an egg sandwich.
Hot Tip: Wash your hands after handling raw eggs. It’s a no brainer but it’s easy to forget to do when you’re tired.
Not A Meal But Ideas To Make Water More Fun To Drink So You Will Drink Lots Of It
– Add cucumber slices
– Add lemon or lime slices
– Add strawberries or any berries
– Add apple cider vinegar
– Add a tea bag
– Decaf coffee and diet soda and seltzer count as water! To make coffee fill you up so hard, add a pat of butter to it. (It’s like adding cream to coffee but much more filling and pretty damn tasty too, believe it or not).
– Add a bouillon cube or miso paste
– Add ice or flavored ice (ice cubes with a berry added to each cube compartment)
– Add your favorite crystal or rock to the bottom of the glass (be sure not to swallow it, duh)
– Add good vibes and healing energy–YOU GOT THIS!!
Healthy Easy Shopping List: Write a list to carry with you so that you know what you need and don’t waste time at the grocery store. (What’s time and how do I waste it?) Here are some items to get you started and to help you with the recipes listed above:
Staple Shopping List
Oatmeal
Peanut or Almond Butter
Bananas and whatever fruit and berries are on sale
Large bag of Kale, pre-shredded (when things settle, you can buy the stalks again, clean them, strip them, etc.)
Tomatoes, avocados and whatever veggies are on sale
Brown Rice
Bouillon or Miso
Yogurt
Eggs
Milk
Nuts (most nuts are expensive but peanuts will do, or anything on sale, or trail mix is a good often cheap alternative)
Extras Shopping List
Chia seeds
Ice Cream
Pie
Coffee
Butter
Apple Cider Vinegar
Tea / Diet soda / Seltzer
Cocoa powder
Sweetener
Flourless chocolate cake
Chocolate or butterscotch chips or a bar of dark chocolate

2017-04-08 (0 comments)

Photo Tutorial: How To Clip Baby’s Nails

I’ve gotten so many emails from my readers asking, “How do I clip my baby’s nails?” Just kidding. I’ve gotten zero emails from readers asking that. But people always write that on their blog posts and I wanted, for one minute, to try pretending that I have lots of friends and followers and some kind of massive blog reading fan base of people who consider me some kind of authority on baby fingernails. Let me tell you – it was fun! Try it sometime.

OK, now back to reality. I don’t know how many people read this blog. It’s not monetized. I do it for kicks and to keep my brain moving, my fingers typing, my thoughts swirling and my time occupied in a mostly productive way.

If you like this tutorial, please pass it on. That’s my paycheck.

Oh, PS. I started a little Twitter account all about baby stuff. It’s called @TheCooNetwork. Get it? Because when a baby takes over your life, it’s “a coo”. Ha. Hm. Heh.

2016-12-28 (0 comments)

Has Anyone Seen This Bear?

At approximately 9:14 a.m. this morning, I rolled my son over to do tummy time and I discovered this:

image2-2
It’s what appears to be the hand print of a…bear? Dog? What kind of animal would paw at my son’s behind when no one was looking?

Yes, it appears that a bear or dog of some kind (though it could have also been a raccoon?) smacked or high-fived my son’s bottom. Perhaps it happened in the night or when I looked away for one minute?

I’ve been considering potential culprits and have determined:

-the animal had 3 fingers (perhaps it lost some in a forest fire? Or maybe it only ever had 3 fingers)

-it wasn’t too large judging by the size of the paw print

-it had access to blue paint or dye?

I don’t know if this bear/dog/raccoon is dangerous or not, but I looked online to see if anyone else has experienced this and I found that this creature, or others like it, have been busy.

image4-2image3-2

Whatever animal pawed at these babies bottoms had 4 fingers. I’m leaning towards bear at this point, and I have a few pretty solid leads:
grumpy_bearm_3_by_aprilsparrow-d4jnw38

Grumpy Bear, the most troubled of the Care Bears.

160930113530-teddy-ruxpin-return-780x439

Teddy Ruxpin. I’ve never trusted this dude. I mean, just look at those eyes–he’s totally on drugs. LCD? Ha, more like L-S-D. Plus, the desperation of his constant friend hunt, makes you wonder…just what kind of “friend” is he really looking for?

bb006b_sa_02_bigThis bad guy bear from the Berenstein bears. Stripes mean trouble. Cases in point? The Hamburglar and Freddie, to name a few.

il_340x270-1060562338_ti5r

This guy may seem soft and lovable but if you ask me, he looks guilty. f97bc4de89b4a78c683eb93a08fdc98bYogi is a total trouble maker. Always stealing picnic baskets, trying to get with the ladies, causing scenes at the campground. I guess from this photo, at least we can guess he’s into ladies his age and species, unless that’s JUST A FRONT.

maxresdefault

Smokey the Bear is a major contender. He is always hanging out with kids. Look how his hands are hidden behind the children’s heads so they can’t be ID’d. He may pose as a good bear who is always putting out forest fires, but if someone is too good you especially have to watch out for ’em.

fozzie_bear

Fozzy Bear. Sure, he dresses like a hobo and I highly doubt that he’s employed. But I don’t know if he is guilty of touching kid’s butts. I just don’t want to believe it.

I think my money is on Teddy Ruxpin or the bad guy from Berenstein Bears. If you have any leads, please call 1-800-PAW-BUTT. All calls are anonymous, because the number is one I made up.

2016-12-03 (0 comments)

7 Reasons Why Parents Must Always ALWAYS Carefully Read Warning Labels

As a new parent, I’ve noticed that pretty much EVERY SINGLE baby product includes a prominent, scary warning label. Words like DIED and STRANGLED and SUFFOCATED are in big and bold and are very SCARY to a new parent. I’ve surmised that not every single baby product is that dangerous, is it? I mean, they HAVE to write some of those labels for the percentage of nimrods and dolts who do for some reason think it’s OK to run off really quick while the baby is in the tub to finish that last chapter of their novel. But sometimes the labels are missing something. I want more information. Thankfully, these following labels really give you the what’s what and finally speak to us in language that makes sense.

Here’s one for the car seat:

carseatwarning2

Here’s one about plastic bags. Plastic bags! Who doesn’t know not to let a kid play with a plastic bag?!? Worse, who is that cheap?

plasticbagwarning

Here’s one for the baby bath tub:

bathtubwarning

This is a new one for me, and a fear I hadn’t had prior to reading this particular label, so, thanks label people for giving me a new thing to have nightmares about. Apparently jackets kill the shit out of kids. Great. My kid will be wearing blankets duct taped around his body then, I guess.

jacketwarning

Here’s one for toys with small parts. By the way, Play-Doh should definitely have a warning like this on it.

smallpartswarning

Here’s one for a bucket. Again, why? Who? Where? WTF?

bucketwarning

Here’s another new one. I saw a warning label that was so weird. It was like, hey…there’s a small piece of this toy that you might not have noticed that could jump down your kid’s throat and cover his nose and, you know, kill ’em good. So, yeah. Maybe some warning labels really are kinda necessary.

oddwarningSometimes we have to decipher the warning labels on our own, because they have no words. I took the liberty for you here. How close do you think I got?
lionwarninglionwarningtranslationSometimes the images don’t really fit the warning labels, or are just a great set up. In this case, the warning label for a box. Again. Weird toy choice, bro.

boxwarning

Here’s another one where the image didn’t fit the warning. I don’t even remember what this was for. But the warning should be heeded!

kidwarning

Just kidding. I totally love my kid. He’s really sweet. But having kids be HARD, yo. I had no idea. And I only have one. I see people with two or more kids now and I find myself accidentally and loudly making a “GULP” sound like they do in cartoons. I look at them like they just made a quarter disappear behind my ear. I’m like, “How did you do that?!?” Also, this post doesn’t really have 7 reasons why you should carefully read warning labels. It doesn’t even have one. It was just a click bait title. Did I get ya? If so, I win! But I don’t need to tell you to read warning labels. And most warning labels don’t need to tell you what they tell you. You’re not an idiot, and you know not to let your child stir the mac and cheese with his hand or let him taste small pieces of his toy. In fact, you don’t need me or anyone else to tell you anything. You can educate yourself, and make your own informed decisions. After all, we have a massive overpopulation problem, so SOMEONE is doing it right. Someone just like you. Oh, and by the way–it is you. You’re doing a great job!

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