Thursday, December 27, 2007

You think someone would have bought me the soundtrack by now...

My girls are VERY good swimmers. Always have been. I remember sitting with Hazel in a hot tub in some backyard in San Rafael for her first swim lesson at three months. I had to buy them those floaty suits when they were two and one, because you can't very well come back from a vacation with a drowned kid. Destroys the whole; Wish You Were Here sentiments. And usually Erik is on the golf course and I would be by the pool. Now, I am ALMOST the mom who gets to sit on the lounge chair and read magazines or swim laps while the kids play a rousing game of Marco Polo.

In NYC, we went swimming almost every Sunday. Indoors at the West Side YMCA. We all had to wear swim hats/caps. There's video of Hazel impersonating a bulldog with half her forehead pressed down to her eyebrows.

I have no idea why I am feeling nostalgia for swimming. Must be because I went to the gym this morning. Ha!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Whatever You Celebrate

Lula brought this picture home from school. I just love it! I love that she learns about different celebrations and different traditions and it is all presented to her without judgement or discrimination. I had joked in the days leading up to Christmas, that we were considering converting to Judaism. With the window of Hanukkah over and Christmas shopping not yet begun. Get it? I'd be off the hook for magically pulling presents out of my "sack". I kid. I kid.

Yesterday, Erik and I got a few gifts for the girls. And as usual, the grandparents out did each other and themselves giving the girl everything there little hearts desired.

I hope that you and yours have a wonderful season of celebration.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Trying to tell us something.

I read this as: Fuk the one eye bleh. After some prodding I discovered Fuk is a character in the book Lula is currently writing. It is pronounced with a long U sound. He looks like this:

One eye indeed!

Monday, December 17, 2007

My brother from another mother

When I was six years old, my father (who had primary custody) went on a date with a woman and two weeks later married her. Married her in a church, no less. So that you may fully appreciate the scenario, you should know that the woman my father shared a basket of fried mushrooms at T.G.I.Fridays in Houston, Texas, during the height of the now infamous 1970's, had a son.

Soon after the wedding, I vaguely remember a family meeting being called and we all sat in the living room where my father gave one of his tense and somewhat stern speeches. The diatribe, in a nutshell, went like this. We are a family now. We don't need to burdened with titles like step and real. From now on, you need to call my new wife, mom.

Saturday, Hazel's brownie troop had a brunch. The what-to-brings were divided by first letter of your last name. J's were to bring fruit or salad. I picked up a bag of seasonal Clementines. Excellent choice, if I don't say so myself.

As Hazel and I stood in line, I struck up a conversation with the mommy behind me. I didn't recognize this woman. When she walked in to the brunch with a girl I knew from school, I assumed that she was an Aunt. But as we chatted, she quickly explained the situation. She stated that she was the bonus mom. She elaborated that I probably new the girl's tummy mom. But that she was the bonus mom.

Later, I told Erik about this newfangled name game. We discussed. It made me wonder if the forcefulness of the new titles that were thrust upon me at such a young age had anything to do with the ultimate demise and unraveling of the marriage ten years later. It made me wonder if we had some fun little phrase like brother from another mother in 1976, if he and my bonus mom would still be in my life today.

I first heard that phrase on the dynamic and thrilling saga that is Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Who knew the show would be educational too.

There's an ogre among us.

I realized something this weekend. Maybe you should sit down, this is going to be profound.  I realized I am projecting my feelings about the certain kindergartner's teacher on to the certain kindergartner.

This past weekend, Lula was talking when suddenly she exclaimed: Mommy! When are you going to get it through your thick head.....?!?!

I was too taken aback to remember what I should be getting through my thick head. Immediately, Erik banished her to her room with a firm: Do NOT speak to your mother that way, young lady! Her head is like her body. You hear me? Very, very thin!

But all I could wonder, was - where does she get that from?! And my Nancy Drew instincts kicked in. A classroom brimming with 5 year-olds, that's where. The smoking gun MUST be the Kindergarten teacher!!

Later, I went to talk to Lula about where she had heard about cranium density when I noticed a bruise on my sweet baby child. A circular contusion. It looked suspiciously like a thumb print. The kind you might get if, perhaps, a certain Kindergarten teacher squeezed your arm a too hard in a fit of frustration from having an insane about of students in one classroom who were all attempting to navigate full day of school away from home, many for the first time. Dun. Dun. Dunnnnnnnnn!

Lula, I inquired, where did you hear that? Who told you: Why can't you get it through your thick head?

To which she politely explained: I heard it on Shrek The Halls.

I am currently taking on a few more P.I. cases, should you desire my services. 

Friday, December 14, 2007

Is it too late to update my birth plan?

On the way to the hospital to have our first baby, we made lots of stops. Well, it was the height of the Christmas shopping season and to be honest, I was scared. So I threw all of my energy into the list of things to bring to the hospital provided in one of the many birth books I had at the time, and announced Champagne. We had to have Champagne. I waited in the car, probably having a contraction, while Erik ran inside a liquor store and bought a bottle of Dom. 
Then I asked if we could please stop at Toys 'R Us to buy a - omg, I can't believe this now - a car seat. Horrible, horrible, I know. But it was 7 years ago. And ummmmmm - I was first time mom, living in hippy, dippy SF and I thought the hand-me-down car seat I had procured would do just fine, thank you very much. Until, I was faced with the option of actually delivering or an opportunity for more shopping! 

We strolled up and down Haight Street. Maybe I waddled? I remember buying a new robe and new candle. I remember asking to use the restroom and being told that it was for "employees only" and Erik threatening the manager with I-don't-remember-what if they didn't let his wife who was about to give birth go pee.

Today, almost seven years later, I remember nothing about the candle. The bottle of Champagne is still in our fridge. I still wear the robe. But most importantly, we got to come home with the kid!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With Strings

My morning started with my mother, Lonah, proclaiming:

What are YOU going to GET Hazel for her birthday.

I should not let this get to me. I should know better. Dismiss it and move on. But I am 100% dumbfounded that no matter what we sacrifices we seem to make, no matter how amazing the planned party, no matter how many of the adults don't currently have an incoming income, in the world of Lonah, all that matters is a wrapped gift.

Presents. It's all about presents.

I tried to explain for the 50 thousandth time in my muffled work voice.

Erik had the best answer. As usual. This year for Hazel's 7th birthday, we (her parents) will give her a roof over her head and another year of unconditional love.

Oh and maybe a bike.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Having Myself a Merry Old Birthday.

That's right, it's my birthday! Yay! 

For the past six years my special day is mainly a prep day for Hazel's party. This year is hardly an exception. I have been told that I will survive her first sleep over party.  But first I have to go to a movie and out to dinner with my family. 

Oh, and answer the 12 emails that the office has sent because they have a hard time accepting the fact that I TOOK THE DAY OFF.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Name Game Addendum

I am planning a long post on my name snobbiness. But before we get any further, you should know, I have very STRONG opinions about baby names.

So yesterday when Beau shared the news that an old co-worker had named his baby — Graham Hudson, I was full of opinions. 

I like the name Graham. Spelled that way, I think you're setting your kid up for a lifetime of cracker jokes. 

I considered it for a boy name but wanted to spell it — Gram. A homage to one of my all-time favorite singer/song writers, Gram Parson's and my paternal grand mother who we all call Grammie. What stopped me was that I consider G to be a clunky and hard to write letter. It just isn't fun to write over and over and over again. And you know, you need that if foresee an active social life in the future of your unborn child. 

Beau immediately responded that NO WAY! You can not name a baby Gram because people might think of DRUGS. Specifically, he said, COCAINE.

This really threw me for a loop. I had never drawn the line mentally to make that association myself. Suddenly, I realized it also voided the use of the adorable nicknames I had concocted, Eightball and Dimebag. Bummer.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Name game

It's usually little things that really piss me off. I've always been irritated by people changing their names. And being such a name snob myself, you would think I would not care. Especially if it were an improvement. I would probably applaud a radical, left field moniker. But changing your name from Dave to David to accompany a bump in title/salary and cross country relocation, smacks of pompousness to me.  Maybe I am just jealous. 

My own father went with a late-in-life Bob to Robert transform. I still can't get used to it. 

So if you want to rub me the wrong way, ask that I start calling you some variation of name by which I have always known you to something completely different. For a reason clearly undefined. 

Today I received an email from my aunt Chris. It was signed: 

I cropped the screen grab to provider her some anonymity. Lea? She's signing mass correspondence with her middle name? I did not get the memo. Perhaps the (Mum) in parenthesis iced my irritated cake? But the cherry was this:

Aunt Chris, if your committing to this Lea business, at least change your email preferences. Thank you.  That's all.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Driving around looking at Christmas lights

The girls and I cruised the old neighborhood tonight. Our destination was the crazy lady's house. Remind me to tell you about the crazy lady's house.

En route, we passed a recent reconstruction. A modern monstrosity. A huge house with a solid wall of window exposed. Thinking of it now, I am reminded of the truck transport of holding half of a prefab house barreling down the highway with a swath of plastic exclaiming WIDE LOAD.

It's as if the house was cut in half. Sliced down the middle. In New York City it would be an modern art exhibit. Inside the parents were at the dining room table and a son was in an upstairs bedroom. Across there was a white Christmas tree covered in white lights. As we turned the corner, a large window on the front of the house also had a matching decoration, a white tree with white lights. A tree twin.

Oh! I exclaimed – they have two Christmas Trees.

And Lula said, "Wow! They must really not be Jewish."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

8 Strangely Weird Facts About Me: A Meme

1) I am a meme virgin.

2) I have a sewing needle inside my heel. Permanently embedded. It just showed up on an X-ray, and I have zero recollection of stepping on it. It used to really creep me out.

3) I have a lame tattoo on back, right lower hip. Once I applied to be on the Jane Pauley Show and have it removed. Then I realized there would be before and after pictures of my ass on national television. I don't think so.

4) I can find people I know in a large crowds. Honest. Once I sat at Madison Square Garden with a pair of binoculars and proved it to the nay-sayers.

5) I went to four different high schools and graduated in three years.

6) Lula crowned in an ambulance. The EMTs high-fived over me exclaiming: We've rushed countless women in labor to the hospital an nobody actually HAS the baby. I'm still kinda embarrassed.

7) Maybe because I am a writer, I am often asked to read at weddings. From which I coined now defunct phrase: Always a reader, never a breeder. I've actually been a bridesmaid twice. Both couples are no longer together.

8) Lately, my mother has been reminding me of Kris Kardashian. I am nothing like Kim.

Tagged by my dear friend at The Z Files.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Answered Prayers!

Today I was ichatting with my friend Kelley. She announced that she had put us on a prayer chain at the grief counseling group she attends. She added something to the effect of — boy those ladies can pray!

Reading over my post from yesterday the words, god could people stop sending us plastic crap jumped out at me. And wouldn't you know it, today we received pretty white gift boxes filled with fine Swedish clothing. See all you have to do is ask, and you receive.

So Lord, or owners of large and reputable editing facilities, could you please give Erik an opportunity somewhere in a Zip code that begins with the number nine and has salary that comes with at least seven or eight zeros behind it. (YES, I am including the cents placeholder in those zeros.) Could we be challenged creatively and continue successfully with a some sort of afore mentioned college fund firmly in place.

No rush, Lord. It's okay if you need to get to that one tomorrow.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Tis the season

I was thinking about how we've had quite a rocky career road as of late. He's been laid off in the spring. I've been fired in the fall. But never ever have we been under such a crunch just as it was time to sit on Santa's lap. And it's making me cranky! And why couldn't this happen when the girls weren't old enough to understand that we're dragging out feet on getting a Christmas tree because we're nervous about how to pay for it? And for the love of god, could people not send us silly presents we don't need and plastic crap for the girls. Can't they just contribute to a college fund, cause - um, right now, we sure aren't.

Here is a picture from the neighborhood Christmas tree lighting. I think we look like a million bucks. On the other hand, I think I look like I need a million bucks and some lipstick.


Photograph courtesy of Lakewood-Now