Friday, November 30, 2007

Who's your blogger?




It was real.

It was fun.

It was real fun!

Never once did I click on the NaBloPoMo Randomizer and land on my own page. If you did, would you be so kind as to leave a comment? I'm a sucker for any contest where I might win a prize, that was my main motivation for starting this endevor. I know I was listed on the blogroll, so I really hope I am coded into the randomizer.

I've bookmarked a ton of new blogs and started reading and learning about all kinds of strange, I mean, interesting people.

Thank you for reading and have a good weekend, yo!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

California Dreaming

It was during an iChat with my fabulous and openly gay friend Charlie, that I learned that he was a out. And out as a gay bear. No big deal. Immediately, I did what any gal in my shoes would do. I googled that shit. I thought I knew and I did, but now I have wikipedia facts.

I just love Charlie. He's a friend of Stef's. We walked down the aisle together at her first wedding. He lives in California. The motherland. He's going to find us fabulous jobs and a bungalow on the beach. Oh Universe,are you listening? I want to move to California! I want Dogtown, baby. I want grommets.

Back to Charlie, after these years, all the time we've spent together, I still feel it would take a loooooooooooonnnnnng time for him to get on my nerves. Now that's somebody I don't meet every day.

Charlie said it would be really great if we moved to Los Angeles. He said we were down to earth. I wondered if that was how the fabulous say frumpy?

I wonder alot of things. And I am so thankful that I have friends like him to help fill in the gaps

So, tonight I'm surfing around and I run into this:



And I'm even more confused than I was before I started.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Honey, I'm home

You have no idea how much I have idolized business travel. So today, wouldn't you know it, I was the Murphy's law of airport arrivals. Destination was Richmond, Virginia. Two day, quick trip. I was up at 5 am. Showered, packed and kids kissed as I pulled out of the driveway and into every red light from here to the freeway I work so hard to avoid. I hit traffic. I had lane closures. I had no idea what terminal to go to. And I had no gas. Security stretched north to Kansas and I had to re-enter my putty grey plastic bins into the x-ray machine two times. I was trying so hard. I followed the signs. Even they led me astray. No trip. No hotel.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Trim

Yesterday, Erik got his annual haircut. Well, it was bi-annual. He figures it has been two years since he last sat in a chair near some scissors. I love Erik's hair long. Period. End of story. I think he looks like the grandson of Willie Nelson or the son of Jeff Goodby.

In the past, there has been no happiness after the cut. The problem he surmises came from the addition of bangs and resulted in what I referred to as a boy bob. Ugh. I loathed this cut so much I ofter requested that he not get it cut at all. Then there was the brief foray into really short hair. This involved a pair of sheers and a few beers. One forth of July, he actually let me shave his head. And that was FUN! But we both feel like I became some sort of modern day Delilah and have since sworn off the buzz, cut only.

We were considering a Keith Urban cut when I held up a recent People magazine, only to have Lonah call a mullet. Really? A mullet?! Hear that, Nicole?

So yesterday, I attempted to make eye contact with the stylist to hold up a small amount of space between my two fingers and mime the symbol for just a wee, small, tiny, little bit. Later, Erik told me that he said to the hairdresser: Don't pay any attention to that lady. Today, he no longer has the longest hair in the family, but we are all pleased with the results.

Here is before picture that when I saw it my first thought was, we're all hair and brown eyes.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Time to check my eyes

Once in college, rushing out for night on the town, I grabbed a blue aerosol can and began spraying it wildly all around head. In the split second it took for my nose to register the smell, I managed to apply a full dose of deodorant to my late 80's big hair. I thought that was the worst of my beauty errors. Until yesterday. Yesterday, I mistakenly applied some shu uemera cream all over my face before realizing it was false eyelash glue.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thankful to be home!

The last day at Lonah's never goes well. And even if I told you, you still wouldn't even believe me. One of my good friends, we've even been roommates on two separate occasions, said she never believed me until she witnessed it for herself. She said: All the stories I've heard about your Mom, I really thought you were making it up.

Hell hath no wrath like Lonah.

I have no idea why I let it get to me. I have no idea why I can't handle it all better. It is sad, but it is over.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Oh so thanksful

Happy Thanksgiving!

Erik has volunteered to guest blog. Fingers crossed. Until then here are the events that have taken place thus far...

We ( the Johnsosn's) had breakfast at IHOP with Bopa (Uncle Bob, my dad) and Grammie LaQuita.

Then we stopped by the grocery store and made our way to Lonah's for:

Smoked turkey.
Hazel's buttermilk smashed potatoes.
Lula's famous fruit salad.
Oyster dressing of yore.
Classic green been casserole.
Heated jar of turkey gravy.
Lonah's various appetizers from Real Simple® magazine.
Can cranberry.

There was tons of food. Almost all four alcohol groups. We haven't even had desert. I hope you had a equally as enjoyable time with your family.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How Dare I

Two Thanksgivings ago, we went to my Aunt Beverly's. Aunt Bev is my father's sister. They are equal months apart as my girls, sixteen. Which means, for the most part, one year. I fretted during my second pregnancy, because there has always been friction between Aunt Bev and Uncle Bob and I didn't want the same lifelong competition started amongst my soon to be siblings. Luckily mine were same-sexed and hopefully we are on track to avoiding whatever it is that caused their rivalry.

So two years ago, at Aunt Bevs, there was turkey and as they say, all the fixin's. I was tasked with bringing wine. And my father, Uncle Bob, was to bring the Texas favorite - Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream. I remember that my cousin Liz's in-laws were present decked out in burnt orange and there was the requisite friends and even some children running around. What fun! (Beau that was for you. )

When I was a child, all of my aunts and uncles were like super heros to me, and Aunt Beverly was no exception. She was a talented seamstress, great cook and all around domestic diva. She had strong opinions, which she shared with much aplomb. Our relationship became shaky when once I reached out to her on a visit home from NYC and suggested we get our nails done. Through a simple miscommunication I arrived at the wrong address and since the manicure was to take place on her lunch hour, ended up missing the appointment. Even though I profusely apologized, Aunt Bev never accepted that it was miscommunication. Instead, it was a grave inconvenience caused by me and put upon her. Why she didn't call my cellphone is one of our great family mysteries. Why she didn't give me the name of the salon so I could call information is equally as perplexing. But that's topcoat under the bridge.

The Thanksgiving on 2005 was the year to get everything back on track. The food was amazing. I was surrounded by three generations of family. I had a wonderful time. It wasn't until weeks later that I heard. My cousin told my father who told me that Aunt Bev was unforgivably offended! I attempted to remember what I had said or done. Perhaps it was the children?

And then the sin was revealed. Erik was the offender! He had gone into a back bedroom and - it is hard for me to even type this today - turned on the TV and watched FOOTBALL!!! Oh the horrors!

We won't be going to Aunt Bev's this year. In fact, I don't think I have heard from her since. I hope she and her family have a glorious football free turkey day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Company's Comin'

Today:
left lunch in the car.
thrown-up on by dog.
stalked on Facebook.
and now Aunt Flo is in town.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I've always been a wee bit clarivoyant

Once I conjured up a phone call from a boy in sixth grade, by just the sheer will. And I've been known to speak of my Faith Popcorn-like trend spotting skills in many an interview. Yesterday, when I blogged of my sister and Ben Fong Torres, we all should have seen this coming.




I also been known to say that my sister will one day marry Brad Pitt. So, beware Angelina.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Once Upon A Time When Dinosaurs Roamed the Earth


A few days ago an illustrated Simpson's version of my sister popped up on my computer screen. She was ichatting me to ask if I knew any music journalists. Quickly and sarcastically I typed back, Ben Fong Torres.

"Yeah", she instantly replied. "I've already emailed him."


I was taken aback, slightly. It is not surprising for my sister to hang with fame. Her music video is the debut of Beck's little sister. She's friends with offspring of both the Bee Gees and His Royal Highness, Willie Nelson. She lives in LA, so I could go on and on.

"Remember when we met him?", she continued.

Slowly the fog lifted. We were at SXSW. Shopping on South Congress and I looked across the rack and saw Mr. Torres. I had met him once before at a book signing in San Francisco. He had written an amazing biography of one of my favorite musicians, Gram Parsons.

And I started to recall. My younger, freer, wilder self. The me who went to see live music many nights a week. The me on the front row who got backstage. The me who could stay up past midnight. The me that was almost famous.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Overdue

Last night Erik and I pay-per-viewed Knocked Up. And in the scene where the Paul Rudd was describing married life with children as tenser, non-funny version of Everybody Loves Raymond, I was laughing so hard I cried. I cried! Real tears. It was hilarious. And it was true.

I have been in an unfun funk since Thursday. The day I found out that Stef got laid off and that an old friend of mine is now a gay Bear. You try and wrap your head around these two events. All I can do is shake my head, curse and hug my kids.

Stef had her second child less than three weeks ago. She gave BIRTH to a human being around the time I last went to the grocery store. Stef was the one with the staff job in her family. The one with the steady paycheck and the one with the insurance.

I'm not very good at tossing around the standard everything happens for a reason or the you'll find something better. It sucks for her. For them. Even though I am in a similar boat, I don't want her misery for company.

And my other friend. We used to work together. These days, he's still on my Christmas Card list. I've known three husbands to leave their wives and marriages because they came out of the closet. This last one is thus far the first with children. It has been years since we've talked. I've never met his kids. His wife probably wouldn't remember me. But I ache for all they have gone through.

And selfishly, I morn another loss of star player who has switched teams.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

People, I don't make this stuff up

I told you this Hannah Montanna stuff is out of control. Check this out.

The Hannah Montana concert here came with it's own insanity. Erik and I debated how much money we should send Hazel to the concert with? Lonah lobbyied for Hazel to buy Lula a present. (About the only thing that Lonah like more than not eating, is presents. Pretty presents, wrapped in boxes and bows.) I channel surfed through various local news channels. Trying to catch a glimpse of Hazel or Hannah or Hazel and Hannah. It was the lead news story after all. At only one point in the evening did my sweet baby Lula bemoan her unluckiness in the situation saying, "I want to go to the Hannah Montana concert, Mommy." And I answered her with the wishes of almost every girl in the area. "I want to go to the Hannah Montana concert too."

Word for the day

One of my early memories is looking up what time All In The Family started in the TV Guide and my father exclaiming: You can read?!?

Today, kids are taught to read by sounding words out. First they learn what sounds all the letters make. And then they are encouraged to write the words based on these sounds. For example:



Awwww. Cute, huh? Did you read that? Isn't she smart? There was one thing that caught my eye. This:



I'm sounding it out now. This one didn't make the bulletin board.



Lest you think I'm absolutely horrible and because I was present at the pumpkin carving, I think she was trying to say she carved a pumpkin solely by herself.

UPDATE: It has been pointed out by other mothers, ashole translates into also.

Almost Famous


A few days ago an illustrated Simpson's version of my sister popped up on my computer screen. She was ichatting me to ask if I knew any music journalists. Quickly and sarcastically I typed back, Ben Fong Torres.

"Yeah", she instantly replied. "I've already emailed him."


I was taken aback, slightly. It is not surprising for my sister to hang with fame. Her music video is the debut of Beck's little sister. She's friends with offspring of both the Bee Gees and His Royal Highness, Willie Nelson. She lives in LA, so I could go on and on.

"Remember when we met him?", she continued.

Slowly the fog lifted. We were at SXSW. Shopping on South Congress and I looked across the rack and saw Mr. Torres. I had met him once before at a book signing in San Francisco. He had written an amazing biography of one of my favorite musicians, Gram Parsons.

And I started to recall. My younger, freer, wilder self. The me who went to see live music many nights a week. The me on the front row who got backstage. The me who could stay up past midnight. The me that was almost famous.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Yummmy, Crow!




At the birthday party last Saturday, I arrived thirty minutes early with no cash. Of course, they didn't have an ATM. Well they had one, but a thief had walked out with it. Stole the whole machine. The dingy outline was revealed on the wall and the lonely electrical cords were still on the floor. After a few inquires, the employee had determined that he could swipe my debit card and give me some cash. The air hockey, whack-a-mole and Dance!Dance!Revolution called. Oh, and the kids wanted something too.

So when I checked the bank statement online, the pending charge was for $34.50. Four dollars and fifty cents worth of service fee and not one mention from the employee. I was steamed! I composed the call to the manager of the alley in my mind. I mean c'mon, it was a bowling alley not a strip club. I'm not paying over four dollars in service charges, especially when the cash went right back into their video game pockets. So today when the charge actualized there was no service fee. None.

And guess what Lula had for snack on Tuesday? Cheese and crackers. Guess what the Kindergarten teacher has in her classroom? A refrigerator. Guess who is eating a heapin' helpin' of bird pie. That would be me.

Maybe I should check my sources more thoroughly.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Looky Here




This is a video that my soon-to-be famous sister directed and my fabulously-talented husband edited. Ain't it pretty?

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Inhumanity of Healthy Choices

It is no secret that a certain someone's, certain Kindergarten teacher is NOT blowing my doors off. When I try and put my finger on when things went South, I'd say it would have to be the first week of school when the little one came home with a folder full of frowny faces. Oh the horror! I mean seriously. My kid?

Well today was the given day I had signed up to bring snack. So this morning I, Erik really, peeled 12 cuties (aka clementines) and we cut them in half and combined them with a package and a half of Kraft® singles. Keep in mind this is NOT a hippy, dippy nursery school. I love the hippy, dippy. I'd be all over the Waldorf or the Renaissance if circumstances were such. So the pressure to create theme related snacks is off and the number of parent supplied snacks with artificial ingredients is up 10-fold. So I felt slightly smug bringing in whole food, unprocessed California fruit. Stopped short of organic.

So you know what happened? Said teacher, put Lula's snack in storage in favor of individually wrapped Rice Krispie Treats. So our snack was wasted, ruined.

Lonah, I recommend refrigeration on this one.

And in other news:

My Razr phone has miraculously come back to life. A quick dip in the workplace toilet/pool and 3 weeks later Voila! — no worse for the wear. But T-mobile, our days together are numbered. I still really want an iPhone.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Let's keep it that way

Today Lula was a guest at the 6th Birthday Party of Ian, a boy in her Kindergarten class. It was a good party. Cute theme. Nice weather. Kids being kids. Parents I like. There was pizza and a bounce house. Mix of girls and boys. Midway through the party there was talk of going to Ian's room to play with his toys. As Lula led a line of kids into the house, I overheard her loudly state to the group, "Okay, but I don't have alot of experience in boys' rooms."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A funny thing happened on the way to the birthday party.



I've got a little Charlie Bucket under my roof. Somebody won a golden ticket today. Hazel got invited to the Hannah Montana concert. Squeeeeeeeck! Can you believe. Hands down the hottest ticket in town. Check your eBay. Your stub-hub. Your 6 o'clock news lead story. The event sold out in 14 minutes. The tickets being scalped at 10x their face value. Miley Cyrus in coming to town and Hazel will be in the house.

I don't watch the show. I did the read the People magazine article about Miley and Billy and the whole Ray Cyrus clan. And I was all over the gossip blogs when the false rumor of her pregnancy was wrongly reported. I checked the CD out from the library and even I have to admit, it is a bit catchy.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Hahahahahahaha

Work has been a bit of a beast lately. Busy, busy, busy. Lamenting to Hazel I proclaimed:

"I've been so busy at work every day, I have not been able to leave for lunch all week.

To which she proclaimed: "Wow, you must be hungry."

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Where the money go?

One of the things I loathed about my old job, was the door-to-door commute. It wasn't the actual drive time that I detested, it was the route from the parking garage to my desk. Upon entrance to the garage, I had swipe a pass card lifting an electronic arm allowing access into the multi-level parking structure. Round, round and round I drove - finally reaching the 8th floor where the reserved spots were fewer and open spaces became available. Once parked, I navigated to the center bank of elevators that would take me to the garage's third floor. On the third floor I followed a cross walk through the garage down a ramp through a two sets of glass doors down and escalator, through an adjacent building that houses shopping, hotel, restaurants and an ice skating rink. From there I walked across a sky bridge over several blocks of downtown, through another building twisting between hallways to another descending escalator. Once at ground level, I the went through the building lobby, through more glass doors finally outside I crossed the street pushed my way through a revolving door and took my place with a mass of people waiting for the building elevators. Often this wait took several minutes. Once crammed inside, the elevator would undoubtedly stop on six or seven floors before finally depositing me on the twenty-forth floor. Wearily, I would make my way to my desk. And the price tag for this luxury perk was $60 a paycheck.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Then & Now: II

THEN

(June 2005) I've wanted to start a blog for soooooooo long.The one thing that was holding me back -- OS X. My lack of a fully supported browser was really starting to cramp my already crowded style. But alas, my dear friend Gail came to the rescue. And now I can surf, sell and blog with reckless abandon. Allow me to bring you up to speed...(and I promise to fill in the gaps at later). My name is Vanessa. I have two daughters: Hazel and Lula. On the Monday after Mother's day, my husband Erik, was laid off. How does one gift wrap a pink slip? This proves particularity perilous due to the fact that we live smack, dab in the middle of Manhattan, NY. That -- coupled with the fact that we weren't the most fiscally responsible couple in the world to begin with -- equals mac'n'cheese for dinner for the second night in a row. Oh, fondly I remember sushi and take-out of when I once thought we were scraping by. So (more speed) we're due to be out of this apartment at the end of the month. We have no car. No money. And soon no home. And two kids! This is crazy! Our plan is to try and sell as much stuff as we can in the next week, put the rest in cheap storage and go to my mother's house in Austin, Texas. This morning it hit me. I won't even be a SAHM - stay at home mom. I'll be a SAMMHM - stay at my mom's home mom. A new low? A new beginning? A new blog.

NOW

(November 2007) Ain't it funny? Look at us. Same song, second verse? I was chatting with a co-worker today about how the kids are great! The marriage is good! The career...eh...well. She gave her theory that something has to be in the toilet. Everything can not be going well at all times. I've also started reading that book The Secret. So today, I am attempting to attract a good day. Come to Mama.

In comparison to where we were three years ago: Still married! Two cars. My mom, Lonah had done a major renovation on her home and is poised to turn her garage into an apartment. (Erik is poised to move in.) It's probably been 2 months since I've had sushi but only 4 days since I've had BBQ. We now have 4 pets. Oh and get this, we OWN our own home. Well I guess the bank owns it, and I have no idea how we will pay for it, but I am a tax paying title holder. Oh and I have a job. I am a WOHM with an annual salary with a few zeros behind it. Like I said, Come to Mama.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

More

Hilarious and Heartbreaking.

I am still at work. It is 7:31 pm.
Friday night, I was on a conference call from 9 pm until 12:15 am.
Then I went to the office to make revisions.
I left the office at 4:32 am.
My work, my writing was just referred to as "half-baked".
I am working on the glossy inserts you will receive in the Sunday paper.
The client says these inserts tell a holiday story.
The story features 20+ products to buy.
Erik asked if blogging every day of November was the best use of my time.
This morning, I stepped on my belt and the hook that goes into the belt hole went into my heel.
I already have a sewing needle stuck in there.
I saw it on an x-ray when I broke my ankle. My surgeon said it was common.
That, "You'd be surprised what you find on x-rays." I was.
Coconut's partner, her parakeet significant other, his name is Keith Richards.
Coconut is the only pet we've had die. So far.
We had a desert box turtle, Stripers.
Erik found him on the front porch. He said it was trying to ring the doorbell.
We let it go in the backyard. The girls think he lives under the deck.
Lula calls a maze, like the ones found on children's menus, a 'amaze'.
The girls pronounce almost all of their words correctly now.
I didn't properly document all the sickeningly, adorable things they used to say when they were itty.
This makes tears come to my eyes.
But for Halloween, Hazel went as a "Debil".

Monday, November 5, 2007

Dazed and Confused


I've been searching for an excuse all day to do my Parker Posey impersonation and scream:

All right - You little freshman b!tches!

So far Nablopomo is going. It's fun and daunting. I've discovered this and I'm hooked. Which led me to this. Which got me thinking.

I too have been sifting through the Randomizer.

Trish says we are collectively boring. Trish says she wants hilarious and heartbreaking. Today, Stef said I was humble and hopeful. Humble and hopeful. It's there in the comments. (Leave one, by the way. I understand now why they are addictive.)

Hilarious and heartbreaking. Here goes:


We're temporarily one-income.
Erik thinks Austin is the answer.
I think Los Angeles?
Erik thinks he's been put in a bad position.
I think and I think and I think.
Hazel got a 100% on her spelling test.
Lula's family turkey project is overdue.
Our parakeet, Coconut, was found face down at the bottom of her cage.
The girls have not yet noticed .

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Amazing Race

I love me some Amazing Race. And I've turned the girls into little Phil lovin' race junkies. We have this silly family tradition, where we choose our teams. The team we each think will win. Then we watch and root all season, with the winner gaining bragging rights. The girls usually pick girl teams. Erik picks an athletic team. I pick the hippies.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Learning The Alphabet

THEN:

When we lived in NY, there was a Lucky Brand store around the corner. On Columbus, I think. On the corner of 69th? I like Lucky Brand. They have a sale twice a year. It was the Summer Sale 2003. Thankfully, Lula had fallen asleep in the stroller and I had Hazel sequestered in the dressing room with me. Frantically, I was trying to find the elusive combination of shirt that fit, looked good and seemed worth the price - even at 50% off. As I was trying yet another fitted black T-shirt Hazel stood below me. She was two and a half. Rushing, I ripped off one and was trying to decided which shirt to try on next. Hazel reached up her arms gazing up at me standing in the small dressing room in my bra. With her hands above her head, she reached towards my boobs and exclaimed:

Up, W! Up! Up! W!

NOW:

It is Saturday night. We watched the end of Akellah and the Bee. Now the girls are busy each creating their own books. This is also known as, Mom how do you spell every word? Lula is working very hard writing and illustrating. Her story begins, Once upon a time. Thoughtfully she asks:

How do you spell 'a'?

Friday, November 2, 2007

If You Are



Yesterday was a particularly trying day. One of those where life throws you a curve you weren't expecting. Where one minute your thinking about going to Mexico for Christmas and you can almost imagine the sand and the surf and the frothy drinks with umbrel -- AND then WHAM-OH! Christmas itself is suddenly in question.

Now of course, I can count my blessings. We're healthy and happy. Honestly, I blame Erik for putting it out in the universe that he was "waiting on life's next great adventure". Be careful what you wish for, buddy, you just might get it.

But yesterday, it was all new and uncertain. And the new news was turning around so fast in my head, I was just trying to get a grasp on the idea. And of course despite what ever neurotic or depressing scenario I am creating vividly imagining in my head, I always put on a brave face for the girls.

So while I was tucking Lula into bed, we were talking. About School, friends, how she can't possible sleep all alone by herself and about monsters with big teeth that might eat her. When she suddenly asked:

Mommy, are you happy?


And the question just kind of hung out in the darkness as we snuggled in her little bed. Thoughts raced thorough my head. Why is she asking this? What does she know? Does SHE think I'm depressed? Is she clairvoyant? What will become of us? I pulled myself together and answered that Yes! Yes! I am very happy. And then she said:

Mommy, do you want to show it?



And just as I was about to connect the dots she said:

Then clap your hands.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

What's in a name?

Am I doing okay? started innocently enough.

To fully understand, you'll need a bit of history. My Beaufriend started about two weeks after me at my old job. It was his first job, so he was naive and scared. I, on the other hand, was seasoned and jaded. The story goes that his first impression of me was one of awe and wonder because I possessed a vast knowledge of all thing advertising and the ability to project (a false sense of) confidence! What fun!

It was on his third day that he overheard me exclaim to the co-worker in the next cube, "Am I doing okay?"

And that is when my cover was blown. My whole life I have always looked for reassurance that what ever I am doing, I am doing well. I think that it probably one reason I picked a career that is very much like school. We get assignments. We have deadlines. We get feedback. In many ways, advertising award shows are like report cards. Well, more like a Who's Who of American High Schools.

I'm always critiquing myself. Questioning if indeed, I am doing okay. And on this day. The first day of November. The day after Halloween. I am here to tell you I am NOT doing okay.