Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How We Roll

The girls have a friend over. We've got a full on play date in effect. What started out as an innocent board game has morphed into pretend play using the fake money from the game.



The scene: Three rich friends are riding in their respective limos talking to each other on their cell phones. They exit their cars and are walking towards the red carpet for their fashion show when Lula announces....

LULA: Guys! Guys! I sold our limos.

HAZEL: What?

TORIA: Are you kidding?

LULA: No. I've replaced them with fancy bikes that have built-in hot tubs. And flat screens.

Hazel and Toria look nonplussed.

LULA: Annnnd...A fried chicken bar!

A Slap In The Facebook: Part 3

This one is more of the upside-the-head variety slap v. the straight across the face leaving a red hot hand print on your right cheek kind. I'm sure there is an obvious answer. Something akin to walk away from the internet, perhaps?

Here we go:

I was clicking around the blogosphere and landed on Yvonne's post about her own personal FB dilemma.

Reading her personal problem prompted me to bring up my latest FB conundrum. This is what I wrote:

Y - could you advise me on my FB dilemma? A few months ago I was looking at the friends of my old college friends and found my HS boyfriend. We dated all through HS, I followed him to college and we broke up almost as soon as I arrived on campus. I don't want to be friends FB or otherwise with him. Recently - okay fine, damnit, TODAY I was looking through the list of his friends and found this girl we were both friends with in HS. Her family was very kind to me and I'd like to thank her as an adult and let her know that I still, to this day, remember and appreciate her and her parents kindness. But, I don't really want to be her FB friend. I don't want her to comment on picture and then be able to flip through his album. Or for him to see pictures of me and my family. I just want to say thank you to her (our mutual friend)and then go our separate ways again. Help.

Or. I could just forget about it?

How Not To Get Murdered or Molested

You know how they have those news stories where someone's perfect wife has gone missing. A few days later there's large search. Followed by a community candle-lit vigil. Then the families tearful pleas. Later on, suspects are named. Finally a body is found. And after an exhaustive search, who done it? It's always the husband. Or more likely than not -the husband. (I just tried to look up some fancy statistic to support my theory, instead I found that spousal murders are on a twenty-year decline. Yay marrieds!)

So, the nutshell, don't get married if you want to decrease your chance of getting murdered.

Easier to enact, is my plan to prevent child molestation. Historically most children are molested by a family member or close family friend. So to reduce our chances, I don't leave my kids with just anyone. Specifically, I don't leave them in the solo care of male family or with friends who have an odd man about. It seems strange to look inward for suspects, but those are the facts. (Of course, I leave them with on occasion with Erik and I can think of a few other exceptions. But not many.)

Sometimes I have to remind myself of my own rules. Tomorrow one child has an invitation for a playdate at a house where a eighteen year old cousin has just transplanted. I'm either going to cancel or rearrange so the play takes place at my house. I can do that, I have to keep telling myself. I can because I'm the mother.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hawaii Postponed

A few months ago I watched the documentary A Family Undertaking. You know the growing trend for home births? Well, it's kind of like that, except about death. Netflix describes the film as:

Before the Civil War, preparing the dead for burial and funeral rites generally fell to friends and family members of the deceased. The 20th century saw the rise of the professional undertaker, a trend that changed American attitudes toward death and distanced grievers from their loved ones. This eye-opening film uncovers a growing movement advocating a return to a more traditional, personal approach to honoring the dead.

Afterwards, I decided to reiterate my last wishes to my husband. Basically, that I wanted to be cremated. Have my ashes scattered some place beautiful. No autopsy. And if he could, to please walk me to the door of the cremation furnace.

It was kind of a heavy conversation. I took great care choosing my words and occasionally had to pause to let my thoughts form in my head before I was able to get them out of my mouth. But as my requests came to a conclusion, Erik was quickly able to sum up the whole of my desires.

"I got it" he said, "I'll take you to a volcano and push you in."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Crunch

Yesterday I picked up my bike with the girls and we rode to the Town Center where they have live music on Thursday nights. Then we rode by the beach as the sun was setting and took the way we travel home from school and it was good. Very, very good.

So tonight, we helmeted up and headed down to Park Street. We stopped at a store I've always admired and cruised over to lock up at the new bike racks the city just installed next to the movie theatre. A jazz band was playing outside the restaurant across the street, some teamsters were protesting the fact that the theatre doesn't hire union workers and I glanced up just in time to witness a mini-van roll over the front tire of Lula's bike.

Panic.

Tears.

Wailing and scratching of paint.

The hardest part of the ordeal was trying to remove the bike from under the car. In all of the commotion I didn't think to demand that the woman pay to fix her bike. I was too busy being thankful that the worst part was a bent wheel. I carried the sad cycle two blocks to the shop and it should be as good as gold on Sunday.

I hate it when things like this happen. Mostly because I'm not really sure WHAT happened. Did Lula give the woman the appearance that she was stopping? Did the woman not see Lula? I was right there, why don't I know how it all went down? I'm just glad we were all able to walk away.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wish I May


Last week, I crossed one off my ridiculous parental guilt list and took the girls to Disneyland. We had the best time ever. I bow down before Walt and I can't wait to go again. Before you think the trip was all full of magic fairy dust and helpful forest animals, let me add that we battled flight and family problems. But the key to a successful trip to the happiest place on earth is cold hard cash perseverance. My sister, myself and the girls were at the gates when they opened. We hit Space Mountain first and proceeded to walk on to most of our must rides before there were lines. Around noon we met up with Disney aficionado / bona fide Rock Star and my Dad. Guess which one was a bit of a downer? By the look on his face, you would have thought we'd dragged Dad to an all day dental visit. At one point after touring through the often overlooked secret passages through Sleeping Beauty's Castle, we all gathered around Snow White's wishing well. I passed out pennies to everyone, the girls clutched them tightly in their little hands, they closed their eyes as everyone drew in their breath to make their respective wishes in silence my dad loudly muttered: I wish...I wish that we make it home safely.

Huh? What?!!! I've been beside myself with dismay from the moment the words left his mouth. Hello! The first rule of wishing - you don't say your wish out loud. Hello! The Secret?!! You've just invited trouble to our door. I tried to talk to my dad about it (among other things) and he claimed it was the same as saying 'have a safe trip' or 'drive safely'. I completely disagree, but I attempted to forge ahead with a smile on my face.

All in all, we ended up having a wonderful time and we did make it home safely. Although with an additional day in LA and a unexpected rental car. My dad went his way and I choose to spend the night with my sister and drive home after a full night's sleep during the light of day.

Last night we were discussing our trip and I asked Hazel what she had wished for she smiled and said "I can't tell, then it won't come true."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

I really enjoyed this article about living in San Francisco I was alerted to via Kottke.org.

I'm working on a post about my restless spirit and how I'm not one of those people who could ever, nor was I- born, raised, lived and died all in the same place. I get itchy and ironically, the minute we moved back to the Bay Area (a place I'd been pining for from the moment we left) I felt my affection start to rise for the East Coast, specifically NYC. Go figure.

So the article has a set of rules that can be applied to almost any city. I'm all for taking advantage of what's in your own backyard. Let's see how I'm doing:

1. Live in San Francisco.

Well, we're not in SF proper. I wish we were. The school situation is a bit tricky in SF, it's not as simple as moving into a neighborhood with a good school and being guaranteed that your kids can go to that school. There was a more than likely chance that the girls would have to attend different schools in the city or be bussed across town. This fact made me uncomfortable. We choose Alameda for the schools and the beach. If it's any consolation, we can SEE San Francisco from essentially our front yard.

2. Jump in the water.

We've been out to Pt. Reyes, Kirby Cove, Angel Island and Crown Memorial Beach is out our front door. A few people have asked me if I let the girls "swim in the Bay". I discussed this with their pediatrician and am happy to report that her only concern was swimmers itch - the same affliction swimmers are susceptible to in the pristine waters of Lake Champlain. We need some improvement on hitting the Sierras and getting our mountain on.

3. Eat the food.

More sushi. More berries. Practically vegans. I'd say we've got this one covered.

4. Get a bike

I'm still trying to recover from losing my beloved Felt Cruiser. Seriously, that bike was so good looking it turned heads. Last week I tried to buy a hot pink burning man special. Yesterday, I went to look at a two cruisers from craigslist. And today, I forked over my debit card for this beauty.



Isn't it gorgeous? Looks like candy.

5. Make real friends

I'm working on this. We've done pretty good, but there's room for improvement. On the 4th, I attended two separate parties where I knew more than the hosts at both and I met a bunch of new friends.

6. Be real yourself

I love the description of "San Francisco is the kind of place where nobody will tell you when you have a bad idea". I think this may apply to every other place in the world. It's hard to squelch enthusiasm. I'm happy to report, I still have it in spades.

Tell me -how are you doing in your hometown?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Guess What Time It is?

It's that time of the year when my family leaves me and heads to Vermont and I panic. And you didn't even notice. See how good I am? That's right, they've been gone for over a week and you have not had to hear a whimper or whine or nary a whisper about it. People will often say, "oh you'll get a break" which I guess I do, but I don't really feel like I need one. This year instead of packing and selling our worldly belongings, I have practically reorganized and rearranged the whole house. (I still have our two biggest pieces of living room furniture to relocate, I just haven't figured out who I'm going to prey on to assist.)

My biggest accomplishment has been the restructuring of the girls' room. For most of this year (and their lives) they've shared a bed. A few weeks ago, Hazel decided she'd had enough and began sleeping on the floor. For a few days, I thought it was a phase she would grow tired of, but after a week I began to worry that this would be added to my already growing list of sins tucked inside a thick folder down at CPS.

There was discussion of possible new furniture. Round two of bunk beds? Maybe a loft bed. Maybe my family would come home and find me frail and weak and buried under lists of IKEA instructions. Instead, I found a similar white wood twin that would work with their existing suite and then proceeded to push and pull the beds, desk and armoire around until I figured out a suitable configuration. I'm anxious to see how it works for them, but for the better part of the last week I've been taking it for a test drive. (Translation: I've been sleeping in my kids' room while they are all out of town.) Is that weird?

The new bed.



The room.



The Namaste Sign.



I love that Namaste sign. If you come over, avert your eyes to the places where it's had to be glued back together because it wasn't secured properly, fell and broke. Just focus on the sparkly purpleness and the special light in me, that sees the special light in you.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Turn For The Worse


Yesterday, I met my cousin in Santa Cruz. We decided to ride the Giant Dipper. The eighty-five year old wooden roller coaster on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

I really didn't know what I was getting myself into, I had a bit of trepidation, but glancing at the historical posters detailing the ride, I thought 'no big whoop'. The speed was listed at a mild fifty-five miles per hour. I could handle this. It was eighty-five years old -for crying out loud.

From the first jerk I knew I had bitten off more than I could chew. Instantly you're whipped into a pitch black, dark tunnel. Instead of the usual slow, anxiety building climb that scares you silly but reassures you that it's all down hill from here; we were whisked into complete darkness twisted about, turned, churned and finally spit out to the sun.

Without even realizing it, I'd grabbed on to the seat in front of me, locked my elbows and was pushing with every muscle in my body attempting to press myself further into my chair. The coaster jerked and kicked, my eyes were shut tight and my mind reeled with the unexpectedness of it all.

Even though the ride appeared unassuming from the outside (by comparison to something like...oh, say- The Pacific Ocean), this was by far, the scariest roller coaster I had ever been on. And it seemed to go on forever. I remember noticing the people getting off before us. No one was white with fright. Puking from pure terror. A pooled up puddle of shrieking hysterics. All reactions I was mulling over as my life flashed before my eyes. What the hell was happening? And why wasn't it over yet? I gripped the seat in front of me tighter and pushed my arms out as hard as I could.

When the ride finally came to an end, they stopped the car 10 yards in front of the holding barn of others waiting to meet the same fate. I thought this was a ploy to allow people time to recover. Even with the pause I was completely speechless. Slowly, I unclenched my hands and turned to talk to my cousin. That's when it hit me -excruciating pain. Like a bolt of lightening shooting down the right side of my neck into shoulder and upper back. It's the kind of pain that makes you reconsider thinking nothing is worse than contractions. I was instantly stiff. One of those poor saps, that has to turn their whole body in order to see what's going on right beside them. And the salt in my wound, was that I did all of this in front of my twenty-two year old cousin.

How could I be so stupid, I thought. I knew that the locked arms and forceful bracing had played a part in the injury. 'Going with the flow' and 'enjoying the ride' never entered my mind. I was faced with the unexpected and instinctively my intention was to hold on as tight as I could, open my eyes for a brief bit every once in awhile and just make it to the end. And where did that get me?

In a world of pain.

I slowly walked to my car. Concerned about how I was going change lanes during the long freeway drive home with what was sure to be a bona-fide case of whiplash. I thought about my tight fisted reaction, the way I'd resisted ever movement of the amusement and wondered if the whole experience was a metaphor for how I live my life.