Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hide

You know what brings me a bit of pleasure? When I click over to another blog and it hasn't been updated in long time. Ah-ha! I think, I'm not the only one.

I've been working. That went somewhat poorly.

I've been having friends over. I like the ones that want to sit outside and bring chicken.

The girls went back to school and I'm on the board of the PTA. Madam Secretary. I've also volunteered to chair the MathBlasters fundraiser. Raise your hand if you just spewed coffee out of your nose?

Tomorrow the girls audition for another local childrens' theater production. My mouth, my wallet and my sense of well-being all just collectively tensed up. I can't wait to take a clandestine photo of the board president and all the unbelievably bitchy things she does. During the Ramona production she "bipped" my youngest atop her precious head and I was able to hold my tongue. She also used the phrase "it's not rocket science, ladies" as I assembled the cast photos onto the bulletin board. Oh, Ms. President- i'mma gonna get on your good side. And refill my prescriptions.

Erik returned from burning man with all of my possessions: my bike, my vintage cooler, my hula hoop...what else did he take? Erik is fond of saying two phrases when it comes to spending money:

1) Buy the best and you'll never be disappointed.

2) It would be a bargain at twice the price.

Burning man however, cost more than 3 times what he had estimated. He's glad he went, but he's not ready to commit to next year. But he was going to turn 40...someday.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What I Wore

I just ran to catch the 7:00 pm bus. I think running through the streets of San Francisco in my work attire with my laptop flapping about and raggedy old Kate Spade bag swinging side to side is really one of my better looks. What with the ill fitting bra and the awkward gait, it's got to be captured and uploaded as my profile picture to Facebook immediately.

Today I am rocking a new pair of corduroy pants. I was pleasantly surprised when I put them on for the first time in the safety of my own home. They're kind of that greenish/pea soup color. I was having a conversation with my husband, Erik, actually I was trying to crouch a complaint in an Hannah Montana analogy.

Me: You know how Miley will hear something she doesn't understand and thenspout out a long string of nonsense followed by a Say What?!??


To which he immediately replied: Girl-in-the-blinding-bright-yellow-pants-say-what?!??

I love that he knew what I was talking about even though most of the time I loathe everything on the Disney Channel. Loved it so much, I forgot to drive home my point about how I was irritated that he hadn't gone out of his way to make my life easier. Erik left for Burning Man today.

So I was feeling rather dapper in yeller pants. Then at work another freelancer who claimed he remembered me from back in the day. The day being the sometime in the late 1990's, he went on further to recall an image of me "wearing overalls."

Ugh.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Things That Make Me Go Arrrgggghhhhh!!!

There's usually a myriad of things that get under my skin on any given day. I work hard to let them slide. Let me type a few out for you so they can instantly transform into the trivial. Sometimes when I talk to my friends (magic days) I'll be rattling off a story of the latest and greatest injustice against me and just by listening to my own words I'm able to see the ridiculousness. Just a bit. Like a speck.

#1 -- My landlord is lackadaisical about cashing the rent check. Seems like no big deal, right? But this is NorCal akin to NYC. Our rent is a huge chunk of the budget. It would be so much easier if I could just slide a briefcase full of money under their door. Or even better, can't they just deposit the check. It makes me feel like they don't need the money. And I get such a charge seeing the checking balance so high mid-month. (Don't be all judgey that I'm a renter. They're predicting that the piece of land my house sits on will be underwater in the next 20-50 years, that is if the The BIG One doesn't hit first or the whole state slides into the ocean.)

#2 --Two of our neighbors have three vehicles for their homes with only two licensed drivers. This sounds petty, I know. Note: they're not like two trusty commuters and then some sick vintage muscle or newfangled electric. They're three cars in pretty much the same category. Few years old, hold about 4-5 peeps. Here's the rub, the people across the street (retirees) park two cars in front of their garage. A garage that is floor to ceiling full of stuff. The third car, they park in front of my house. They don't drive the car. Ever. They don't drive the car so much that there are weeds knee high growing under it. I look out my living room window I see their car and the weeds. Maybe I should just pull them? The weeds. Or call the city and get a neon sticker slapped up on that.



UPDATE: While I was working on this post the neighbor moved the car. For the first time EVER. To his driveway to wash it. I didn't even know it ran. I don't think he thought it did either, because he kept it running while he hosed it off. I paced about trying to think of who I could call to come an park in the vacant spot. (not a magic day/no friends) I considered moving my our one and only car to the spot, but was nervous about having to talk to him about the parking predicament. So I called my mom, she has balls enough for us all on keeping people off property. While I was dialing her number, the man moved the wet car back to the spot. Dripping with water, the weeds sprouted up a few more inches before my eyes.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Trouble in Paradise

Erik, my husband, and I are having a problem.

It involves our pool. And summer. And friends. I want to invite people over at every opportunity and twice on tuesday and he - eh, not so much. I want to invite my mommy friends. The kids' friends. People from work. Neighbors. The guys I bought the lounge chairs from on craigslist. I've managed to squeeze in two soirees. The first Erik was charged with BBQ-ing oysters. A labor intensive and temperate gig. They were delicious. He was done. We also had people over on the 4th. I think he had fun. Maybe a whole summerful of fun.

I always heed his requests and dial back the invitations. Recently Erik expressed an interest in going out of town in August to attend a pre-season NFL game. (Raider Nation!) I rushed to secure his flight. Days later we realized there was a conflict with his plan. "Why were you in such a rush to buy the ticket?" he fussed. Truthfully - I'd already started planning the party I could throw and the people (and more people) I could invite if he was out of town.

Last night I stared wistfully at an epicurious menu. "Want to invite people over for a Mad Men themed dinner on Sunday?" I inquired. "Sure" he said, "if the people are just our family."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Don't quit the day job

We're struggling with childcare. Ain't that always the way? I don't know how anyone does it actually. There's always some variable to the equation that makes me scratch my head.

The people who have parents that help out with the care. Huh, what? So completely foreign I look around for a translator.

Or how about the camps or after school programs that demand that you pick up your kids by 5:30pm? I love it when I arrive all sweaty, nervous and out of breath and the program facilitators give me the side-eye as we both watch the second hand swing to meet the twelve on the wall clock. These people seriously have no idea how I OJ Simpson my way out of the office, sprint to public transportation, jump in my car and pray for green lights to make it just in the nick of time.

The only ones who seem to have it under control or the ones that I really envy are those with a great relationship with their full time nanny and more money than they know what to do with. Currently, I've stitched together a series of day camps and a few weeks of back up childcare provided by Erik's office. (That's fancy talk for day care, but since my kids haven't ever really been to day care they actually thought it was kind of cool. Look -- that room has babies! And it was in the city, so every day they got to ride the bus or the ferry in and have lunch with Dad.)

This weeks camp ends at 4pm. Luckily, we have a friend who has been gracious enough to allow her babysitter to pick up and watch our kids until we can get home. On one hand it is a total godsend. On the other, it's got me thinking about a career change. Not really.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Creating One of THOSE Kids

My consumption of Starbucks is not out of control. It's more of an occasional treat. Depending on our work schedules, there have been times when Erik and I would stop and pick up a latte regularly. But there have also been long stretches of time where we never go.

Once, I picked the girls up from school and Hazel gasped, "You had TWO lattes?" The evidence in the cup-holders. One was her father's and he had left about 1/4 in the cup. She drank what was left in his cup and was hooked. Having outgrown the gateway kid's hot chocolate, Hazel started asking if she could have a latte on the rare occasion we all went to Starbucks.

"Don't be one of THOSE kids," her father said for my ears as well as hers. I can see his point. The only thing more annoying than overhearing ahalf-calf, non-fat, carmel, mocha, Americano, extra hot, with an extra shot and whip cream order would be having it come out of the mouth of a nine-year-old.

So it turned into something she asks for only when she is with me. She's also started liking Mocha Chip ice cream. I'm pretty sure there a group of moms that could get in a twist about me allowing my kid to order a coffee derivative flavor of ice cream on the rare occasion we go to the local parlor. Let the record show, that my mother kept ONLY Rum Raisin in her freezer the entire time I was growing up. (This may or may not have been a weight loss tactic towards me, but I'm pretty sure the message she was sending was: this ice cream is mine. Gads, do they even make Rum Raisin anymore?) But I digress.

I would like to say, a few of the Starbucks employees have tried to persuade my kid back to the heated chocolate variety. They've even given me the judgy eye the first few time I was naive enough to make the recipient known on my order. Last week we went as a family, so two kid's hot chocolates it was. But with Dad, you're allowed to pick out a pastry!! Oh. The. Excitement. Guess what Hazel choose?

The coffee cake.

Her sister is a donut kind of gal, but she was drawn to the marbled cake. As we were enjoying our breakfast, I asked Hazel how she liked hers. "It's good," she said. And then she whispered to just me, "But it doesn't taste like coffee."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What's Your Excuse?

Lula brought this paper home from school earlier this year. They were studying nutrition and the food pyramid.




Look at her answer for this question:



I found this funny. Or it could be that it's particularly telling about our house. Or it could be that I am easily amused. By the way, I bought eggs this morning.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Leak

I'm upset about the ongoing oil spill. I'm uncomfortable making jokes about it. I want it to be stopped and then efforts concentrated on the clean up.

I remember when the Katrina disaster was unfolding, we happened to be driving from Kansas to Texas and encountered some of the displaced at gas station. They were obviously in shock and wanted nothing more than to be heard -- oh, and something to eat. Maybe a dry place to sleep. At the time, my mother was on one of her infamous tirades. Not because of the loss of human life or destruction caused by the natural disaster. Not because the slow response of the government and relief organizations, but because one sentence in Dear Abby article she happened to be reading, taken out of context, could be used if twisted jussssst right to support her side of some long forgotten argument. I'm sure it was all my fault.

I remember we left the gas station in a rush, she was in a huff and we didn't help the people one bit. The man wore overalls and was missing a tooth. He was also missing his home and all his worldly possessions. I didn't know it at the time. The pictures and the news hadn't reached the local news. No one knew what a terrible mess it all was. No one knew yet.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I would walk away from a brawl

I'm running my third half marathon tomorrow morning. See what I did there? I said I was going to do something and BAM! Imma doin' it. I've got one of those ridiculous runners tans (white, white, white feet) and I'm kind of proud of it.

Last night I added a few new songs to my walkman shuffle. There's usually one or two songs that really help me get through a race. James Brown, I'm looking at you. Before my last race, I downloaded this little gem. It's pretty much my theme song. Erik MADE me get the clean version (Mamma's music is not for little ears.) Funny what I thought he was saying v. what was really said. NSFW.








PS: I love how he's got so much Maine pride. Pine Tree State - who-hoo!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

No Birth Photographer

Another way I've failed my children is that I did not have a professional photographer present to document their births. You should know, I didn't have any extended family members. Or a doula. In fact I barely had a doctor.

I did have a camera. That took film. Film that had to be developed. Developed at a store. A store that offered a discount on the second set of prints. Hi, year 2000.

Every once in a while, I'll stumble across those images captured in the moments after Hazel was born. I remember holding her in my arms for the first time. A nurse graciously offered to take a picture of us all. Erik, myself, newborn Hazel and poking out for prosperity my areola.

It really is a horrible picture. It seems to get worse with time. And as always, there's my boob front and center. Why didn't anyone cover me up? I think that nurse did it on purpose.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Everybody's Fine




We moved!! I'd like to think or say that I haven't been writing because I laze by the pool all the day long, but alas -that's not the case. I'd like to say I haven't been writing because I've been so busy unpacking, organizing and decorating but that isn't really the case either. Haven't been writing because I have a new job - nope. Haven't been writing because planning a big trip - uh-uh. Haven't been writing because I've been cast as the lead in the Berkeley Rep's newest musical - no way. Wet nurse to an entire Mayan village - never. I'm like a pair of old acid wash jeans - No Excuses.

However, I did put the dog on a raft and push it towards the middle of the pool. That took all of about 45 seconds.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rocky Road

Last night I thought it would be fun to head over to Baskin-Robbin for their .31 cent cone night. Weeeeeeeee.

Only problem, the rest of the planet had the same idea. Spying the line around the block, I decided to take the girls to another ice cream parlor. I saw a man getting into his car, so I turned on my signal and planned to take his space.

He approaches my car and warns me that my headlights are off. It's technically dusk, but I appreciate the warning and flip them on. I tell the girls that they can go ahead and go inside to get in line. The guy still hasn't started his car, so I pick up my phone an scan my twitter feed. Pretty soon he approaches the car again:

He: Are those yours?
Me: (confused) Those children?
He: Yes!
Me: Yes, those are my children.
He: And you told them to go stand behind my car?
Me: No, I told them they could go inside the ice cream store.
He: Well you must be smoking the crack.
Me: (pause) You are a nice man.

Arghh! I hate to have issues with people. In the retelling you'd think the man was elderly. But I guess he just acts that way? Maybe he has incredibly poor eyesight? It irritates me that he called it "the" crack. It irritates me that he was driving a new Mini Cooper, because up until then I have favorable feelings towards the brand. It irritates me that it's still bothering me a day later. Arghh!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Her Again


Last night I had the opportunity to meet up with BOSSY again and many other people on her (No)Book Tour. As promised there were name tags, wine, a videographer and food. Surprisingly there was a baby, people from far way places and an odd statue/fountain of a woman holding a washing machine over her head.



Friday, April 16, 2010

The Worst Idea I've Ever Had

I want to go to Greece for my 40th Birthday.

The way things are moving, it doesn't look like it's going to happen. So the other night I took a little look-see at Active.com to see what athletic events they have scheduled for December the 12th. There's a triathlon in Puerto Rico and there's the White Rock Marathon.

Of course I don't want to run a marathon, but more so, I don't really want to turn 40. Well I should say I really don't want to turn 40 feeling bad about my body, my career and the fact that I'm not in Greece. Committing to run this Marathon on my birthday would solve a few objectives:

I'd have to get in better shape if I trained and ran.
I'd have something to do on my birthday.
I have many friends and family in the Texas.
I'd always be able to say: I ran a marathon on my 40th birthday.

But all that seems kind of boring and common place and a bit like settling.

So I thought a plan where in I device a support team of friends and family to run the marathon relay style with me. Awwww - yeah! Off the top of my head here's few candidates for the relay team:

Erik
Hazel
Lemaitre
Gail
April


Then I thought, why not get a celebrity support team? Then I went to Kayak and looked up airfare to Athens.










Monday, April 12, 2010

Breaking A Leg & The Bank

I encouraged the girls to try out for our local children's theatre Spring production. Even though they have NO acting experience and Lula barely makes the age cutoff, I was pretty sure they would be awarded the lead roles after their audition.

I happily accepted when they were cast as part of the "ensemble". (Happily accepted like the Toddlers & Tiaras moms do when their kids fail to make the final crowning.)

After the first rehearsal, I was given the lists of parent responsibilities. The parent responsibilities included:

Tuition *cough, cough, choke, gag, gasp, cough*

30 Volunteer Hours

Retaining a sponsor

Selling Tickets (to our friends and family v. just at a booth or window)

Here's the kicker - I have to work the snack bar as part of my volunteer hours and today I found out that in addition to taking the money and making change I'm supposed to provide HOMEMADE BAKE SALE ITEMS to sell as well. I have THREE snack bar shifts.

Cakeballs.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Potty Talk

Yesterday, I threw up a post about Erik, his marathon and toilet paper. TOILET PAPER. Then in a moment of clarity, I realized – One doesn't get a Rachel Unchitel size payout by talking about bathroom business AND I wish someone would pay me to keep my mouth shut. So I took it down.

It's been hard keeping my head on straight this week. We still haven't heard about the house. I'm walking a fine line between remaining optimistic and not jinxing myself. While I was working on the Toilet Paper Post (not an April Fools joke, mind you) I came across a draft of a post I'd written a few years ago that also talked about the toilet. And I realized that I forgot to include the picture of the bathroom in the last post about the house we want. So here you go:

The Old Post

A few weeks ago, Erik told me he accidentally flushed a bottle of the girls floride down the toilet. The order of events went like this: business, flush, knock bottle into bowl, whooossshhhhhh!, bottle gone. He said it so matter of factly, that it would seem as if this was indeed an everyday occurance and quite normal. I think I was out of town. Something that assinine would never occur on my watch.

The bottle of floride is big. Bigger than travel toothpaste. Smaller than contact lense solution. Since this unfortunate knock off, we've been asking everyone to please use the toilet in our bedroom. Or to try to go elsewhere, seriously.

After several attempts of scheduling, the plumbers are finally here. I can hear them in the other room. They are big men. One is sitting on the edge of the tub and the other runs back and forth retriving tools from the truck. The one sitting, reminds me of people who use the motorized carts at Walmart in Kansas. He has a toothpick in his mouth.

(I can only assume I didn't publish because I couldn't figure out an ending. I do remember, we had to replace the toilet.)


The Bathroom

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

California Dreaming

Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying Planning and dreaming...

You know when you really want something and it's all over
but the waiting?

That's where I am right this minute.

I ache with want.



This is a game changer. A once in a lifetime.

It has everything we need and want.


I'm scared that if we don't get this house, I'll spiral into a
deep depression.

Please, please, please.


Outside of that sliding glass door — shhhhhhhh —
is a pool!



Monday, March 29, 2010

Focus on the medal, yo!


I ran that half marathon. It felt good! Beautiful weather, beautiful course. Lots of fun.

A few weeks ago, I did a 12K trail run on Angel Island. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. Trail runs are intense. It's a race up a mountain steep hill via switchbacks on a trail. Like a narrow, dirt, hiking trail. Half marathons in the city of Oakland are like a party. A party where your goal is to make it to the end, look good and stay alive.

And let me tell you— I. Was. Meatloaf. Two out of three, ain't bad.

It's exciting to stand in a crowd of people and run when they blow the horn. You feel kinda rebellious running down the middle of the road. People are standing on the streets banging pots and pans together. Bands play. Traffic stops. Everyone claps.

Because it's Oakland, there are Raideretts at the start. Members of the Raider Nation set up camp under the 880. Oakland A's fans that commandeer a corner. You run through downtown and Chinatown. Under freeways, through warehouse districts, past housing projects. You high-five hipsters.

I thought I was fast. I made a BOLD prediction that I had shaved 10 minutes off my time. I thought I hardly EVER walked. I thought I had a bit of kick at the end. I thought I still had a few more miles in the tank. I enjoyed the after party. I used up the beer coupons.

Obviously, I'm alive. And I made it to the end. I had hard time with the looking good. At these races they place photographers on course and they upload the pictures for your purchasing power. I hate having my picture taken. Despite my effort and pretty smile, it didn't work. Let's blame the outfit.

My next half is scheduled for June. I might actually feel like training tomorrow.

Here's a link to the Facebook fan pictures.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Something is missing

What could it be? Oh, yeah - new posts!

Sorry for the lack of updates this week. I'm in pre-marathon mode. Which means I stress out, fuss at my family and stay hydrated. I am only running the half but it my 2nd half. You know what that means. One half + one half = a whole. Am I right? Can I get one of those 26.2 stickers for my car already?


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Double Trouble


Let's say, you have two kids that are close in age. And you put those kids in the same activity (sport, art, etc). Are you obligated to do twice as much as a parent that just has one kid in the class or on the team? On one hand I think yes, but on the other I think no. I mean I'm er, you're just one person.

Discuss.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hot N Cold


One day last week, I had a Katy Perry kind of day.

'Cause you're hot then your cold.
You're yes then you're no.
You're in then you're out.
You're up then you're down.

The shadow of doubt around a potentially lucrative employment opportunity was cruelly cleared and I was left a voice mail saying that I was no longer in consideration for a job I thought that I had in the bag. It was shocking and somewhat hurtful. I hate rejection.

I write ads. It's not brain surgery, but the words and ideas do come off the top of my head. So by saying you don't like my work is in essence on some level saying you really don't like me. Ugh. I wish I picked a career that had the majority of the free world fawning over me. Although from President to postal worker - I don't really think such a gig exists.

As I wallowed in self pity, I received this email:

After reading your blog and [famous mommy blogger] for over a year... I want you to know I think that your blog is funnier and more interesting.

: )

Hope all is well with you. Keep up the good writing.

Oh, how those words made my day! I was on cloud nine as I set up our Girl Scout cookie booth outside of Starbucks on the main thoroughfare. Now I don't know about your coffee shop, but ours attracts locals and locos. About half way through the sale a roly poly old man approached the booth. He was wider than he was tall and the first thing you noticed about him was that only about every other one of his teeth were still in his mouth.

Now our Girl Scout council has mystery shoppers, so at first my mind was dueling between pedophile or paid informant. He asked a bunch of questions about tax deductions and pulled out his business card from which I learned he was an accountant for H&R Block. Out of nowhere, he instructs the girls that they should always ask "round" people to buy cookies because round people eat cookies. And then he points to me and says through his missing teeth, "You like cookies." Har, har, har.

Up then down. Another nose dive to my day. I felt like the reporter at the end of this clip.



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kids These Days

Erik had himself a birthday on Oscar Sunday. We had a small soiree to celebrate. He's so lucky. One year, his birthday was on Fat Tuesday. In a few years, mine is scheduled to coincide with the end of the world. To mark the occasion and the entrance, we placed some gold and black balloons out front. You know, just to point people in the right direction. A non-verbal cue that the even if you don't see the address, you are indeed at the correct location. While we were still setting up and getting organized, Erik witnessed a group of girls drive up in yellow Mini Cooper. One of the girls hopped out of the car and began untying the balloons.

Erik: Excuse me. What are you doing? Those are our balloons.
Girl: What! I was going to give them to my friend.
Erik: Well, they're ours. It's my birthday.

Then she turned on her heal, threw her hand out and mockingly told her friends It's his birthday. Then she jumped back into the car and drove off.

I couldn't believe the audacity of it all. I might pick up a penny I find on the ground. Or help myself to a please take one. But just walk up and take something that everyone knows isn't lost, free or naturally replenished.

About the time they awarded Best Foreign Language film, I looked outside and the balloons were gone. I'm not sure if it was the same thieves or another group of gangsters, I'd like to think that it was some other hooligans birthday too.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

I used to have more toes

Oh, I've gone and done it! I've shot myself in the foot. Me, of judgy motherhood fame. Me, who proclaims she only allows her kids one extra curricular activity a week. Me, who squinted her eyes and looked down her nose at all the other over scheduled kids. Against the wishes of my husband and my better judgement, I've signed my kids up for every conceivable activity in our community – twice over.

I came to this realization yesterday and am in an all out panic about it ever since. Add to this, our *cough* marathon training schedules, work and camping trips I had to secure months in advance. I am so mad, but yet, I have no one else to blame. Right now, my days and nights and weekends are filled up with carpooling the kids from one activity to another. The worst part is that I know that I did this. I'm trying to get it all on the calendar. I'm pulling in favors from friends and neighbors. "Can Hazel walk over to your house after poetry enrichment?" (Gawd, I'm rolling my eyes at myself as I type. Just so you know, the after school enrichment classes are a fundraiser for the school in addition to adding arts to the curriculum that the State of California is slated to slaughter. Which reminds me, I need to go march and protest at the Civic Center tonight after the Girls Scout meeting and the play rehearsal.)

Arrrrggghhhhh!

Don't get me wrong, I like to be busy. Just not double booked for the next 8 weekends and every day in between. Sure, I can take deep breaths. Yes, I know that the world will not end if Lula misses a softball game. (Remind me to tell you about the pitching clinic.)


Right about now, I think it's me that needs to hit upside the head.





Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Farm Charm

I talked to my Grandma Dee today. Remember, it is ALWAYS something with her. We talked about my cousin who is expecting and her sister, my cousin who is getting married, how she took the Council On Aging van to her Doctor's appointment and she told me for the second time that her church is having their annual dinner on Sunday. It's St. Patrick's and "they always have corned beef and cabbage. And pie! They make the best pie. " We talked briefly about my uncle who got divorced a few years ago after his wife left him for the hired man. I call her Lucille, but I don't think my Grandma gets my joke. Another uncle had some medical tests and a biopsy yesterday. She doesn't know when he'll get the results. The doctor told him to rest after the procedure but a cow was "calfing" (having a baby) and they had to go pull it. She'll never forget, it was last year or the year before that, my uncle was pulling a calf and it's head was out. It's tongue was out too. The tongue is always out, she says.

And then she just blurts out a series of words that were disturbing and forever imprinted in my brain. I'm going to spare you the same fate. Just imagine if Quentin Tarantino and Rob Zombie made a movie that took place on a farm in central Kansas. Yeah.

So while my mind is reeling from the image of the story that now she and I will never forget she closes our conversations with "let's talk of nice things next time. Just happy stuff." She was referring to bringing up the divorce not the cow.




Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Duggar-esque

Yesterday, I learned (via Facebook) that my cousin is pregnant with her 5th!! child. This news has me all out of sorts. I haven't seen my cousin since she had her first child. I made a trip over to my Aunt's house to see her second child. Then there's the third and fourth that exist because my grandmother says so. Granted, my cousin's mother is one of 17 kids so it is probably in her DNA to have a big family. My mom can't get past the fact that she has that much sex. (I know. At least 5 times, right?) I have this nagging emotion that I can't quite put my finger on. Am I jealous?

After I had Lula, people would start to inquire about a third and I'd answer, "Mamma wants to go to Greece." Well, here I am 8 years later. No more kids and no trip to Greece. Not a day goes by that I don't say to myself - parenting is HARD! There is a challenge at every turn. Yesterdays challenge was more like a roller coaster built by untrained engineers, run by blind operators in the rain that had a malfunction. But it's also so much fun. Does my cousin get to have 3 more times the fun?

Every night since the day Hazel was born when I lay my little head on my pillow, I think what a great day. Because seriously, WHAT A GREAT DAY. But then usually during the middle of the night I'm gripped with fear about how I'm going to pay for college, if my kids get enough: culture, religion, diversity, non-media downtime. What about the fact that they can't go to the middle school we're zoned for - so now we have to move again, what if they have social problems and the biggest kicker -what if they hate me when they grow up? I have to think my cousin isn't gripped with the same fears in the middle of the night. So I guess, that's why I'm jealous.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm not laughing

Does your dentist or your child's dentist use nitrous or laughing gas?

Growing up, mine never did. In fact my first run in with nitrous happened in the mid-nineties at a Phish show at SPAC and came in a balloon. My second happened in Labor and Delivery during precipitate labor.

So at Lula's dental appointment...One cavity. Her first. Sad face. No Nano....the desk lady was going over the treatment plan for her one (minor) filling. The plan included going ahead and pre-billing insurance for two fillings just in case and using nitrous which costs $65 and is not covered by insurance in addition to the standard numbing shot.

I'm not barbaric, I feel adequate pain medication is necessary. I might be a bit cheap, but what exactly is the profit margin on this pain relief for EVERY child walking through that door? Our dentists in New York and Dallas did not readily use nitrous for every procedure. Aren't we supposed to discourage drug use in children? Whose pain are we managing here? Part of me wonders if it doesn't make the most basic treatments easier for the dentists. I've poked around a bit on the internet. This is what Wikipedia says about Nitrous:

it is frequently used to relieve pain associated with childbirth, trauma, oral surgery, and heart attacks.

I think it's a bit excessive to break out the gas for a surface cavity. I hate it when I grow suspicious of a care giver. Please tell me what you think.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Putting My Money Where Her Mouth Is

I try all the tricks to get my girls to take good care of their teeth. I buy fruity flavored pastes, have a timer on the sink, pony up for the brushes that vibrate and play music. And last year, in a moment of stupidity, I even promised monetary rewards for a cavity free check up.

Lula is a kind of kid that starts 8 out of 10 sentences with, "Can I have.....?" To her credit her requests are often creative. Just last night she asked for a jackalope and a dragon. (I said yes to both.) This year, Lula got exactly what she requested for Christmas, a remote control boat. But before the propeller had even hit the water, she was coveting her sister's new iPod Nano. With no forethought, the words "Lula if you don't have any cavities the next time you go to the dentist, I'll buy you a Nano" flew out of my mouth.

At the time, I didn't really think it through. I actually thought there was NO WAY I'd be buying a new Nano. But last week when Hazel had zero cavities, I started to panic. Her appointment is at 3pm today. She's smart enough to know that the Apple store is open until 9pm.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Return of the Baby Bottle Top

On the way to gymnastics, Hazel and I found ourselves behind a bus with the infamous nesting doll/baby bottle top ad. "Look, there's that ad." I said. "It still has the baby bottle top." Hazel immediately interjected. I handed her my phone and asked her to take a picture. Actually, I asked her to take lots of pictures. "Get closer," she instructed. "I want to make sure you can see the baby bottle top."



This reminded me of when Hazel was a toddler and I'd have to firmly tell her it was time to try to go to the bathroom. She was the kind of kid that was too busy to go. She's stand there with her legs crossed and her eyes watering holding markers, blocks or some other toy and insist she didn't have to use the bathroom. I'd have to use my serious voice to demand that she at least try. After a succesful attempt, she'd point at the toilet bowl and exclaim, "See! See! It's just WATER."

We had a good laugh as the bus stopped at a light and Hazel was able to get a close up. She continued to insist that the smallest doll is a top to a baby bottle and I continued to retort that it's obviously a prophylactic. I'll concede that the image does look like a bit like a baby bottle top. With the messaging mentioning both birth control and HIV testing even I'm getting confused.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gold or Pee - Take your pick

I have yet another million dollar idea. Idea seems a bit strong, because it's borrowed interest, but none the less we can all agree - it's a goody.

Last weekend, we were given the Jelly Belly Bean Boozled game. In a nutshell, you spin a wheel that lands on color and then you eat a jelly bean. The part where it gets tricky is that for each color there's a delicious traditional flavor or a disgusting horrible flavor. You have no idea what you're going to get.

Is it Licorice...or Skunk Spray? Is it Juicy Pear....or Booger?


While the girls took a gamble, I thought what if all of my trigger foods were presented this way? What if you were presented a box of Godiva chocolate and there was a chance that one of the truffles, just might taste like poo? What if cheese (I'm thinking fried mozzarella stick) was actually soap? Diet Coke could taste of motor oil. I've been able to make about anything I can think of absolutely inedible in my mind. What's more, I haven't had one single jelly bean out of the box.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

She Didn't Learn This From Me

One of the ladies in our house is operating under a "panties optional" policy. (Hint: It's not me.) This morning, the particular person in question was sitting on the kitchen floor pulling on a pair of leggings as her very first layer.

Me: How 'bout some underwear?
She: Mehhh! Who needs 'em.

It reminded me of a time probably about three or four years ago when the kid in question announced from her car seat en route to the birthday party, "I forgots me pantaloons." No problem, I thought. We'll just stop at a Target, Kmart, Kohls, Wal-Mart and pick up a pack. Of course, we miraculously seemed to be in the only ten mile square, big box store free zone in the world. I even tried a fancy baby boutique, that had a $20 pair of ruffle butt diaper covers that I actually considered forcing my almost 5 year old to squeeze in to. So, if you're reading this Laney's mom, we came to your tea party commando. Sorry.

Back to this morning, I pushed on with the request for undergarments.

Me: C'mon. Go put on your undies. Panties are a girl's best friend.
She: No they're not, mom. A girl's best friend are diamonds!



Tuesday, February 9, 2010

That's Ms. Half Marathon to you

Oh, look who survived her first half marathon?! I would have told you about it sooner, but walking across the living room to grab the laptop is nearly impossible. I kid. Sort of. The worst part of the 13.1 miles? When I realized there was no way to cancel the babysitter I'd scheduled and was forced to go out to watch the Superbowl afterwards. Hell with beer.



Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Off by an "M"


We're driving and Hazel takes notice of the ad on the back of the bus in front of us. The ad features matryoshka dolls, Russian nesting dolls. The dolls go from biggest to smallest and end with a rolled up condom. The headline says something about how sexual health includes more than birth control and to be sure to get tested for HIV.

"I don't understand why the littlest doll is a baby bottle top." Hazel says.

I explain that it's not a baby bottle top, it's a condom. To which she replies:

"Oh no. That's the top to a baby bottle."

No, I tell her. And we go back and forth all the while she insists that it is a baby bottle top.

I try another route. An attempt to relay a story where I was once at a young age confused about a condom. I had been to see the cinematic masterpiece Howard The Duck. In one scene, Lea Thompson rifles through Howard's wallet finding a condom tucked in a compartment. My aunt asked me if I had any questions about what was in the wallet. To which I replied:

"You mean the guitar pick?"

Hazel was unfazed by my sharing and insisted that the image in question was still a baby bottle top. So I switched gears.

"Do you know what a condom is?" I asked her point blank.

She scrunched up her face and thought about it for a second before she replied, "I'm pretty sure it's like an apartment, but the people own the units instead of just renting them."

A condo looks nothing like a condom.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Whipped eggs and such

Y'all loved talking about food and what Erik eats so much the last time, I thought I'd share this little bit more.

Oh, first - let me tell you that Erik and I ran a 15K this morning. I promise my post about my commitment to run three half marathons is coming, right now I want to talk about foooooooood! Yay - sustenance. (I sound like a crazy person. A crazy person who wakes on a Sunday to run 9 miles.)

A few months ago, as I was walking the aisles of the grocery store and Thanksgiving was approaching so I did what anyone would do, I bought some mayonnaise. Some low-fat mayonnaise, because turkey sandwiches were on the menu and I wanted to have supplies on hand.

I planned on eating many a turkey sandwich, personally I like them with cranberry, cheese and sprouts. So thanksgiving has come and gone and we've cooked at least two turkeys, but here's the thing – that mayonnaise it still in my pantry and a turkey sandwich now comes with mustard and not mayo. That bottle of mayonnaise I bought four months ago - it expires in May. Tomorrow, I'm bringing it to a bin for a food bank donation.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Everybody's doing it

I've just hung up the phone after a heated conversation with my mom. It all started when she asked about what I thought about the Josh & Fergie scandal. I honestly told her, I didn't have a strong opinion. Rumor has it Josh hooked up with a stripper. His bigger mistake, in my opinion, was blabbing about it on the movie set and then someone who overheard tipped off the gossip mags. As for the convo with my mother, not caring was apparently the wrong answer. All of the sudden, my mother is adjusting her mitre and has a holier than thou stance on infidelity.

"You have to admire Elin. How she's filing for divorce and walking away from Tiger Woods." my mother continued growing agitated. That's not what I've read, but it could happen. The reports are that Elin has consulted a divorce attorney but she has not publicly filed and supposedly Tiger is locked up in a Mississippi sexhab.

The conversation with my mom continued with me throwing out names like David Letterman, Bill Clinton like we were old friends or neighbors and my mother proclaiming to have all the facts and none of the compassion that comes with having made ones own mistakes. She seemed so smug, shouting at me with her back firmly against her own metaphorical closet door oblivious to her own skeletons.

Suddenly, she wanted to turn it into a WWYD? "What if Erik was having an affair!" she asked. I was flustered and frustrated and didn't even want to think about it. (Can't we talk about what we are having for dinner?) Instead I ended the conversation by saying, "One thing I know, I wouldn't tell you." Oh, snap.

Then this morning, John Edwards decides to officially come clean and fess up to fathering a child with a co-worker while his wife was dying of cancer and he was running for president.

At the same time, the mystery of the NYC billboards looks like it's another cheating man and a woman scorned.

Ugh! Can't everyone just keep it in their pants?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I have a dream

There's always SO MUCH pressure to come back with a humdinger of a post after you haven't thrown anything up in awhile. One should have a viable excuse. Or some exciting news. Or something. I've got squat. Yeah, I've been working. Oh, and I'm training for not one - not two - but THREE half marathons. I know it's so ridiculous it deserves it's own post. (forthcoming)

So yeah, I "ran" 8 miles this morning. And I say "ran" because when I am unable to breath or my iPod goes apeshit and throws the $%#*&@#$*!!!!!! Annie soundtrack into the mix I have to grab the handrails and throw my legs to the side and get to pressing buttons and try to retrieve that Ke$ha song. (Sister of mercy, I can't run to soundtracks.) I call it the run/walk/stand approach and I'm going to patent that. So don't steal it. Then I see Erik four treadmills over running, waving his arms and mouthing the words "What. Are. You. Doing? Run!!"

Okay, so in California you're not allowed to text and drive. So I've taught my kids to text. Tell your dad we're on our way home. I say, as I toss the phone to the backseat. Tell your dad we need milk and eggs. Tell your dad - you get the idea.

And they know (because they have eyes) how to use abbreviations for words. At school this week, they were going over the calendar in Lula's class. One day was marked with the letters:

MLKING DAY

"Milking day?! What's milking day?" my seven year old asked.

Don't get all judgmental. I'm willing to admit that my kid is in a much more diverse class than yours. Seriously the days of the blond-off are long gone. It's just that the way it was written on the calendar, it looked more like a grocery list than a national holiday. And her teacher agreed, because she took out the dry-erase marker and added the proper punctuation:

M. L. King Day


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

In Case Of An Emergency


We finally took the girls skiing! It was amazing. We had a great time. We forwent the costly lessons and spent the first day on the bunny hill together. We'd watched a few instructional videos before hand, so they could make french fries and pizza slices with the best of them.

On the second day, I'd stocked up on a few supplies from our hotel vending machine, including a package of M&Ms. I solemnly tucked them deep into an inside pocket of Hazel's winter coat.

"Here" I said, "If you get separated and lost in the woods, you'll have something to eat until the snow patrol comes to rescue you."

Wide-eyed, she shook her head in agreement, "Good idea, Mama."

I could never do this with Lula. She'd inhale her treat before we even left the parking lot. Towards the end of the day, I convinced Hazel to divvy up her loot and we all got a little chocolate. I wonder if she even realizes how far out of harms way she actually was.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Year End Round Up

The day after Christmas, we were at a birthday party for one of the girls friends. "How was your Christmas?" one of the moms innocently asked. It was if someone suddenly pull-started a lawnmower - my mouth opened and I couldn't or wouldn't stop until the whole nine yards was down. "Shut up!" the voice in my head said. But "Oh, and then....." came out of my mouth.

I remember last year, Christmas 2008, when another friend had exclaimed that spending the holidays with his ex-wife and their two kids and his new boyfriend had been one of the best holidays ever. I tried to wrap my head around the whole idea and was inwardly envious of the sentiment. Last year I was on the mend with a broken arm. The economic meltdown was heating up. We were in debt. Things looked bleak and they weren't slated to get any better anytime soon.

But as I reflect over the past twelve months I have to happily report it didn't get any worse. In fact, it got a whole lot better. Sure the fish died. Yeah, we're still in debt. I still wish everyone would pick up after themselves more - myself included. I think the marriage could use a bit of work in the communication department. Or maybe not. (I've been joking over the past few days that instead of having a midlife crises Erik is going to have a midlife "get it all together".) If it ain't broke - walk a mile in a pair of ten-year-marriage shoes - they aren't exactly comfortable or, come to think of it, fashionable on a daily basis.

The past two weeks have been wrought with nonstop fun and togetherness. There was the amazing trip to Disney for Hazel's birthday. Followed by a Christmas prep week where Erik took one for the team by taking on a freelance project. Christmas eve we went to the gym. Then last minute shopping. Then a church service. Then out to a fancy dinner. On Christmas Day we reserved a Mini Cooper Convertible from ZipCar and tooled around SF like tourists. We hit Tahoe for three days taking the girls skiing for the first time. I carved and shredded my way down the hill without breaking a bone and winning many a X-Game gold medal in my mind. We planned our own New Years Eve Party with balloons, decorations and toddler sized lobsters from Chinatown. Erik played golf and went to the last Raiders game of the season. I squeezed in the solo trip to the movie theatre just before the time ran out of our holiday.

(Here is where I learn to hush, lest I start to sound a bit too braggy and insert camera phone image to prove point)