Friday, July 29, 2005

Jul of the Day

I keep meaning to post this: please go check out Jul's site, because she is doing a book drive in honor of her 40th birthday. She is asking for donations of children's books and has promised to donate $4 per book received (in addition to the books, of course).

It's tons of fun looking a kids books--what a walk down memory lane!--and then it's all for a good cause besides. Everybody wins!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Livin' in LA (with my best old ex-friend, Ray . .')

Okay, so that song lyric has nothing to do with the following post. It just popped into my head when I typed "Livin' in LA".

The other night I made a date to go visit a friend in her new apartment. I fed the kids, and left Lance to do the bath-bed routine. It was 6:15pm.

I live on the "westside" of Los Angeles. My friend's new apartment is in the valley. This means that in order to get from my house to hers, you need to drive on the 405 freeway. I'm pretty sure (though I didn't look it up) that the 405 freeway, for all you non-LA dwellers, is the most traffic-y (how scientific!) highway in the country. The actual distance between our homes, according to MapQuest, is 18.83 miles. We had arranged to meet at her place around 7pm.

HA HA HA HA HA! 7pm? As in rush hour?

At 7:25 pm, over an hour after I left my house, I called her on my cell-phone.
"Hey, girl, what's up?"
"I'm on the on ramp to the 405."
"You're just getting onto the 101 now?"
"No. I'm not even on the 405 yet. I'm still on the ramp trying to get onto the 405. I've been sitting here for 45 minutes."
"Guess you're not seeing my apartment tonight."
"Nope. Maybe this weekend."

By the time I got on the freeway and then back off at the first exit, and back to my house, it was almost 8pm. Joy.

*** **** *** **** *** ****
The other morning after I dropped off Isaac at pre-school, I took Vivian to the grocery store. It was early--around 8:15am--so the store was fairly empty. A great time to go shopping. As I rounded the corner where the health foods are kept, a tall woman caught my eye. She had very short hair--like the way Trisha cut hers a little while back. I kept going (no reason for me to stop in the health food section, after all) but something made me turn my head to glance at her again. It was Jamie Lee Curtis.

Unfortunately that's the end to the story. The sad thing about meeting a celebrity is that you can't really approach them. I mean, she was just there to buy some organic soup. She didn't need me mooning all over her. But it would have made a better story if we had exchanged something--anything!-- more than glances.

She looks great, by the way. And she's really tall. Not like some celebrities who are so much smaller in person than they are on-screen.

Also, even though I live in LA, I rarely see celebrities. I'm pretty oblivious, unfortunately, so usually I only spot them when I have other, more aware, people with me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Stephanie over at Creature Bug recently wrote a really sweet post about her husband on their anniversary. They met in high-school, and got married at twenty-one.

Whenever I hear stories like this, I shake my head in disbelief. How can you know who you want to spend your life with when you are so young? I'm convinced it must come down to emotional (and other) maturity. Some people are just more sure of themselves, more convinced of who they are and who they want to be than I ever was until my late twenties. (Or have I figured it out even now?)

Many of you--my loyal readers-- have shared your stories with me, and a surprising number of you met at a very young age, and are still together. My own parents met in high school and are still married today. A good friend of mine met her husband at camp when she was 15 (Hi, Lori!). I know this happens, but I still find it hard to wrap my head around.

When I think about the first boy I ever loved--Anton--all I can think is, "Thank god I didn't end up with him!" Not that he was a bad guy; on the contrary, he was hysterically funny and sweet, and he loved me deeply. Until the end, then . . .well, things ended badly. There are many reasons I am glad I did not end up with him, most importantly being that I would never have found Lance, would never have birthed the two best children in the world. But also--had I stayed with him, I probably wouldn't have moved to California, I wouldn't have had so many of the experiences that shaped me. My kids, if we had them, would have red hair! Not that I have a problem with red hair, but that doesn't make sense to me now, looking at my two blondies. Of course, if I had stayed with him, I would have a whole myriad of different experiences that I couldn't imagine my life without. I just wasn't ready at that time for a lifelong commitment. I could barely commit to a major, or to staying in school, or to a mountain bike at that point in my life.

After Anton, there was Andy. Andy is the sweetest boy on the planet, and I think my one regret: I wish I stayed in touch with him. (Though it should be said that he really lost touch with me. And perhaps he does not regret it.) I miss him. But again, I am glad we didn't end up together. He is probably playing his bass guitar in a pick-up band in San Franciso or Austin, living out of his green VW van, smiling at everyone who walks by these days. Or maybe not. Maybe he's in suburbia somewhere, with two kids, like me--still smiling at everybody who walks by. Or he could be painting, or writing--not for anything commercial, though, I just can't picture that. He would probably shake his head at my life, with a smile, and remind me how we used to laugh at people who owned houses and nice cars, how once we drove past a mailbox that had the name "STUCK" scrawled on the outside, and we thought that was just the absolute perfect symbol of what we considered to be middle-class boring lifestyles. Look! The Stucks! They're stuck! Oh, how we laughed!

After Andy, I moved to San Francisco. And then came Paul. Oh, Paul. The one that I am SO GLAD got away. Paul who never had a job, Paul who could charm anyone he wanted, Paul who mooched off anybody and everybody, Paul who insisted we not be in a monogamous relationship because that would just be NO FUN, Paul who I allowed to break my heart into millions of tiny pieces over and over. Though even now, when I think back on those months with Paul, I smile, because despite everything, we did have fun. I had more fun with him than I'd ever had before in my life. Nothing like being young and in love, in a new city, making new friends and being on your own, 5000 miles away from Mom and Dad. I was making some horrible pittance at the abortion clinic where I worked--$500 every two weeks, if I remember right--and still we laughed and partied and carried on daily. How many times did he call me at 7:00am (or more often, just roll over) and say "Hey, call in dead today, okay? Let's go to the beach." Luckily for me there aren't a plethora of 22 year old college graduates willing to work for less than $10/hr "counseling" women through abortions, or I would have been fired long before I actually quit.

Then finally, thankfully--Lance. Whew! Still, when we met, I was not looking for a life partner. I didn't want to get married, didn't want kids, I just wanted a date for parties, someone to go to dinner with when my friends were busy. And that's what we did, at first. Just dated, casually. Though we were quickly spending every moment together, we still--both of us--denied that there was anything serious going on. I'm not even sure at what moment it changed for us, but here we are, and I can't imagine being with anyone else. I am so glad that he is the one that "stuck" for me. Because, certainly of the 3 men I loved before him, he is the one most suited to me. But also because he is Lance, and it is because of him that I am able to be who I am.

Thing is, if we had met in college--and we could have, there were plenty of boys like Lance at UNC-- I wouldn't have married him. (Though now that I think about it, those were exactly the kind of boys I avoided like the plague. The dreaded "fraternity boys" with their envy-inducing trust funds and fancy cars. Yuck. Okay, but here I have to add--for a frat boy, Lance is a really good guy. No trust fund, no fancy car, just the Jeep he had to pony up half the cash for.) Where was I? Oh yes, college. If Lance and I had dated, if I had fallen in love with him then, I still would not have married him. I didn't want to get married. I wanted to GET OUT INTO THE WORLD. I wanted MY LIFE TO BEGIN. (I am using all caps here because that's how strongly I felt at the time. Do I need to explain that? Why is this post so meandering and insecure??) The last thing I wanted was to settle down.

So maybe that's it--that's the difference. Maybe some people are not so afraid of missing out on things by "settling down". Maybe some people don't see getting married as an end to their life, like I did at the time, but as a beginning, like I did when I finally got married. Though I still think that points back to emotional maturity. I just didn't have it at 18, at 20, at 23. Not 'till the ripe old age of 28 was I willing or eager to commit to anyone long-term. Even as I type that 28, it seems so impossibly young. How did I know Lance was the one? How was I able to make that leap? Baffling.

I guess it comes down to timing: you have to meet the guy that you can love at the same time that he can love you--not too soon, not too late. Not only do you have to find the person who will love you with all your flaws, but you have to meet him at a time when you both can commit. Fortunately, we seem to be given more than one soulmate per lifetime, perhaps because it is precisely so hard to make all the variables line up right. And I suppose it is evidence of my immaturity that each of the 4 men I have loved in my life are so different from each other. Fulfilling a different need for me in each case, I guess, but also fulfilling a different me. It has taken me a long time to become the person I am today, and I guess I'll keep changing. So there's another variable: you have to find someone who can change with you. Really, when you start dissecting it like this, it's a miracle anyone ever gets married at all.

And one more thing: For those of you who are still with your first love, tell me, what is it like to live your life, never having had your heart broken? This always astounds me, when I think about my mom, for example. No one ever broke her heart. Though her heart has been broken in many other ways--when her father died last summer, for one. I don't know, I just feel like having my heart broken twice (Anton, and Paul) and breaking one (Andy) are such HUGE parts of who I am. Life-changing, personality-altering experiences.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. Though it's been a really fun post to write--reminiscing, and all that. (If any of you got through it without nodding off to sleep, however, I am humbled and amazed.) So, do me a favor and kiss your husband/partner tonight and be thankful for how you got there.

Look no further

For the surest way to ruin your diet.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Vivian is 13 months old. She has yet to say her first word.

Occasionally (about 10% of the time), she'll say "Hi" when she waves, and I've heard her say "Ayes-ah" for Isaac once or twice. I'm starting to think that she does have a word for Mama--"Ba-bie"--but I could be wrong. I mean, it's not exactly close phonetically, so it's hard to tell. She also has a toy monkey which hangs in front of her carseat, and "mo-bah" seems to be the word for that. She always says it with a question mark--"Mo-bah?"--which I suppose makes sense, since everytime I'm strapping her in, I repeat over and over, in my happy baby voice "Monkey? Monkey? What's this? Monkey? Monkey! Hey Viv, what do you see? Monkey? Monkey? Say Monkey? Monnn-kkkey. . . "

She talks all the time, however, in her own language, and this just about slays Isaac, every time. "Bwah!" she says, pointing to some unidentified object in the next room. "Bwah!" mimics Isaac, pointing, and giggling hysterically. "Bwah! Bwah! Bwah!" Or, "Uh-oh, ba-bie", she'll say, for no apparent reason, and then Isaac repeats it, loudly, for the next twenty minutes, laughing all the while. It would be annoying if it wasn't so cute.

Of course if Isaac laughs, Vivian must laugh, too. Whatever tickles him immediately sets her to giggling too. I'm not sure if his laugh is just that infectious (it is), or if she is so desperate to be like him, and liked by him, that she copies his every move.

Lately, the soundtrack of my days have been these silly words interspersed with the laughter of my children.

I can definitely think of worse ways to spend my time.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Panic, widespread

A few days ago Lance called to tell me he couldn't be home for dinner since he had a meeting with clients. This doesn't happen very often, and normally I wouldn't complain, but he was also calling to ask if he could go out with some of his friends the next night, to see Widespread Panic. Again, he doesn't do that sort of thing frequently and normally I wouldn't mind, except that we had already arranged that he would be leaving me Saturday evening to see Widespread Panic with his buddies. Which meant 3 of the next 4 nights I'd be all alone with my charming children.

Now I know there are many of you SAHMs who toil through the whole dinner-bath-bed ritual by yourselves daily, and I bow down before you. Because by 6 pm, I have completely had it. Fixing dinner, feeding dinner, cleaning up dinner, bathing children, changing children, fighting through bedtime with children, is not something I am equipped to do at 6 pm. Closing the door to the office with a beer and reading blogs for 20 minutes--that's what I'm equipped to do at 6pm.

Lance is such a good husband and father that often I get those 20 minutes of downtime before we start the whole evening marathon together. He'll take the kids out for a walk, or start getting their dinner out, and then we split chores for the rest of the evening until the kids are finally sleeping and we are vegged out in front of the tv.

You can imagine that I was not looking forward to those 3 nights of hell without help, a fact which I "calmly" communicated to him. After much sighing and arguing (me) and ill-timed jokes and compliments (him), we settled on a compromise of sorts: the one night Lance was home, I would be completely "off the clock". Lance would take care of everything.

Before I go on, I must tell you: Lance helps me out A LOT, and is very capable with the kids. However, he rarely has both of them alone, and that takes some getting used to. One on two is a different game than two on two, or two on one, if you know what I mean.

Back to my night off. Lance banished me to the office and insisted I leave him and the children alone. He had also promised to make my dinner, which adds a chore to the evening marathon that I don't usually have when I'm by myself. Those evenings I generally eat cereal or ice cream for dinner.

So I sat in the office, blogging, drinking my beer, and trying to tune out the screams coming from the rest of the house.

This rest is such a cliche I don't even like to post it. Lance was completely undone by the responsibilities. I could hear him getting more and more frustrated as the evening progressed, but everytime I came out to help, he just snarled at me and sent me back to the office.

Eventually, both kids were in their beds, and the adults sat at the dinner table together. He was exhausted, and short of temper, and not very conversational. "God! We need a nanny!", was all he said.

I think the whole exercise was good for us, in a couple ways. Of course it was nice for Lance to witness first-hand the drudgery that is much of my days, though it's only fair to say he had a pretty good idea before this. It was also nice, in a weird way, to see someone else get frustrated and short of temper--it validated the way I feel so often. Perhaps best of all, I got to see how Lance must feel when I act pissy. Because whenever he was barking at me and the kids, his whole frustration vibe made the house an uncomfortable place to be. I don't want that to be what my kids remember about their childhood. Mommy getting frustrated and speaking sharply to Daddy, the vibe in the room an intense muck.

Of course, all of this happened at least two weeks ago, and I can't say there's been much change in things around here. I still get frustrated easily, I still lose my temper at the slightest infractions, Lance still forgets to help me as much as I would like.

I do think about it a lot more, though--sometimes even while I'm hollering--and it may not stop me right at that moment, but I think it has tempered me, just the slightest bit.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


At what point has it been so long since you last changed the filters in the BRITA pitcher that you are actually better off drinking water straight from the tap?

Friday, July 22, 2005


We have 0 video of Vivian. ZERO. We have loads of pictures, yes, but zero video. The video camera has been in the top of Lance's closet since we last used it, when Isaac was 13 months old.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

What are you having for dinner?

I am SO SICK of all our standard meals. And even more sick of beef, which I don't really like, but which we've been eating non-stop since I bought that flipping box of steaks last week.

Anybody have an easy vegetarian recipe?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

What's in a name?

When I started this blog, I didn't think very hard about what to name it. This is unusual for me.

Historically, I have an incredibly difficult time thinking of names for things. A few examples: my childhood black cat: Midnight; the white cat who replaced her: Snowball; our black dog with brown paws: Boots. Even the children were beyond difficult to name.

But for some reason, when it came time to name the blog, my husband's nickname for me just popped into my head. "P.O.W., babe, P.O.W.", he'll say, shaking his head, after I've done something totally understandable and wonderful, but which he for some reason finds unreasonable.

He doesn't read my blog, but he's seen it enough times open on the computer to see the name--and though he refuses to admit this, I know he really likes that I used his nickname.

The other day we were sitting around talking--again, I was being completely reasonable and witty--and he said, "You know, babe, it shouldn't be POW, it should be PIMA, as in PAIN IN MY ASS."

Feeling Old

Did you know that this year is the 10th anniversary of this album?

Excuse me while I sob into my All-Bran.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Potter Schmotter*--Edited

I know that many of you--heck, maybe all of you--love the Harry Potter books, and have been waiting impatiently for this latest book to be released. But I must confess: I just do not understand it.

I read the first book, and I enjoyed it. But I enjoyed it in a I'm-reading-a-kid's-book kind of way. I had no real desire to purchase the second book once I finished it.

So tell me, what's the obsession all about? Is it just being part of something that so many other people enjoy? Like what fun it used to be to talk about the latest Friends episode with your buddies at work? Or is it the escapism of it? The pretending I don't have so many boring responsibilities and wanting to be a wizard for a few days?

I don't think--and maybe I'm wrong here--that it has much to do with the literary aspect of the books. Right? I mean, they I are kids' books, even if adults read them too. And I don't remember being particularly impressed with Rowlings writing style, though I really have no room to judge.

Every now and then (well, about once or twice a decade), I pull out my old favorites to re-read. "Where the Fern Grows", "Tuck Everlasting", "A Day No Pigs Would Die", "Danny, Champion of the World"--these are all books that I loved as a kid and that I still enjoy, very occasionally. But I think that I like them more for what they remind me of (being a kid) than for what the book is about. And given the choice between re-reading one of those, and reading a new book, I will always choose the new book.

Again, I reveal myself as a true dork and leave it to all of you to rescue me from my oblivion and explain Harry Potter to me!

*I swear, I had this post all written in my head long before I saw Tertia's post about the same thing!

Edit: In no way was this post meant to disparage those of you who do enjoy HP. I have nothing against the books at all and of course it's great if they make kids think reading is cool. I just honestly don't understand the attraction.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Diagnosis: Odd

Yes, my rash is yet another of my strange skin affectations, this one a "virus" that occurs very rarely in children, and almost never in adults. "But don't worry", my doctor says, "it's not contagious, and although I can't give you anything to make it go away, here, try some cortizone if it gets really itchy and it will clear up nicely on its own in about 12 weeks and won't leave any scars so, really, it's no big deal. What? Yes, you should be rash free in about 12 weeks. Thank you, have a great summer! Don't forget your co-pay!"

12 weeks, people. So by Halloween, which is the only time of year I can imagine strange blotches on one's face to be semi-acceptable (Elephant Man costume, anyone?) , I should be all cleared up. Hooray.

Food, glorious food!

Remember how Vivian made it onto the charts at her 1 year appointment? And that for a week or so before that appointment she was eating and drinking like a starved refugee?

Well, I'm not sure which body snatcher took over my sweet delicate petite girl, but she has continued to eat like that (by which I mean, like a pig) ever since. Well, okay, she's not downing 35 oz of milk per day anymore, but she's still guzzling that bottle the minute she gets her hands on it. And as for solids, well . . .

She's finally taken a liking to table food! In fact, she has started refusing baby food for the bigger finger foods I put on her tray. Today, I discovered that in addition to the dairy allergy she shares with her brother, she is also allergic to eggs. But before we discovered that, she ate quite a handful of macaroni salad.

She eats tomatoes, Cheerios! (I know, all babies eat Cheerios, but Vivian has refused them for some time), potatoes, scrapple, chicken, blueberries, cantaloupe, broccoli--in fact, I can't remember the last time she refused anything I offered her.

And for a girl with no real teeth to speak of, she gums that stuff pretty well.

Not to mention, (drumroll, please) she can now hold her own bottle! At 13 months old! My god, she's a prodigy, for sure!

Anyway, the point of all this is I'm starting to wonder if she is going to be a petite thing after all. True, she is still in some 3-6 month clothes, but she's got to grow soon, at this rate of consumption. I was always a little child--held back in nursery school because the pediatrician thought I was too small, always first when we lined up by height, front row for every photograph, etc.--so I was not surprised when Vivian displayed similar characteristics.

Thing is, that is the ONLY characteristic she exhibits which mirrors mine. In every other way, she is Lance's daughter. In fact, she even has olive skin, which is completely unheard of in my fair-haired, blue-veined, pale-faced family. Not even my husband has the enviable olive skin, though his father, grandmother and several cousins do.

So I've been kind of enjoying this little tiny girl, happily watching her eat small portions and grow ever so slowly, since for once, it is familiar to me. Now that she is eating like a teenager at McDonald's, she seems even less my own child.

But I don't really care, since she's so damn cute.

see? Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

This right here is the sort of thing I'm "supposed" to be sharing.

Isaac is an early riser. Generally speaking, 6:30 am is sleeping in for him. There is the rare occasion when he sleeps past 7, but, that is a rare occasion. In the summer, when the sun is also an early riser, this becomes even more of a problem. His room faces east (where the sun rises, dummy) and no matter the blackout shades I have hanging from his windows, the second a smidgen of light sneaks through the crack between shade and window frame, his eyes pop open.

At which point he wanders into our room and climbs in bed with us, digging elbows into our stomachs, poking our eyes, bouncing up and down, or bombarding us with questions and demands. "Mom, can I have some milk, please? I want some milk! Where is Vivi? I need to check on Vivi. Can I have some milk? Isaac wants to have some milk!" and so on.

I have tried to get him to settle back down with us. The family bed! How sweet! Oh, no no no. He hates covers, he hates being snuggled. ("Don't hold me down, Mommy!") He is awake, and we shall be too.

However, this morning, for some reason, he slept until 6:45. (It was overcast, so I know that lack of sunlight helped). Then, at 6:45, he wandered into our room, but he didn't say anything. He climbed into the bed, but didn't say anything. Instead of poking me in the ribs or sitting on my head, he kissed me on the lips, and gave me "love pats" for 5 minutes. (I know they were love pats because he was whispering "love pat" as he was administering them.) He lay in between us, making weird shapes with his fingers, stroking my arm, and generally being sweet until about 7:45. Almost a full hour!

And the family bed was sweet! And cozy! And wonderful! Especially since there was no dirty diaper smell forcing us all out.

Do you think this is the start of a new phase? That all our mornings will be like this for ever and ever, amen?

Perhaps if I stop sharing intimate family secrets.

Hopefully yours,


There was a reason the whole rant about Thing One and Thing Two came up in my last post.

I was going to talk about a different secret. See, I'm all about revealing inappropriate information to the internet these days. First, the rash! Next, the in-laws! Now . . . money! Whee!

So, awhile back I told you some secrets. This is about the last one I told. The one down there at the bottom of the post.

Right, we were out of money. To be honest, my feelings about this when it happened were maybe not what you'd expect. I was worried, yes, but I also felt proud. Proud that it had taken nearly two years to run out of money. To me, living in Southern California, near the beach, on one income, comfortably for two years without going into debt was a pretty accomplished thing. Honestly, I'd expected to run out of money much sooner. Also, I knew when I posted that we'd run out of cash two things: my husband was getting paid that Friday, and my mom was coming to town. So even if I had to charge groceries that week, I knew relief was in sight.

And it was. Lance got paid, my mom bought us some groceries, things were okay again. Not great, because we didn't have a cushion in our savings anymore, but I thought we could make it okay 'till the next paycheck. Now, I know you are not supposed to live paycheck to paycheck, but that's pretty much what I've done my whole life, so I'm used to it. I can't understand why we were living paycheck to paycheck when we had two incomes and no kids, but let's just leave that shitcan closed tight.

So back to living paycheck to paycheck. The thing with doing this while having kids is that you have all these looming costs that you know you should be saving for. Not the fancy new boots, like when you were single, but things like education for your kids. Because, in case you didn't know, in Los Angeles, you pay $850,000 for a shitty tiny old house behind an airport, and you still get the worst school district in the country. And private school starts at $15,000/ year, for first grade. So living paycheck to paycheck is doable, but not advisable, because eventually, even your 1 year old (God willing) will be heading out to kindergarten.

A week or so ago, out of the blue, we got a check from my in-laws. It was a distribution, sent to all the grandchildren, of my grandfather-in-law's estate. He passed away over a year ago, and we had no idea this was coming. It is not an extraordinary amount of money, but enough to pay off our credit cards (we didn't have much debt) and put a little into the funds we have for the kids' college. Enough to make living paycheck to paycheck seem not so scary. Enough to make me stop hyper-ventilating every time I have to purchase another $15 package of diapers.

While I was composing this blog post in my mind, I started thinking about my father-in-law, and wondering if it felt difficult writing the same check to Thing One and Thing Two, considering how they've been acting lately. And that's how I came to vent in my last post.

Which I probably shouldn't have done. Nor should I have written this one.

I'm just glad my husband doesn't read my blog.

Breaking the Seal

Remember when I told you some secrets? And I said I wouldn't talk about Thing One and Thing Two again? Well, I just can't help myself.

So. After the feeding-the-grandmother-chicken-noodle-soup-instead-of-the-doctor-recommended-Ensure episode, there were several more in a similar vein. For example, one night in the hospital room, Thing One and Thing Two were there, with Uncle and Aunt, and a priest. After some pleasant discussions, Aunt and Uncle suggested they all leave the priest alone with grandmother. Aunt and Uncle walked out of the room. Thing One & Two followed--until they got to the door, when they closed it, remaining in the room with grandmother and priest.

Next came Vivian's birthday. We had heard through the grapevine that Thing One & Thing Two were not coming, because they were not going to talk to my mother-in-law until she apologized to Thing Two. (For what? Well, she told Thing Two that it was not really her place to decide what grandmother should eat, given that a doctor had already given explicit instructions.)

Anyway, Thing One and Thing Two did show up, about 1/2 hour late. They refused to look or speak to my mother-in-law and were so blatantly rude I had a hard time not slapping them. And slapping my husband and father-in-law for not calling them on it. Then they took a walk on the beach for about 45 minutes, came back for 10 minutes, again being as rude as possible, and left.

I LOATHE THEM. And I am not allowed to say anything to them! Every time I try, my husband cuts me off completely. Or my father-in-law changes the subject. When I try to discuss it with my mother-in-law, she gives excuse after excuse for their behavior. No one holds them accountable for their actions. I can't tell you the number of times I have wanted to shout during a family get-together: "Are you seriously going to treat your mother this way? Did you really just say that? And your dad isn't throwing you out of the house??" But I can't. They are not my family, after all, and I can't start a family feud that my in-laws are doing everything in their power to avoid. Not to mention that whenever I do slip, and let something snide come out, Lance and I end up arguing about it. As my mom said, allowing those two idiots to cause any strife in my marriage would be beyond stupid. So I try really hard to respect my in-laws' and my husbands' decision to "rise above".

Why am I telling this story now? Well, here's another story for you: Every Christmas for the last several years, my sister has made a photo calendar for everyone in the family. The calendar has photos of her kids, and all of us, and is really fun to have around, especially since I don't see my family but a few times a year. Two Christmases ago, Isaac was one, so I made a similar calendar, gifting one to each family member. Everyone got two calendars that year, since Ann also made hers. Last Christmas, I made no calendar, thinking I'd get one from Ann. Unfortunately, she thought the same thing, which meant no calendars for anyone. (Yeah, we need to work on our communication skills.) After Christmas, I made my own. In the interest of being fair, I even included a photo of Isaac with Thing One and Thing Two. Guess which picture is on the July page? Right, so now every day I get to look at those two assholes and remember how ridiculous they act, how horribly they treat people who have done nothing but love them, and how they always get away with it.

The good news is that the other night Isaac got his spaghetti-covered hands all over the picture. Now I just need him to draw some devil horns . . .

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Yesterday I bought a cow*

Well, not really. But I bought a huge box of frozen steaks. My husband thinks I'm crazy, but it seemed like a good deal to me. Though I'm not big on red meat, so I don't really know pricing very well. (I know, I know, if you're not big on red meat, why buy a whole box of steaks? But this way, I always have something for dinner, even when I can't get to the market.)

Here's what I got, tell me what you think:

5 New York Strip Steaks (12 oz)
8 New York Strip Steaks (7 oz)
8 Bacon-wrapped Filet Mignons (6 oz )
9 Chicago Style Pepper Sirloins (5 oz )
8 Center Cut Sirloin Steaks (4 oz)
24 Hamburger patties (4 oz)

Cost: $167.50

{And yes, there is a whole 'nother post coming about why I can now afford a box of frozen steaks when a few weeks ago we didn't have money for diapers.}

*Can you still buy a cow? I remember when I was about 10, my parents bought one--probably just because they wanted to fill the new freezer we had gotten in the basement. And we thought it was great. Until about 6 months later, when a storm knocked out the power for 3 days, and we had to throw it all away.

More than you want to know

I have always had weird skin issues. Ring worm, sun poisoning, strange rashes for no apparent reason--you name it, I've had it. About 10 years ago, I discovered some weird looking spots along my bra-line and on my back. The first doctor I saw told me I had the "Michael Jackson disease", where patches of skin lose their pigment. That is what it looks like--strange white splotches. They don't itch. The second doctor I saw told me to put some dandruff shampoo on the spots and they would go away. Finally a dermatologist diagnosed it as some kind of micro-organism that lives on everybody, but grows fungus on particularly "good hosts". She prescribed some anti-fungal cream. Even applying it twice a day, it was months before the spots went away.

About a year later they came back. I saw a different dermatologist who gave me some potent pill that came with all kinds of warnings. I took it twice, and the fungus was gone. A few years later, it was back. Another dermatologist, another anti-fungal cream. And so on.

A few months ago, it came back. My new dermatologist prescribed a new anti-fungal cream (surprise!). Then, about a month ago, I noticed some new splotches on my belly. This time the splotches were red. I didn't think much of it, just continued using the cream. After a week, I realized that the red splotches had really spread, much faster than the white ones ever do. "I should make an appointment to see Dr. Phelps," I thought to myself. A week passed. We went away for the fourth. By the time I put on my bathing suit, the red splotches were all over my stomach, and creeping up my chest towards my neck. As soon as we got back I called the doctor. I have an appointment on Friday.

In the meantime, the splotches are multiplying rapidly. They now cover my back and neck and creep down the underside of my arms. There is one splotch on my chin, and I think it is growing. That's right, I have fungus growing on my face. And guess what else? These splotches itch! I mean--really, really itch! And I know that by scratching them I'm just encouraging them to spread, but I can't help myself. As I'm sitting here, my neck and arms are burning up they itch so badly.

However, because I would rather have fungus growing on my face than go to the doctor's office with both kids in tow, I wait until Friday, when Isaac will be in pre-school, and I'll just have to lug Vivian with me.

Why am I telling you this? I don't know. A cry for sympathy, I suppose. Or maybe I thought if I blogged about it, I would stop thinking about it, and if I stop thinking about it, maybe I can STOP SCRATCHING.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Socially inept

Sunday we went to a birthday party for one of the kids in Isaac's pre-school class. To be honest, I almost declined the invitation for no reason other than I hate going to those things. The mother invited Vivian, too, because her girls love babies, so the four of us went. And it was fine. But, not really fun. Do other people enjoy these things? I mean, I made small talk with the other moms and dads, but I actually find that difficult to do since as soon as I find something worthy of discussing I've got to run off and rescue Vivian from some demonic toddler, or play diplomat in a war of toys between Isaac and some other kid. And how boring is it to watch toddlers playing toddler games and singing songs? The whole time we were there, I kept thinking--get me out of here!

Then again, I have that feeling--that desperate to escape feeling--often when I am in social situations. I assume most people don't. Not that I have some kind of social disorder or something, but in a new social situation--say, a party where I don't know many people-- I am often counting the minutes until I can leave. Makes it difficult to make friends. I do enjoy myself in smaller crowds--at a barbecue with people I know relatively well for example. Actually, at most small evening (read: where alcohol is served) gatherings I do well, and even have fun. But during the day, without someone I know well, I generally suck. I can't think of things to say, I don't know how to initiate a conversation, or jump into one that is already happening. Even if I manage to make small talk, I feel like what I'm saying is hideously boring to the other person, or I soon run out of things to say and we just stand there in awkward silence until someone else comes to rescue us.

So, generally, I avoid those situations. Fortunately for me, my husband is a pretty social guy and has lots of friends, whom I have gotten to know well over the years. He usually insists we attend these gatherings, and I do better with him around. Though god forbid he leave my side to get a drink or something. (That sounds SO LAME I can't believe I'm not going to delete it.)

But this was about a birthday party. Do you enjoy them? Or are all the parents standing there wishing to god the cake would be served so we all could go home?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Greetings Posted by Picasa

from Posted by Picasa

Catalina Posted by Picasa

Happy Fourth! Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 01, 2005

Not to leave on a sour note, but

Although we are supposed to be celebrating our country's independence this weekend, I am feeling a little fearful of what the future may bring for us.

Justice O'Connor is stepping down.

Go read all the links at Mieke's site. Very informative, if depressing.

But do try and have a nice Fourth of July weekend anyway.

We are off to Catalina--hopefully, neither child will fall into the ocean on the ferry ride over.