Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Bite My Cookie's adorable movies of her daughter, Foo inspired me to sign up for the service myself. Here's Viv, at her cranky best, for your pleasure. If this works, be prepared for more "adorable" videos to come!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Rainy Days and Mondays . . .

Mondays, Isaac does not have school. This means that I save all errands/ potential activities/what have you for Monday and Wednesday mornings (his other non-school day). I absolutely must ensure that we have someplace to go those mornings; staying in the house is only an option if I suddenly feel a need to watch it burn down. We go to Starbucks to get Mommy coffee (usually the drive-thru, unless I'm really desperate for an activity); we go to the grocery store, the drug-store, or Good-will; we meet up with other bloggers; we attack the local playgrounds; or we go to the beach. If I can stay out of the house until lunchtime, we will all usually survive: nap-time is between 1pm and 2pm, and then I'll have an hour or so to relax (and by relax I mean make dinner). So--there is my goal: Mondays and Wednesdays, stay out of the house. Seems doable, no?

Unless it rains.

Fortunately, we live in Southern California, where it doesn't rain very often. When it does, I find myself frantic with worry. Playgrounds, beach-time, even the last resort of playing in the backyard are all out. We could still go to the grocery store--but ugh!, walking to the car in the rain? Yes, it's worth it, but still not that much fun. Starbucks is a go, but the drive-thru only takes twenty minutes on a slow day, which leaves at least 4 long hours to fill until noon-time. Even if I brave the nightmare of un-attaching each kid from the carseat, dragging them into the store, constantly watching them both and steering them away from other patrons and/or tempting candy and cookies on display, then hauling Vivian and my coffee while dragging Isaac by the hand back out to the car, to re-attach them both again to the carseats, all while getting rained on--even that only adds another 20 minutes or so to the trip.

Today, as you know (I hope), is Monday. In Los Angeles, the day dawned grey and dreary. Not grey and foggy, which is common and not an indication of rain, but grey and dreary. "Frinkly", Isaac said, which I later understood to mean "Sprinkling". By 10am it was pouring. Before then, I managed to run a quick errand to a friend's house to pick up my forgotten purse (don't ask), hit the Starbucks drive-thru, and go to the grocery store. We got home just as the rain started, and when I looked at the time, I sighed.

What the hell was I going to do with these guys for two hours?? I could feel that frustration feeling starting in my stomach, and moving quickly to my head. I looked around quickly for something to entertain them.

"Play-do, Mommy! Play-do!" exclaimed Vivian helpfully. Or not, since our house rule is that Play-doh is an outside game.

"Finger painting Nemo!" shouted Isaac. I paused for a minute. I had given Isaac a Nemo painting set for his birthday which I intended for him to use outside. Desperate times call for desperate measures, however, so I scrounged up some newspaper, got the paints out, and gave each kid a brush.

This kept them occupied for 30 minutes. REALLY. I was astounded, especially since they didn't even paint on the walls! Or the floors! (This is not the washable kind of paint; hence, my desire to use it outside).

I was so thrilled with this performance that when they got bored I offered up the holy grail of television. (Not that I ban TV, but I like to limit it to one hour per day, and since Isaac wakes up at the ass-crack of dawn, he's usually got his hour in by 7am). I turned on Bob the Builder and Isaac watched intently. Vivian, that dear sweet child, played by herself in the playroom happily.

And THEN, when Bob the Builder was over, Isaac joined her. They played together, with minimal fighting, until 12:15.

It seems like such a small thing: so what, her kids were good for one morning, big deal. But really, it is such a rarity for Isaac to entertain himself for that long, and for the two of them to play together so well--no screaming, no whining, no finding the meat cleaver in the kitchen and playing "Let's see who cuts off a finger first" with it. Honestly, I'm sitting here a few hours later, still amazed.

The other day at school, Isaac's teacher said to me: "He's really mellowing out, isn't he?" I agreed, because I have noticed this, but today was the first time it really made a difference in my day. Today it was almost as if he and I were at the same energy level, instead of he whirling around like the Tasmanian devil and me plodding along beside, shouting "Wait! Don't touch that! Slow down!"

What a great day.

Tomorrow, rain is predicted again. But I am no fool: thank god it's a school day.

P.S. Isaac pooped in the potty today! "Mommy, I want to poop in the potty and get a lollipop!" he said--and he did. Another miracle.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Thanks, Phantom!

Check it out:

This video makes me want to write something about my uncle--Lloyd, who was born mentally retarded. But I'm still crazed here, not to mention hungover (birthday party went well!), so it will have to wait a few days.

As seen at Phantom Scribbler

Friday, February 24, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Okay, I'm still busy, but I need to mark this day somehow, so . . .

February 2003, four days old:


February 2006, one thousand and ninety-five days old:


(Birthday hat courtesy of school; he refuses to take it off.)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

This post requires no title, seeing as how it's the most boring one to date

I know, I know, I need to blog. But when you've been putting off thinking about your son's birthday for several months, except to complain about it, then you're apt to find yourself without gifts, cake, or plan the day before. And that requires much of the running around. To buy the birthday cards, the wrapping paper, the paper plates and cups and napkins and hats, the cakemix and icing, plus the presents (this year: underwear, socks and a few little things from KBtoys. Grand total: $61.39).

I suppose I can't really complain that Party City did not carry any Bob the Builder crap, forcing me to purchase generic Happy Birthday crap instead, even though I'd already promised the Bob the Builder crap to the birthday boy, he of the "I don't WANT to watch insert name of any kid's show except Bob the Builder here" tantrums. After all, if I wasn't such a lazy ass, I might have looked for it sooner, and had the option of going elsewhere. Fortunately for all, I did find one Bob the Builder birthday candle on the clearance rack, and the birthday is saved.

Heidi and the in-laws are coming over for a birthday extravaganza tomorrow evening, complete with take-out Chinese food and beer. Just now Isaac helped me make cupcakes to bring to school tomorrow. Sunday we are going to Kidspace (Yay! An alternative to Chuck. E. Cheese!) with the neighbors. Pretty fucking good for a 3 year old birthday, if you ask me.

Then, well then I have next week to plan for Lance's birthday. Fortunately finding a babysitter and making a dinner reservation shouldn't take up too much of my time. Though I suppose I should go get him that wallet he keeps asking for. Or the cuff-links he wants. Really it would save a lot of time to just give him some money (taken from our joint account, of which he is the only supplier), since there is absolutely zero chance that he will approve of whatever I pick out. Hmm. Why is it that the thought counts, again?

Next week is also the week from hell with doctor's appointments, which should keep me in a really chipper (Ha! Chipper! That's my brother's name!) mood.

March 6th can't get here soon enough.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Back to life, back to reality

We're back in L.A., back to 70 degree weather instead of 35 degree "wintry mix", and it feels nice.

You know what's odd? I was sooo ready to drop the kids off with my in-laws Friday I practically threw them out of my moving car. Yet by the time I got to Raleigh some 6 hours later I already missed them. Then, I missed them terribly all weekend and yet when we went to pick them up, within twenty minutes they were driving me crazy again. ACK.

Despite the missing of the children, I had a fabulous weekend away. Two of my college roommates came into town from Virginia, and I got to see the other one in her home in Durham. We stayed with my favorite brother in his fabulous house (yes, I am quite green with envy over that), and enjoyed my favorite spot in all of this glorious country.

I'm not sure what it is about Chapel Hill, and the people from my time there, that make me so happy. Is it just the aura of the place? The history, the beauty, the friendliness of the inhabitants? Or maybe it's that the town is mostly populated by attractive, smart 18 to 25 year olds, which gives it an incredibly youthful, exciting vibe? Then again, I can't deny the nostalgia factor--who among us can walk past that first bar we were ever thrown out of, and not get all warm and fuzzy inside?

Then the people--my old college roommates, and my fabulous brother--who knew these people would mean so much to me? I don't leave near any of them--not even the same coast--and because I have such a difficult time with the phone, we don't get to talk much. We e-mail all the time, and the blog keeps them aware of my doings (more on that later), but I feel much closer to them than our communication would indicate. Is it because we share a common experience? Is it because we were at that impressionable age? Is it because I picked people of exceptional quality? (Obviously, this has something to do with it: there are many other people that I was very good friends with in college that I no longer keep in touch with.) My brother didn't share all the same experiences, as he attended five years after me, but we still have the college itself in common. It seems perfect to me that he is the one who lives there now: it just fits him.

I guess the quick answer is: yes. It is all of those things. So without further ado, a photo-blog. (This is incredibly difficult since I only took 6 photos all weekend.)


My two college roommates, Sarah and Lori, with Sarah's younger brother John. John is twenty (you heard me right, he was four when we were in school), and a sophomore. He kept stressing out about a financial accounting exam he had on Monday, and all I could think (and say, aloud, just to be a patronizing old hag) was "Oh, if that was my only problem!"


My brother and Lance. Note Lance's eyes, which look a bit cross-eyed. Although this photo was taken Saturday night, his eyes looked quite similar on Friday night. Which only partly excuses his hungover behavior on Saturday morning, when we got to hang out with Mommygoth and her fabulous husband. She made an awesome cheesy eggy spicy casserole for us all, yum!


My brother, moments after Lance told him that I had a blog. I know! He told a family member I had a blog! I tried to explain that night, and I'll do it again here: it's not that I didn't want you to read it, Chip. It's just that if I told you, I felt like I should tell Mom and Dad and Ann, and that's, well, different. They might judge me! They might ask questions! They might correct my grammar!


Here we are, the three amigos. Sarah, Lori and I were roommates for two years, and suitemates for one. We will be friends forever, to my great delight. Sadly, I have no photos of my other roommate, Mommygoth. Too hungover to remember to take the camera to her house, but you can see photos at her blog. All I can say is: Kayleigh is HILARIOUS, David is fantastic, her house is gorgeous, and it was too good to see her.

I love these people, all of them.

Now it's off to the laundry/unpacking/grocery shopping/cleaning that fills my days. Yee-ha!

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Many of you read Phantom's blog, so you have heard about Annika. It's a heart-breaking story, and I'll give the extremely short version here: Moreena's daughter Annika was born with a serious liver disease, and needs another transplant. Because Annika has been in the hospital since November, she has already reached her insurance plan's limit ($1,000,000), which leaves her currently uninsured.

I have clicked over to Moreena's blog several times to read her eloquent posts. Only rarely have I commented, however--somehow I feel unqualified to offer any support. My nice easy life with my relatively healthy children doesn't seem to give me any credibility or a place from which I can offer anything valuable. If I'm to be honest, I think I am also afraid. Afraid to get too close to something that is so incredibly scary.

Despite that fear, I still hope for the best, for Moreena and her family. When all this first came up, I wanted to help, as much as possible. So as soon as I saw that the COTA page was up, I clicked over to make a donation. (You can go here, to a page Andrea set up, to find other ways to help.) In order to have the money go to Annika, you select her name from a list of children, all awaiting transplants of some kind.

That list floored me. What a long, long hideous list. All those kids, with all those parents, all those people hurting, physically and emotionally. I'd like to make a donation to each and every one of them.

Today, a donation for just Annika will have to do.

Now I slink off to give Isaac a hug and blow my sleeping daughter a kiss.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Okay, this one I'll do.

Via PK, my NOhari Window.

Alright, alright, since no one wanted to play that game, try this one.

I can't help myself


This IS a "Mommy Blog", after all. Aren't I supposed to be posting cute photos of the off-spring?

Not to play favorites, here's an old one of Isaac (I don't have a recent one because he doesn't sit still long enough to get any good photos):



That was a close one.

Dude, Tyler Hansbrough is a monster.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Crap Day

You should have seen Isaac when I picked him up from school today. He was completely beside himself. In his hand was the heart-decorated tissue box he'd made, stuffed full of Valentines from all his friends. The teachers had handed out the filled boxes just before the end of school, with instructions not to open them until we got home.

"I want to go home, Mom!" Isaac shouted, practically running Vivian over as he tumbled out of school. "I want to show Vivi my Valentines! Let's go home!"

In fact, he had good reason to be excited, for--behold his loot:

Perhaps I shouldn't admit this out loud, in such a public place, but my immediate reaction to all this crap is--what the fuck? Since when do you have to give out lollipops and bags of assorted hearts and homemade cookies for Valentine's Day? Especially at pre-school? Whatever happened to the nice simple card? There were only two home-made card in the whole bunch, and one of those had a Hershey's kiss affixed to it. The rest of the cards were attached to elaborate candy filled bags, or at very least, a heart-shaped lollipop. Isaac gave out those cheesy, pre-made cards you buy at the drugstore--his were Scooby-Do--and we did not attach any kind of sweet.* Frankly, it never occurred to me that I should. These are 2, 3 & 4 year olds, after all--do they really need candy?

I did buy some Valentine colored M&M's for the house, and each kid got a mini peppermint patty to eat at breakfast, but that was it. Had I known Isaac would be bringing home the contents of the Nestle chocolate factory from school I certainly wouldn't have gone that far.

Look, I know that at the heart of things I am basically a lazy mother. I am not crafty, nor inclined to become that way. I am not sentimental, and most of all, I am cheap. These are not necessarily desirable traits for mothering, but take me for what I am.

Many other mothers are not this way, and they enjoy crafting the cards, baking the cookies, what-have-you. Actually, the home-made cards are nice, and I don't mind them at all. Would I ever do something like that? Probably not, but that's because of who I am (see above). It's the candy that really bugs me. The candy in the elaborate bags with the expensive bows, etc. These are pre-schoolers! They don't need candy! They would be just as thrilled with a box full of simple cards, and then their parents could dole out any candy at home.

Doesn't it seem like everything these days is more, more, more? Huge, catered one-year old birthday parties. Presents out the ying-yang for Christmas, and every holiday in between. $100,000 Sweet Sixteen parties. Teenagers sporting $400 leather jackets. And no, Valentine's Day candy is not quite the same thing, but it still bothers me. Why do we have this need to out-do each other? Or out-do the year before?

Blech. Now I'm all grumpy, and Lance isn't even home to ease the pain, so to speak.

* Isaac did get one other card like this--a simple Hello Kitty card, with no sweet. Thankfully. Posted by Picasa

Hey, thank you!

Just wanted to type something real quick: lots of new people have been popping over here, since I added my new blogs to the roll. And I appreciate it, I really do! I can't wait to check you all out, but I haven't had a whole lot of time lately (what with the burnt fingers and absent husband). I will definitely be swinging by all your blogs as soon as I have a minute, which may be next week. In the meantime, thanks for visiting!

Monday, February 13, 2006

And it's only Monday

Last night I put the kids to bed and then wandered into the kitchen to forage for my own dinner. After perusing the lovely selections available to me, I decided on some Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (It's the cheesiest!, after all). I put on a pot of water to boil, stacked the kids' plates in the sink, and headed out to the "play-room" (or what might be known as the living room, or den, or family room, or sun-room were this an average size house and not a teeny tiny crappy shack--but I digress) to pick up the myriad of small plastic objects that litter the floor at any given time.

A few minutes later, I returned to the kitchen and dumped the noodles in. On the burner behind the boiling water was a smaller pot, a pot I had cooked broccoli in for the kids much earlier (no, I don't cook myself broccoli, why do you ask?). This pot was dirty, and needed to be cleaned, and so I thought: I will move this here pot to the sink. This here pot has a steel handle, which was hanging over, or at least near, the flame of my boiling water. Thus, the handle was hot. Quite hot.

Did I notice this, last night, before I picked the pot up by its handle to move it to the sink? Why, no! However, my right hand palm did, immediately. See?

(Really, the picture doesn't do the damage justice. You can't see how the burn goes all the way up one finger (the important one, of course), and the blister isn't oozing in this photo. Plus, it doesn't even look inflamed--and it is, I swear!)

Then, after dropping the offending pot and its contents of mushy broccoli and water all over the floor (which is buckling, by the way--but that's fodder for another post. Is the anticipation killing you?), and while swearing profusely and rushing, in my barefeet, over to the sink to run my palm under cold water, I stepped on a tiny sliver of glass.

A tiny, tiny sliver--a shard, if you will, not even visible to the naked eye--left over from a lunchtime episode of I Can So Drink from a Big Girl Cup, Mommy with my darling daughter. Who knew something so small could send such startling pains to the already overloaded pain sensors in my brain?

I could feel the offending splinter sticking out of the ball of my foot, so I quickly took my weight off it, not wanting to push it in further. However, when I sat down to inspect, my right palm was still throbbing--oh, and dripping wet-- and my fingers couldn't actually pull off the fine motor skills necessary to dislodge it, seeing as how I just burnt the shit out of them. Plus, as I mentioned, the glass: it was small. Too small to see much of, and certainly too small to dig out with my left hand.

Remember, Lance is out of town (again). So it's me, the kiddos, and the gimpy right side of my body until Friday.

"How are you doing?," my mom asked, when she called today. "I've been thinking about you, home alone with those two sweet babies."

Well, I can't walk or use my right hand, but other than that, everything's swell.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Beautiful Day

I know it's been snowy and cold on the Eastern Seaboard, so maybe you don't want to hear about our glorious California weekend. But, humor me for a minute: after all, snowstorms can be fun when you haven't had one in a while, so maybe you're enjoying that cold white stuff right about now. Besides, I'll be in Raleigh, North Carolina on Friday so I can get what's coming to me then.

So then.
It's been 85 degrees and sunny since 8:30 this morning. It feels like the middle of summer here-- although 85 degrees is actually slightly warmer than our average summer day. The kids and I took Lance to the airport, grabbed some lunch food at Bob's, and headed down to the beachclub for a morning of sun and sand. For the first time in ages, other members actually used the club (there are a total of about 30 families that belong, but more often than not, we are the only ones who use it), which added another layer of festivity to the morning. The kids got filthy and grimy and worn out, scarfed down the chicken nuggets, tater tots and raspberries I offered, then almost fell asleep in the car on the way home, exhausted and happy. Easiest nap-time go-down we've had in ages. And they're still sleeping, 2 hours later.

Had a nice evening with some friends last night, woke up to a gorgeous day, just got a call from Heidi that she had yet another fantastic date with Mr. Keeper So Far, and I haven't feel this good in a long time.

In fact, I've been a bit depressed of late--feeling unappreciated, burnt-out, un-satisfied. The fact that I forgot to take my birth control pill for several days meaning I had to double up on Wednesday and Thursday may have something to do with this. Ah, hormones, how you fuck with me! Unfortunately, Lance bore the brunt of my dark mood last week, but now that he has flown off to the East Coast, I feel happy.

Hmm. So very unfair to the wonderful man who keeps us in diapers around here. Frankly, sometimes I'm not sure why he puts up with me. I've been pretty resentful lately, since the whole 5 day bachelor party event, followed by this "oh it sucks so much that I have to go to a training for a whole week" thing. Yes, it's work and it can't be helped but still. You are staying in a hotel where someone else will make your bed and bring your food. Your interactions with other humans are not limited to asking "do you need to pee on the potty?" every 5 minutes. You only have to wash, dress, feed, and bathe yourself, not two of your colleagues as well. You see? Whine, whine, whine. My life is so terrible and YOU MADE IT SO.

Gag. Wasn't I in a good mood, before? Wait, here:
February 12th in Los Angeles

Isaac is accident-free in underwear and yet has still refused to poop on the potty. Every day, he saves the poop until the magic moment I put on his pull-up for naptime. I realize this means I am going to have to force the issue by keeping him in underwear for naps, but I fear the mess. And so I put it off. I have until September before the school insists, and really how would they know the difference? As long as they don't put him in a pull-up he should be fine. The only downside to this--and it is a doozy--that means I STILL HAVE TO CLEAN UP HIS SHIT.

On Friday I am going to fly to Raleigh to meet my husband and perhaps share with him the happy-go-lucky, easy-going, kind Amy I used to be instead of the resentful shrew he has grown to know. The kids are staying with my in-laws, and Lance and I are going to have an awesome weekend, staying with my brother, partying at the old bars in my college town, seeing some wonderful old friends--including one of my favorite bloggers!--and not changing one poopy diaper for 3 whole days.

Beautiful day, indeed.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Blog blog blog

You know what's fun? "Meeting" new bloggers. I don't mean meeting up with them in real life, though that's fun, too, of course. I mean, finding and reading new blogs. There are millions of blogs out there, but it's easy to get stuck reading the same 10 to 20 blogs every day--who has time for more than that?

Recently, though, I've been out clicking on your blogrolls, finding some fresh meat. Not that there was anything wrong with the old meat, I just found that I had time for some new ones. So if you've seen me sitting on your blog for awhile, it's probably been me thumbing through your blogroll.

When I first started blogging, I would spend hours, clicking from blog to blog, from commenter to blogroll to commenter, and that's how I came to form my current blogroll. It's been kind of refreshing to do that again.

Even better? The thought that this potential will always be there. New blogs are published every day, and I can't even begin to keep up with the ones that are already here. So if you've got some good ones to share, I'm all ears.

I've got some great new blogs on my list too; I encourage you to poke around.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Boo Hoo

Well, that bites.

Moving on.

Another gorgeous day in Southern California today, so I took the kids to the beach. They had a fabulous time climbing all over each other and me, making castles, and getting sand into every nook and cranny in their little bodies. At one point, as I relaxed in a beach chair, both kids took turns pouring sand from shovels onto my person. It reminded me, as I got doused with the gritty dirty granules, of a conversation I often have with another mother.

She has children similar in age to my two, so we spend a fair amount of time together. However, we have very different parenting styles. This mother--let's call her Sybil--is very strict with her kids. Well, not necessarily strict, but definitely hard on them. She doesn't pick her battles very effectively, in my mind. For example, she gets furious if one of her sons steps on a plant in her backyard. Or takes off his shoes. Or leaves them on. Or gets mud on his jeans. Or brings out a game that has a lot of pieces. Or talks too loud. Or too much. Or whines. Or cries. Or . . .you get the picture. She's got a short fuse, I guess.

Just the other day, she and I were talking while the kids played in the backyard.

Sybil: You know, we have these really great friends that live not far from here--their son is exactly my son's age--but I just hate having them over.

Amy: Really? Why? I love knowing people who have kids the same age as mine!

Sybil: Well, they come over here, and their son is just wild. He runs all over the place and makes such a mess!

Amy: hmm.

Sybil: It takes me forever to clean up after they leave. I guess I'm just too tired or too old to deal with that, so I'd just rather not invite them over. *

With another mother, I'd probably agree. I mean, you don't want kids running rampant all over your house, and your kids should know to be respectful of the areas they are playing in. However, Sybil's definition of "wild" and my definition are "wildly" different. The kid probably accidentally stepped on one of her impatients or something. Maybe he knocked over a toy or two.

I can imagine her at the beach with us today. "No pouring sand! Don't get Mommy dirty! Listen to me, don't you dare dump that sand out! I am not bringing you to the beach again if this is how you are going to act!"

That is just not the way I parent. When her kids come over to my house, I expect the toys to get taken out of the toy box. I expect them to run around in the backyard and get dirty. I expect some plants to get trampled on, accidentally. I expect to have a bit more of a mess than I usually do, because there are four kids in my home, instead of the usual two. Same with the beach. To me, it's just sand. The kids are having a ball, and I can take a shower later, so why interfere? Let them have their fun.

Kids are messy, but guess what? They clean up pretty good. You can teach them to help you put away the toys, you can show them which plants to be extra careful around, you can explain the difference between pouring sand on someone and throwing it in their eyes. And, here's the kicker: you can do that without screaming at them!

* Also, I'm not an idiot, so I realize she was probably telling me, in her passive-aggressive way, that she'd rather we not come over either. But I don't let my kids go crazy over there--in fact, they are much better behaved then her two boys, who lean towards the manipulative and violent already.

Well, enough patting myself on the back today. Almost enough, anyway:

Isaac has been wearing underwear since 8am this morning with NO ACCIDENTS. I still have to remind him, frequently, to use the potty, since he has yet to recognize on his own that he needs to go. However, not long ago, he was playing in the dirt and said to himself, "Here's the purple shovel that's mine and Vivi can't have it because I'm playing in the dirt with it and I'm trying real, real hard not to pee in my underwear." Fortunately, I overheard, and we made it to the potty in time. Perhaps he WILL be potty-trained in time for kindergarten. (Though pooping is another story altogether.)

Vivian has also been peeing on the potty, about once a day. Yes, she's young, but I have hopes, people. The diapers, they are killing me.

HA HA HA HA HA! Just now, as I typed that lovely paragraph about Isaac, guess what he was doing. Go ahead, guess. Exactly! Pooping in his underwear! Which is not so bad, really--I expect some accidents--but oh! Oh, the trauma. It was 45 minutes of cajoling, hugging, explaining, bribing, threatening and everything else I could think of before he would allow me to clean him up. I don't know when he's going to recover from it.

Instant karma, anyone?

Last but not least: What is a good, not too trendy, not too common, not too out-there name for a boy? This should be a name appropriate to the East Coast.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Dook sucks.

Somewhere in Los Angeles, an underpaid, over-worked, twenty-something civil servant is laughing his ass off, imagining the stupid house-wife who will have to lug her screaming rugrats into jury duty, all because he failed to mention that she was exempt.

He does not know, however, that this stupid house-wife has some friends in the computer, friends who actually read things they get in the mail from the state, and so she has figured it out after all! Right there on the little form thingy, it says "Reasons for excuse: I have a personal obligation to provide full time care for another from the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m .. ."

I think he earned his little laugh-a-thon, though: I am, in fact, a stupid house-wife for not reading the form sooner. Like when it came, two months ago. I blame Heidi. Why? Because I can. She was here when I got it, and I'm sure she distracted me with some hilarious story involving egotistical men and their internet alter-egos.

Anyway, who cares? I don't have to go! Neener neener neener!

This, THIS is what you should care about. Okay? 5 minutes and counting until tip-off. All together now, GO HEELS!

The jury's out

I keep forgetting to call in on the correct day for my jury duty. Yesterday, when I called to confess I'd missed the date again, the nice gentleman on the other line told me that my actions were starting to look like "willful negligence" and that they would only give me ONE MORE CHANCE. So, if I take an unexpected break next week, rest assured, it's only that I forgot jury duty again and I'm being held in contempt of court.

But really, how the hell am I supposed to go in for jury duty when I've got the two kids? My in-laws are out of town, and so is Lance, which leaves me approximately zero babysitters. I'm not really inclined to pay someone $10/ hour while I drive downtown in traffic to sit in some jury room for a few hours before I'm excused anyway. However, the nice gentleman on the phone didn't care to hear my tale of woe. "Yes", he said,"if you are given a time to come to court you have to do it, babysitter or not." So, I guess, if I get called in, I take the kids with me. HA! You want "willful negligence", sir, meet my son!

In other news, there are only 6 short months before I can send Vivian to school. Possibly 5, if the Godiva chocolates I've been sending the pre-school director have the desired effect. Yes, I love my daughter, but she is 19 months old, and sitting quietly reading books while Mommy blogs is no longer something she likes to do. In fact, she won't even watch t.v. when I offer it, which leads me to believe there is something critically wrong with her. What kid doesn't want to watch Bob the Builder for the six millionth time in a row?

My real motive for sending dear sweet muffin to school is her intellectual development, of course. I mean, my god! She can count to ten already! And her Lily the ear-drum-bursting counting doll only sings that lovely song up to 10, so I've got to do something. I think they go over numbers at school, so . .. there. She's going. The minute they let her in.

Today it is 85 degrees in Los Angeles, so I put Vivian in a summer outfit before we went to get Isaac from school. "What a pretty dress!" Isaac said when he saw her. My little metro-sexual son; Daddy will be so proud.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Another year gone and deeper in dept

Over the weekend, Phantom wrote a post in honor of her one year blog anniversary. Last week, Raehan held a party in honor of hers. These two women bring so much intellect, humor, and honesty to the "blogosphere", I am thrilled to celebrate their anniversaries with them.

I know the day mine passed, because I started this blog on the one year anniversary of the death of a friend. This year on that day, Lance and I talked quietly about Tim, remembering how cold and rainy the funeral was, wondering what it would be like if he hadn't died, thinking about how thrilled he was to be getting married. I sent his fiance (when do we stop calling her that?) an email, and she replied with some pictures of her new daughter. When I got her response, I remembered, briefly, that it was also the anniversary of my blog.

I meant to write about it. To note it, and celebrate it in some way. But then the next day came, and with it a new set of things to worry about, and write about. So the day passed, and I forgot all about it.

But these other anniversaries got me thinking again. I think it's pretty clear: I love blogging. Blogging has filled a void for me that I wasn't even truly aware existed. I get to talk about myself--something I rarely do in "real life". I get to read about your lives, peer in your kitchen windows and watch how you relate to each other, see what works and why, and apply it with limited success to my own life. I get affirmation when I am doing things right. I get support when I mess up. I get people who laugh with me and understand me and give me advice that really works. I can tell secrets here: admit that I am socially inept, that my husband sometimes annoys me, that I am not a good enough mother, that I am unable to hold a coherent conversation over the phone. And, here is the miracle--you listen. You listen to what I say, you hear me, and you respond.

Over the weekend, I met up with a fellow blogger, MIM. You probably already have her on your blogroll, and if you don't , I suggest adding her immediately. She's funny, she's smart, she's just what you need with your breakfast. MIM has two adorable children, In-fant (age 1) and Tod-lar (age 2.5). As you might expect, these two are extremely well-behaved, charming kids. Isaac and Vivian fell in love the moment we walked through the door. MIM herself is welcoming and friendly, not to mention gorgeous and funny. We had a really wonderful morning, despite the fact that it was maybe 150 degrees outside, and we were dressed in corduroys (it was much colder at my house, a mere 15 miles away--ah, the quirkiness of the California climate.) We went to the local park ,where Tod-lar survived a fall from the monkey bars, we ate lunch together, and we talked and talked. Sadly, we didn't take any photos.

I only met her today, but I have known her, through blogging, for several months. Now, we are friends. Just like that. Just like all of you are my friends. Can you hear how amazing that is? Historically, making friends has been an anxiety-inducing proposition for me, and yet blogging has turned it into something easy and natural.

Most impressive of all, (besides the incredible hotness of MIM's husband) is the fact that I drove all the way to MIM's house and back, conquering no less than SIX freeways, and never once got lost.

Thank you all for helping me find my way this year. I am, always, indebted to you.

Friday, February 03, 2006


am I "unauthorized to view" my own blog? And how do I make it fucking stop?

Also: is it bad parenting to tell your children that if they just play quietly for ten minutes you will give them some candy?

Hypocrisy and the Privileged child

A while ago, Dutch over at Sweet Juniper wrote a very funny post about the Bugaboo strollers. Up to that time, I'd seen them around, but I had no idea that they cost $900. You heard me right, people, 900 dollars.

Apparently, however, I am in the minority. At least here on the Westside of Los Angeles, moms with Bugaboo strollers abound. You can't drive your SUV into the Starbucks drive-thru without running one over. The playgrounds are overflowing with them. Everytime I see one, I do a double take. I just can't wrap my head around it. NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS?? For an item that you will only have for a few years? When there are perfectly good--nay, AWESOME ones--available for under $200? Indeed, there are workable strollers for much less than even that.

Our first stroller was one of those Universal snap and go things: you just popped in the infant carseat and away you went. I think it cost $60. Our second stroller was a MacLaren Volo umbrella stroller, and this cost $150. At the time, I practically lost my lunch paying for it--it seemed like way too much money to spend on an umbrella stroller. Truth is, it WAS too much money: I could have purchased a decent one for $60. However, it has proved to be a wonderful item, and now, 2. 5 years later, I don't regret the cost.

Maybe this makes me a hypocrite. After all, $150 to some might seem as ridiculous as $900 seems to me--it's all relative, you know. But wait, it gets worse. Our third and last stroller was a double--the Peg Perego Aria Twin, which cost $240. This one was a gift from my parents, and, again, it's been really good to us. The double stroller is a necessary evil when you have two kids 16 months apart, and at least this one is light-weight and relatively easy to maneuver. Had we purchased it ourselves, I doubt we would have gone for such an expensive one, but . . .well. It was a gift. And perhaps all those moms--oops, I mean nannies--at the park are pushing around gifted Bugaboos, too.

Today over at Thinking about, J. wrote a post about a recent article on Salon. com. She posted the content of the article in the comments. The article references that new parenting--oops, I mean shopping--magazine, Cookie. It caters to the parent who wants to buy their infant
things like a Classic Crystal Chandelier ($1,230). It's a fairly sickening article, and even more sickening magazine. What astounds me is that there is an audience, a market, for this crap. Who are these people??

I wish I had a reader or two who could shed some light on this phenomenon for me. I want to understand why a person would decide to spend $400 on a pair of pants for their toddler, instead of purchasing the $40 pair at Baby Gap, and sending the remaining $360 to their favorite charity. Or even buying a mutual fund with it, or putting it in a 529 for college. Sending it to their ailing mother. Whatever. Something, anything worth while. A $400 pair of pants for a person who will out-grow them in a matter of months if they don't ruin them first, by virtue of being a toddler, is NOT WORTH WHILE.

But I know you all are too sensible to explain this to me. I'm sure you're as appalled as I am. In the meantime, I just park my Lexus 330 next to the Range Rover in the parking lot and roll my eyes as I push my $250 stroller past their $900 one.

What's for dinner?

Things my kids will eat:

soy yogurt
pasta with red sauce
French fries

Things I will no longer serve because of the EVER-LOVING MESS they make all over themselves, the floor, and everything else within a 50 foot radius

soy yogurt
pasta with red sauce

Things my kids can eat, with my blessing.
French fries

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Shocking News

“(Greensboro, NC) Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford announced today that a foul is tentatively scheduled to be called against Duke sometime in the first half of their game with UNC in Chapel Hill, next Tuesday, February 7th.

In a joint press conference with Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, and ACC Director of Officials John Clougherty, Swofford said an agreement had been reached for a touch foul to be whistled on as-yet-to-be-determined Blue Devil player around the 7:00 minute mark during the first half of the game at the Smith Center.

"We are very excited to arrange something that hasn't been seen in our conference since 1998," said Swofford. "I want to personally commend Mike {Krzyzewski} for agreeing to thisunconventionall deal. We all know how reluctant he has been to allow any calls to go against his team."

Krzyzewski insisted that this move was purely a gesture of generosity aimed at rehabilitating his public image in light of recent lip-synching fiascos during several nationally televised games. "The camera did not catch me really uttering the BS-word during my argument with the official the other night. Those really were my lips moving but I wasn't really yelling the word. I'm sure our fans will understand."

"Mike is being a really good sport about this," noted UNC coach Roy Williams. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to play them with a foul being called against their squad, and to have it happen here in front of the home crowd will be especially enjoyable for our fans."

Clougherty says that unless unforeseen intimidation happens during the game, that the scheduled foul should occur without a hitch. "It all depends on whether Coach K holds up his end of the bargain and promises not toharasss our crew that evening." Clougherty also said not to expect any more fouls to be called against Duke this season, but did not rule out the possibility of another one being called in an exhibition game in November 2006. "The Duke AD told me that they are trying to schedule Marathon Oil for a pre-season game next year and we are in discussions about perhaps calling another foul against Duke in that match-up if everyone can come to terms."

The officiating crew for the Duke vs. UNC game will not be announced publicly prior to the game in order to protect their privacy. Swofford said he anticipated a media barrage and did not want the referees to be distracted from their big task at hand. "This is a big deal and a momentous occasion for the league. We need our employees to remain focused so that they can complete their jobs in what could end up being a very difficult situation."

Game Notes: If the foul occurs on February 7th, it will be the 27th foul called against the Blue Devils in their basketball history........... UNC fan favorite Byron (Colonel) Sanders had a chicken bone removed from his throat yesterday, and is expected to be recovered for the game...... Dick Vitale and Mike Patrick will be handling the TV play by play for ESPN. Vitale says he has no idea what he will say when the foul is called against Duke but he has been placed on a prescription sedative as a preventive measure. (Patrick could not be reached for comment, and was last seen entering a tanning salon in Durham with a picture of JJ Redick)......... A CBS 60 Minutes television crew is planning to attend the game to catch the event on tape for an upcoming expose on the Duke basketball program and how Mike Krzyzewski uses friendships and loyalty to advance his own agenda.”


In news that might be more interesting (though not as funny): Just now I sneezed, and Vivian said "Bess you, Mommy."