Thursday, March 30, 2006

Is there a way to make sure I never have to go to the mall again? Ever, in my life?

I hate shopping for a number of reasons, including but not limited to: my unfortunate guilt about spending money on myself, my complete lack of style, and oceans of impatience. Truly, she is the only reason I have any respectable clothes whatsoever.

However, this weekend I am going to Palm Desert for a bachelorette party with some very stylish women, and I need something to wear that does not scream MOM! or SLOB! or WHAT IS SHE THINKING? Isaac was in school this morning, so I dragged Vivian off to the mall. (Remember my last post about the mall? Could this be another reason to hate shopping? I wonder . . .)

All I need is a new pair of jeans, and a nice shirt or outfit of some kind to wear out to dinner Saturday night. Okay, then:

Banana Republic Women--first of all, the entire store was on sale, which normally would be great but since a sale at Banana Republic means you pay $75 dollars for a skirt instead of $100, I wasn't really feeling it. Not to mention--whoa, ugly clothes. Still, I managed to find a few shirts, skirts, and jeans to try on. Who knew clothes could be that unflattering? Oh, and also HUGE on me, which prompted me to try

Banana Republic Petites--same ugly clothes but with a smaller selection. I tried on two pairs of jeans, both of which were TINY on me. Moving on

to Nordstrom, where they have basically two sections: one with clothes for my grandmother, and the "BrassPlum" which is fantastic if you are 18 years old and looking for just the right $25 pair of jeans to show off in science class. Next, we headed to

Bebe--full of poorly made, ridiculously expensive clothes that would be PERFECT, if I were thinking of selling my body on Sunset Boulevard tonight. Since I haven't sunk that low (yet), on to

Guess, which is where I purchased the pair of jeans I currently wear 4 days out of 5. I didn't necessarily want the same pair, but they are good jeans*, so if I had to buy them again, it wouldn't be the end of the world. There were two pairs of jeans in the store in my size, both of which were bejeweled and ripped for effect--definitely not me. No tops or outfits worth trying either.

Next we tried Express, which proved the most frustrating stop of all. There was the holy grail of jeans, a huge wall of them, different styles and colors to choose from. However, said wall of jeans was not organized in ANY fashion, so to find the pair in the style, color and size you need you had to pull out each and every pair to check the number. None of the 10 "sales associates" in the store could be bothered to help me. Giving up on the jeans, I went to check out their blouses, where I was able to find two mediocre tops. One of them fit fine, but the color is not the best on me: tan with other neutrals as a pattern, which when contrasted with my dirty blonde hair and pasty complexion combine to make me even more invisible than usual. I almost bought it in desperation, until I realized it was $54. Next.

Finally, to the Gap, where I thought I at least would be able to find some jeans. Alas, of the 6,000 pairs they had on display there, only 3 were in my size, and those were the "curvy" ones, which don't really work on someone with absolutely no curves whatsoever (think "boyish", with an unfortunately long torso), like me. The sales associate there was only slightly more helpful than those at Express: she did offer to help, but when I told her my size and which jeans I was looking for, she said "These right here are the straight ones", pointed to a rack that had none in my size, and then walked away. The only good news is that I did manage to escape the store without purchasing any tank tops, something I rarely can manage. Tank tops are my staple, and also--incredibly boring.

Two hours later, Vivian and I left the mall empty-handed, swearing and screaming, and rushed off to get Isaac from school. This weekend I will be sporting the same old jeans I've been wearing nonstop for the past year, along with my standard uniform of tank tops and/or t-shirts with a zip-up sweatshirt for warmth. Watch out, Tyra Banks, I could be giving your next "Top Model" a run for her money.

*I can't find the same pair on their website, which means they've probably stopped making them. Fabulous.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I should be getting paid for this

Right now I'm supposed* to be doing an unbelievably boring project for my dad which involves looking up random business filing fees and forms on the internet for every fucking state in the country, but guess what? I'm writing this post, for your enjoyment, instead.

Spring is here, as you may have noticed. Actually, spring hasn't really been in Los Angeles the last few days, but I shouldn't complain--it's gorgeous today, even if a little cold for my weak blood (mid 60s). Chilly air and all, spring is "officially" here, and that means only one thing: Easter candy.

I know you didn't ask for this, but since I bought out the Easter goodies from our local Sav On the other day, I thought I'd share with you what I've learned.

First off, Butterfinger Nest Eggs suck. SUCK. (Also, they suck because I could not find a link to them anywhere on the internet. Perhaps because they suck so bad.)

Secondly, these
hershey eggs
are okay, but the M&M's are way better. Smaller equals better in this instance.

Same goes for these:
peanut egg

Definitely tasty, and worth buying, but I wish they'd just paint the smaller, regular pieces Easter colors. We don't need a whole egg's worth of peanut-ty goodness. Disrupts the delicate balance of peanut to chocolate, see.

I know you know this already, but these are not good for anything but experiments in the microwave.

Finally, these are awesome. I've eaten an entire bag in less than three days, and except for the slightly sickening after-taste, I have no complaints.

In other product news:

If you have children who walk, and you have an aversion to spending large amounts of money for shoes that they will outgrow in 6 months, try these. They are well-made, under $25, and best of all, no shoelaces.

Last summer we bought these, also from Land's End, and they are awesome too, and even cheaper.

Last but not least:
I am not a beauty product type person. I buy my shampoo and moisturizer at the grocery store. I use lotion once a week. My make-up, purchased at the local drug store, is over a year old. However, I seem to be getting older and therefore uglier. My hair has always been a problem for me, but now it's verging on the ridiculous. I need to shave my head or grow dredlocks or buy a wig, or use this product. It is the only thing I have found that will condition my hair without weighing it down.

And that's it. My nod to the patriarchal, consumerist, materialist world we all live in.

*The reason for this project is that Lance and I are planning a remodel, which we can't really afford, and so my dad is throwing all the busy work that his employees don't have time to do my way, and paying me to do it in my "spare" time. Which is really great of him, and I shouldn't complain. Yet, here I am, complaining. Shocking, I know.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The things we do for love

Today I am driving, in the rain, in the traffic, on the 405 at rush hour, to see the therapist my mother-in-law found so that we could have a family intervention with my asinine brother-in-law. You may remember that said intervention never happened since asinine brother-in-law (assboy?Yes, I like it!) refused to see this particular therapist, insisting that his parents pay for him to see someone else. Which they, of course, agreed to.

Anyway, I am going alone to see the therapist because I have too much rage and anger towards assboy to be able to effectively vent while Lance is in the room. He is Lance's brother, after all. As much as he frustrates Lance, there is still blood between them, there is still a familial tie. To me, he's just a giant asshole with no redeeming characteristics. Actually, to anyone except family, he is a giant asshole with no redeeming characteristics.

This therapist--he's actually a psychiatrist, which is different, no?--costs $225 per 45 minute session. If math is difficult for you, that works out to FIVE DOLLARS PER MINUTE. He does not accept insurance. My in-laws, when they first suggested the whole therapy thing, offered to pay for our sessions, but that feels a little funny to Lance and I, so we paid for the first session ourselves. I'm trying to get our insurance to re-imburse us for at least some of it, but so far, no dice. Suffice to say, this will likely be the last visit.

There is NO WAY I can vent all I need to vent about assboy in one 45 minute session. There is no way the good psychiatrist can give me the tools I need (handgun? muzzle?) to be able to reconcile the fact that assboy is part of my family for the rest of my life. Worse than that, assboy will continue to act like an asshole for the rest of my life, and my in-laws and my husband will make excuses for him for the rest of my life and nothing I do will change that.

First, they made excuses because he's ill. He has Crohn's disease, poor boy. I wonder, how many people in the world--no, the country, or L.A. even--have Crohn's disease and are NOT assholes?Next, they made excuses because he married a controlling, insecure, emotionally stunted bitch. Hmmm, so I guess assboy has no free will of his own? At 30 years old, we shouldn't expect him to take care of himself and be responsible for his own actions? Now they are making excuses because he is mentally unstable and he just can't help himself. I am sure that on the day he finally snaps and brandishes a gun at the local post office, they will say that the twinkie he just ate made him hallucinate. Or worse, that I drove him to it.

The other day my mother-in-law told me that assboy had offered to help Lance and I out with Isaac's health situation. That Lance and I didn't know what it was like to be different, health-wise, but assboy did, and so he would be better to lead Isaac through it. Since I couldn't scratch her eyes out, I said something to the effect of: "Assboy is the last person I would ever ask for advice on anything, especially my son's health. Assboy has made his whole life be about his "disability" and what he can manipulate out of people because of it, and that is absolutely not what I want for Isaac."

Ever since that conversation, my mother-in-law has been distant and a bit snide with me, and I'm guessing the good psychiatrist is going to tell me I should have kept my mouth shut. Assboy is her son, after all.

Internet, after today's session, you are my therapist. How the hell do I live with this fucktard and still maintain peace in my family? For the record, family events without assboy are generally wonderful affairs. I actually like my in-laws, and even love them on some occasions. But I refuse to allow my children around assboy, and this is causing major problems.

(P.S. I didn't want to link all the previous posts on this subject because it's SO. FUCKING. BORING. but in case you are new to me, here they are.)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Conversation, 1:34 am

Isaac, from his room: Mom? Mommy. Mommy?

Me: Umph.

Isaac: Mommy! Mommy! Wahhhhhhh, mooommmmy!

Me, sighing heavily, heaving myself out of bed and into his room: Shhh, sweetie, it's okay. Don't wake Vivi up.

Isaac: Wahhhhhh!

Me: Shhh! Quiet, sweetie! What's wrong? What is it? Oh--what? What happened?

Isaac, whispering: I need another slinky*, Mommy. Please can I have another?

Me: How did that get so wet? Whoa, how is your bed so wet? Oh, Isaac, you're soaked.

I pick him up and bring him into our room as he starts wailing again. Pull off his sopping wet pajamas to reveal underwear. Isaac is potty trained, but not at night. At night, he still needs an overnight diaper to hold in all the pee.

Me: Lance! Lance! Wake up! Why didn't you put him in an overnight?

Lance: Huh? Um. Ooph.

Me, swearing under my breath: Jesus. Here, Isaac, let's put on some new pjs.

I get him dressed and put him into our bed, knowing this will mean no sleep for me. He insists on sleeping horizontally across the bed, and refuses covers, which puts me teetering on the edge of the bed, shivering. Better than changing his sheets at this hour, though, especially since I won't be able to do that without waking his sister.

Isaac: snore

Lance: snore

Me, as I climb into bed, attempt to move Isaac into a better position and wonder if I should go grab a sweatshirt: Mutter, mutter, heavy sigh.

Vivian: Mommy? Where are you, Mommy?

Me: Shit!

*'slinky' is what we call the kids' blankies around here--it's a bastardization of "silkie", which is what they are officially called.

Friday, March 24, 2006


If you are here via CityMama, please know that I don't always talk so much about sports. I am a wee bit obsessed with College Basketball, but that only happens once a year. It's almost over this year, especially since my team (North Carolina, of course) already lost. The women are still in it, though! Nevertheless, I'm usually talking about poop and other kid-related things here. I'm not sure how that's supposed to win you over, but there you go.

Mommygoth, over at Whatever happened to my rock n roll lifestyle?, writes a weekly post about all the things she is thankful for in her life. I love reading these, just like I love reading all of her blog--really, you should check her out, she's a fabulous writer. Sometimes I find myself feeling a teeny bit inadequate, as I am unable to come up with similar blessings in my own life. Oh sure, I'm incredibly thankful for the big ones: my beautiful children, my amazing husband, a roof over our heads, extended family that supports us in a myriad of ways--but the little things, the smaller things I've had trouble with lately.

However, as some of you noted in the comments, last night Duke lost to LSU. I'm feeling particularly light-hearted and happy today, as a result, and I thought I'd give blessings a try.

1. LSU beat Duke last night. I try not to take too much pleasure in Duke's pain, but the truth is the only thing worse than Carolina losing in the second round would be Duke winning a national championship. Plus, who am I kidding? Nothing makes me happier than Duke losing, especially in the tournament! It is true that the other teams I was pulling for (Gonzaga, because I hate UCLA; West Virginia, because I hate the Texas coach) lost, but I am willing to take that, just to see JJ Redick cry. Here, read this, if you want to revel some, too. But best of all, now I can remember this year for all the great things my team did, especially beating Duke at Duke on Senior night. It will not be tempered by the bitter pill of our rival winning a championship.

2. Isaac is potty-trained. I can't tell you how nice it is to change only one child's worth of poopy diapers every day, rather than two. I only have to take the Diaper Champ out once or twice a week! It doesn't reek to high heaven all the time! What else can I say about this? You wouldn't believe me if I tried to explain how much this has improved my qualilty of life, but it has.

3. I made a couple fish dishes in the beginning of the week and they both turned out. Then I turned the leftovers into fish salad which we had for sandwiches the next night. Last night was thin cut pork chops that I put in a store bought marinade, plus the leftover rice and couscous from the fish nights, and some quick vegetable stir fry. Which means I only had to go to the grocery store once, and I used everything up. Nothing rotted in Tupperware behind the Amstel Light in the fridge. On top of that, everything was edible. I know it sounds silly, but this pleased me to no end.

4. I have gone off the pill, and already I feel better. Granted, this is all in my head, since I went off the pill exactly 5 days ago, but still. No more moody, bitchy Amy.

5. Spring is coming! Actually spring is here, today in Los Angeles anyway. After a week or more of below average temperatures, the sun is finally showing her strength, and it's meant to be almost 80 today. If only it were 80 every day . . .

6. I purchased a dress for a wedding at an outlet store the other day. The dress is awesome, and looks great on me, but. But it cost $250, at an outlet store! I have been feeling guilty about it since I purchased it. I bought it at the MaxStudio outlet, but the tag (not cut in half, the way some are), says Max Mara. Also, it was the only one of its kind in the store, and didn't have a price tag on it. When I brought it to the counter, the twenty-something clerk seemed perplexed, but finally was able to ring it up. I'm telling myself that this is a high couture dress, probably worth WAY more than $250. It probably got sent to the outlet store by mistake! Now I don't feel guilty anymore! I feel like I got an awesome deal! I've been trying to find it on-line just to see how much I "saved", but I haven't had any luck. See? It's probably a one-of-a-kind. What a bargain shopper I am! Now my hair just needs to grow out from the bad cut I got at Fantastic Sam's, and I'll be irresistible at the wedding.

7. Our dishwasher has been dying a slow and painful death over the last several (like SIX) months, and we finally got a new one last week. It's a brand new experience to empty the dishwasher and not have to re-wash three-quarters of the dishes. Probably saving the enviroment a couple tons of water a week, too. Yay!

That wasn't so hard, after all. I don't know that I'll have so much to be thankful for every week, but you never know . .

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Conversation, 7:05 am

Scene: the kitchen, I'm getting food out for breakfast.

Isaac: Mommy, remember last time when I threw the book and Vivi was laughing?

Me: What? Mmm, no throwing things, right?

Isaac: Member last time and I threw the book and the broken window?

Me: What?

Isaac: Member last time Vivi was laughing and the broke-the broken--the window, um, the window broken?

Me: Did you break a window? When? Say that again!

Isaac: (Giggles.)

Me: Wait, let's go. Let's go to your room so I can see what you are talking about.

Isaac: Nooo! I don't want to! Nooo!

Me (still not really believing): What's the matter? Come on, let's go see your room for a minute.

Isaac: Please don't yell at me 'cause I broke the window, Mommy. I don't want you to see it. Don't open the shade!

Me (entering the room and opening the shade to reveal a broken window): WHAT HAPPENED? Babe! Babe, come in here!

For those of you keeping score: yes, we are planning a remodel in a few months, which will include replacing all our original 1953 cheap-ass windows. Not really interested in paying for the pane to be replaced in the meantime. Lance spent the morning covering the broken glass with cardboard. Classy!

How this happened without either Lance or I hearing the crash is beyond me, especially considering their room is steps away from ours, and the walls are VERY thin. I can only guess that the glass was so thin and cheap the sound of it breaking was muted by Isaac and Vivian's laughter. They WERE laughing pretty loudly in there this morning--around 6:15 am.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Hell is a Le Creuset Dutch Oven

On Saturday, I drove to San Diego with four other women (women I don't know very well! And I survived!) to attend a wedding shower. The bride is marrying a dear friend of ours in about a month. I have only gotten to know and love the bride (J) in the last year or so, but her fiance (D) has been a wonderful friend for years, since our days in San Francisco. In fact, D is Vivian and Isaac's designated guardian.

I have known about this shower for weeks, and I decided, some time ago, to buy her a Le Creuset dutch oven. She is a fabulous cook, and I love the one my mom bought me last year. I thought I'd type up a few recipes that I make in mine, put them inside the pot, and that would be the gift. Since her husband is such a good friend, I didn't worry about the cost.

Last Thursday, Isaac was in pre-school, so I loaded up Vivian and went to the mall. I drove to the nearest one that had both Williams Sonoma and a Crate & Barrel, where she was registered. However, once I got there, I realized that both of those stores had moved on to bigger and better malls. No worry, I'll go to the Macy's home store. Oh, the Macy's here doesn't HAVE a home store. Oh-kay, right. I'll go to the Bloomingdale's--they have a home store and it doesn't really matter if she's not registered there.

Once in Bloomingdale's, after waiting for the elevator for what seemed like 30 minutes, I located their display of Le Creuset items. There was the pot I wanted, and it was on sale! However, there were no similar pots, in boxes, only ones on display. I set about looking for someone to help me. This proved extremely difficult, and only partly because Thursday was the day I had absolutely no voice due to laryngitus. After about 10 minutes of walking back and forth and waiting in lines, I finally enlisted the help of a nice young man who told me I shouldn't try to "engage the voicebox at all, just whisper" and said he'd run to check in the back for a boxed pot. Who knew? Free medical advice with your wedding gifts.

By now, Vivian had about had it. She'd already eaten all the goldfish pretzels I'd brought as a snack and was demanding "No stoller! No stoller, Mommy!", while arching her back and turning her body to try and wriggle out of the buckles. When she started screaming, I un-strapped her, and let her walk around a bit. This was only slightly better, as you can imagine: she was no longer screaming, but then again, she was walking freely among the plates and tchochkes of the home store.

Eventually, my nice medical sales clerk returned from the back with bad news: they did not have the pot I wanted in blue. They only had a white one. Since J was not registered at Bloomingdale's I didn't know what color she wanted, but I thought blue was a safer bet than white.

I decided to skip it, and head home. We could go to Williams Sonoma the next day, since Isaac would be in pre-school again.

The next day was Friday. Before we left, I checked J's registry on-line--she had actually registered for the white pot. Vivian and I dropped Isaac off at school and then headed over to Mieke's house for a quick morning play date. Around 10, we left, headed for the closest mall, a different one from the day before, but one that had both a Macy's (with a home store) and a Williams Sonoma.

First, we hit Macy's. They did not have any Le Creuset products except a crock pot. Okay. Williams Sonoma, two floors down and on the opposite side of the mall, was next. (I should mention here that Lance had taken my car in for repairs that day and I was driving his. It was only when I got to the mall that I realized I had no stroller. So I was carrying Vivian.) When we got to Williams Sonoma, I saw their display of pots, but again, none were available in boxes. Vivian was screaming and wriggling like an eel, so I put her down--again, to walk freely among the beautiful fragile glassware and heavy electrics with precariously placed jelly jars. I waited for help. The couple in front of me told the sales lady their life story as I tried to keep Vivian from using a pasta platter as a bowling ball. Eventually, my turn came.

"I need to buy something off a registry", I said. "But I know what I want already."

"Okay. Well, let me print out the registry anyway. What is the Bride's name?"

10 minutes and 10 mis-spellings later, she was ready to ask me what I wanted to buy. By this time, I had picked Vivian back up and she was screaming in my arms. The sales lady went to check for the pot in the back.

An eternity later, she returned with the news that they had no such pots in the back. Would I like to pick something else from the registry?

I glanced at my watch. It was 11:15. I did not have time to go back to the mall from yesterday and buy the pot before I had to pick Isaac up at noon. Fine. I snatched the registry and starting scanning through it, looking for anything between $35-$80.

Do you have the hand mixer? --No.
How about the juicer?-- No.
I like this platter--oh wait, someone already bought it.

At this point, she said to me: "Why don't you just take the registry home with you? Then you can call me and I'll find whatever you need and wrap it for you--I can special order it if we're out. It looks like you need to go home (here she points at the screaming Vivian)".

"Well, the shower's tomorrow, but thanks anyway", I said. And off I went, cursing under my breath. Now it was almost time to pick Isaac up and I still didn't have a gift. We were leaving for San Diego at 9:30 the next morning, and that night was my basketball game. I had to get the gift now.

I loaded Vivian in the car and sped back home, where I fortified her with a sippy cup of milk and some cookies, and threw the single stroller in the car (the double doesn't fit in Lance's car). Then I rushed back to Isaac's school, picked him up, and headed for Bloomingdale's, where I knew they had the pot I needed in white.

By the time we got to Bloomingdale's it was 12:30. It was also raining, and this was an outdoor mall. I hurried us up to the home store and asked the first sales person I could find to go get me the fucking white Le Creuset pot.

Hours later, he returned. "Oh, sorry." he said. "We only have a blue one."
"What? Yesterday you told me you didn't have a blue one; only a white one!"
"Hmm. Well, all I know is that today we only have a blue one left."
"Can I take the white one on display? Do you have a box for it anywhere?"
"Oh, we can't sell those. And you need the box--it has the warranty information in it."

Swearing, I looked around frantically for anything else to buy. What kind of mixer was on her registry at Williams Sonoma? Was it that kind of juicer? I finally settled on a hand blender*, spent my $65, and consoled myself with the thought that at least I'd spent less (monetarily, at least) on this gift than I would have on the Le Creuset.

"Can you gift wrap it?" I asked the bored woman who was ringing us up.
"You have to go to customer service," she said, not even looking up.

I grabbed the gift, and Isaac by the hand, and shoved some pretzels at Vivian to get her to quiet down, then headed over to customer service. Where, after waiting in yet another line, I found that I could purchase wrapping paper and ribbon for $15, but they wouldn't wrap it for me. Perfect.

Now it is 1pm. Both kids are tired, and hungry. I head downstairs, out of Bloomingdales and into the rain, towards the food court. Except the food court is no longer where it has been for the 4 years I have shopped at this mall. "Where are the restaurants?" I practically yell at a woman walking by. "They moved them. Over by Macy's, top floor."

Ohh-kay. Macy's is at the other end of the mall, and did I mention this is an outdoor mall? And that it's raining? I walk as fast as I can, which is not very fast since I am also dragging Isaac, the world's slowest 3 year old. He steps in a puddle and starts screaming.

"My feet are wet! Mommy! Noooo! My shoes are all wet!!"
"Sweetie, come on. It's okay. Let's go quick and get out of the rain, you'll be fine!"
"Nooo!" Throws himself down, on the ground--IN THE PUDDLE!--and continues screaming.

I un-buckle Vivian from the stroller and put her down. Pick Isaac up, and strap him, still screaming, into the stroller. Pick Vivian back up, and run to the elevator.

Eventually we get to the food court where I manage to order our lunches and somehow carry the tray of food with two drinks, and Vivian, while pushing a still sobbing, and now also sopping, Isaac to a table. There we consume a disgusting, $15 lunch.

The end.

(Well, no. Because I still had to get them home and to naps and then wrap the fucking present. But you get the idea.)

*the only link I can find is to one that Macy's sells for $35--since I spent double that, I refuse to link it. FUCK.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

One last basketball post, I promise.

You have never heard of Adam Lucas. He is a sportswriter for Carolina. He is probably my age. He has two kids, just like me. He bleeds Carolina blue, just like me. He is a phenomenal writer. (The fact that he writes passionately about something I am equally passionate about may influence my opinion here.)

Here is what he wrote about our last game. (Listen, I know no one else really cares about this, except maybe Nancy, and APL. So you don't really have to read it. I'm posting it here for me. Go ahead and skip this post; I'll come with something else tomorrow.)

When I was in Chapel Hill, visiting Chip, I saw a photo of Adam Lucas, and heard him talk on the radio. He is incredibly dorky-looking. And sounding. This bothers me. How can someone who so often writes exactly what I am feeling be a dork? Does that make me a dork? Probably.

I loved this Tar Heel team. I loved their spirit, I loved their effort, I loved all of them. My heart is broken, too, that we couldn't get past George Mason University. But I still have Senior Night in Durham, and that does ease the pain a little bit.

Okay, last post, I swear. Unless I win my pool, which will only happen if North Carolina comes back from the dead to win it all AND Duke loses last Thursday.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Would you like to give some Ass-vice?

I know that other bloggers complain about the bad advice, or judgment disguised as advice, that they receive in their comments section. Fortunately for me, I don't have that problem. All of you, my loyal, bored-to-death readers, leave me nothing by supporting, helpful advice. For example, I think I may get an IUD now; before I "knew" Sugarmama, I thought IUDs were scary! See? Good advice.

So. Now I am asking for more.

My daughter Vivian is 21 months old. She sleeps with a pacifier. She has slept with a pacifier since she was a very small girl--an infant. I don't have anything against pacifiers for infants. Newborns need to suck, and if you don't want to be offering your boob every five seconds, a pacifier is a good substitute.

(Of course, don't give the kid a pacifier if she is hungry or just needs some love. I do not advocate the use of a pacifer as a crutch--unless you're feeling really tired, then jam that thing in her mouth the whole damn day. If she keeps crying, put her outside in the car with all the windows rolled up, where you won't be able to hear her.)

After about 4 to 6 months, I think it's fair to limit the pacifier use, so the child doesn't become too dependent on it. Use the pacifier only in bed, or when the baby is really upset about something. Sounds reasonable, right?

This is what we did with Isaac, and it worked beautifully. He loved the pacifier until he was about 3 or 4 months old, when he found his thumb. After that, it was all thumb, all the time, until he was two or so, when he just gave the thumb all by himself. I patted myself on the back for that one. What good parenting skills I have! Oh, you silly parents with kids who suck their thumbs at age 3, you are doing everything wrong! I am the most fabulous mother in the universe!

Then came Vivian. She never found her thumb, and has no inclination to, since she's obsessed with the pacifier. She knows she can't have it unless she's sleeping, and she doesn't ask for it at any other time. However, she is completely dependent on it for sleep. She asks for it the minute I put her in the crib, and gets frantic if she doesn't see one right away. Lately she's been waking up around 5am and screaming for us to come find her pacifier for her. I have no idea why she's doing this, as she's perfectly capable of reaching the three inches from her face to find it herself, and furthermore she's been finding it on her own for over a year now, but whatever. Now she screams, and by the time we get in there to hand her the pacifier, her brother is awake, never to sleep again.

I think it's time to wean off the pacifier. I dread it. And part of me thinks it's too soon. What do I care if she uses the pacifier in bed, after all? It's not as if she's walking around in public with it. If she'd just stop waking up so early, it wouldn't affect me at all. She doesn't wake every morning, either, but it has been happening about 50% of the time. Also, she's not even two; who am I to deny her something that gives her such comfort? On the other hand, I know it is not good for her teeth, and I might as well stop it now before she becomes more attached to it. Right?

I'm not sure. What do you think?

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Well. I didn't expect them to win the title again this year, but I sure as hell thought we could beat George Mason University. Ick.

My brackets are both destroyed, but I expected that, no matter how well Carolina did.

I've been very slightly ill for about a week now, and by Thursday I had laryngitus. I couldn't speak, AT ALL, until Friday night. This weekend has been busy and not restful, and as a result I think I've developed a sinus infection of some sort. So now on top of having the blahs, and my team completely blowing it, I'm sick. Wah.

Oh, here's some exceptionally bad parenting for you: Friday night Carolina played their first round game against Murray State. The game was not being shown locally here, so Lance and I decided to go to a sports bar/restaurant to watch it. Our babysitter was not available, so we took the kids. That's right, we took our 3 year old and our 1.5 year old to a sports bar on St. Patrick's Day.

Then, since Carolina couldn't even lock that game down until the last seconds, we kept the kids out until 9:30pm. I had hoped and assumed that we would blow by Murray State and be able to leave early, but such was not the case. That meant the kids were at the bar for almost 4 hours. Fortunately there were TONS of people to watch, a gazillion t.v.s, and several Ms. Pac Mans to play on. Lance and I and our friend Del took turns taking the kids outside to run around for periods too.

People loved the kids. We were like the freak show at a carnival: everyone did double-takes when they saw us. I don't suppose it's very common to see a couple of kids out at your local watering hole, on St. Patrick's Day, and on Day 2 of the tournament. Lots of very pretty twenty something women dressed in green ooh'd and ah'd over Vivian, and Isaac, to a lesser extent. If one of the guys had been single, it would have been a great way to meet someone.

As it was, Carolina escaped with the win, and we all walked out of there happy. The kids did extremely well, and I was proud of them, and just drunk enough not to feel bad about what I'd exposed them to. At least smoking is banned in bars and restaurants in California, so there was no danger of second hand smoke.

Which reminds me--did you hear about Calabasas banning smoking in all public places? As a non-smoker, I think it's fabulous. Calabasas is a town not far from us--maybe 25 minutes away with no traffic. I can see why people think the law is Big Brother-ish, but on the other hand, life is so much nicer when there is no cigarette smoke (or smoke of any kind, really) in your face.

That's all I've got today folks.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

More boring basketball posts--update

So . . .if you participate in any kind of NCAA pool, how do you choose your picks? That's a lot of games to choose, and I know people put a lot of thought and time into it. APL? Stephanie? I'm curious, and also eager to share my own method with you.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that the best I have ever done is 6th place, just below the money mark, and once I came in second to last place (last place earns you 10 bucks). So, no, I have never won anything.

Here, un-proofed, is my own personal method for March Madness.

1. Always pick Carolina to win it all.

2. Always pick Duke to lose in the first round.

3. Pick all ACC teams, except Duke, to advance at least as far as they are seeded. Pick some to upset higher ranked teams.

4. Pick favorite teams (Michigan State, for Andrea; UConn, for highschool; Delaware, for old time's sake ) to advance.

5. Pick at least 3 upsets in the first two rounds.

6. Pick most Pac-10 teams to lose in the first round. Always pick Stanford to lose before the Sweet Sixteen, even if they are a number 1 seed.

7. Pick Gonzaga to get one round further than expected.

8. Pick the experienced programs (except Duke) to go further than expected.

9. Pick all number 1 seeds to get to the Sweet Sixteen, except Stanford.

10. Guess the remaining games at random, favoring the higher seed about 85% of the time.

That's how it works. folks. I would recommend you not follow any of these rules, as they don't work.

I forgot the most important one: Use any or all of these rules to varying degrees, depending on your mood. Oh, and be sure to fill out at least 2 brackets.

Currently, one of my brackets is in 1st place, and the other is in 4th to last.

Edited to add:

Dear CBS--

Please use better judgment when deciding which games to showcase locally. Hint: when a game is in the second half, and the score is split by 10 points or less, that's the one we want to see. We don't care if Washington is ahead of Utah State by 5 points with 12 minutes left in the first half. Really, we don't. Not when there are three close games about to end. Games that will end in upsets and last second heroics.

Come on. Do you really need a 36 year old mother-of-two to tell you that? Maybe I am wasting my talents on my children.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


That's how I've been feeling lately. Though truthfully, it's more of a blah feeling. I can't even get all the way to blech.

I'm not sure why. There doesn't appear to be any unusual outside stressor. Of course, this is my period week, which I'm sure that has something to do with it, despite the fact that I haven't had a period in 6 months, unless you call spotting a period. (No, I am not pregnant. Yes, I need to call my OB).

I'm thinking I need to change birth control pills, or perhaps birth control methods. Ever since I had the kids, it seems I get dinged with a depression of greater or lesser value just about every 3 months. I'm not that into it, as they say. And I want it to stop.

Not surprisingly, so does Lance.

Vivian is perfecting her whining tactics and is driving me crazy, although I'm sure it's also fair to say that I'm driving her crazy, what with my incessant moodiness. Whatever it is, one thing is sure: there will be NO computer time when Miss Princess is awake. Not if I want to save my eardrums from bursting. If I dare sit down she whines right over and grabs my hand off the mouse, screaming No! until she gets my attention. Suddenly she wants to go to the playground every day, and can't be bothered to look through the books that used to keep her occupied forever.

Also we've been busy, which doesn't necessarily make me happy. I'm more of a take it slow kind of gal. I suppose part of the busyness comes from Vivian's insistance that we leave the house, even on days when Isaac's in school, but other things are conspiring to keep me away from the couch as well. Doctor's visits, various illnesses and the resulting trips to the drug-store, upcoming wedding showers and parties which require trips to the mall and presents to wrap. Basketball tournaments which completely preoccupy me.

A friend gave me some advice a while ago: "Get a life, Amy!", she said. She meant that I need to get out more, do more things with people who have acheived heights taller than 36" every once in awhile. I know that she is right, so Sunday I went with a friend to church. Catholic church. (That visit was definitely post-worthy for this non-practicing, Catholicism-is-my-least-favorite-religion semi-agnostic, but I'm so blah, I can't seem to force it out of my brain.) Later we went to brunch which included the requisite three mimosas and that was the point of the morning anyway (Sorry, Father John). Monday, Lance came home early which allowed me, mircale of miracles!, to go to the nail salon and get my hair cut. (I went to the cheap place, though, and they completely fucked up my fingers. Oh, and Fantastic Sam's cut my hair too short by about two inches. Yay.) Then Tuesday night I went out for drinks and dinner with some old friends from my working days. (Ah, remember the days when I used to earn a paycheck? And have meaningful conversations with people who didn't think pooping on the floor was hilarious? And go out for drinks without considering the myriad of things I need to now?)

Today, I had a fabulous blogger meet up, with Gina and the ever-adorable Mr. Personality. I know I say it all the time, but I just LOVE blogging. I would NEVER have met Gina if not for blogging, and I would have missed out on so much! We had a great time at the park and the kids all got along great. Even playing soccer together seemed to entertain them, although "playing soccer" actually meant Gina and I took turns telling our sons to "Okay, now kick it to him, sweetie! No kick it over there! You need to share the ball! Don't pick it up with your hands . . .Isaac! Isaac! We are sharing the ball!!Okay, good!"

After a nutritious meal at McDonald's, we headed home, and I stopped by my old place of work since we were driving right by. There the kids received the appropriate oohs and ahs, I reminisced about the good old days while everybody there gagged, and then we went home.

So, in fact, I've had quite a bit of a "life"this last few days. Yet still I am blechy. Blech-itable. Ble . . . blah. I still need to call the OB.

Truly, it's a blessing for all of you that I haven't had the inclination to write anything lately--all you'd be getting is more of these whiny posts--yuck. I have been lurking about occassionally, and when I can gather the energy to type I even leave a comment (aren't you thrilled!) Hopefully I can bust out of my funk soon.

(Of course Isaac's upcoming surgery (May 9th!) could possibly be causing some of this angst, but I prefer to believe that it is simply hormones. That fucking pill.)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Ti-iiime, is (not) on my side

I am having such a hard time finding moments to blog lately. It used to be, I could count on those hours while Isaac was in pre-school. Vivian has always been a remarkably easy toddler, and she could entertain herself, happily, for 30 minutes or more while I wrote. The older she gets, the less likely this is to happen. While this is frustrating, I know better than to complain: I have been blessed for 20 months with her easy-going personality, and anyway, her brother required constant vigilance, entertainment and supervision from 7 months to 28 months or so. I'm lucky to have had the freedom I've had.

Naptime was another sure time for me to blog, but that has changed recently, too. Isaac is no longer tired until about 2pm, whereas Vivian crashes by 1. That means she's awake around 3 or 3:30, leaving me only an hour of free time that I often need to use for cleaning/washing/cooking. I don't have time to fit writing in there. Also, if I have to separate the kids for naps, which happens about 50% of the time, then Vivian sleeps in the pack n' play in the office, where the computer is. She won't tolerate my typing away next to her in the dark anymore, insisting instead that I get her out to play.

Evenings are the best time, but that means less time for Lance and I to connect, and that's something I really want to value over blogging.

So. I have loads to tell you, posts swirling around in my head as I shower, before I fall asleep, while I'm sorting yet another few loads of laundry. And yet I have no time to tell you. Between that, and the couple perfect posts that Blogger ate earlier this week, P.O.W. has been a pretty empty suit lately.

Perhaps this weekend I can catch up.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Happy Birthday

Last Friday night, as I mentioned, I had a date with my husband, to celebrate his 35th birthday. First we went to a new hip spot for a drink, then on to a fancy French restaurant for dinner, which has received rave reviews, despite being extremely expensive . I expected the bill to be high, but I figured it might be the last fancy dinner we have for awhile if we do the remodel, so we might as well go out in style.

Here's where I say: We went. And had a fabulous time. We talked all night, and laughed, and gazed adoringly into each other's eyes. We chewed our precious, delicate morsels of French cuisine and drank our superior French wine and thought of nothing but love and ripping the clothes off each other as soon as we got back to the car.

Except, that's not what happened. Oh, the bill was high. The food was French, and quite good, actually. The service was impeccable and not a bit snotty, as you might expect. But the laughing, the adoring gazes, the fire of the loins--all these things were overshadowed by the incredibly frustrating argument that we got into over--what else?--my brother-in-law, Brad.

I will not go into the particulars here, as it might bore you to tears if you weren't already crying, and furthermore, there is no way to resolve the argument as it just IS WHAT IT IS. I must accept that, and I am having difficulty doing so, and there, I told you the particulars one millisecond after I told you I wouldn't.

Anyway. This is not a post about my fucking brother-in-law. There have been far too many of those on these pages, and I think I should declare the interwebs Brad-free, just to save the rest of you from my agony. Nothing more about him, ever. EVER.

After our argument (although, if truth be told it was much more of a FIGHT than a simple argument), we came home and retreated to the respective corners of our queen size bed. Saturday was spent mostly avoiding the issue, not angrily, but just resignedly. By Saturday evening we could watch the Carolina game together with joy in our hearts, although nothing had (or ever will be) resolved.

Aside: I don't believe in that old rule which says you should never go to bed angry. Sometimes I am so angry that nothing is going to dissuade me from my path, and, especially if there is alcohol involved, it works much better for me to sleep on it. Then I can wake up with a clear head (relatively speaking, of course) and perhaps see things from another point of view. Or at least there is that potential the next day, when often there isn't, the night before.

On Sunday morning, we woke up, packed up the kids and headed down to the beach club, stopping at the grocery store on the way. Once there, I made everybody breakfast, and then we played in the sand for awhile, even venturing down to the ocean for little bit. We wore the kids out, fed them lunch, took them home for naps, and I ran out to the store again. Made Lance a cake, cooked a nice risotto with some grilled fresh salmon. It was a really nice, lazy, easy day, with none of the leftover angst we'd had on Saturday.

I love my husband. I love him more than I express on these pages, more than I am capable of expressing. I hate more than anything that we allowed Brad to interfere with what should have been a celebratory birthday evening.

But you know what? In the end, it doesn't matter. Yes, the fight about Brad disrupted our dinner. We went to bed dissatisfied with each other (in more ways than one); we spent the next day licking our wounds in private, unable to communicate happily with each other; but soon enough we emerged, unscathed.

And isn't that something? Just having that knowledge, a small nugget of goodness that I can hide away in my pocket, that I can store somewhere next to my soul: even Brad's craziness can't derail us. He can disrupt us--as can many other people/things/events--but he can't ruin us. We are so much stronger than that.

I don't say it enough, and I don't even think it enough, consciously. There is no one I would rather spend my minutes with. No one I would rather parent my children with. No one I would rather jump in the boat with. Here is a man I found on the whim of a blind date, 10 years and 1 month ago, a man who loves me completely, who argues with me passionately, and who forgives me easily. Serendipity; luck; karma--call it what you will. Who am I to deserve this man?

Daily, I am blown back off my feet by the incredible power of my love for my children. Daily, I gaze at them in wonder and awe, and feel humbled by just the fact of them. These perfect, unbelievable beings, beings whose very existence cause the earth to turn on its axis. This doesn't happen as often with Lance. But it should.

It should.


More Filler

The birthday boys. Yes, I owe them both lovey posts, but this will have to do.

"Sharing" a chair at the beach, until Isaac eventually pushed her out of it.

I love the way he looks in underwear--after 3 years of seeing his butt in diapers, there is something really appealing about that teeny tiny bottom.

From the "See, it does get cold in Los Angeles!" files:

Monday, March 06, 2006


Oh, I had the nicest, longest post for you to read. But, alas, it appears to have been eaten by Blogger. And now I do not have the inclination to re-write it.

Anyone else having Blogger issues?

Now I don't want to waste anymore time writing anything for fear it, too will be lost, so I suppose I'm off to watch some of my crime dramas.

Oh, guess what? I'm actually reading a book right now. The Mermaid Chair, by the woman who wrote The Bee Season. (Sorry, I'm too lazy right now to link). I forgot what fun it is to read actual paper. So maybe I'll do that.

Fabulous, a post about nothing!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!

Yipee! (In case you don't have the time to click the link: Carolina 83; Duke 76.) It's poetic really. At Cameron. On Senior Day. A North Carolina team of one walk-on, three freshman and a senior, a team that lost 93% of its scoring power from last year, saunters into Cameron Indoor Stadium and beats the crap out of a team full of All-Americans. A team that all the sportswriters say is "unstoppable".

Sheldon Williams? Defensive player of the year, a senior for Duke. But we put up our freshman, Tyler Hansbrough, and he goes off for 27 points. Hmm, wonder what would happen if the defensive player of the year had to play against a sophomore??

I LOVE this time of year. I LOVE college basketball! I LOVE Roy Williams, and I love the Tarheels. Love, love, love, love them.

And I needed this win today.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

This old house

I bitch about my house all the time, as you are probably aware. The truth is, it's a perfectly nice house. We live in a great neighborhood with tons of kids, the beach is less than two miles away, the house itself is not ugly, and is not ridiculously small. (Though I'm aware that "small" is relative--perhaps many of you would think it tiny.) We have two and a half bedrooms, the half being an office; we have one and half bathrooms; we have a workable kitchen; we have a living room that is never used and a playroom. Our backyard is small, but it is completely enclosed, which is nice for the kids. We have a decent front yard with a nice pepper tree. Two car garage. Nice, friendly neighbors. This house has served us well for the last almost 5 years.

What pisses me off about this house is its "value". Lance does really well in his job as a salesman, and he continues to do better every year. In any other market in the county, with the exception of New York City, San Francisco, and possibly Boston, we would be able to afford a much bigger, nicer home. Unfortunately, here in Los Angeles, a 1400 square foot house built in 1953, with no insulation, the original kitchen, and--oh, yeah!--a municipal airport runway about 2 football fields away, sells for about one million dollars. A bigger house, one with a bedroom for each kid, and two full baths, maybe a dining room or even a guest room, will cost us anywhere from 1.3 to 1.8 million. Which we absolutely cannot afford, even with large amount of money we'd make on this dump if we sold it.

It just chaps my ass that my husband works as hard as he does, and is as successful as he is, and yet we still live next to an airport. Our kids still share a room. We have absolutely no storage space, for things like hand-me downs that my sister sends, or all those kid paintings you guys guilted me into keeping. The walls shake when we run the washing machine. My sister and her family can't come to visit us, because we have nowhere for them to sleep, and hotels in this area are very expensive.

So. Lance hates this house more than I do, and has been complaining about it ever since Vivian was born. Truth is, it really did get too small for us, once we became a family of four. Before Christmas, we started talking about adding on. We figured out what we could afford, and found an architect to draw up plans.

Which he did. Which we love. Which will probably cost about TRIPLE our intended budget.

But. But, if we can figure out a way to do it, if we can survive the probably year long remodel, then it would be pretty awesome to live here.

Fortunately for both of us, we have generous parents who are willing and able to help us out with deferred payment loans, etc. And fortunately or not, banks are just lining up to loan us money. ( I don't really get this: is it better for them if we foreclose? Because, yeah, we have really good credit, and yeah, Lance makes a good salary, but surely they can do the math as well as we can, and they know that we are going to be stretched pretty fucking thin, right? So why do they all want to give us their money?)

That's what we're thinking about around here, in case you wondered.

But actually, this whole post was just an excuse to post another video--it's Isaac in the backyard, and you can hear the airplanes going by. Taken over the weekend, when the planes fly much more frequently than during the week, but still. It's pretty loud. We're probably crazy to do a remodel to a house this close to the airport, right? Even if about 4 houses on our street are already in the midst of something similar?


I love this. The only problem is that it prevents US from being the ones to deny them a perfect ACC record, though I suppose I can live with that. We still get to take them down, in their house, on senior night. (Coming up Saturday night at 6pm pacific. If you're interested.)

Even better, 2 minutes into the second half, we are beating Virginia by THIRTY.