Wednesday, December 8, 2010

idk How i Got Sooo Blest!!! (Really? Did You Actually Think I Would Type That?)

Ten years ago, I worked with a guy who really "grabbed The Bull by the horns", you might say. He was such a live-life-to-its-fullest kind of person, that I wouldn't be surprised if you called me and told me that he was in Spain last weekend and he had wrestled an actual bull by its actual horns. I would just answer, "Oh geez, that guy...".

Our cubicles were across from each other and part of a typical day would have proceeded like this:

Me: I just read the latest Stephen King novel/Sting interview/Arthur Miller play. It was awesome.
Bull Wrangler: Yeah?
Me: Yeah. I wish I could tell him how great it was.
Bull Wrangler: Well then let's figure out how to get him on the phone. I think I know a guy who works with his publisher...
Me: I really like Ernest Hemingway's work, too.
Bull Wrangler: We should call him up.
Me: He's dead.
Bull Wrangler: I know, but don't let that stop you. If you really want to talk to him, you can find. a. way...

Oh all right, he never actually said any of that - but that is an example of how just about any conversation with him would conclude. Nothing was impossible.

One time, I was driving him to the airport and we were running late. Traffic wasn't moving and the terminal seemed like a million miles around the corner, although we were just on the other side of our destination. We were soclose! He was afraid that he was going to miss his flight, so he jumped out of the car, ran across the freeway and hopped over the fence into long term parking.

I watched him run through isles of parked cars, toting his leather overnight bag and laptop case. He disappeared into the airport jungle.

But he made his flight.

I pass that airport on my way home, when I pick up my kids after work. I've been thinking about all kinds of funny things that have happened during this decade and that was one of them.

A few other things that made my list (in no particular order):

*I got married to my High School Sweetheart.

We're still married.

*I drove into "The City".

Whatever. Go ahead and judge - you probably drive into whatever big city you're near all the time. I, however, have been freaked out about making that trip since I saw "Adventures in Babysitting", in 1987.

Elizabeth Shue was brilliant in that movie...

*I had kids.

Now, I don't want to sound like one of those people. You know who I mean: The people who post on Facebook three times daily about how "Susie B. Swell thinks her kids are the apple of her beautiful cerulean blue eye" or "i am so blest, idk how i got sooooooo lucky".

But seriously: having kids has been pretty much been like winning the lottery. Peanut and Bean are some kind of Energizer Bunny comedy duo. They begin performing when they open their eyes in the morning and they don't let the curtain fall until they close their eyes at their bedtime.

My daughter's wit is so acerbic and beyond her eight-and-a half-years, that sometimes she'll deliver a joke and I won't get it until several hours later, when I'm ruminating in my car. She'll just roll her eyes and walk away. I don't think any other kid on the planet can change whatever tune is on the radio into an introspective ballad/top40 hit/80's throwback about Ghengis Khan and make the song not only informative - but catchy, too.

Who knew listening to tyranny could be so much fun ?

Oh, and my son? He has the voice of a little angel. And he gives awesome hugs. And he's a snappy dresser. And he rocks at Mario Kart.

2000 - 2010 went by pretty fast. When I think about all the things that I've experienced and all the people that I've met during this decade, it feels sort of like when someone's life passes in front of their eyes in the movies.

Tell the next ten years to roll along a little more slowly, wouldja? I'm afraid I might miss something worth remembering...

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Ferris Bueller

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

All I Want For Christmas...Is For Someone Else to do my Christmas Shopping...

As THE Holiday draws nearer, I find myself in a panic (I find myself in this state more and more, these days) trying to figure out what to buy for everybody in my family.

For instance: What do you purchase for a mother-in-law, who is about as close to being a living saint as someone can get? To give you an idea of her worthiness of sainthood, let me tell you about the time that she won the baking contest for me. Not just "won the baking contest", but "won the baking contest for me".

I am a horrible cook. Really. I'm not fishing for compliments or trying to prompt you to say "no you're not" or "oh, you do just fine": I have no skill in the kitchen, whatsoever. Just ask poor MacG what he had for dinner last night. To make it worse, my sister-in-law is a professional chef. A really good chef, too!

I acknowledge my lack of kitchen mojo with equal parts shame and exasperation - with myself. So, when my Mother's Group was having a baking contest I panicked ( I told you!). I decided to ask my mother-in-law to teach me how to make her failsafe, delicious, (excuse the pun here) cannot fudge up recipe for fudge.

Let's just say that I can fail even the failsafe recipe, when it comes to standing anywhere in the vicinity of stove or oven. Or a spatula. I have some success with the microwave, but even that isn't always a given. The first batch was gritty and inedible. So, looking at me with pity (because I was perhaps the only person she had ever seen who screwed up the fudge recipe - or maybe it was all in my imagination. I doubt it) my MIL offered to help me with another batch.

We both looked skeptically at batch #2 and decided to let it sit overnight, as if the Fudge Fairy was planning on making an appearance and BAM! turning the lumpy, bumpy, mass of chocolate into something fabulous.

I did not hear from my baking tutor the next morning. The baking contest was scheduled for just after dinner. At around three in the afternoon, the doorbell rang and who did I find on my porch? Why, it was Saint MIL: holding a large tray of the most beautiful Peanut Butter Blossoms that you've ever seen. You know: the cookies with the Hershey's Kiss pressed artfully into the center?

I won the baking contest with those cookies. It was a contest where you put in $5 and get to take the pot if your dessert is selected as the King of Desserts - so I made around $50.

I felt guilty afterwards and told them that I was not the artist who created the beautiful blossoms. In all honesty, they knew me, so they should have realized that such a fantastic creation couldn't have emerged from my impossibly unskilled fingers. They were forgiving and sweet and told me to take Saint MIL out to lunch. I think I did, I can't remember.

I sure hope I did.

SEE? How do you find a Christmas gift for someone like that?

One year, I was so stumped about what to get my grandfather that I got him a rock.

Yep, a rock.

It wasn't just any rock, though. I actually had to get military clearance to remove this rock from a U.S. Army Base.

My grandfather found The Rock when he was stationed as a Major on the base, in the 1960's. He found it at a nearby rocky mountain just had to have it, so he and one of his fellow army dudes loaded it onto their jeep and dumped in in a field near the officer's quarters. He loved the darn thing, because it had a white circle on the top of it, with a little river of white spilling down the side.

He thought it looked like God, Himself, had set a big white paint can on it while painting the clouds.

Fast forward 40 years and The Rock was still where he had left it, but was now a part of the landscaping in the parking lot for the base Post Exchange.

My grandfather used to take us to visit The Rock. He would make us salute it.

I'm not joking.

I managed to get clearance from the Commanding Officer of the base (wow, did I feel rad and all Army-like writing that!) through a long string of emails and phone calls, to remove The Rock. However, it literally weighed a ton and had been sinking into the dirt for four decades.

The Commanding Officer arranged for us to have a tractor and a tractor driver, too. They met Me, MacG and Sis on sunrise, three days before Christmas - and pulled our gift out of the PX parking lot island. It dropped into the bed of MacG's truck and almost blew a hole right through it.

On Christmas Eve, my brother met us at grandfather's house and we snuck (as much as people can sneak a monolith through the bushes at midnight) it into the front yard, using brute strength and a wheel dolly. Thus completed Operation Rock Rescue.

You have never seen a reaction like his, when we led our grandfather out the front door in the morning. Tears streaming down his well worn face, he yelled "My ROCK! My ROCK!" He wrote a song about it later. He also wrote a poem.

And that, my friends, was the perfect gift for a man who already had everything...

So, uh, what am I supposed to get everyone this year?

Friday, November 5, 2010


I'm pretty sure that the people who hand out Halloween whistles in lieu of treats don't have a 6 and 8 year-old musical team living in their homes.

So far, two of them have -uhm, mysteriously- disappeared from my house.

I meant the whistles, not the children.

I keep saying, "I don't think this is a good time/place (it switches back and forth with great regularity) to blow that thing." But honestly, when is it a good time to make noise with an off-key pumpkin? Bean had one in his hand when he was getting out of the car for Sunday School, last weekend. Good time for it? Nope. Peanut picked one up at 6:45 on Tuesday morning. Another not-so-great time for the darn thing.

I found one in my purse, while I was at the gas station this morning. This one was a purple ghost with a mouthpiece up his heinie.

It accidentally fell into the trash, when I was operating the pump. That's okay: I think I have another one in my kitchen.

While I was looking for my wallet, I found a few other strange things in my bag:

A camping headlamp
Nine green Army men
An Easter egg eraser
A Lego Tonton
My Brighton earring, which matches the one that Peanut lost
A receipt for some pants that I bought in July. Of 2009. The purse was a Christmas gift from last year.
Taco Bell Mild Sauce (thank goodness I found that before it decided to explode)
A flip flop

Yes, you read that last one correctly: I had a shoe in my purse. The bag has a zip-up compartment in the middle of it - perfect for storing one tote-along shoe. Peanut brought the flip flop somewhere for some reason (I almost wrote "thong", but the idea of writing about my 8 year-old daughter's thong made me totally cringe). Just one. Hey: when I say that my little girl is an original thinker, I'm not exaggerating.

No wonder my shoulder hurts all the time.

OK: I heard that! Whether you were thinking, "Sounds like it's time to clean out your purse!" to hurt my feelings, sound humorous - or if you were offering genuine, helpful advice- I heard it.

I'll do it. Besides, I might find some really cool stuff in there that I haven't seen for a while.

Maybe I'll find MacG's plaid Banana Republic pants that poofed into thin air, when we were moving three and a half years ago(that really was a mystery - not a "mystery"), or my Great America season tickets that we never found in 1995.

Or maybe I'll just have a lighter purse.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thinking Outside of the Box - Doh! I Meant "Inside"

We were headed to a halloween party at our church and, unlike some of you perfect parents out there, I haven't purchased the pieces for the kids' "real" costumes, yet. Since Peanut and Bean have enough costumes to transform every child within a two mile radius, I felt confident that they would find something fantastic in the Ikea bins, upstairs.

Before I continue, let me mention that after a lifetime of being involved in theater - I have a true love for costumes. Seeing people turned into a plant, animal, or mythical creature is akin to some kind of crazy magic. I, myself, have been hired to design and/or costume children's theater productions for many years (okay- OKAY! Those who really know me will want me to mention-in full disclosure- that a lot of those costumes were sewn with a glue gun. In all fairness, it's really hard to sew foam!).

MacG and I were sitting on the couch, when we heard, "We're ready for the costume party!" My daughter's sweet little munchkin voice was proceeded by her appearance, as Elphaba - that's the Wicked Witch of the West, for those of you who haven't been acquainted with the musical, "Wicked".

"You have to paint me green!" She cackled. I agreed.

Then came Bean. We could hear him thumping uncertainly down the stairs and craned our necks to see what fabulous character he had chosen.

My son had decided to attend the church costume party, as a Cardboard Box.

Peanut had "designed" the getup. It had a large box with armholes for the suit and a smaller box with eyeholes for the mask. She had drawn a mustache on the front of it.

A Cardboard Box?!

I am ashamed to admit the next part:

I said, "Wow, guys. Really...uh...creative. You couldn't find a real costume to wear?"

*Ouch* I feel awful for having said that. Thank goodness Peanut responded with:

"This IS a real costume, Mom. I worked really hard on it." Bean nodded his square head.

Well, okay, then.

I painted Peanut's face (and the inside of her ears and back of her neck: it had to be right. It was really hard to remove.) green and off we went. My children had been thinking outside of the box, while creating this recycled facade. My son was now, literally, thinking inside of the box - and I had to deliver him to the party in his new, square state.

Bean was disturbed that people kept mistaking him for a robot. "I. AmaBOX!" He would correct them.

After some spooky fizzy punch and carnival games, came the costume parade. Ian donned his mask - it's pretty difficult walking around with a box on your head - and joined the circle.

The kids walked around in circles and a microphone voice called, "And now, the judges will tell you what they've decided."

You mean the costumes were being judged? *Sigh*

"For funniest costume: The Box!"

Bean went to accept his award and I was flooded with pride (and guilt for having tried to talk him out of wearing it). Peanut spent the remainder of the evening bitterly telling anyone who would listen, that the concept was hers, dammit (all right, she didn't say "dammit" - she's only eight - but you could hear it in her voice)! Bean agreed to share the chocolate bar that he had won and all was well.

This was my latest lesson on not trying to stop my kids from being creative and unique. Sometimes it's a hard lesson to learn...

Luckily, my children are very persistent and persuasive.

And creative and unique.

Friday, October 15, 2010

An Hour Drive That Lasted Three and a Half Hours. Three Hours and Forty-Two Minutes, to be Exact

Have I ever told you that I have a paralyzing fear of heights?

I'm not talking about "climbing up the ladder" heights. I'm talking about "driving on a on-way dirt road looking over the ocean/a steep canyon/a severe drop into sharp conifer trees" heights. Whenever I know that there is going to be a road like that in my future over which I absolutely must travel, I make MacG drive. I close my eyes, hold onto the door handle with a force that turns my knuckles a bluish white, and say really bad words under my breath. I don't open my eyes until he tells me we've survived. Unfortunately, we live in a state, which is home to many, many beautiful mountains and we find ourselves traveling on these awful, quaint roads too often for my liking.

I got to drive myself across three such roads, this week. Well, okay, two such roads: I was hopelessly lost and went over one of them twice.

Peanut (she's eight) was going on a school camping trip to one of our state parks, with two 3rd/4th grade classes. Yes, that's forty-seven eight through ten year-olds. I volunteered to go with them. I was in charge of all the food for the kids and around fifteen adults - and I had forgotten the peanut butter. I figured that the odds of someone in this particular group needing peanut butter for making their lunch sandwich the following day was pretty high, so I stopped at the grocery store on the way out of town. I would only be ten or fifteen minutes behind the rest of the caravan, I figured.

Big mistake.

Really big.

I should have brought another parent with me to navigate, but every seat in my little (totally not-a-mom) car was completely filled with food. Along with my duffel bag, the front seat had several condiments lined across the seat and piled up on the floor. Do you know how much ketchup this age group eats? The back seat was covered with twelve watermelons. And they were heavy! I could feel my car accelerating quite a bit slower than usual. The trunk looked like a fruit cart: 90+ Gala apples, three bags of oranges, enough grapes to feed... well around 70 people. There wasn't any room in that car for someone to hold the map. Barely enough room for the map!

So I ended up on the wrong side of the coast. On a one-lane, dirt road. Overlooking the ocean. Twice.

The drive started out quite wonderfully: I had moon roof open, windows down all around. I had my favorite teen vampire soundtrack on superloud. There was a Cherry Coke Zero in my drink holder. Since I don't normally go on solo road trips, I was relishing the breeze and the music.

I had used an online map service, which had given me the direction to travel up the coast, find this nightmarish road and turn left onto a street - which hasn't existed for around 40 years. Apparently, it would have brought me into the back entrance to my destination. Forty. Years. Ago.

I had become desperate enough to ask an old man on a motorcycle for some guidance. He had a giant handlebar mustache, which bounced when he said, "I don't know what- in- the- hell you are talking about. I've lived here for half of my life and I've never heard of that road." He was yelling through my window: "You are at least fifty miles away from where you want to be."

Since I was in charge of cooking and it was almost time for our little campers to eat dinner - I began to panic. Just a little. As I headed back down the highway, I noticed that the fog was closing in on my little silver car, making it look like I was driving on a thoroughfare in the middle of the ocean. It was so awesome.

You realize that I'm being facetious, right?

I was sick to death of teen vampire music, at this point. I had listened to all three movies (don't hate) and I was done. My own racing heart accompanied the raucous bouncing of melons on the backseat, setting a rhythm for my trek across the coast.

I stopped at the first McDonald's that I could find and bought a giant Coke, so I didn't feel like a dork being there. But not one person who worked there "ever knew that we even had state parks". They referred me to an





who had a crumb of something McFried on his lip. He told me to goheregothereandturnleft (only much slower than that). It turns out that he really meant to turn right, because when I next stopped at Burger King (I interrupted a domestic dispute to ask for directions) they sent sent me back the way I came. I bought a cup of coffee before I left.

On my way out the door, a much younger motorcyclist than the first one said, "Listen. I'll tell you how you can get where you're going. For real, this time." And he did.

I made it to our campsite by 5:01pm. The school camping schedule had stated that we would begin to cook at five. "You're late!" One of the kids said, beginning to unload the watermelons.

He had no idea...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tenth Anniversary of the Tasty Titanic

My wedding cake was ugly.

It wasn't tacky or cutesy, or anything like that - the caterer dropped a case of soda on the "real" one on the morning of my Big Day, so they tried to make another one realquick and frosted it while it was still hot.

It looked sort of like the Titanic: Listing to the side, as if it had recently collided with a gnarly ice burg. The little bride and groom were up to their knees in white liquid sugar and roses looked like they were melting down the sides. It cost us hundreds of dollars, but my mom made sure that she got a refund.

When we arrived at the reception, my mother blocked my way to the door. The following conversation is the best recollection that my memory can serve:

MOM: Uhm, we have a problem. It's the cake. It's, well, you might have to see it for yourself...
ME/BRIDE: *GASP* What happened to it?
MOM: It...It looks like it is a little bit squashed, it-
ME/BRIDE: Squashed? What do you mean squashed?
MOM: They ruined the first one, so-
ME/BRIDE: You mean the ugly cake is the second cake?
MOM: Yes.

I looked at my new husband and decided that a sinking cake wasn't going to ruin our special day. We burst into laughter and my mom gave a huge sigh of relief. MacG and I made our grand entrance to "Groove is in the Heart" and we sailed by the disgraceful dessert as we crossed to our table.

Although it had the appearance of being slowly sucked into the Bermuda Triangle, and by the time we cut it it had turned from a three- tiered cake into a lumpy one-tiered cake, we had no option other than to serve it to our two- hundred- and- some- odd guests.

It was delicious.

Life is like that sometimes, isn't it? My mother once told me this: "Life is not beautiful. You have to make it beautiful." I believe her. How many times have things gone terribly wrong, but the way you handled the situation made it even better than it could have been, otherwise? It happens to me all the time... Some of my favorite trips, friends, and purchases have become my most beloved, due to some sort of unplanned calamity.

We had a fantastic reception. It was ten years ago, this month. Looking back, I wouldn't have changed a thing - except that some of the people that I now hold near and dear would have been there. But, at the time I didn't know that they existed. I guess you can't have everything.

However: You can have your ugly cake.

And you can eat it, too.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Haunted Hospital

I could say that I'm surprised to see that the Halloween stuff has taken over the shelves at most stores in our area - but if I did I'd be lying. I saw some at the local dollar store in July. It made my brain feel a little funny, to see the red white and blue "You're a Grand Ol' Flag" banners next to the Frankenstein Paint-a-Piggybanks.

My six year old son, Bean, has a reputation for being terrified of pretty much anything which signifies the orange and black holiday. Last year, MacG brought our daughter into the Spirit Halloween Store to look for a costume. We all went on this little trip, because we decided to visit the Bounce House Patch after - to see if they might actually have some pumpkins there. Bean refused to enter the store. I couldn't blame him: Once you walk in, every terrifying animatronic/robotic statue in existence begins to gyrate, scream, shake and moan once the motion sensors have been activated.

The boy and I sat on the curb eating a bag of chocolate from the Sees shop, next door. Peanut left the Spirit store with a big bag of bloody gauze - she planned to use it to make her own costume.

Bean wouldn't allow the gory purchase to sit on the seat between them. He requested that it be locked in the trunk. I'm going to guess that out of the two children, he will not be my future horror movie-watching buddy. There is definitely hope for Peanut.

Although the things in the store are pretty scary, the only truly frightening place that I've ever been is the hospital. Now, I don't want to sound like your old Aunt Marge, who constantly complains about her various ailments. I know that with me, eventually my thoughts always returns to my wonky back. But this time it really does have something to do with the story!

I want to tell you about my time in The Haunted Hospital.

So, my spine surgeon is a talented guy. He builds things out of titanium and plants them in your body and you're able to walk, when once you might have had a lot of trouble getting around. But, he wanted to do my most recent surgery in a hospital that was about to shut down and change hands. In fact, I was the last living patient in the entire facility.

Okay, there was one Other Guy - but his family was just waiting for the doors to close, so that they could unplug him. I'm not being funny: This was actually the case.

The surgery was scheduled to be completed by mid-morning and I was supposed to be able to leave before dinner.

Didn't happen that way.

I ended up staying for FIVE DAYS.

The place was completely deserted. There was yellow Caution tape criss-crossed over the doors of the offices and rooms that had already been cleaned and sanitized. There weren't any doctors there, except one that was under contract to watch over me and the Other Guy. My own Doctor had left the country on vacation with his family, because he hadn't expected me to be hanging out there for so long.

The hallways were always dark, except directly in front of the room in which I was enjoying my stay. The same three nurses were always somewhere nearby and two physical therapists would visit daily and make me hobble around the eerie, shadowed halls with my walker.

The only people who visited were the Other Guy's wife, my family and our pastor. Everyone always looked very uncomfortable to be paying a visit, during my time at Casa de Creepy.

The night before I was able to leave, I had to sleep in a different room - because they were scheduled to renovate my room.

In the morning, there was yellow tape over my former door. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be given my walking papers. As I walked toward the exit, I passed the Other Guy's room. His family was saying goodbye.

If that hospital wasn't haunted when I got there, it surely is now...

October 17, 1985

On Tuesday it seemed like my house was haunted. We go to the front door and you can hear the television. when I opened the door I saw a flash and it was off. We herd footsteps and someone sliding on the loose carpet in the hall so we ran out to E's house. We got to her house and I said "let me lock the door". because I left it unlocked when we ran out, so we went back and it was locked!

Sounds like someone had been reading too much Stephen King...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Whoomp There it is

Because driving around in my car listening to Raffi is about as much fun as hanging out with Yours Truly after a week without thyroid medication, I decided to liven things up a bit with a mix tape. Wait - did I actually just say "mix tape"? What decade is this? What I meant was mix CD: which is probably just as bad, because I really should have moved on to an iPod by now. Right?

Anyway, I sat down with my good friend, iTunes, and decided to begin with a theme. Themes can be dangerous - just ask MacG. I made him a mix tape many years ago (that really was a tape), because he was going on a road trip with a touring punk band. I decided the theme should be any song that had travel words in the title: street, road, etc. Ask him how hard-core he felt, when the Disneyland Electric Light Parade song came up next in the queue. I hid that little gem somewhere between "Stepping Stone" and "Fascination Street".

So my theme for this week's mix is "weird songs". I thought the kids would enjoy hearing things that were a little off-beat.

Among songs that I included are:

Dead Man's Party (Oingo Boingo)
Turning Japanese (The Vapors)
Thriller (Michael Jackson, of course)
Dig That Groove Baby (Toy Dolls)

Yeah, I already know that my list gives away my age big time.

The last song that I picked was "Tootsie Roll" by 69Boyz (and yes, I did feel like a big dorky mom, writing that title/group name just now). I found it in our iTunes library and realized that I hadn't heard it in a while. Well, it turns out that I haven't listened to it in a long while.

A very. Long. While.

Did you know that that piece of musical genius starts out with:

"Yeeeeeaaaaaaaaahhhhhh 1994..."?

NINETEEN NINETY- FOUR??? That means it was from SIXTEEN years ago! How the heck did that happen? All I remembered about it was "to the left, to the left, to the right, to the right,to the front, to the front, to the back, to the back, now slide...".


I was probably wearing a half-shirt and jeans with a cinched waist, the last time I heard that song! I think I was past the gigantic hair/bangs phase, but surely my belt was above my belly-button. I am certain that there was a pager somewhere in that glorious ensemble - I had to be able to send MacG a pre-texting era text, to find out the"4-1-1" for that evening's plans. Maybe watching a little "Life Goes On" to see what Corky was up to, or "Beverly Hills 90210" to check in with Brenda and Brandon?

Nineteen Ninety-Four.

Whoomp - there it is...

October 10, 1985

Today we told about our parents childhood. I told that when my father was little if something was neat they'd say twitchen! The fads were wide belts and beattle cloths. and the singers that were popular were the beattles and the beach boys. also gum costed five cent's and a candy bar costed ten cents. When my mom was young fishnet stockings, go-go boots, and psycadelic was in style, and everybody had had a skateboard. The singers they would listen to were the beattles and the beach boys and Twiggi the model was in style and gum costed one cent and candy bars costed five cents. also when she was camping with grampy and uncle paul a big bull came out bhind a rock and followed them when they were walking untill they got into their car and drove away. I bet they had an interesting childhood! They had fun it sounds like. I've heard them say other things they did.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Food, Glorious Food!

This week I have learned how much a smallish child can eat in a span of six hours. Packing a snack and a lunch for two people has really thrown me for a loop. I think it's because I have giant twin piles of foodstuffs waiting to be neatly packed(all right, who am I trying to fool here? So it isn't so neatly packed - more like haphazardly stuffed - but no one has complained yet) into lunch boxes, staring me in the face every morning. It isn't spread out through the day like it has been, all summer.

I'm thrown into a panic at roughly 6:35am each day, trying to figure out what I am supposed to put in the aforementioned lunch boxes. If I ask Peanut and Bean what they would like to eat, they will tell me to include:

A) Gum
B) Chocolate
C) Lucky Charms Cereal

I am not the healthiest eater on the planet, but I recognize these items as unwise lunch selections. What is on our menu? I'll tell you: Peanut butter sandwiches, peanut butter bagels, peanut butter and crackers - do I really need to go on? I guess I think peanut butter is a comfort food.

I know that one mother at our school packs homemade pumpkin muffins almost every day, because her family considers them comfort food. Another child is allowed to have Cheetos - only they aren't really "Cheetos", because they are a low-fat, health store, organicy version of something that really shouldn't have ever spawned a healthier version, at all. I mean, if a snack is going to turn your fingers orange - it might as well have all the other unseemly...uh, benefits, too, right...

I'll tell you what I crave when I think of comfort food:


Yes, I am actually owning up to my abiding love of the Golden Arches. Let me tell you a little bit about our history.

One of my earliest memories is seeing my mother's waist length hair right at my level, but a little further in front of me was the counter at Mickey D's. We would go there to celebrate, to reboot after a bad day (only we didn't say "reboot" back then, of course), or as a reward for something good that my brother or I did.

I know this to be the truth: Nothing tastes finer than one of Ronald's cheeseburgers, if you are sick or melancholy. Even if it barely resembles a cheeseburger.

When I was pregnant with Peanut, I convinced myself (and my doctor - although, I'm still not quite sure if she was just humoring me) that I had horrible morning sickness, which could not be conquered by anything other than A1 Steak Sauce or everything on the McDonald's menu. I truly did have awful morning sickness. I also had afternoon sickness, early evening sickness, and late night sickness. McNuggets seemed to be a cure-all. I know how terribly unhealthy the Big Mac is, I really do. I haven't had one in ages. However, during that nine+ months the Big Mac was a lifesaver.

Needless to say, I was not one of those adorable women who looked like they swallowed a beach ball. I was one of those gigantic women who looked like they swallowed a few too many Happy Meals.

When Peanut was a baby, that movie, "Supersize Me" was released on DVD. I watched it one extremely early morning, after the baby had decided that 4:45 was a perfectly wonderful time to wake up. I'm pretty sure that the film was supposed to shock and awe. It was supposed to show the American public how truly awful those french fries are. Maybe it was aiming to make us all fear the evil Sausage McMuffin and its partner: The crispy, golden, flaky, delicious fried Hashbr-but I digress.

That movie just made me want to eat me some McDonald's.

However, I can't pack that in the lunch boxes, now can I? Nor would I want to: I want my kids to grow up with nutritious food, which actually looks like the food that you are supposed to be eating.

But I bet I got you thinking about those fries...

September 30, 1985

Yesterday was okay, I didn't do much, I went to MacDonalds for lunch, I walked with my friend C, my brother A, and me. We went to my old house where Iused to live so it wasn't fun. I went to lot's of stores, we went to halmark, lucky's, mac Donalds, Thrifty's, and another one, I can't spell the name. My brother was acting wierd, so we both (me and C) yelled alot, and he just kept on being wierd, then we went home. A stayed home but I went to C's house, we both made Halloween books, and they were neat! you open the little books and then you open doors glued to the paper and you see a person, on the top of the door is a person in a costume.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Aways Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth- or, Pockets, as the Case May Be...

My husband, whom I shall call "MacGyver" - because everyone seems to use "The Husband" or "D.H." and my husband is original and completely uncommon and using such a nickname would not do him justice- is really good at fixing things.

He is, after all, super MacGyvery - minus, of course, the mullet. Minus any hair, actually.

So, MacG (there, that's even better) has a new hobby: Restoring and refurbishing old Coleman lanterns. How this all started, I'm not completely sure; but it is less expensive and time consuming than some of his other interests, so I've decided that I'm a fan. To aid in his search for Coleman bits and pieces, we decided to spend our Saturday at a flea market. Call him a Lantern Picker, if you will.

This was the first time at a flea market, for Peanut(8) and Bean(6). They weren't too sure about the place, for the first hour or so that we were there. For MacG and I, the smells, sounds and sights brought us back to our childhood, because we'd both been to that exact flea market several times in our youth.

MacG is an awesome companion at places such as these: When a bent old woman shrieked "onedollaronedollaronedollaronedollar!" in his face, he calmly blinked at her and asked, "so, uh, how much does everything cost?" She was not amused.

The kids quickly got over their hesitance and learned to bargain. Peanut found some great pieces and Bean bought six boxes of TNT Pop-Its for, well, one dollar. You totally had these when you were a kid:

All the people milling around looking at other people's junk (er, I mean treasures) reminded me of the garage sales that we used to have at our house, when I was growing up. I began to ruminate about one sale in particular:

The one where my mother sold several hundreds of dollars to the neighborhood ladies. It may have been thousands, but the idea makes me feel kind of ill, so I'm going to pretend that it was just hundreds, okay?

How does one sell money, you ask? Was she printing copies? Laundering for the mob? Well, hang on and I'll explain.

My grandmother is a notorious pack rat. I think I got the hoarding gene from her. She was the one who gave me a sugar cube for my birthday - from a trip that we went on, like, fifteen years ago. She rarely parts with anything. So, imagine how pleasantly surprised everyone was, when she began packing up items to donate to the Goodwill. This was sort of ironic, because she enjoys shopping at Goodwill - once she even bought back a sweater for me, which I had donated to Goodwill, because she thought it "looked like" me.

She put the *ahem* treasures in boxes and then they sat in the garage for a while. For a long while. Years.

One particular weekend on a summer in 1988ish, my family was planning to hold a garage sale. My grandmother was visiting her mother on the other side of the country, so my mother decided to help her out. She took the To Be Donated boxes out of Grandmother's garage and priced it all out - fully intending to hand over the earnings.

One of the boxes was full of old, worn out purses. There were square bags, drawstring sacks, imitation *insert your designer here* bags; lots of purses. No one even really paid much attention to them for a while.

Then all of a sudden, women were clambering for the chance to buy one of Grandmother's old purses. One lady came back and bought all of them. How wonderful, we thought, Grandmother will be thrilled that we were able to make some money off of this old junk (oops, I mean treasure) before she could give it all away for free!

She wasn't thrilled.

She was extremely unhappy with us.

She had been using the old bags as her own personal Bank of Grandma. Each purse had had around $100 in its folds.

The moral of the story: If you are going to sell someone else's stuff, be sure to check the pockets first...

November, 1985

My grandmother took me to the goodwill. It has lots of good stuff there! I got parts of my costume from there, and purple pants. I think it is pretty neat there! I am not poor or anything, but why pay regular price, when you can pay five dollars lower? I got lots of stuff from there.
C is getting lots of words for this journal! He gets more than me sometimes! I used to get the most all of the time, but B and C are getting pretty much now! I can't wait until Thanksgiving, a nice, carved turkey, with a mashed potato, beans and sweet potatoes! Yum! I can't wait! Then christmas is to come! That is fun! This year for Christmas, we're going to Yosemite.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Day That No One In The Family Is Supposed To Mention, But They Always Do

I was recently sharing a conversation with a stranger at an amusement park (yeah, I like to talk to everyone, so what?), who informed me that he wished to forget his twenties. He felt like a "real adult" now, and some of the foolish and embarrassing things that he had done or said weighed heavily on his shoulders. I half-heartedly agreed with him, caught up in the moment.

Later that day, I started questioning the wisdom of eradicating an entire decade from memory.

If I removed my twenties from my brain, I wouldn't be able to remember my wedding or the birth of my children: The two most important things that have ever happened to me, except for maybe my own birth - but you know what I'm trying to say.

Sure, there were some awkward moments, but I think I want to keep those, too.

How could I live without recalling the night when my kid sister wandered into my room, deep into an episode of sleep walking - thinking that my beloved trunk was a toilet? I was around twenty and she was six-ish. She stumbled in, dropped trou, opened the lid of the trunk and sat down. Luckily, I was able to quickly lead her to the real bathroom in time. What if I couldn't tease Sis about that? I wouldn't have been able to tell the story to her entire group of friends on her own 21st birthday! What a travesty that would have been, missing that opportunity!

My mother had me before she turned twenty, so the following ten years were pretty busy for her. She didn't get to be carefree, just out of her teens. She was busy raising me and my brother.

Which is why I feel that I owe her the memory of one of the most horrifying events of my life, which happened when I was 22 or 23. Something truly awful happened to me, but it was gratifying for my mom - and I can't begrudge her her happiness.

We were at a shoe store together, looking for our next great bargain. I was ultracasual, that day; wearing dark sweatpants, a baggy Disneyland sweatshirt, a baseball cap and my glasses. I normally wore contact lenses, but I guess vanity went out the window that morning. I wore my dark hair in a short cut, so a couple mousy brown inches flipped out under my hat.

Now, my mother is not someone who usually chooses a grubby dress day. Also, her hair is platinum blonde and falls way past her shoulders. She's at least six inches shorter than me and almost always wears high heels. Although, I think she may have been wearing flip-flops on The Day That No One In The Family Is Supposed To Mention, But They Always Do.

She was sporting white denim short-shorts and a pink checkered tank-top. I will never forget that outfit, as long as I live.

Did I happen to mention that this was during the summer and she had a deep tan, somewhere in the color spectrum of the Hawaiian Tropic Girls? Well, she did.

Oh, wait - I think I might have a picture of Mom, around here somewhere:

Okay, I think you've got the idea, now.

On second thought, maybe I was adopted.

So anyway, I was over in the Giant Feet section and she was somewhere in the Tiny Delicate Feet section, when I hit the jackpot. I had found a pair of awesome penny loafers for under $10 and I wanted to share the good news.

"Mom!" I called across the store. No answer, so I grabbed the shoebox and stepped out of my isle.
"Mom, you've got to see what I found!"
She poked her head out from behind a stack of tiny shoes.
"What is it?" She asked.
I held up my find and she gave me a thumbs up.

Then it happened.

The guy behind the counter called out to us:

"Wait a minute, here! She's the mom? I thought for sure that you were the mom!"

He had believed that I was my mother's mom.

He thought that she. was. my. daughter.

That is one day of that decade which I would gladly chop out of my brain and donate to science. However, my mom really enjoys telling the story and gets so much enjoyment out of everyone's reaction, that I just let the memory sit there - waiting to attack: At family gatherings, luncheons, baby showers, and anywhere else that someone will listen.

She gave up a lot for me, so I guess I can suffer through endless recounting of that event.

Why couldn't he have at least thought that we were sisters?


October 23, 1985

When my mom had me I think the hardest thing she had to do for a job was changing diaper's, changing cloths , and feeding me. That--I think that would be very hard! I think I would like to have children, but all of that work! Oh, my, oh, my. but the hardest thing to do to raise children I think is to teach them the right things to do in life! Jeese! No, yes, don't do that do that! That's all I ever heard from my mom, but it's worth it so you won't do many mistakes. I wish I could say it simpler but, I bet raising children is hard!

Amen, Sister!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Good Ol' Summertime

This past weekend, I had a discussion with a dear friend, regarding a vital piece of the child-rearing puzzle. Something sacred and integral to creating long-lasting summer memories:

Otter Pops.

More specifically, blue Otter Pops. Because, you know, they make you have to cough. Something about them gives you a tickle in your throat, which cannot be ignored. If you eat a blue Otter Pop, you will have to cough - It's one of those great mysteries of life. And yet, if you ask me which color I'd like - I'll pick the blue one, every time. Ten Year Old Me would have made the same choice, I am sure of it.

Ahhh Summer... being a kid during the Summer months was pretty magical, wasn't it? Although, if I could have spoken to Just Graduated From Fifth Grade Me, I would have told her to make sure to wear lots of sunblock, since this would be the summer that she would burn her face so badly that the tip of her nose would swell up and almost fall off. I'm sure she would have raised her right eyebrow (I still do that, when I think someone is saying something, well, nutty) and said, "Uhm, like, yeahsure and what is sunblock, anyway?" Remember when parents thought that getting that first really good burn was the best way to prepare a child's tender skin for the next few months of exposure to UVA rays?

I also would have warned her that letting her friend's sixteen year old sister cut her hair in July would be an unwise choice - even if the budding stylist says that she just wants to give Eleven Year Old Me a "trim".

That was the same Summer that I began seriously crushing on the boys from the cast of Stand By Me. Okay, maybe not Jerry O'Connell - he didn't really get cute until at least 1991 - but I spent a lot of time looking through issues of Teen Beat and Tiger Beat, trying to find photos of River Phoenix.

My BFF and I would ride our bikes to the movie theater down the street while our parents were at work, because tickets were only fifty cents and nobody cared if you hopped from screen to screen, all day long. The movies were a few years past their prime, but it didn't matter: We saw Purple Rain enough times to have memorized the lines - though most of what we were quoting was way, way over our heads.

Yes, I really did just tell you that two eleven year old girls were allowed to ride their bikes to a discount movie theater and sit in the dark with strangers watching Rated R movies, for hours and hours at a time.

It was a long time ago. If the internet had been around, I'm sure we would have been spending all day long in the house, chatting with strangers - for hours at a time. We did have MTV (at least my BFF did), but you can only sit through so many dozens of hours of Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight", before you have to move on to the next activity.

Funny, but those are the memories that make me smile. Sunburns, bad haircuts, movies: All of those things were -and are- part of being a kid during Summertime.

And blue Otter Pops. Don't forget the Otter Pops.

June, 1986

Well 1 more day of school! tomorrow is the last day! this is my first year at this school and I am already going to leave, oh, well this was a very short year! I hope next year will be this short, it seems like it was only a few months, but it was a whole school year,oops! Sorry Mr. K, I forgot we were supposed to write a topic!! today, can I just write what I want, I mean only 1 more day , I won't change anything! this will be my 3rd time switching schools: I switched to go to kindergarten, I switched to go to this school, and I'm switching to go to middle school! I will probably stop pretty soon, oh, yeah I have to call my best friend C.E. today this is all about her:

She is short, 11 years old, she has brown hair, haesel eyes, she goes to a different elementary school, I think, she is in Mrs. M's class, and I've known her for almost 8 years. I will never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever forget her. Well anyway, she is an ice skater and she used to live across the street from me! I met her when I was about 3.














You know, I'm really going to regret that! I used all those pages for nothing! Except junk! Well, guess what, I am going to write a journal in Canada. I really want summer vacation to come!

Monday, July 5, 2010

All in the Family

A couple of months ago, I found out that I am part Cree Indian. When I got this news, I immediately felt as though a hole inside of me had been filled. I always knew that something was missing and now I understand why.

Although my husband would disagree - because I change my mind a lot and I look awful with bangs - I kind of feel like having a tribal wolf tattooed on my forehead, or something. I'm still Team Edward, girls, don't worry: This is about something else, altogether. This is about being totally excited about a recently discovered heritage. I've got a whole lot of German in my background and I'm French,English and Irish, too. But I had already known about all that.

The Indigenous thang is all-new to me.

For some reason, my daughter has decided that being Sicilian is what it's about. Her dad is half Sicilian and she has decided that she is made up of mostly that half of him. I can't entirely disagree: She tans like crazy and can put down more pasta than the Super Mario Brothers. Peanut's not quite as thrilled about my discovery. She's content to work at her Auntie's booth at the Italian festival, wearing her red, white and green hat; indifferent to the rest of her DNA.

My son and I have square feet, sort of like Fred Flintstone. Super sexy image, I know. If you put his left foot by my right, it looks like one set of different-sized feet, except that the smaller one doesn't have a little flower carefully painted on I don't usually like thinking about feet, but I think this might be some of the reason that he is diving into the whole "being Indian" thing, with more gusto than his sister.

Now that I have children, I think about my ancestors a lot more than before. I've always had a dusty, halfway sort of interest. Now I really want to know where I've come from - where we've come from. I'm lucky, because part of my family history is still around: My great - grandmother is still living. That means that my children have a great - great - grandmother. Nana danced in the conga line at my wedding.

She celebrated her 100th birthday, last October.

Generations gathered to revel in her accumulation of decades: There was something really amusing about hearing a one hundred year old woman being called "Mother", by her children. Keep in mind that her three children were in their eighties, themselves. There was a huge cake - thankfully they withheld the candles, or there may have been a disaster. I can barely manage to extinguish my birthday candles and I am- well, quite a bit younger than Nana. My sister created a beautiful slideshow, which made everyone simultaneously have an allergy attack (*wink*). I made a photo album of Nana's life for her gift, but the centenarian and the octogenarians brought it home to Mother's house and promptly forgot where they put it. Stuff like that happens when four people's combined ages equal around three hundred and fifty-five years.

It's still missing.

Knowing where you've come from is important. It helps you decide where you are going. And I think I am going to buy a dreamcatcher and learn to speak Algonquin, which is the language that the Cree people of my family spoke. It might take me a while - but I've got sustainable genes, so I've probably got close to seventy years to do it.

On second thought: I don't think Nana is a fan of McDonald's and Taco Bell, like I am. I'm pretty sure that she doesn't add five Splendas to her coffee every morning, either, so I might have considerably less time than I've estimated.

September, 1985

My ancestor's came from England, Ireland, France, and Germany. My grandmother just came back from visiting my great grandmother. My grandma just went to Germany before crismas '84 and when my mom was young, she went to France, my friend Samantha just got back from England. Her grandmother lives there. Know one I know went to Ireland, except my friend, Rachel, who is mostly Irish. I have lots of ansestors still living, like my great grandmother, my great uncle, my great aunt, and a great cousin, Lot's of them, most of them are really old, and they just sit and watch t.v. But my greta grandmother goes out to lunch and shopping, and shopping and shop, shop, shopping. My great grandfather is dead, he used to fly and airplane across the street from the house at the airport.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Punch Buggie No Punch Backs


How many times have you heard that in your lifetime? How many times have you said it?

I think I spent at least a decade pummeling my poor brother's arms during long rides in our family car. I still do it it to my kids - if I can get to them before they get to each other. Or to me. Only now, my daughter says, "punch buggie no punch backs". What is that? I think it originated with her best friend, who has two sisters. There is always threat of retaliation when you are smacking people on either side of you in a minivan.

I grew up in a house, which sat across the street from a field. This was the most awesome of things for a kid to have in front of their home: We made bike ramps, staged photo shoots and created an extremely unsafe tree house: It included a chaise lounge strapped to a branch with fishing line.

The problem was the traffic between home and the field. We lived on an impossibly busy street, where VW beetles sped by in abundance - my neighbors and I spent a great deal of time punching each other.

Some time between childhood and my teen years, I decided that being so thorough in my search for Slugbug victims was passe, which is a good thing, since my high school sweetheart drove a root beer brown, 1969 Volkswagon Beetle. I continue to be fascinated by this car, even though it is long gone. The sweetheart is still around. I once saw him fix a broken part on that car, with a rubber band. I'm not talking about using a scrunchie to keep the glove box closed. I mean a part under the hood. Like, a piece of the engine. With a rubber band. He was just like MacGyver - minus the mullet.

In addition to driving around town to catch concerts, eat at Carl's Jr. and hang out at Tower Records, the brown bug took a few trips through our field: Bouncing along molehills and skidding around corners, sending up a wall of dust. Whenever the car hit a bump, it would "catch air" and fly for a moment. It made my heart skip, watching my man hotdogging it around: Did you like that? I just had a birthday and I feel really, really old - so I thought I'd use the word "hotdogging".

There was one thing better than our deserted field and all the fun we had in it. Two words:


I guess those are numbers.

On the other side of the field was a 7-11 and it was a place that we loved to frequent with regularity. I probably bought enough Tootsie Pops there to fill an Easter basket for every child in Rhode Island. We also used to buy Pop Rocks and Jolt Cola. I always though Pop Rocks were a little creepy - they made it feel like something was crawling around in your mouth. But that Jolt... Sometimes I wish I had a twelve pack in my fridge. When the kids have been up in the middle of the night and it feels like I got around six minutes of sleep, Jolt sometimes comes to mind. I know, I know: Red Bull is what us grown-ups are supposed to drink. But Jolt actually tasted good and how can you resist a beverage with "all the sugar, twice the caffeine" for a slogan? I wonder how those poor teachers got through their mornings, with students imbibing crack-like, carbonated liquid sugar for breakfast? They were probably drinking it, too...

I used to be able to talk superfastlikethis, after downing a couple of cans.

If my mother realized that she was missing an ingredient while cooking dinner, she would just send me to my favorite purveyor of sugary goodness. I'd pick up a jar of mustard. And some Laffy Taffy. And some Hot Tamales. And Fun Dip.

The 7-11 is still there, but you can't get to it easily from my parent's house, anymore. In the 1990's the field was scooped up and turned into part of the highway. Up went the sound proof walls and now it would take more time to hike to your Slurpee than it would be worth.

It was fun, while it lasted...

October, 1985

Yesterday I went to seven eleven to get hot-dog-buns for my mom (really exciting, haw!) Well on tuesday, it seemed like my house was haunted. we go to the front door and you can hear the television, when I opened the door I saw a flash and it was off. we herd footsteps and someone sliding on the loose carpet in the hall so we ran out to Erica's house. We got to her house and we played soccer...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Times They are A-changin'...

Everything changes. Nothing stays the same.

With my birthday looming, I find my brain spinning like a calendar Rolodex. All day long. I have flashbacks of my childhood and sometimes I find recollections that I didn’t realize were there. For example, just this morning I rediscovered a memory of trying to convince the girl down the street to give me one of the french fries that she was hiding in a miniature tin lunchbox. It was almost dark outside and I was wearing a yellow bathing suit.

I was fifteen.

Oh, come on – did you really believe that? In reality, I was probably around four. I can’t remember why I was allowed to wander around the neighborhood in a bathing suit at dusk, begging for fries – but then again, this was still the 70’s; a decade where the local high school most likely had a smoking section, your mom probably drank/ate Tab all day and Jovan Musk was considered a fancy perfume. Those pesky seatbelt laws hadn't been invented, yet: One of my favorite childhood memories is playing with my Barbies in the front seat of my mother’s green Pinto. That is, I was sitting down on the floorboards with Barbie on the seat – while Mom was driving.

I found my first grade teacher on Facebook, last year. It was one of the most fantastic things imaginable, to be able to write to her and tell her what an impact she has had on my life. To tell her that I appreciate the educator that she had been - so patient and encouraging. She allowed me to write dozens of “books”. I even wrote one that starred her husband. He sent a small white seal sculpture to class with her, as a “thank you”. I keep it where I can see it every day. It has kept me writing something – anything, for almost 30 years.

I can't believe that I am able to say that I have been doing something for almost 30 years.

I remember a clown cup that I used to have at my grandmother’s house, when I was a toddler. It had a red Kool-Aid stain around the lip of it. I wonder if she still has that cup?

I remember seeing my husband for the first time. It was months before we met and more than a year before we began dating. But I remember. I was almost 16.

I used to hero worship a Shakespearean actor who lead some study sessions, in which I was a student. He had this unearthly power to morph into other characters. He didn't seem like a performer to me, more like a shapeshifter. He could turn himself into any gender, object, animal - you name it. You would really, truly believe that he was the being which he was portraying. I mustered enough courage to walk up to him and say, "someday, I hope I can be just like you."

He looked at me for an hour-long moment and then replied, "someday, I hope you can be just like you." He died, not long after he said that to me: It is some of the wisest advice that I've ever been given.

I'm still trying, my friend.

Even Ten Year Old Me knew that things, they are always a-changin'.

May, 1986

Everybody has changed, I don't know how though, because they are so weird everyone says all you should ever do is run around and chase boys, Me, R, B, D, and C don't think so. they asked me if I liked the Library. I said yes because I can write stories, draw, do home work, write poems and read, and "they" started gasping and saying, "oh, my gosh, she likes the library!" like they were going to die or something! and R started to cry in the library because V said she doesn't like her, and they had been best friends the whole school year so far! MAN! What is wrong with these people? I am going to try and find out! Man!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Despicable Me

For some unfathomable reason, I continuously try to kill my best friend's family.

When our first children were months old, I convinced her to give her child a teething biscuit. She and her husband explained that this particular baby hadn't really tried eating, well, food yet and they were afraid that she might choke on it. Since I had been shoving teething biscuits down my baby's throat for a while, I convinced them that it was safe and they should give it a try. Just a little peer pressure between pals.

We were at Chevy's having probably the first night out at a restaurant since we gave birth and the little girls were firmly buckled into highchairs. My own darling angel had a slimy biscuit in her fist and alternated between gumming it and painting the table with it. Don't worry, I was a typical paranoid first time mommer: I had one of those strange-but-oh-so-practical peel 'n' stick place mats glued to the horrible, parasite ridden, unsanitary, Malaria/SARS infested public table. *Wink*

My friend unwrapped the biscuit and slowly, tentatively handed it to her child. The baby grabbed it and started sucking away. We all waited with baited breath and after a few seconds, all present sighed with relief and began to peruse the menu.

Somewhere between filling up on tortilla chips and dinner delivery, we heard a gagging cough.

I have never -before or since- seen a woman move as fast as my BFF jumped out of her seat. She wasted no time unbuckling her child - she was suddenly superhuman: She lifted the entire high chair up over her head and turned it upside down. Every adult at the table stood in panic, but by the time we reached our feet, a little chunk of slimy teething biscuit bounced across the floor.

That was the first of many attempts that I have made to eradicate her family.

This past weekend, my dark side resurfaced and I tried again.

We decided to join our two families for a camping trip. Now they have three children, instead of only one (so many more opportunities for my endeavor!). This was their first time camping since becoming a family unit, so I was trying to give helpful information along the way, like: Don't bring any blankets. I told her, "It is supposed to be really, really hot all weekend and blankets take up so much room!"

That first night was so cold that I only just started regaining the feeling in my pinkies and thumbs.

The adults hobbled around for the duration of the trip: Joints destroyed by the freezing temperatures, because we had been sleeping without any blankets. My latest attempt was an abysmal failure. They are all still with us for the time being: Adorable children and very forgiving adults. The Husbands left the campsite early on Sunday to find the closest Walmart, so that they could buy thermals and beanies for the whole group. My own husband returned with a bedspread.

They are safe... for now. I wonder what my next attempt shall be?

I've camped with this friend since we were children. I don't remember trying to end her life back then.

April, 1986

We went on the camping trip, it was fun, I got to be E's partner, we hooked our tent to K and S's tent, I got home yesterday, my brother is a meany, he always messes up our room and I have to clean it up! Oh, well! I learned how to draw different animals I love. I get to be on cafeteria now, I quit babysitting! Craig took my place. They don't like him at all! J got hit by a car, or so they are saying, and the same with C, that is weird two people in the same month! I don't believe it I just don't think C got ran over, because he came to school three days after they were saying he had a broken arm, he had no cast on though! Z got the chicken pox, T got something like pnemonia, gosh pretty soon we won't have anyone in our class, D, J, T, and Z are all gone! I guess it's a bad month! Oh well, time to stop! Bye!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Tale of the Sinister Spine

There are many things for which I am homesick:

The sound of my boyfriend's red bass guitar mingled with the scent of black leather motorcycle jacket.

The feel of my grandfather's small, strong arm over my shoulder - it's silver, wiry hairs tickling against my neck.

The way the Night Jasmine filled up the air on warm nights at our old house.

The sensation of the giant, yellow plastic slide at the County Fair beneath my seven- year- old tush.

My old back.

Although I know that my two surgeries were imperative, I miss how my old back felt. I'm not talking about the back that was broken and masquerading as the spine of an 80+ year-old retired dock worker/weight trainer who never learned how to lift with his legs. I'm talking about the back that allowed me to hula hoop and do a triple time step - without wondering if I am going to be eating Motrin for breakfast, in the morning.

Enter the Sinister Spine.

My doctor thought that I had a blood clot, when I was really having a sciatic attack. I had to arrange for someone to pick my kids up from school and my husband rushed from work to meet me at the hospital. Suffice to say, they did not find anything wonky in my leg. Two months later, I had my first back surgery. Two months after that, the second. I now tell my children that I am Human Cyborg Relations. The Bionic Woman. My back is made up of more metal than the average person. Less than some. Actually, it's titanium. That just means that the airport alarms won't sound when I go through metal detectors and I can get into theme parks without too much trouble.

Sometimes, I think that it makes me sort of special. After all, there is a huge percentage of Americans who don't have a big titanium cage around their spine. Other times, I am a tad bitter that I will forever hate stormy days. Rainy days wreak havoc in people who have implants. There is a constant ache, which sets it's bags at the foot of the bed in your spare room. It doesn't leave until well after Spring comes to visit. I used to love stormy days. El Nino '97 was my finest Winter. I would sit at the window and marvel at nature's fury. These days, I limp around until the cold weather bothers the other side of the world for awhile. Winter is the pest of pests: It teases and annoys - like a particularly impish sibling.

How I wish I could touch my palms to the firm ground again, without bending my knees. Or run for an hour. Or play soccer like I did, in the fifth grade... Which was not very well.

May 14th, 1986

My favorite is soccer, we haven't won a game yet, but today I hope we do, mabe it will be good luck because it is E's birthday! Well, we are playing the Blasters at Los-Poseos school and I sure hope we win! If we don't I will be mad! E says it will be bad luck that today is her Birthday because her grandma died on her birthday, but I don't think so! Oh, well! May 14, 1986 is a good day for me, so far!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Here Comes the Judge

Sometimes I just feel like suing people.

I used to watch those court TV shows (OK, I still do) where Judge Wapner or Judge Judy listen to people who have filed lawsuits because their hair broke off after a dye job or because the cobbler nailed the wrong heel to their boot. I have always been fascinated by human behavior and it's amazing how many reasons there are to sue another person.

I wanted to sue FedEx, just last week: I had put in an order on the previous Thursday, assured that I could pick it up the following morning. Friday morning - order not ready. Ugh! I told them I'd return on Monday. Monday morning - still not ready! I had told the Kindergarten teacher that her little green notepads, with self portraits of her students around the border would be in her hands before the last week of school! I called to complain and was told that someone would return my call. No one ever returned my call. However, the box of notepads magically arrived in the school office, by Wednesday afternoon - which is good, because I was ready to sue everyone in the Mountain View FedEx office.

Last Fall, I wanted to sue our gardeners because they put in these horrible, huge bushes. When they flower, they look like Cheeto plants. I'm not kidding, these plants look like they are growing Cheetos. You could probably arrange the flowers in a bowl and someone would try to eat them.
Who wants Cheetos lining their sidewalks? Not me! I am increasingly annoyed, every time I drive by the darned things. If I wasn't so busy packing snacks and lunches, pulling rocks and other various gross things out of tiny jean pockets and explaining why it isn't a good idea to add Benadryl to a "magic potion", I may have taken them to court.

One time, I wanted to sue myself. I was carrying a bridal shower cake up to it's destination and somehow managed to poke my pointer finger through the front of it. It was particularly awful, because the cake was shaped like a bride. There was a doll shoved into a round, skirt-like cake. And now the skirt had a ginormous hole through the front of it. Everyone was angry, but I could not stop laughing. This just stressed them all out - which made me laugh harder. I was disappointed in my own behavior, because I caused a dream to be dashed. The dream of a perfect bridal cake. I was lucky that I didn't have a lawyer.

November, 1985

People sue people for doing bad things, they take them to court, and the judge decides, who will win. I really don't know much about suing, but I know a little, I watch, peoples court, divorce court, I have seen people get sued, and have to pay an amount of money. I really don't know much, though. I wouldn't want to get sued though, I would have to drag myself to court and dig out of my pocket two thousand dollars, just to pay for repairs. I wonder what people do. what if I couldn't afford it? What a shame. I think suing is sort of silly! I would hate to see two adults fighting over such silliness, maybe it isn't so silly, sometimes it is serious.

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