Sunday, March 30, 2008

Getting Close

We just got back from four days in New Orleans. It was my first trip there, and it can be summed up with one of our breakfasts. We ate at a place in the French Quarter called Petunia's. It's in a hundred and fifty year old Creole house, and famous for their crepes. When we entered the waiting area, a hostess immediately appears.

"Good morning! Would you guys like a cocktail while you wait?" she chirps. It was 8:30am.

"No thanks", my husband replies. "But can I get a coffee?"

"No." she abruptly answers, slamming her menu shut and returning back to the kitchen.

NOLA was very, very cool. Although cocktails are apparently their breakfast drink of choice, there's much more to the city than most people think. I have never been there before, yet somehow- it has made the very, very short list of places we are considering calling home. Everytime I tell someone this- I get one of 2 reactions. Either someone will say:

"Are you Freaking serious? The crime rate? The hurricanes? The flooding?"
or I'll hear:

"Ooooh- one of the best cities on Earth!"

I'm caught in between. They put us up at a swanky hotel- and had cookies and milk for the kids and cheese for hubby and I in our room when we arrived. The next morning, Matt took off on his interview. I trotted the kids down to the French Quarter for some beignets and chickory coffee, and Annie danced her first of many dances to Dixieland Jazz. The French Quarter does kind of look like the Haunted Mansion stuff at Disneyland (my only reference), but a tad sleazier and with the lingering odor of some hard partying going on the night before.

After porking out on beignets, we boarded a real live steam boat for a two hour cruise down the Mississippi river. I called Annie Huck Finn, and Lucy was Tom Sawyer- and it was so neat to go down the river the same way Mark Twain did when he piloted his own steamship down the very same water. I learned a bunch of cool history, none of which I will bore you with- but it made my Cliff-Clavin heart warm and happy to hear some random facts I can toss to my Dad. I will tell you that a lot of folks are sporting bumper stickers that reference the Louisiana Purchase- they say:

Please France: Buy Us Back.

That evening, the hospital arranged for a babysitter to arrive at our hotel so Matt and I could go to dinner with a few folks. First, we had drinks at someone's house. It was gorgeous- built a hundred years ago, and the only damage it suffered during the hurricane was from the National Guard kicking the door in to look for bodies.

We had dinner uptown, in a cozy little place called La Petite Grocerie. Afterwards, they drove us around. Parts of the city look exactly like San DIego- uptown looks like a cross between Berkeley, San Francisco and Santa Monica. Matt and I were amazed at how much it reminded us of California.

The next day we spent four hours with a realtor, looking at houses. If and when we do live there, we have decided to live in the uptown area. Any home that's lasted there for over a hundred years has a pretty good track record for future storms. One house we looked at was built in 1865, and needed a ton of renovation- but it had 15 foot ceilings and guillotine windows (the coolest!) and marble fireplaces that didn't work and most likely a ghost or two that probably came with the escrow.

So anywhoo... nothing finalized yet- but we're getting close. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Without a doubt- the hours between 5pm and 8pm are the hardest of my day. At 5:00- my kids ability to be rational is completely gonzo, and all hell breaks loose. Unfortunately, this meltdown occurs at just the moment when I'm starting to think about what the hell I'm supposed to feed everyone. By the time I get dinner on the table, dishes cleaned up and the kids popped in the tub- I'm wiped out. Tonight, I let the kids play for a bit longer than usual. They had a new game- something about mermaids and a submarine song, and they were spitting water out and belly laughing- so I propped myself up on their Target brand pink stepstool and just thought.

Five years ago, the hardest part of my day was chewing out some lame-ass salesman who didn't know his head from his enterprise system. Every few weeks I took a short business trip and traveled throughout the country. I had a weekly brunch gig with my girlfriends. On Sunday mornings, I would light a fire in the fireplace, turn on some jazz and while away the day on the couch with a great book. Matt and I took weekly excursions in to Balboa park or Coronado beach- and they always ended around 3pm- with either a bloody mary, a cappucino or a margarita.

Right now- it is so easy to get carried away with the details. Raising kids requires so, so many steps- that it is all too easy to get lost in the muck. Today, I reminded myself to take a mental snapshot- of my little girls, hiding from a scary monster under Annie's comforter. I have a feeling, that in a few years I'll be sitting on some couch, trying to read a book- and wishing I could be there with them.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Broke

I am now nursing a massive headache. This morning, I tried to go get an oil change on the ol' minivan- but apparently everyone this side of the MIssissippi decided this morning was THE morning to do work on their car. Instead of waiting an hour and a half with 2 kids inside of a dealership, I took the anklebiters home and we cleaned out the car. This is what we found:
1. soccer ring from a crappy store bought cupcake
2. one shoe. Have no idea where other shoe is.
3. Multiple piles of horribly smelly, unidentifiable crumbs.
4. Annie's Boston Red Sox hat
5. Very important escrow papers for our house

After Febreezing the whole stanky thang down, I loaded up the kids and we hit it to the local strawberry patch. We came home with our weight in berries- and now the whole kitchen smells like Strawberry Shortcake's armpit. In addition to picking berries, the rest of our spring break culminated in a couple of playdates, 3 different egg hunts, dinner at a friend's house, a ton of baking and a urinary tract infection. Good times folks. Good times.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Disposable Generation

Lucy: "Mommy? My elbow hurts."
Mommy: "What happened Lucy?"
Lucy: "Me don't know. My elbow hurts."
Mommy: "Sorry about that Luc."
Lucy: "Me want a new elbow.
Mommy: "??"
Lucy: "Take me to the elbow store.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Keepin' It Real

This is a stressful time. We were supposed to have date night on Saturday, and instead of living it up- we crashed our local Indian place to furtively whisper an argument over some curry and tikki masala. Trying to figure out where to put down roots has caused both of us angst, and each one feels like the other one is issuing ultimatums, or painting them into a corner. Bottom line- this is going to take compromise- on all parts. I'm totally stressed out because I have no idea where we're going to be living- and I don't have the kids on waiting lists for schools ANYWHERE- and we close escrow on our house in July, so we can't buy anything before then, so I've got to find us a place to hang our hat for the summer. Matt is even more stressed--- he's working a totally intense day job, and juggling phone calls from all over the country and scheduling EVEN MORE interviews to try and wrap this puppy up before the year ends. On top of that, we have well meaning relatives that continually want to talk- over, and over again about the many options, and some poke their well meaning fingers into pies that weren't supposed to be touched. (enough metaphors?)

But just when things look their darkest- my hubby has this innate ability to crack a silly joke, or make me laugh- and suddenly all of the anger and pent up plans to escape to Hawaii are immediately forgotten. Almost. When he says he's going to be home for dinner, and I start whipping up some tres' expensive seared scallops with garlic spinach for a late Monday night dinner and he calls about halfway home to say an old friend is in town and he's going to go to some Brazilian steak house and wolf down 15 steer, well.... I still get a bit pissy. Jokes and all.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Horton Hears A Hit

This movie is adorable. It is quaint. It is charming. It is an excellent way to burn two hours of spring break. Two down, only 166 more to go.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Creepers Jeepers

I'm 35- and the more I say that, the more I start to believe it. I'm half way though my thirties, and even though I still remember what it was like to feel like a dorky seventh grader (basically, like a dorky 35 year old) I have reached that stage in life where I'm happy with who I am, and not intimidated to force myself into something else. However, with this new found wisdom- I do have moments where I feel totally, completely.... well, old. O_L_D.

I had some frequent flier miles that were about to expire, and there weren't enough to really do anything with, except subscribe to some nonsensical magazines that I would never in a million years subscribe to. So, Matt wound up with a year's subscription to the Economist, and also Maxim. When each issue comes, I peek at the cover- and it makes me feel seriously uncomfortable. These "women" look like little girls playing sexy dress up. Seriously! When Avril Lavigne was on the cover in her push up bra- I told Matt that I couldn't, in good faith, let him have this because it was just CREEPY. (Note: I felt creepy about Castro on the cover of the Economist, but in a much different way).

These Maxim cover girls look like teeny boppers- and they are younger than my little brother, who, (gasp!) at age 29 is my barometer for acceptable young-ness (i.e. immaturity). I just don't get the whole starlet thing. In my mind, a woman with experience is much more attractive than a 20 year old nymphet with no clear idea of who she really is. Sorry Avril, but your purple push up bra (with matching hair extensions) did nothing for me. Now Selma Hayek (non-preggers) is a verrry different story.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


As if my BodyPump instructor, Just Jack, wasn't gay enough- today's class definitely sealed the deal for switch hitting for the opposite team. As always, I was running late for class. You have to arrive 15 minutes early, or you get stuck in front of the weight bench, or scrunched in the corner, and I spend the entire class agonizing over my lame-o position.

This morning was rough. We were running late- basically because a moronic Congress can't get their ass in gear and vote to STOP this craziness that is called Daylight Savings Time. It screws with kids. It really screws with Moms. And it really makes you late for Body Pump class. I grabbed my kids, grabbed my shoes and grabbed a couple of Tampax and stuffed them in the pockets of my black exercise pants- fully intending to transfer them to my purse when I get in the car.

I jet off to the gym- drop the kids off at KidsClub, and settle myself into a nice, prime spot in the middle of the floor. We start our warmup- and I'm giving it my all. I'm lunging, I'm lifting- I'm feeling good! Until I notice the girl next to me shooting me a funny look. Apparently, in my enthusiasm, I forgot to notice the stray Tampax falling out of my pockets and laying like little white war soldiers all over my mat. Blushing, I skip out on the "Car Wash" tricep torture to drop my little soldiers in the trash. As I walk back to my spot, I happen to glance in the mirror.

The zit? The one I told you about this morning? Well, apparently all of my exertion caused the pimple to pop all over again, and I've got ick squirting out of it like toothpaste. I am, truly, a sight to behold.

Pizza Face

Sorry I've been so lame with posting. We've returned to normalcy- with the exception of this huge zit that's now living on my chin. Against all advice, I popped it- but instead of going away, it scabbed over and now looks like a pus infected flesh eating disease. (Yum! Breakfast anyone?)

Why am I getting zits? Oh, I don't know. Maybe it's because I took two sickly little ones on eight planes in five days, or maybe it's because hubby and I are THIS close to making a decision where we'll be living the next seven years or so. (What would you? Would you live somewhere you really, really love- or somewhere you know nothing about but make oodles and oodles of money?)

I'm hosting my cooking club tonight. We're doing a cookbook exchange- and since there's nothing in my fridge but expired milk and cheese rinds, I better get hopping. I hope I don't scare them away with the alien living inside of my chin.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Tips and Tricks

My girlfriends always tease me that I am a wealth of useless information, kind of like Cliff Clavin from Cheers , and some have asked me to start a cooking blog- which if I ever get my digital camera working again I just may do. In the meantime, here are a few tips and tricks that keep me going and make life interesting.

1. Parmesan cheese rinds. Do NOT throw these away. EVER. They are the best secret weapon to making any pot of soup turn into a silky, smooth puddle of cheesy goodness. When we've got only a smidgen of cheese left, I pop the rind in a ziploc and toss it in my freezer. Whenever I make our version of Italian wedding soup (recipe coming soon) I do a little happy jig if I can throw one of these in with my stock. It will seriously change your life.

2. These jeans. I tried these on at Nordies a few weeks ago, and I swear- this two-legged wonder is responsible for making shopping fun again. Oh yeah- that and Weight Watchers, and my new Body Pump class- but seriously! My ass hasn't looked this good since well.... before kids. And you always have to buy one size smaller than you normally wear- so it's like instant ego gratification. Plus, they won't break the bank like some Sevens or Citizens will.

3. This mascara kicks some serious ass. I've always been a Greatlash girl, but one of my friends strong armed me into trying this, and I'm so glad I did. My eyelashes are ok, nothing to write home about- but this mascara (best brush ever
- you must try this) makes my eyelashes look all Betty-Boop like, without any racoon clumps to slut things up. I heart this.

So there you go- 3 useless pieces of information that do not further your life forward in any way. But if you start batting your well coated eyelashes at cheese rinds with your ass properly encased in a denim shrine- it may just make your day that much better. Especially after your kid walks off with your only set of car keys and you are already late for preschool and you have to take your husband's car and install carseats, until your little one fesses up with where they hid them and your head almost explodes. Not that I would know anything about that or anything. Sigh. I'm going to go look at some frozen cheese rinds now and get back to a happy place.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Ever have one of those days where you feel like a dirty dishrag that someone is wringing dry? That's me. Today, I declared it a "home day." Since we're now getting 3 inches of rain in the next 2 hours- it was a good day to hunker down. I spent all morning putting stuff away- our house is so small that when one room explodes, the whole house looks like a tornado hit it. Suitcases were put away, medicines hidden for the next eruption, laundry done. It feels good to somewhat return to normal.

Ah normal. Normal is when my Lucy dumps a bag of tortilla chips on my bed. Normal is when my Annie falls asleep five minutes before we have to leave for a playdate. Normal is when no one wants to eat dinner, but everyone wants a snack. It's good to be home.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I'm home. I'm home! I'm home! The last week was, simply put, ridiculous. Matt had 2 job interviews- in opposite ends of the country, and since we have no family in Houston- they both agreed to fly the kids out so we could check out the area. We began the week in the Southwest, and my parents drove out to meet us and do some babysitting so I could look at houses and such. Unfortunately, Annie caught a stomach bug the night before we left. Foolishly thinking it was only a 24 hour bug, we trudged forward- and now I'm going to spare everyone the gory details-(involving every bodily fluid imaginable) but it probably would have been best if we skipped the first leg and just got everyone well.

Good news! We received a full price offer on our house 4 days after putting it on the market. We are now in escrow, so please keep your fingers crossed that everything goes through. In the midst of spewing poo and vomit, this was truly, a blessing. Annie and I also met Justin Roberts last night- and he played our favorite song- D-O-G. Did you know he used to be in an indie-rock band? To support himself, he was a preschool Montessori teacher by day- and that's how he started writing songs for little ones.

We're getting rocking thunderstorms today with high winds, so I'm keeping my little ones home for a much needed jammie day. Thank you everyone for your well wishes and kind words- and I hope you guys miss this virus- it's a violent one!