Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pass the Coppertone

On our roadtrip to New Orleans, I tossed my laptop in the car and burned Matt some mixes as he cruised us towards Louisiana. I rifled through my Itunes, trying to conjure up a mixture of stuff that would keep us entertained and take Annie's mind off Jack's Big Music Show, Laurie Berkner and all things Winnie-the-Pooh.

Lo and behold, my kid is now really into the B-52s and Bob Marley. A girl can only take so much Love Shack, so I made a new mix for the car- that will continue their musical education and kick off Summer 2008. What's on your summer playlist? Here's mine:

Soak up the Sun- Sheryl Crow
Somewhere Over the Rainbow- Israel Kamakawi
Faith- George Michael
Jump- Van Halen
Footloose- Kenny Loggins
California Girls- Beach Boys
The Reflex- Duran Duran
Our Lips Are Sealed- the Go Gos
Cheeseburger in Paradise- Jimmy Buffet
Summer of 69- Bryan Adams
Walking On Sunshine- Katrina and the Waves
Do You Believe in Love- Huey Lewis & the News
Stir It Up- Bob Marley
Kokomo- Beach Boys
Major Tom- Peter Schilling
Walkin' On the Sun- Smash Mouth
Born In the USA- Bruce Springsteen
You're So Bad- Tom Petty
Brown Eyed Girl- Van Morrison
Hey Ya- Outkast

Funny Girls

We've been busy. Busy with a capital- B, and if I dare show you pictures of what we have been busy with, you will agree with my mother that I really, really need to get a job. Today was transportation day at preschool- and their parking lot was taken over with pedi-cabs, pony rides, semi-trucks, ambulances, firetrucks, school buses, cop cars, some crazy zebra car from the zoo and horse drawn carriages.

Of course, stupid me signed up to bring snack today. During Annie's parent-teacher conference, they hit me up with this request, and I was so pleasantly overwhelmed with having a conference that I didn't get nervous for, and having a conference where they truly acted like they liked my kid, and hearing that my kid didn't smear poop all over the bathroom or break anyone's leg I was more than happy to agree to make firetrucks for today's snack.

After a long internet search- we settled on graham crackers, smeared with red royal icing, Oreo cookies for the wheels, pretzel sticks for ladders and red jellybeans for the sirens and white ones for the headlights. These suckers were CUTE. And also a complete pain in the ass.

While making the cookies, Lucy started whimpering about a bug on the floor. Absentmindedly listening to her while piping hubcaps on Oreos, I muttered "Don't worry Lucy, it's not a bug, it's probably a piece of dirt."

A few minutes later Lucy tugs on my leg and asks: "Mommy? When did dirt learn how to walk?" It was a bug.

Today, I was telling Annie how we're going to California soon, so we can buy a new house.

"How are we going to do that?" she asks. "Houses are so big! Who will carry it to the car?" I laughed and told her we would order it online, and the mailman would deliver it. My kids think our mailman is better than Santa Claus- with all of the stuff he has for them in his truck. But his truck is not as cool as this:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Want Candy

It's trippy to see your kid get to an age where you distinctly remember what you were thinking when you were that age. (Does that make sense? Basically, I totally remember being four). Dredging up the CoolWhip story the other night rekindled a few memories of my childhood- most of them involving grocery stores.

I love to grocery shop- always have, always will. This love has passed on to my children, who view a trip to Costco as an official outing, and it warms my heart to listen to their giggles of anticipation as we approach each aisle of samples. When I was four, I liked to toy with stranger's perceptions. For example, one of my favorite games was to fake a limp. I would trod behind my mother as she pushed the cart, and I would muster my best Tiny Tim face and suddenly start gimping all over the frozen foods section. I would try my hardest to listen to the whispers of each passerby- straining my ears to hear them whisper "poor, poor girl" when really they were probably thinking what a freaking nutcase I was.

Then, there was the day we went to Giant. Giant was this huge grocery store in Herndon, Virginia- and it felt like we went there every other day. We were ALWAYS going to Giant. My little brother would get a matchcar during every visit, and he had more cars than Donald Trump has gold light fixtures. It was seriously disgusting- he could have started his own NASCAR league and invited Mario Batali over to cook him some lil' smokies.

One day, I got sick of Billy and his mini-car obsession, and decided to venture off to pick a present for myself. Not much to choose from in a grocery store in 1980- but I did find a Brachs store display of candy. It featured tiny bags of Brachs candy- all hanging from a silver metal tree- each metal arm featuring a different flavor. I so love Brachs chocolate covered cherries, so I immediately realized I had to have one. Suddenly feeling like I was being watched, I turned around to see 2 young boys- about 4 and six years of age, observing my every move, while their mother read the back of some instant Orange Julius mix or something.

The boys crept closer- for some unknown reason, my candy deliberation fascinated them. Ignoring their stares, I calmly reached forward and grabbed a bag of candy off of the fixture. To this day, I swear that is all I did. I simply grabbed a bag of candy. Unexpectedly, the silver tree, brimming with confectionary delights, suddenly shuddered, and horrifically started folding up on itself, sending bags of Brachs candy crashing. Chocolate covered cherries littered the floor like a bloody, pulpy mess.

This huge mess also made a huge noise, and the mother dropped the can of instant Orange Julius and immediately started screeching and spanking the boys for wreaking such havoc. Ignoring their desperate and fervent pleas of innocence, I silently limped away. To this day, I can still see the pained expressions of disbelief on those wrongfully accused boys, and the outrage of their mother as she clomped on broken bits of candy to gain a better footing for her discipline. I've never been able to enjoy a cheapy chocolate covered cherry since.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Food For Thought

So it's no secret that I really, really love food. Other people say they are overweight because they are "lonely, and try to fill that loneliness with food." That's not me. I'm not lonely- hell, I haven't been to the bathroom by myself in four years, so lonely isn't what comes to mind. I'm overweight because I really, really love food. My favorite types of books to read are about food- Heat, anything by Anthony Capella, Ruth Reichl, Amanda Hesser, Jeffrey Steingarten. I heart Top Chef, and live for date nights when my hubby takes pity on my macaroni and cheese Monday-Friday existence and takes me somewhere swanky where they use napkins! And wear clothes to the table! And don't blow milk bubbles out their nose!

I was a skinny kid, and blessed with a high metabolism until I turned the age of 18 and started birth control. God punished my wanton ways with expanding hips, and an expanding desire to stuff baked goods into my mouth. But even when I was skinny- I remember being obsessed with food. I remember being four, and my Mom was making dessert, and had half a container of Cool Whip leftover. She saw me laying on the 1970's linoleum floor (my favorite game was to act like I was "dead" and see the depths of despair of whomever found me). and took pity on my warped self and tossed me the tub of processed goodness. I couldn't believe my good fortune.

Then, in my sophomore year in high school in Hawaii, I suddenly became friends with a girl called Micki. Micki was a senior, and a cheerleader, and ran in social circles that I was only exposed to via John Hughes and Molly Ringwald. We called each other the "eating buddies." I remember going over to her house the day after Thanksgiving, and completely gorging on stuffing, and turkey and pie- and joking with her how we needed to "pace ourselves, so we could go the distance."

So it's pretty clear where this story is going- right? Micki had a raging eating disorder, and was hospitalized for bulemia before her senior year was up. I had no idea she was purging in between our Thanksgiving feasts--- and kind of shrugged my shoulders when I wondered why someone would want to get rid of all of that yummy food.

That same year, my high school's drama department got a call from one of the swanky resorts in Wakikia. They needed a high school student to dress up as the Easter Bunny and give out treats during their brunch. Instead of paying money, they would treat the Bunny's family to brunch. I jumped at the chance. I didn't care that I had to wear a white man's tuxedo. I didn't care that I had to wear a pink bow tie, and pink bunny ears, and a tail. I only cared that they had shrimp bigger than my fist, and a crepe station and desserts as far as I could see.

So I'm not trying to fill any emotional voids with food- I'm just seriously enjoying some good eats. Unfortunately, these days, I'm just trying to enjoy them a little less.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Just Breathe

So after all that trash talking, things got kind of interesting around here. By five o'clock in the afternoon, it felt like a concrete block was sitting on my chest. I freaked, and called Matt at work to ask him to come home. I also paged my doctor- and by the time she called back, I was having problems breathing, and the chest pressure got really intense. So I do what makes perfect, rational sense-- I burst into tears. My poor doctor can barely make out who is on the other line because I'm a wheezing, blubbering mess. I'm almost too embarrassed to have to go see her in a week.

She, of course being of sound mind and concrete-block free body, logically tells me to get my ass to the closest emergency room. I (thank you Google!) find this clinic around the corner, grab my keys, meet my husband who has just pulled into the driveway and take off.

To put this in perspective, this would only be my 4th visit to the ER in the last ten years. Once, I was in a car accident and my neck got tweaked. Two other times I had the remarkable pleasure of passing kidney stones (while pregnant! nothing prepares you for labor more than shredding your insides to bits with calcified sand granules). All four times, I drove myself to the ER. When you're married to someone that works on average of 120 hours a week- a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. It did get somewhat ridiculous when I was mid-passing a stone in the ER and they kept trying to force morphine on me and I was all, "Hey now, that's not a good idea because I really need to drive myself home. Please just give me some Vicodin and we'll call it a day." Driving yourself while having a serious respiratory issue is a walk in the park compared with having a grumpy husband and two very-near bedtime toddlers accompany you to a sterile waiting room for an indefinite wait. I'd rather donate some much needed organs, while living, than to have to go through that.

So when I show up at the local Doc-in-a-box, I was expecting a long wait. And really, when you don't have to put the kids to bed or clean up the dinner dishes, how bad is it to sit in a plastic chair and be forced to watch CSI and Survivor? It fucking sucks when you have a two ton block of concrete on your chest and are gulping for air.

Luckily, they either saw my distress or were afraid I was going to scare away the rest of their business for the night because they had me in an exam room in fifteen minutes. (I only got to see one severed head on CSI- that's pretty good by gory time standards). After one abnormal EKG where the nurse (he was from Australia, his Dad is an aborigine that lives in the bush. Why must I insist on finding out everyone's life history whenever I'm in a hospital?) became convinced I was having a heart attack- this kind of dampened my plans for a few moments, and made me wonder if the last thing I was going to see was a crappy CSI and the speckled ceiling of an exam room- he fixed some button and finally got a normal reading.

After figuring out I was not pregnant, not having a heart attack and ruling out pneumonia, they quickly discovered I really couldn't breathe that well. I was having a "flare up" of asthma that I thought I had outgrown four years ago. They put me on oxygen, gave me some steroids to lessen the swelling in my lungs (hey look! I also get testicles as a parting gift!) and gave me a breathing treatment. Within two hours, the concrete block had lessened to a piece of particle board, and I was ready to go home. Home to a house that no longer had a week's worth of trash in it. Because I was sly and dumped it at my neighbor's before theirs got picked up. I'm classy like that- particle board chest and all.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Talking Trash

In other news, I've recently acquired the latest in preschool viruses- the most fashionable sinus headache, coupled with this season's unstoppable snotty nose- which then morphs into a transcendent chest cold that feels like the entire last season of Project Runway is sitting on my chest (which occasionally makes me cough up a lung and pee my pants a little bit so I don't think they'll let me wear their creations anytime soon).

I hate being sick. My husband, dear man that he is, has an extremely short attention span for sickness- and I blew all of his goodwill two nights ago when he brought home Chinese and put the kids to bed. Today, my wheezing is so bad, I sound like a geriatric prank caller, and my energy level is zip.

In my Nyquil induced stupor, I suddenly realized I forgot to drag the trashcan to the curb today for pickup. The kindly garbage man stopped in front of my house, and leaned on his horn- as if to say "Come on Sicky Girl! Drag your sorry ass over here and tinkle your pee pee all the way to the curb so I may relieve you of a week's worth of refuse." I pretended like I couldn't hear him.

I'm going back to bed now.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

California Here We Come!

We've decided.
We are beyond happy.
We said goodbye to a great job and more money than we knew what to do with, but in the end- life is not all about the bank account (we've proven that this far) and we want to be near friends, family and In-N-Out Burger more than anything.

My new house will be somewhere in Orange County, and I hope they let me my non-botoxed, droopy boobs self in.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I'm ignoring the fact that movers must pack us up in TEN weeks.
I"m pretending like I know where the movers will drop off our stuff.
I totally forgot our taxes are due today and we just filed an extension.
I'm looking past the dirty dishes in my sink and praying the dishwasher repairman comes today.
I cannot help my husband as he agonizes over this crazy decision.
I try and reassure him that we will be happy wherever we go, but he does not believe me.
We are still married after all of this, which, if you've been around lately, says an awful lot.

My Purgatory

Umm- we were supposed to receive an offer (in writing!) today for our "first pick." Then, late last night, hubby gets an email from a program that is looking for someone. Now everything is up in the air.

I'm going to go stick my head in Mr. Daniel's pool now, folks.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mr. Daniel's Purgatory

Annie started swim lessons yesterday. It's a bit ridiculous to feel behind the eight ball at age four, but most of her friends can swim, and it's getting a bit embarrassing to have Annie splashing with the toddlers at the baby pool. After a litany of ear infections cleared, we finally got our act together and enrolled in her a two week "bootcamp". I take her to the pool for a lesson, every day, for the next two weeks. After this "immersion" (pardon the pun), she goes twice a week. Whenever she is ready, she gets to take a float test where she gets pushed into the pool fully dressed, and has to float on her back for four minutes or make it to the side by herself.

A couple of friends and a dvd provided by the school prepared me for the worst. Bootcamp is not very popular with the little ones. One of Annie's friends would poop her pants whenever her mom pulled into the pool's parking lot. I was a bit nervous for the first lesson. They have two observation rooms, overlooking the pool- that are hidden by two way mirrors, so I could fret in peace without freaking Annie out.

In a bit of a sadistic fashion that is characteristic with my parenting style- it was hilarious to observe Annie experience her first lesson. She was filled with anticipation and glee when she first entered- convinced she would be "swimming" by the end of her half hour lesson. Watching her face slowly realize the amount of hard work and risk involved with learning to swim was priceless. As her teacher propped her up against the side of the pool and instructed her on the proper way to hold your arms during floating, I saw her thought process unfold.

The glee quickly turned to fear. After her instructor kept reassuring her, the fear was replaced with anger. While her three class buddies started to cry, Annie got pissed. S-E-R-I-O-U-S-L-Y ticked. She folded her arms in front of her, frowned the biggest frown, and started to tell Mr. Daniel The Swim Instructor where he could go. I couldn't stop laughing as Mr. Daniel plopped all four crybabies on their "floating carpet" of a raft and tried to get them to kick around the pool. Annie told him off during the whole ride.

This morning Annie told me that Mr. Daniel let her "die" yesterday. I explained to her that Mr. Daniel did not let her die, nor would he. But I did tell her that in a past life, Mr. Daniel must have done something very very bad to have to sit in a pee-pee filled pool day after day and try to teach little ones to swim. Let's all say a rosary in his honor, shall we?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Comfort Food

Matt and I are kind of in a manic mode of hashing things out--- our house goes from Raging Bull, to O Henry's Gift of the Magi in minutes. We decided to take a breather and venture out for date night. We decided to try Max's Wine Dive- a couple of my friends have raved about it, and it sounded like some much needed fun.

Matt indulged in a kobe beef burger, drenched in brie- with hand cut french fries. I had the egg sandwich- with artisan bread, drizzled in truffle oil, with melted gruyere. We split dessert- halvsies on a brownie/bread pudding combination that left us full. We washed the whole thing down with a Napa Merlot that we can't remember the name of, but had some cool label with a dragon or something. I am avoiding the scale for the next couple of days. It was a perfect evening--- good food, even better company. It constantly amazes me that when the shit hits the fan, my husband rallies and always reminds me how lucky I am to have married him. Taking me to a place that serves macaroni and cheese with truffles certainly helped matters. Yes indeedy.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Rest assured folks- Neptune is cold, and Annie takes after her Mommy after all. We are pooped today. We had friends over for a casual dinner last night- and had such a good time, the kids didn't go to bed until 10pm. I've got some serious crankypants on my hands today, and after I finish cleaning up last night's ruckus (I've got Little People hidden all over the house) I'm going to really try and get these little ones down for a nap.

Matt gets home today from his LAST interview- so at last, it is now deliberation time. I will feel so relieved when I finally know where I'm going, and can start figuring things out. In the last few months, I have researched FIVE different places to live-- which is exhausting when you think about it. FIve very different places- with different kinds of houses, schools, etc. No wonder I don't know which planet I'm on.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Houston, We Have A Stupid Mommy

I'm going to apologize for this upfront, and swear on my cheese rinds that this blog is not turning into some morphed, sadistic Christmas letter where I will go on and on and on about how wonderful and smart my kids are- but I have to share this so you can somewhat experience the humbling sense of awkwardness that was my afternoon today.

Annie's class is doing a theme on space. She's very into space- she has space puzzles, she loves Jack Big Music Show's rendition of Space Explorers and for a while, her favorite planet was Saturn. Today, on the drive home, she asked what we were going to do with the rest of our day. I told her the same old same old--- going home for quiet time, then Mommy has to rally and hide our mess because we have friends coming over for dinner. Then, thinking I was a cool preschool Mommy, I ask her if she wants me to turn our Honda Odyssey into a space ship and take off for a planet.

"What do you think Annie? Want Mommy to press this button here (hazard lights) and take us to Neptune? Or maybe Pluto! What do you think?" I ask.

There is silence from the back seat.

Suddenly, she pipes up- using a tone of voice that suggests I should have known bettter.

"Mom- MIss Patty says Neptune is too close to the sun, and that it gets too hot for us to go there, so I don't want to go to Neptune today. And Pluto is no longer a planet."

I am so totally screwed when she starts learning math.