Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Random Musings

Totally disconnected thoughts about stuff that has happened lately.

Went to Annie's dance recital last week. If you remember, she totally hates dance. The only reason she continued to go every week was because 1). I bribed her with a ridiculously cute leotard that has a poofy tutu attatched. 2.) She knows she gets to dance in a recital on a REAL stage! With an audience full of people that CLAP! For HER! She's such a sucker.

Not to get all Mama Rose on your Gypsy ass or anything, but Annie was surprisingly, a pretty good dancer for the five and under set. Despite her placement in the far back corner (for attitude adjustments, she tells me) she did a great job of once again amending the approved dance moves with her own versions of hip shakes and jazz hands.

We finally got tired of listening to Lucy complain every night at bed time and bought her a big girl bed this weekend. (Really, bed times had become tiresome, and mornings, even worse. She would, upon awakening, scream out in her best demonic voice "MOMMY. I want to get up NOW." Seriously unpleasant at any time of the day, but pre-coffee banshee wailings seriously dampen my mornings). We splurged on a "real" mattress, as opposed to the particle board ones they feature in the kids furniture areas- but then we had to cheapen out on our delivery options. Instead of paying $80 to have them come in and set it up, we opted for the $40 and leave-it-at-the-door-while-I-pray-that-my-husband-is-home-to-deal-with-this.

The truck shows up, and the girls cheer as the two burly delivery guys start sweating all over my driveway. They were a little surprised at their greeting- being, after all, delivery guys and not Aerosmith astronauts off to save the world or something, but Lucy and Annie were seriously excited to see this bed come in that door. The guys were either so charmed by my anklebiters, or my peace offering (bribe) of a cold Sprite must have worked- because they carried the whole dang thing and set it up in 10 minutes flat.

We went to a barbecue at a friend's apartment complex yesterday. She works with Matt, and has been over to our house something like 58 times in the last two years. It was very nice of her to have us over to swim in her complex pool, and my kids stored up 58 times worth of annoying behavior to fully convince this woman not to ever have kids. Matt did not feel up to swimming, so he lounged on a lounge chair and had to suffer amongst all of the co-ed, nubile eye candy frolicking about while I sweated, sweated some more and toted two kids around the pool. Annie did pick this particular afternoon to put her head underneath the water and start doing this whole underwater doggie paddle thing. I was so excited, I started screaming, and one of the college guys almost swallowed his cigarette as he put down his Zima and cheered her on.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cheap Tricks

My new obsession is looking at foreclosed homes. I've always been a bargain Betty, so why not shop for a bargain house? Last night I found a listing that originally was going for $1.7 million. They tried to short-sell it, and sadly, the bank eventually wound up taking possession. The bank listed it at $1.3 million, and it sold for last week for just over a million. That's CRAZY. Sure, a couple of kitchen cabinets were off their hinges, and the toilets were probably filled with unseemly things, but still! Crazy.

It makes me sad to see pictures of foreclosed or short-sell homes that feature the kids rooms. These poor families got in way over their heads, and I wonder where they are all moving to? Would the house have bad mojo- like it knew it was a bargain and therefore would burn out all of your lightbulbs and the heat would never turn on right? But sheesh. With bargains like that, I'll flush some pottties and hang some cabinet doors. My husband disagrees- he thinks this is a waste of my time, that I'm living in lala land and he doesn't want to hear about it anymore. So stay tuned, this could get interesting.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pride Cometh Before A Puke

So I'm trying to rally up some girlfriends to go see the new Sex In the City movie next week. I thought it would be fun if we wore cocktail dresses, and then went out for some libations afterwards. My girlfriend invited me to tag along to an already existing SITC event- where they are all wearing their sassiest shoes. This reminded me of a funny story...

Back in college- Matt and I went to different schools. I was at UCLA, he was at Cal. He got a job for the sole purpose of buying me plane tickets so I could come up and visit him. He invited me to a fraternity formal, and realizing I had nothing to wear, I decided to go shopping. I fell in love with this black Karen Kane outfit. It was totally out of my price range. I had no money, and really did not deserve the Bullocks chargecard they so graciously bestowed upon me. I maxed the sucker out with the outfit, and some new shoes- and thinking I was brilliant, I tucked the tag up in the sleeve and fully intended to return it when I got back from San Francisco.

Unfortunately, I did not account for the magical destructive power of Fred's Fondue. It was this nasty fondue joint in Berkeley that we all went to for a pre-party dinner. We gorged on a disgusting Velveeta concoction that could only be made bearable by washing it down with the 1993 equivalent of Trader Joes' Two Buck Chuck. Everybody got disgustingly full, and even drunker. I celebrated by jigging around the table, and showing my class by proudly displaying my price tag and bragging about how tricky I was.

By the time we made it to the formal, I was sitting across a table from a friend who is now a serious chemist at an Ivy League institution. He played rugby, prided himself on ingesting large quantities of pork products, and mistakenly thought his iron stomach would protect him from the ravages of Fred's Fondue.

He was wrong. Really, really wrong. He propped his head in his hands, and proceeded to puke underneath the table. The splashes completely ruined my chances of a retail return, and I was suddenly sober. Stone cold sober, suddenly tragically broke, and clutching the vestiges of a fondue-laced price tag in my hand.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Make New Friends But Ditch the Old

Tonight- I got this email from a new friend of mine. He's a busy guy, but surprisingly, he finds the time to email me pretty regularly. I only sent him $25, but I guess that's enough to make him a pen pal. I want to thank my friend. Thank him for making me feel like all is not lost, that my brother will return home from war and that everyone in this country can go to the doctor for an asthma attack and find out they are not having a heart attack. I want to thank my friend for insisting on flying commercial- so he can have a chance to talk to constituents. I want to thank my friend for making me feel like a John F. Kennedy groupie. I want to thank him for making me second guess whether all politicians are jaded, shady, greedy (Have you seen how much Cheney has profited privately from his investments in Iraq?). For any random person outside the United States that has stumbled across this blog in search of new Colin Firth pictures, I hope my new friend can show you that America is not filled with selfish bullies that specialize in bungling foreign policy. My new friend can be your friend too. I promise.

Kristen --

The polls are closed in Kentucky and votes are being counted in Oregon, and it's clear that tonight we have reached a major milestone on this journey.

We have won an absolute majority of all the delegates chosen by the people in this Democratic primary process.

From the beginning, this journey wasn't about me or the other candidates. It was about a simple choice -- will we continue down the same road with the same leadership that has failed us for so long, or will we take a different path?

Too many of us have been disappointed by politics and politicians more times than you can count. We've seen promises broken and good ideas drowned in a sea of influence, point-scoring, and petty bickering that has consumed Washington.

Yet, in spite of all the doubt and disappointment -- or perhaps because of it -- people have stood for change.

Unfortunately, our opponents in the other party continue to embrace yesterday's policies and they will continue to employ yesterday's tactics -- they will try to change the subject, and they will play on fears and divisions to distract us from what matters to you and your future.

But those tactics will not work in this election.

They won't work because you won't let them.

Not this time. Not this year.

We still have work to do to in the remaining states, where we will compete for every delegate available.

But tonight, I want to thank you for everything you have done to take us this far -- farther than anyone predicted, expected, or even believed possible.

And I want to remind you that you will make all the difference in the epic challenge ahead.

Thank you,

Barack Obama

Monday, May 19, 2008

Happiest Place On Earth

Home again. For five more weeks. Today, our travel day, was completely exhausting. Usually, my kids are awesome travelers. They think changing planes is a treat-- they think baggage claim is fascinating, and lollipops used to buy me an hour or two of in-flight peace.

No more. Today's measly three hour flight exhausted the remnants of what patience I had left. It was a fun week, but an exhausting one. We started the trip with a Disney tour-de-force. Something about the Magic Kingdom brings out my dormant competitive spirit. I HAD to get the family to the park before it opened. We hightailed it to Fantasyland, and I did stop my running long enough to catch Lucy's face as she glimpsed the castle for the first time. It was like looking at Christmas morning. She spent the entire rest of the day asking when she could go inside. I thinks she had visions of birds making her a dress. A pink frilly one.

We went to Dumbo first, because Disney-nerds, statistically, Dumbo is THE ride for the under five set. Because it has a lever where your little one can control how high or low the elephant flies- they think it's the swizzle shit. For some bizarre reason, the planets aligned and there was NO ONE at Disneyland that day. In 30 minutes, we rode Dumbo, Peter Pan, the tea cups, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and the carousel. It was insane. Seriously- if you ever want to avoid glimpsing the obese society that is the country of America- plan to visit Disney on a Wednesday in May. You can eat your churros in peace.

I won't bore you with any more details- like how cool the renovated Space Mountain is, or that you can do this whole "single rider/parent combination" that lets you skip some lines, but I will tell you not to take any two year olds to the 3d movie of "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" because you will want to rename it "Honey, I've Totally Freaked My Kid Out And She Now Needs Therapy."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Trend Setting

Am in California. (Burglars Beware! New burglar alarm is set and working!) Looked at 14 houses yesterday, 13 today. Am struck by people's ability to fold their bathroom towels into unique shapes and marvel at how neat people's closets are. Have seen Pacific ocean. Have eaten at Taco Mesa. Have been on every Disneyland ride imaginable (Dumbo twice!).

In some ways, it feels like I never left California. Then, Matt and I have giggle fits by counting seven white Mercedes outside a Starbucks. One of the biggest blessings about moving to Houston was extricating ourselves from the materialistic lifestyle that pervades Southern California. We've only been here two days, and we have to remind ourselves not to buy back into that again. I'll show em'. Honda mini-vans can be cool too.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

One Fish Two Fish Gay Fish Rude Fish

Matt was on call at the hospital last night, and hurried home this morning to rally us out for a Mothers Day breakfast. We didn't have reservations anywhere fancy, so we tried to hit our favorite breakfast spots. Our first stop was at Empire- a local eatery that makes a fierce omelette and mean bloody marys. It was packed. Filled to the gill with table vultures hovering around the outside patio- waiting to scoop up an empty seat. I didn't have the heart to battle with the vultures, and stood off to the side while I contemplated telling the family to try elsewhere. Standing next to me were two gay guys, feeling indignant that their morning spot had been invaded by suburbia. Listening to them kvetch- it reminded me of a funny story that happened at my cousin Martha's wedding.

Martha was getting married for the second time, but it was her soon-to-be husband's first marriage- so they did it to the umpteenth degree. White dress, formal ceremony, huge reception. It was at Shutters On the Beach in Santa Monica- a very la-di-da hotel frequented by celebrities, and famous for their patio cocktails at sunset. Martha's cocktail hour was on the terrace- overlooking the ocean. The bars were covered in fish nets, with little wooden fish smattered about as decoration. One of the fish was a perfect replica of the Hawaiian state fish- a Humuhumunukunukuapuaa.

Funny tidbit- we used to live in Hawaii, and would visit our east coast relatives. My Grandma used to ask me to say grace, and I would bow my head and tell everyone that this was an ancient Hawaiian prayer, and in my best minister voice would slowly say "Humuhumunukunukuapuaa Amen." When my brother got a salt water aquarium, he got himself a couple of these fish, and we would call them Humus for short. The Humu became the unofficial mascot of my family.

Anywhoo- back at the wedding, I was standing on line at the bar, waiting for a drink. I struck up a conversation with the guy in front of me. He was in his mid-twenties, good looking- and was at the wedding with his parents. He quickly told me how this was his first social event with his parents since he came out of the closet. He looked jubiliant, and slightly relieved. I had just started to congratulate him when my Dad came dancing up. Already a few cocktails to the ocean wind, my red faced Dad suddenly shouts and gestures to the wooden fish on the bar, "Hey Kristen! Did you know they had Humus at the wedding?" I sputtered my drink as the guy in front of me shoots my Dad the dirtiest look and slunks off to the corner. My Dad Rock Lobsters away to the buffet, completely unaware of the inadvertent social gaffe now infecting the wedding as I try and recover and hold up a wooden fish shouting "Humus! Humuhumunukunukuapuaa! Would you look at that!"

It's a good thing Martha's second wedding is still going strong. I don't think we'd be invited back for a third one.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Reflux

So my music experiment is working. My four year old now loves the Beach Boys, and the Go Gos. We were listening to Duran Duran today, and she asked me what the song was called. "Reflux, I mean Reflex," I replied. And then laughed until I almost wet my pants. Because in my head? I saw a geriatric Simon Le Bon, singing about his acid reflux problems.

The 80's were a really long time ago.

In other news, my expectations for tomorrow's mother's day festivities are now at an all time low. My husband, suddenly realizing he has nothing planned says " Please don't blame me! I never get to connect with the real world!" Sigh.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Walking On Sunshine

Today was a great day. The kind of day I want to put in my back pocket and dust off on a day where nothing goes right. It started off with a mother's breakfast at school. I spent 30 minutes hanging out with Lucy, while she tried to hide her proud little grin as I sat next to her at the table and ogled over her eating blueberries. Then I headed upstairs.

Annie's class had a performance slated for 9am, and I didn't want to be late. We did a quick art project (covering pens with clay, and then baking them- very cool) and then the fun began. The kids played a cocoon game, and then sang an "I Love You" song to all of the moms. Then, the real fun started. Annie has talked about her "Vivaldi" dance at school for some time, but to see it in action is the epitome of cuteness. Each kid was assigned a part- there were a couple of adorable, (and patient! The CD player broke mid-performance) seeds that later transform into flowers. There were 2 suns that danced around the seeds, some whistling birds, a fierce rain cloud and lots of ribbons of rain. My little imp- she was a sunshine, and took the part very seriously. She was right on cue, and very intent with her rays of sunshine. Nevermind that she got into a tiff with the other sun, for the most part, she was very sunny. Seriously.

After all of this, the teachers presented us with books they have put together throughout the year. It's got dictations, stories, photographs and questions answered by the kids. It is, without a doubt, the coolest gift I have ever received.

After school, a friend invited us to their swanky swim club for the afternoon. This place was ridiculous- and oh so much fun. We had salads by the pool, and let the kids splash in the baby pool. Then, we enticed them to go down the water slide- which we did again, and again, and again. Suddenly realizing we were going to sit in traffic, we decided to stay for dinner. I took the kids to the ladies locker room, and we thoroughly abused the privileges of all of the free toiletries before making our way to the snack bar. The kids sat on barstools, in front of a glass window overlooking the basketball court. They cheered for each basket, and thoroughly enjoyed their dinner. I sat one table back, eating a crab cake salad and enjoying the company of a girlfriend. I dodged the traffic coming home by circumventing through town, and carried 2 little sleepy (and clean!) kids into bed. This day was a definite keeper.


So in this long quest of finding a job and our new homeland, I discovered an important fact about myself. I really, really, really hate snow. With a passion. I dislike it. I abhor it. To try and communicate my relief that I will not have to wrangle my two little kittens into coats and find lost mittens fills me with such a sense of glee that I could do a jig right now.

There. I'm jigging. In my blue checked pajamas. How did I discover this? Way back when, during our puke-fest week of interviews - we left Tucson and headed to a small New England town outside Boston. They got a foot of snow while we were there. My husband was overjoyed. My four year old could not wait to make a snowman. My two year old looked up at me and started to blubber. Oh yes, this angel of my loins not only inherited my sweetness and mellowness (snicker, snicker) but she also hated the snow. She hated it so much she decided to express her displeasure by puking all over the hotel room.

When I woke up my husband to ask him to find a pharmacy, he looks out the window and says, "Are you crazy? I can't go out in that weather!" After silently conveying that I would no longer consider living in a place where we were afraid to go outside, my husband sighed and braved the elements.

For his patience, and his perseverance, and to reward him for moving me to a warm climate, I, Lollyblogger, solemnly do swear that within the next year and a half, I will learn to ski. And like it. I will do this to honor the man I love- the guy that works 18 hour days and happens to love to frolic in the snow. I will take him to Big Bear, and I will learn to like it. Let's just hope nobody pukes over this. Because I'm still not going to learn how to drive in it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Somewhere in the world, someone got engaged this weekend. Someone found out they were having a baby. Someone drank a cocktail. Someone flirted. Someone got laid. Somewhere in the world, a family ate spaghetti, went to a Pump It Up birthday party and played lots of Disney Bingo. I'll leave it up to you to figure out which weekend I had....