Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Most Boring Blog Post Of All Time

House update forthcoming- so if you don't mindlessly vegetate in front of HGTV from time to time wishing Candice Olson would come to your house and have a party with Nate Berkus- avert your eyes.

The house is consuming me, and moving along at a snail's pace. I've ordered 2 rugs- one for the living room, and one for the dining room. This is a major accomplishment, because while most of our floors are quirky and fun (quartz flagstone)- the previous owners decided to play a nasty joke on me and inset ugly, ugly, ugly tile in the middle of my formal rooms.

Of course, the tile is not of a standard area rug size, so any band aid has to be custom. Of COURSE! 

So I've got me some rugs coming. And..... that's about it. I've picked out a sofa, a coffee table, a chandelier, two chairs, two lamps and some random accessories. But I'm not buying any of it. We had to pay our property taxes this month, and while this is no Harris County (people think Houston is affordable, but it has THE highest property tax rate in the country) it still did some major damage to our savings account. So I'm going to wait a while. And hope I can find some better deals. When the rugs come in, I promise a picture--- for all you Nate Berkus fans.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I'm Going Riding On The Freeway....

This was a funky weekend. On Saturday, we schlepped down to San Diego. During one of my bouts of insomnia, I googled this artist that I love (and yet, can never ever afford to own one of his paintings). Turns out, someone was selling a banner of this guy's art that advertised the reopening of a park in San Francisco eight years ago. 

Long story short- we bought it. The owner lived in San Diego so we went down there to pick it up. The guy's house was in a rough neighborhood, and even though he invited us in, we declined and opted to wait on the front stoop. I did get a peek into his living room- and it was floor to ceiling with crap--- boxes upon boxes of sorted action figures, dolls- and tons of priority mail boxes. This guy supports himself off of Tijuana flea markets and ebay. Scary stuff.

So now I own a six foot tall piece of vinyl with some "art" on it that I have to figure out how to frame. 

On Sunday, my oldest friend from high school invited us to Los Angeles. She runs a theater in Glendale, and comped us great seats to see the Peking Acrobats in action. It was, simply- jaw dropping. My kids kept asking if the people were real, and really? I think one of them was born without joints. The topper was when one guy put four wine bottles on a platform, and then propped up SEVEN chairs on top of the wine bottles and then did a hand stand. We all went out for a steak dinner afterwards. And then sat in traffic at 9pm on a SUNDAY evening, for pete's sakes. I remember now why I loathe Los Angeles.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mum's The Word

I highly recommend renting the film "Keeping Mum" starring Kristin Scott Thomas. Holy frijoles, this black comedy was highly entertaining. Don't want to give anything away, but stay tuned until the very end.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

George Update

I love having a dog. A few months ago, I wasn't so sure, but even though he still snacks on some lame-o things (like couch cushions) the good are definitely starting to outweigh the bad. I think.

The Good: he wiggles whenever I walk in the door. I mean W-I-G-G-L-E-S.
The Bad: he eats his poop.

The Good: he won't let my kids out of his line of sight
The Bad: except for when he drinks out of the toilet

The Good: he looks so cute when he trots around with his stuffed duck in his mouth.
The Bad: sometimes he mistakes my Cole Haan ballet flats for a stuffed duck.

The Good: he loves to sit in a corner and chew on his squeaky ball
The Bad: the squeak in the ball makes him howl like a werewolf looking at a full moon

Monday, January 19, 2009

Shuffle Ball Change

I started blogging over two years ago. No one really knew I was doing it at first, and I reveled in the anonymity. I could vent, tell tales and get snippy and not really have to deal with it in my "real life." Then, word got out. Friends first, and eventually family members. I like that, don't get me wrong. I love that folks give two whits about my comings and goings, and feel honored that anyone, anyone! would waste two seconds to read this drivel.

But it does make for some interesting get togethers when I connect with old friends. Folks I haven't seen in a while, but read this here shiola on a regular basis. Basically, they know everything about me- my dog's bad habits, my husband's penchant for french dips and that I watch crap television. And what do I know about them? Zip. Natta. Zilch. So watch me do an awkward tap dance while I deflect anymore questions and desperately try to even the scales by finding out what their deal-io is. And I'm not that good of a tap dancer.

Christmas in January

I'm getting excited for Tuesday. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Other Half

Yesterday, we went to a playdate with a kid from Annie's class. This family is really down to earth, and Annie and this little girl have become inseparable. Since the weather has been great- I asked the mom if she would like to join us at a public park one day after school. She says, "why don't you guys come over and use our beach?"

Yes, folks. They have a private beach. In a gated community, not far from where we stayed this summer. I had heard about this place, but never really thought I'd be hanging out there. And yet, yesterday afternoon, at 1pm, I drove my dirty Honda Odyssey through the gates, past the hundreds of golf carts (that's what the residents drive, and yes, most of them have baby seats in them!), under a tunnel, and met up with our friends.

The mom had been playing beach volleyball all morning (she does this every Thursday, with 8 or so friends). She's also a regular surfer, and runs triathalons. I'm good at eating cake. And yet, we really hit it off, and loved watching our kids dig in the sand and fill their buckets.

Then, just like out of a Disney movie, the mom says "Oh hey! Look over there!" A little seal swam close to the shore, and popped his head up as if to say hello. Ten minutes later, two pods of dolphins swam by, and we saw 12 of them jumping in and out of the water. 

They left right after that, because the little girl had her tennis lesson. I dragged some blankets out of the back of my van and tried to create a make-shift camp to live in until the security guards found me eating Chex mix out of a frisbee and made me go home. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tell The Whole Truth

I love five. Have I said that recently? Five is a great age. Five gives your kid this earnestness about everything they say. Everything is said with such inflection, with such honesty. I could sit and listen to Annie speak all day. She opens her eyes wide, and uses her "jazz hands" when she's really well, jazzed about something. (sorry, couldn't resist).

Last night, she loved the salad we had for dinner. A simple spinach salad- with hard boiled eggs, red onion, bacon and sunflower seeds. She kept shoving it in her mouth and said, "Mom! This salad is so good I can't stop eating it!" Which is great, because she mostly now eats bananas and any junk food she can get her hands on. We're in a bit of a picky stage.

The other day, an unnamed family member was walking her into a store. The family member made a joke about trying on Lucy's coat and Annie exclaimed, "But you can't! You're fat! Really, really fat!" I about died, and started to apologize, but this person just laughed and said, "well, I am!" So there you go. Five. It's great. Honest.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Crap TV

American Idol- Ryan Seacrest just tried to give a blind guy a high five. Moron! Moron!

The Real Housewives of Orange County- I love this show. I love how these women are so glossy and slick on the outside, but (most of them) do care about their friends and family. Now, the New York version? Those chicks have no souls. They sold them to the devil for a condo on the East side.

The Golden Globes- holy frijoles, Mickey Rourke looks like he should be  A Real Housewife of Orange County. Holy Botox Batman! I watched him thank his dogs for his award, and thought about what a freak he was until I realized I was sitting with George's head in my lap and cooing "Who's the best puppy in the entire world?" Yes Mickey, I would thank my dog too.

We are having weather that shouldn't be allowed in January. Sunny days, in the low 80's- that make you want to inhale pool chlorine and slap on some sunblock. I picked the kids up from school and then hit a local park. Took them home, and watched them ride their bikes in front of our house, for two and a half hours. They barely made it through dinner without their eyes closing. Oh summer, I can hardly wait for you to get here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


My house is overwhelming me.  I haven't bought any furniture yet, and since our new digs are a gazillion times bigger than the mousehole I was living in Houston, it tends to have a cavernous, bowling alley feel to it. Not exactly welcoming. 

Every room has a challenge. The playroom has become a dungeon of discarded toys, all jumbled into baskets and plastic bins. My kids venture into there from time to time, emptying as many boxes and containers as possible, and then leave. The living room has a couple of end tables, 2 overstuffed chairs from a thousand years ago that scream early 1990's fashion nightmare and my armoire. That sounds like an ok amount, but when the room has tall ceilings and is the size of a freight carrier, it looks pretty stupid. 

I haven't hung some mirrors, or some pictures yet- because really, I don't know where to start. Anywhooo- I woke up this morning, a woman determined.  I started sifting through things, and of course, quickly became distracted.

I found a box of letters I grabbed when sorting through my grandmother's things after she died. One of them, dated Feb. 1942, is from her girlfriend Shirley, who was living in Norfolk. She congratulated my grandmother on finally managing to go steady with a guy for longer than 3 months. And marveled at how my grandmother managed to pick up a guy while staying in the hospital recovering from appendicitis. That was my grandfather, folks. Cool stuff.

I decided to put some music on to keep me focused. I found a CD my Dad made for my daughter Annie after she was born. We have been listening to it all morning. Here's what's on it:
Bye Bye Blackbird- The McGuire Sisters
California Dreamin'- The Mamas and the Papas
Little Red Shoes- Loretta Lynn
You Are My Sunshine- Norman Blake
Amazing Grace- Ralph Stanley
Garden Party- Rick Nelson
High Heel Sneakers- Tommy Tucker
Keep On The Sunny Side- The Whites
Honeycomb- Jimmy Rodgers
Brown Eyed Girl- Jimmy Buffet
The Puppy Song- Harry Nillsson
Mr. Sandman- The Four Aces
New Kid In Town- The Eagles
California Girls- the Beach Boys
Swinging On A Star- Bing Crosby
Acc-centuate The Positive- Bing Crosby
AirForce Blue

The last one, is probably to remind Annie that Grandad is a retired Airforce Colonel. Full bird, folks. That means that when I was growing up, my Dad was a bad ass. He's always been a man of few words, but I can remember one time when my Dad took all of us to a major league baseball game. Two guys sitting behind us had obviously had a lot of beer, and were using words that can now be found on NBC network tv, but at the time, were shocking to my eight year old, Laura Ingalls ears. My Dad turned around, told the guys to start acting like gentlemen, or he would set them straight. Both guys shut up. I saw my older brother smirk and I giggled, but we didn't hear from the guys for the rest of the game. 

I'll have to remember to tell Annie that story because she only knows him as a softie that gives her awesome tunes.

Bad Influences

Yesterday, Lucy (now 3) was asking me when she could get a jewel in her tooth. I had no idea what she was talking about until she reminded me that a lady standing in line in front of us for Dumbo had a jewel glued to her front tooth. Suddenly, it all came flashing back to me, and in horror, I realized that Disneyland has now contributed to my 3 year old wanting to go gangsta. 

Friday, January 2, 2009

Mood Killer

2 little angelic anklebiters outfitted in footie pjs, at the kitchen table, furrowing their brows with deep concentration. Paint brushes in hand, they quietly create their Crayola masterpieces. Billie Holiday is playing on the cable radio, and I've got a fresh vanilla latte in hand.

In comes the exterminator from the backyard, clutching the biggest rat (dead) that I've ever seen. They found one more in our attic.

Oh Xanax, where art thou?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

In A New York Minute

When 1987 morphed into 1988, I was a sophomore in high school. I was living on an air force base, smack dab in the middle of the Pacific and loving every minute of it. My older brother and I took advantage of our parents' annual celebration at the Officers Club down the street, and we threw a New Years party- a party that should have been its own John Hughes film. A party our respective spouses HATE hearing about because we constantly go on and on and on about how no party could ever top THIS particular party.

Until now. We've been in Orange County for about six months now. Six months of unpacking, adjusting to new schools, hanging out with family, seeing old friends. Not much time left over to make new ones. A month ago, Matt got an invitation from a woman at work. It seems she has this annual New Years party, and was kind enough to include us. 

I bumped into this person at Matt's Christmas party. She seemed very nice, and interestingly, remarked "Oh yes, if you have anyone you would like to invite to my party- just forward them the invitation. The more the merrier." I remember thinking- "Wow. How casual. How unlike my Type-A style of entertaining where I must know the EXACT number of people coming."

It was a New York New Year's themed party. For us west coasters- it's a dream to kick off the new year at 9:00 pacific time and hop to bed early. We got to the party around 6:45pm, kids in tow. The street was wall to wall cars, and their house had a New York City freeway exit sign plastered on the fence.

We walk in, and someone immediately outfits us with new year's hats and necklaces. The entire dining room has been turned into a smorgasbord of Big Apple delights. One table was named "Lower East Side" and featured deli platters of pastrami, corned beef, pickled tomatoes, coleslaw and rye bread. The next food station was Chinatown and I embarrassed myself by eating way too many wontons and chicken mushu. Little Italy had pasta and sausage and peppers. Grand Central station had its own oyster bar. The living room had 4 screens of karaoke. The garage had a ping pong table, foos ball, 2 babysitters and New York pizza. 

There was an open bar. I ordered a lemon drop martini, and it was so strong I immediately felt my chest growing hair. The hostess walked by and I said "Great bartender!" (meaning, holy shit! This guy knows how to make a drink!) She winks and says, "I know! I know! He's just too cute for words! I hired him from!"

They poured some Moet for everyone at 8:45. After watching them pass around horns and get ready to pull the string on the balloons that were being let go from the ceiling, I realized the following:

1. This party was way better than my sucky party in Hawaii in 1988.
2. There was no way in hell I would ever let 100+ people into my home like this.
3. Mushu is one of the best things in the whole wide world.
4. Southern California people name their kids the craziest names. We met a Skye and a Zephyr(?)

Happy New Year everyone. I gotta go. That mushu gave me some serious heartburn.