Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like...

Holiday season kicked off today.

I made my annual trek to the Houston Nutcracker Market. For those not in the know, the Nutcracker Market is the annual fundraiser for the Houston Ballet. Basically, it's like a tradeshow for girls. With booze. And no kids (ahem! strollers) allowed. Picture every interesting boutique this side of the Mississippi, and they have a booth. Same goes for every kind of tasty food. Home decorating. Jewelry. Nonsensical stuff you didn't even know existed. Station after station of wine bars, wine-a-ritas, bloody marys, mimosas. Tons of Christmas decorations.

We lined up, tickets already in hand, at 10am. Today was the first day the show opened. We had to wait for more than 30 minutes to get inside the building. (It's THAT crazy!) After we got in, my girlfriends and I did a happy jig and loudly wished each other a "Merry Christmas." Then we hightailed it over to a bar and got our shop on. Kids are in school for only so many hours!

If anyone is interested in going to the Nutcracker Market with me next year- you are most welcome! Please just help me find a buyer for my house in California. This rental house is now brimming with Xmas decorations that need more room.

Monday, October 25, 2010

For The Record, We Don't Know Any Pams

My Lucy is turning five. FIVE! She cannot wait, and is eagerly counting down the days (one left-) before the clock turns and she is now one entire hand old. I am furtively trying to figure out how I can get footie pajamas in a size 6- because I cannot fathom not having any anklebiters in footies. No footies equals a freaked out mamma.

My baby grew up a lot this year. She handled the move with grace and aplomb (I love that work- it sounds like a wonky fruit). She quickly slipped back into old friendships, but has also made some new ones. She is now reading. She is now writing. She is now telling jokes and silly stories that regularly keep us all in stitches.

One day, a few months ago- we were in the car. Kids are in the backseat, radio was on low. Lucy starts calling her sister by her family pet nickname- "Anne-Anne."

"Don't call me that, Lucy." Annie says. "I hate that name, and I don't want anyone to know you guys call me that."

Lucy pauses for a moment, and then says, "Ok, Pam."

Happy Birthday, my girl. Your Mommy loves you.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hold Me

I like to tell jokes. This is both a blessing, and a curse. My husband likes to think that I have a sixth sense to inappropriately inject humor into un-funny situations. I don't like to admit this, but he's right.

It happened again this week. My daughter's school hosted a "tea" for parents. At 2:00 in the afternoon, on a Thursday. I put on a dress, took out my greasy ponytail, applied some makeup and tried to act well mannered. The tea took place in an empty 4th grade classroom. The head of the lower school sat in the middle of a horseshoe of tiny chairs- and encouraged the parents to join her in a casual conversation of raising children.

Sounds pretty harmless, right? Sitting next to me was an older mom- probably late 40's. Gorgeous. She was wearing a designer dress, beautiful boots. She had a huge men's sized Rolex on one wrist- a chunky gold bracelet on the other. Apparently, she has a third grade daughter that is growing up way too quickly for her comfort level.

During a conversation of study skills, Men's Rolex Lady continually asked why the third graders got so much homework. "There's no time to smell the grass!" she complained. She then went on to say that she decidedly refused to allow her daughter to participate in any after school activities this year because "this is the last year she'll want to spend time with me and I'm going to enjoy it. "

Alrighty. The conversation then shifted to advice the more seasoned parents could give new parents arriving to the school- and instead of suggesting the fall festival, or Santa's Breakfast, Men's Rolex Lady pipes up and encourages us to "just hold your little ones. Hold them for as long as you can."

That's when Genius me piped up and giggled, "Sounds like someone needs to hold YOU."

Oof. It was like all of the air sucked out of the room and I suddenly morphed into Fozzie Bear looking for the big hook to drag me off stage. Men's Rolex Lady's eyes got hard, and she stared at me for a full five seconds while I squirmed and felt that my little seat was growing smaller by the minute.

Someone quickly changed the subject. I kept my mouth shut for the rest of the affair. Afterwards, I approached Mens Rolex Lady, and apologized- explaining that I was just kidding, and that I hoped I had not hurt her feelings. And in the meantime? I need to brush up on my manners- these Southern ladies mean business.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Shop Till You Drop

Monday. Blurgh. As some of you know, I like to cook big family dinners on Mondays. Today, I was inspired by this recipe mostly because the weather has turned and I can think about baking a biscuit, and also- pickled jalapenos! My love affair continues.

So I'm in the local HEB Market. I go through the arduous task of selecting all my produce- weighing them & printing out the little sticker price tags. I make it about half way through the store, and stop in the cereal aisle. After finding my kids' Raisin Bran Crunch (Mommy's little fiber helper) I look up, and my cart is gone. GONE.

I immediately start to run- 45 minutes has already gone into filling that cart, and I really don't want to start again. I grab my box of cereal and start running the aisles- furtively looking at everyone's cart- and hoping against hope to find one with a pink bag of Baked Lays chips. (October is breast cancer awareness month- did you know?)

In other words, I look like a complete lunatic.

In the frozen foods section, I spot a cart with a pink bag of potato chips. I glance down, and the woman pushing the cart looks at me like I'm going to mug her Batman fruit snacks.

"Ummm.... I think you took my cart by mistake." I say as I notice my chili fixings, pickled jalapenos and HEB Kettle Corn (do not judge).

"OH CRAP!" the woman bellows, and I instinctively take two steps away from her and bump into the case of frozen pizzas.

"Where the hell is MY cart?" she says as she grabs her Batman fruit snacks and glowers at me.

"Cereal aisle?" I gulp and quickly grab the cart and hightail it over to ice cream.

Next Monday I'm ordering pizza.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Curse of the Back To Schoolness.... we all have colds. Correction- I have a cold, the kids have a cold and my husband has a severe case of "someone please find Pampers in a size 36 because I'm the biggest baby that ever lived."

He called me today. I was in the living room, tooling around on my laptop, and the house phone rang. It was him. Calling from my cell phone. From the MASTER BEDROOM. He was calling to make sure I knew how miserable he felt. Because before the call- we had no idea. The incessant whining, dramatic collapses on the couch and three minute sniffle updates did not shed any clues.


I bought my husband a suit for his birthday. At a very fine establishment- known for their refined good taste. He needed the pants tailored, and after picking them up and trying them on at home- there's a big problem.

The pants are not pants. They are pantaloons. They bunch up around his hips, and make him look much more at home on a pirate's ship than in an office. It is seriously ridiculous.

We took the pants back today, and after trying on his pantaloons for the assistant manager, she still didn't see a problem.

"I just don't understand the problem here." she said, shaking her head.

"There wouldn't be a problem if he was Napoleon," I replied. "Or if you had an argyle eye patch to match his socks."

They took the pantaloons back.


In other news, my 4 year old played her first soccer game yesterday. Aside from my husband morphing into Gypsy Rose Lee's mother for a short time period, the whole event was as expected. They lost. A gazillion to three. The kids on the opposite team were already shaving, and stood a good 3 feet over our 4 year olds. Their star player had a good soccer name- Fernando, and he would celebrate each goal (and there were many) with a jubiliant cartwheel. (Who teaches their kid to do that?)

My heart stopped in my throat (or maybe it was the cold?) when my little one suddenly stepped up to play goalie. 20 minutes before the game, she didn't really understand the concept of soccer, and now she was responsible for warding off Fernando's blows? I suddenly hoped Fernando was up for some serious cartwheeling. She held her own, but we quickly realized we had to put the camera down. If she even caught a glimpse of a lens that "might" be focused on her- her concentration dropped and she would instinctively start posing.


I got my hair cut yesterday. I tried this stylist when I first moved here, and I really liked her, so I thought I'd give it another shot. She's Parisian, and left France to try life in the United States and absolutely adores Texas. She's a lot of fun to chat with- but the people she works with are craaaaazy. Uncomfortably so.

Yesterday, I'm sitting in her chair, covered in a black tarp with a head of wet hair when a woman approaches us. She's well into her seventies, with a head of bright orange hair. Her figure is cute, but she's wearing a cropped polo (they should really be outlawed) and a sliver of her belly is visible (which grosses me out on Britney Spears- but on a seventy+ year old carrot top? Heinous). She gives my stylist a kiss, apologizes to me for interrupting, and then says, "Oh child. I hurt my neck last night. After dinner, Ralph and I were just playing around on my bed, and I don't know what happened, but I snapped my neck and couldn't move for a few moments. Ralph thought I died."

I honestly didn't know where to look. I wound up hiding an uncomfortable case of giggles behind my iphone. Awkward. This weekend was chock full of awkward, awkward moments.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Back to the Grind

In the hustle and bustle of the move, my scale never received its much needed new battery.
In the hustle and bustle of the move, yours truly ate her way out of stress and anxiety.

I got the new battery. And after weighing myself, I almost had a heart attack.
Not that bad, (I do tend to dramatize) but five pounds is a lot when you're already lightyears from a bikini.

So when the kids started school, I started to exercise again. I dragged my lab around the perimeter of Rice University- (3.2 miles). I started taking the whole-damn-fam to Family Yoga at our local YMCA. And this week?

I tried ZUMBA.

Holy schniekies, people. When I first started reading about Zumba- I read that you burn a kajillion calories in one hour. Picturing myself surrounded by Latina hardbodies in sports bras and teeny tiny shorts, I sucked up my pride, put on my capri yoga pants and free Orbit gum t-shirt (pilfered from my little bro) and convinced a girlfriend to hide with me in the back of the class.

The average age of my Zumba class? 65. I was cha-cha dancing with the Golden Girls. I think I burned more calories belly laughing my way through the ridiculousness of watching grey haired grannies in their polyester elastic stretch pants shake their boot-tays in a circle. At one point, I looked back to check on my girlfriend. My girlfriend who runs marathons, and does triathalons, and trains for 3 hours a day- she had an absolute look of disgust and amusement on her face as she was completing her jazz box and shaking her moneymaker. (Side note: the music is also hilarious. Picture Ricky Martin on steroids and each song has Uber Ricky loudly whispering "Zoooooommmmmba.")

So yeah, I'm going back this afternoon. And maybe I'll start watching "Murder She Wrote" reruns with my new friends.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mercury In Retrograde

School is back in session.

Although we were all excited for the new year to begin, I must confess that my heart aches on each first day of school. It takes me a few weeks to get used to having them around during summer vacation, and then I get weepy and melancholy when I send them back to school. The irony of motherhood.

My oldest has started first grade. Her new school starts at o'dark thirty, so my late nights of bad tv watching are a thing of the distant past. I'm not used to getting up early. I've never been much of a morning person, which is a nice way of saying that I'm a raving lunatic anytime before 10am. As part of the back-to-school shopping, my oldest daughter got her first "grown up" haircut. The long hair we have lovingly grown out for the last 6 years was so damaged from the pool, we cut it into a chin length bob. The loss of hair instantly aged her- my husband and I were amazed at how much it matured her (she still has trouble putting on her socks, but whatever). It seems that overnight, she lost all vestiges of little kid-ness, and her gangly legs with mosquito-bit ridden knees are knobby and lean. She looks like a year old puppy with big paws.

We've been early to school each day this week (a remarkable feat for me)- mostly because I am so intimidated by the hustle and bustle of the school parking lot that I insist we park around the corner at the dry cleaners and walk. The kids think the "secret path" is great- which I think will change when we get hit with a typical tropical storm.

Houston has changed so much since we left here a few years ago. The population has exploded. Rumor has it that Houston will usurp Chicago and become the nation's 3rd largest city. All I know is that I had to beg my pediatrician to take us back because their ENTIRE practice is no longer accepting new patients. Nor is their dentist. The Costco parking lot is jammed, real estate is ridiculous and we went out for pizza last night and the line was out the door. On a Thursday. At 6:30pm.

The other day, someone on twitter was talking about mercury being in retrograde. Basically, this happens 3 xs a year, and it signals a time of transition, and significant change. This made me laugh, because mercury is definitely in retrograde around here, and has been for the last few months. Here's to hoping it settles down soon.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jersey Girl

I was born in New Jersey.

I do not have a pouf.

I do have fond memories of summers spent at the shore.

I do not wear leopard. I did not marry a nice, juicy Guido and I don't fist pump or GTL. (Gym, Tan, Laundry).

I do, however, love watching "The Jersey Shore."

Have you seen it? Despite their newfound fame- the characters are as crass, genuine and idiotic as last season. The editing is brilliant. The dialogue is better than anything Hollywood could come up with. Most importantly, my husband and I roll on the floor everytime we watch it.

I am so going as Snooki for Halloween. (So yes, I will have a pouf).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Real Moron Game

The other day, the plug to my laptop stopped working. I made an appointment at the local apple Genius bar, and the very next morning- I picked up my brand new plug. I went merrily about my business.

That afternoon, my 4 year old dropped my iphone in the toilet. I'm not sure how it happened- only that she was excited to reach a new level on the "Moron Game" (don't get me started) and apparently couldn't temper her enthusiasm without some accompaniment on a potty break.

The phone wouldn't turn on. I googled every possible remedy. I chose to not bake the phone at a low temperature (it freaked me out), but I did blowdry the heck out of it, and placed it in a ziploc bag of rice. I spent two days blowdrying- bagging with rice. Finally, I turned it on.

It worked. Sort of. Everything seemed to be ok, except for the home button. I limped along, until 1 day later, the whole thing quit. Kapoot.

I went BACK to the Genius Bar. (By now, I"m starting to recognize them). I tell them what happened. They open it up, and it's flooded. I'm not eligible for an upgrade, but my husband is. So my Genius quietly suggests that I return at 11:20 the next morning- the same time they typically get their morning shipment of the handful of new 4G phones that sell out in half an hour.

So there I was, BACK at the apple store- this very morning. Dragged my little Moron Game expert and her sister to the local mall. Checked myself in for my appointment, and politely inquired if they had unpacked their morning shipment.

The Genius bar scheduler looks at me with disdain- and says, "We don't have any 4gs. I cannot tell you when we will get more." She then suggests I speak with a salesperson. I find the closest looking Vulcan in a blue apple shirt and ask him the same question.

He says he will go in the back and check. But as he leaves... I notice that he sighs--not a sigh of compassion, more akin to a sigh of annoyance. I don't even think he went to the backroom- he probably stayed on the other side of the door and waited until it felt like a long enough time before coming out and telling me they didn't have any phones.

Finally, it came time for my appointment. ANOTHER Genius in a blue shirt approaches me. I tell him the whole potty-sob-story. I say that I'm here to use my husband's upgrade for a 4G. I tell him that 2 people have already told me there are no phones. Before I can finish, he says he will go to the back to check.

He's gone for a while.

I start to feel hopeful.

My blue shirt (Genius?) returns. He's holding an iphone box under a piece of paper, close to his chest. He quietly approaches me, and tells me he found a box of phones in the back that had not been unpacked. He motions for me to follow him to the front of the store.

I don't understand why he's being so secretive. They have a product to sell, I'm willing to part with some cash- so sell it to me, right? Suddenly, I notice a gaggle of people have spotted the box. They start following us to the front of the store. (I know I can exaggerate on occasion, but I pinkie swear that I am not making this up).

My Genius takes out a black rope- similar to what they use at Disneyland or the movie theater to control lines, and puts it behind me. He holds the phone and says to the nearby OTHER Genius who will be completing the transaction:

"Congratulations! Here is your first iphone sale of the day!"

The other Genius claps her hands and yells "Oh Goodie!"

The crowd on the other side of the black rope starts murmuring with excitement. They start jostling to get a better position in the line that has now formed, directly behind me.

They activate the phone. They take my money. They act like they have done me a HUGE favor- this honor of allowing me to pay cash for a product.

Who's the real Moron now?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

First Graders Do Not Prefer Plaid

I'm not sure if it's the heat, or my rapidly advancing age- but this unpacking business is kicking my patootie. I start every day with grand illusions of what will get done- and by 6pm, I'm left scratching my head and wondering "is that it? Is that all I will get to today?"


I do have most of the boxes unpacked. I still can't find our red toolbox with all of our tools, or 12 of the botanical prints I so lovingly framed for the living room. Or 2 more pictures for the family room. My husband is sure we will uncover them, but I have my doubts.

We are really enjoying the pool- especially the dog. If you leave him outside for longer than 3 minutes, he comes to the door and cries. Not whimpers- full on pooch-sobbing sounds that say "I am a black lab! Let me in! It's 105 and my paws are melting!"

He's a wimp.

I spent a small fortune on uniforms for my first grader today. I was not aware that the required plaid jumpers are lined in 14 karat gold. I did stifle a laugh when I saw my daughter's face in the fitting room. "THIS?" she exclaimed. "This is what I have to wear? Every day? Are you KIDDING me?"

I told her to call her grandmother and commiserate. Her lifetime spent in Catholic school uniforms manifested itself into a serious Eileen Fisher addiction later in life. I told my daughter that one day, her closet would benefit from a short lifetime of uniform torture. She glanced at me, and I was able to marvel that even in all of her red/navy plaid cuteness, her eye rolls were still annoying.

I am not cooking. I am not regularly applying makeup, or doing much with my hair. My house looks better than I do, and that's really not saying much. I'm hoping that I will unpack my mojo soon, and start to feel more like myself. Or maybe, just like my botanical prints and toolbox, the mojo is something I will have to claim on the insurance form.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Talking Trash

The fingernails are gone, but the feeling that I'm camping still lingers.
It is the rainiest summer Houston has seen since the early 1900s. Which is basically the long way of saying that it rains EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
But I'm always one for counting their blessings, and so I shall.

Thank you God. Thank you for creating gymnastics camp. This provides me a brief respite from the continual squabbles and bickering that plague my everyday existence.

Thank you for Texas neighbors. In our short time here, someone has already baked us a cake. Our next door neighbors could not be friendlier. (almost too friendly, but that's a story for another time).

Thank you for Big Trash Day. Oh yes- I've missed this one. Once a month, you can put ANYTHING- really anything, out to the curb, and the trash folks take it away. (Unless people driving by don't scavenge it first). This Monday, my curb will look like Sarah Cynthia Syliva Stout finally did take her garbage out.

Thank you for Central Market. For those not in the know, Central Market is like a merging of Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Bristol Farms- but only better. It says something when the entire damn family wants to go grocery shopping. Yesterday, my kids sampled imported salami shaped like a flower, something called Cowboy Cookies and freshly squeezed orange juice. Walking into the doors of Central Market was like saying hello to an old friend- an old friend that likes to make me fat.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Temporary Fix

I wanted to take a picture of my current situation, but I can't find the camera.
It's somewhere here- somewhere behind the 300 boxes (not an exaggeration) littering our small rental house.

We are renting a house in Texas, until our house in California sells. Actually, we decided to rent even when we thought we had sold our house, but that's neither here nor there. It will give us time to get our bearings- relearn the neighborhoods, get a lay of the land, so to speak.

Except the lay of the land is dirty. Renting a house is dirty business. Yesterday, I cleaned someone else's fingernails out of a drawer. SOMEONE THAT IS NOT RELATED TO ME. I think I will have nightmares about this for the rest of my life.

In other news, our stuff arrived on the day they said it would. I have been married 14 years, and out of those 14, I've moved 7 times. That's an average of one move every two years. This is the first time my stuff has arrived on time.

The moving truck showed up two days ago- at 8am. It was a balmy 76 degrees- with a big Texas blue sky, littered with fluffy, white clouds. Off in the distance, you could see a few grey clouds- but really nothing to speak of. I thought to myself, "Hey! This isn't so bad! Where's the humidity?"

They started to bring the stuff in. It's fun seeing your stuff come off the truck. You exclaim as you recognize each piece- it's almost like Christmas morning-but instead of wrapping paper, your stuff is entrenched in awkward blue moving blankets. I had a great crew- one guy used to play the drums for the Temptations. Another guy, named DJ, could lift a mattress like it was piece of paper.

After lunch, we started to lose our steam. By "we", I mean the crew- because yours truly was parked in a lawn chair- ticking off box numbers as they paraded by. The air started to get thicker, the grey clouds began to outnumber the white ones. I suddenly got nervous. It was going to rain- pour, judging by the looks of things. My kitchen and bedroom had boxes stacked to the ceiling. My house began to look more like a storage facility, and I could only imagine the work ahead of me.

I don't mind moving, I really don't. I mean, I don't "enjoy" it- but I do get a high out of the organizing that takes place as you prepare. The sorting of the junk drawers- the cleaning of the closets. It's the same with laundry. I don't mind doing laundry. I love emptying the hamper- throwing them in, starting a load. But I absolutely detest putting laundry away. Almost as much as I hate unpacking a box. Any box. And now, I've got 300 of them, staring me down.

So, forgive the lack of pictures. Once I find the camera, I'm hopeful the amount of boxes will be less than a hundred, and that our current digs will resemble more of a cozy, temporary place to rest our heads- instead of one of those pods people use to store their stuff. Because right now, it's Chez Storage Facility.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Scenes From A Move

My house was packed.
The truck was loaded.
Everything was fine, until I realize that the 2 cases of wine that I lovingly, painstakingly collected had mistakenly been loaded on the truck. The truck that is driving through the country's hottest inferno.

I've now got 2 cases of vinegar that will make excellent salad dressing.


We're at the furniture store, trying out different mattresses.
We didn't ship our old set- it is 12 years old and harder than a plywood shelf.
We've never tried a tempurpedic before. The saleswoman keeps talking about how great the "memory" foam is.
My husband pipes up: "Just my luck- it's memory will be so great it will say 'Hello fatty. I remember you. You gained some weight.''

I've got 12 packs of gum in my purse- hopeful distractions during the long roadtrip ahead. Today, I gave my 4 year old a piece, and she chews it for a moment and then immediately hands it back. "Gum is too chewy, Mom." she says. Alrighty. Must find new distraction.

I am currently crashing at my mother-in-law's house. She's got the volume of the television on the highest possible setting, and keeps a running commentary of her favorite shows. (America's Got Talent & So You Think You Can Dance). Please- if you don't hear from me soon, it's because my head exploded and I shuffled off to Buffalo to the nearest loony bin.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Weather Girl

Every summer, we go to Laguna Beach. We ride the trolley, we hit the beach- we go to the art festivals. With one week until we pull up the wheels and take off, we decided to go to the Sawdust Festival.

My kids love the Sawdust. They really enjoy the pottery station- where you pay $15, and a college student helps your kid throw some clay on the wheel, and make a vase. Yesterday, after waiting an hour and a half, my 4 year old got to make a bowl, and have her picture taken for the local paper.

All in all, a great day. Until we headed home. Suddenly, and without warning, I got a migraine. I'm relatively new to the migraine club. My doctor recently gifted me six tablets to try out at the onset of a headache, and of course, yours truly wasn't carrying any. I couldn't figure out the trigger. I hadn't eaten chocolate- no red wine. My sleep was "ok". No excessive amount (or lack thereof) of caffeine. Stress, ok- but that's become de rigueur given the last couple of months.

The pain started in the back of my head, and slowly made its way over my right eye. It sat there, throbbing- while my husband anxiously made his way through summer traffic. I clutched the car's miniscule trash container- just in case I decided to heave up my Sawdust lunch.

This morning, with the ghost of a headache still rattling around my battered skull, I opened my eyes to rain. RAIN. In Southern California. In July. There's the trigger. God only knows what's going to happen when I hang my hat in hurricane alley.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bad Medicine

My husband's last day at work in California is this Friday. For the past 2 weeks, his patients have been spoiling him with gifts. Gift certificates for fancy dinners at the beach. Steakhouse gift certificates. Heart-felt cards, a few tears.

Tonight, when he came home, he popped his trunk and unloaded a huge, gold box.

4lbs of Sees candy.

You could hear the squeals of delight down the block. And this was only me- I haven't shown it to the kids yet.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Good Times

I'm here. I just didn't want to write.

Our house in California, on day 40 of a 45 day escrow, fell through. The buyer "felt like he couldn't focus" so he cancelled. Um, thanks? Thanks for pulling our house off the market a week and half after we listed it. Thanks for wasting our time. Thanks for the two wasted trips to Houston, spent trying to buy a house. Thanks for the stress. The arguments. The sleepless nights. And lastly, thanks for your deposit. We'll enjoy that.

In other news, we are somehow incapable of renting a house in Texas. Not to sound like Goldilocks, but they are either too small, too expensive, too strict (we do have a dog), or in too sketchy an area.

We've had other stuff too, that I can't or won't write about. Other incidents that left me shaking me head in embarrassment and disbelief. I'm not good at asking for help. I don't like to. And after recent events, I'm reminded why. Good times, folks. Good, good times.

But looking at the bright side- because there always is one, and that's what I'm going to do..... we are excited about Texas. It will be GREAT to have my husband excited about work. We are thrilled to see our friends again. My kids are going to great schools.

But we've just pushed the move another ten days so we can find somewhere to hang our hat.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A House Is Not A Home

Last week, I flew to Texas for 48 hours to try and find a house. I felt like my own reality tv show. The pressure was ridiculous.

I've bought 2 houses in my life. Both very different. Atypical. Not your run of the mill tract house. I loved them both. My current house in California was built in 1964. Originally, it was supposed to be the first house of a nudist colony, but instead- real estate developers from Palm Springs took it over and imported tile from the Old Desert Inn in Palm Springs to outfit my roof. It's kooky. Unique. Different.

Our move to Texas is an investment in our future. I get this. But trying to buy a house there may just put me in the loony bin.

California is still in a depressed market. Apparently, Houston is not. One house we were considering, was on the market for one day. 24 hours. Before we could even get an appointment in to see it, they had 4 offers above the asking price.

There was another house my agent emailed to me before the trip. It looked lovely. It had all the right working parts, was in a pretty good area- right school district. I finally got inside, and got that feeling- that "Hey! I could see us living here!" My husband went outside to walk up and down the street, and I went upstairs to call the kids. While I was on the phone, someone faxed an offer and it was accepted.

We did find a house. It also had all of the right parts, but I didn't love it. We put a bid in. They countered. We countered. They kept pushing the closing date. Pushing on the price. Yesterday, we pulled our offer.

I give up. I'm going to rent. And find out where the nudists live, because I really like their way with houses.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Toddler Logic

Tonight, my four year old touched the necklace around her neck and said-

"Mommy? I love this necklace. Every time I wear it, it reminds me of the person who gave it to me."

"Who gave it to you, sweetheart?" I ask her.

She thinks for a minute and says, "Ummm... I don't remember."

Monday, May 24, 2010


I'm starting to wonder if I was born with a magnetic ability to attract stress and chaos.

Tragically, I currently have a family member that is critically ill. This is heart wrenching, and difficult, and upsetting to everyone- including my kids. It's hard to explain death to your child. I'm trying my best to be honest, but respect the innocence of their childhood.

We are moving. Which by itself, can be stressful. We do not have a house picked out in Texas, and we're still trying to decide whether to buy or rent.

We are maneuvering through a difficult real estate market in California- and not to poke fun, but it's a bit wild, wild, west.

I'm trying to get my kid in a private school that requires a bit of hoop jumping, magic tricks and professional head shots. (thank God I know a GREAT photographer).

I'm having trouble sleeping. My dog is acting up. My kids are a bit on the sensitive side. I'm craving a normal, ho hum day where we can all relax, make a mess and not worry about strangers coming in. No boxes to unpack. No repairmen all over the house.

We'll get there. But you'll probably have to listen to me whine a bit more before it happens.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Open Wide

These past two weeks have been a flurry of "getting stuff done." Pediatrician appointments. Termite inspections. Plumbers. Roofers. Bleh. Before we hightail it out of Cali, I thought it would be a good idea to sneak in another visit to our dentist.

My dentist is a unique guy. Quite frankly, until this encounter, I thought he played for the other team. He has always been friendly. But recently? More so. Uncomfortably so. With his hands in my mouth, he commented on my skin. I gurgled and mumbled thank you. Then he asked me if I knew what my first name meant. (It's hard to carry on a conversation while someone is scraping tartar, but I tried my best). He said he thought it meant (and I'm not making this up) angel. I started giggling (which caused me to drool on myself) and said, "Um, I don't think so." He insisted that "for you, it must mean angel." ????

Today, I was back in the office, taking my kids to get their teeth checked. (different dentist). He saw me in the hallway. He walked by me. Turned around .Took off his glasses, looked me up and down and said "How are you today, angel?" For the record, I'm a 37 year old Mom in yoga pants. With a bit of a tarnished halo. And I don't think I'll let this guy use anesthetic anytime soon.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Deep In The Heart

Whew. I can finally let this out.

So here's the deal: we're moving back to Texas.

I know! I know! We just got here, just got settled. But you should know by now that I have a unique ability to magnetically attract chaos, discord and emotional upheaval into my life.

A week AFTER we moved into our house in California, almost two years ago, the phone rang. It was my husband's old job in Texas, telling him that a position was opening up, and would he be interested? After getting some smelling salts, and remembering how much I love my friends in Houston, I told him to go for it.

Two years later- after endless phone calls, funding getting put on hold, it is finally official. We put our house on the market two weeks ago, flew out to Texas to look at schools and neighborhoods- it's really happening!

We are, of course, so sad to be moving (yet again) far from our family. Our kids will miss their schools and friends. But all of us are excited to see the friends we have left. We love Texas. Sure, it's humid. It's got tree roaches bigger than Thanksgiving turkeys. But it also has a blue sky like no other, the friendliest people on earth and something called queso that I could take a bath in.

So that's it. Secret's out. I apologize for not being around lately, but it's a bit hard for me to keep stuff in. Until my husband made it official at work, yours truly couldn't blab (unless you count twitter, which I really don't). Lots more to follow.

Monday, April 26, 2010

We Interrupt This Blog For Some Stupid Stories

I am alive. Lots of stuff happening, none of which I can post about. I'm hoping that by the end of the week I can come clean and tell everyone what's been going on. It kills me to be this quiet!

So, in lieu of anything meaty- I will tell you the random stuff that otherwise occupies my time.

I asked Lucy if she would like a tuna fish sandwich for lunch yesterday.
She replied, "No thanks Mommy. Tunafish tastes like it is made out of real fish."

Earlier today, I was talking to my husband on the phone. He was a bit snippy last night, and since I have the memory of an elephant, I was still a bit miffed.
"Are you ready to tell me you're sorry?" I asked, a bit indignantly.
"I'm sorry." he says, very sincerely.
I pause.
"Do you know what you're apologizing for?" I ask.
He pauses.
"Not really." he replies.
We laughed. After 14 years of marriage, most of our fights end like this.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Worth 1000 Words

This picture is from the egg hunt on Sunday.

The youngest anklebiter? Loves pink. Loves to have her picture taken.

The oldest anklebiter? (Seen running in the background). Would sell her mother to win a contest. Hates to have her picture taken.

My girls. As different as different can be.

American Girls

When I was four, my preschool's dress up box consisted of one pink negligee that someone generously donated. We fought over the flimsy nightgown EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. It would drive the teachers crazy. We'd pull, push, taunt and tease to get our hands on that nightgown. Because in our minds? That nightgown, when properly tied around one's head, became a princess veil.

Today, I broke down and took the girls to the American Girl Store in Los Angeles. Since we didn't leave town over spring break, I've booked a daily adventure for each day we're out of school. Recently, they have become enamored with all of the American Girl movies, books, etc- so I thought we'd finally go see the mecca of all dolls.

Wow. No nightgowns tied around heads here. During the lunch, I think my girls were embarrassed at how excited I was. They have the cutest little chairs so your doll can sit next to you, and the waitress makes a big deal out of serving each doll her own pretend drink in a miniature teacup. (And as she does this, you know she is dying a little bit on the inside, and hoping for her shift to end so she can make a very real G&T in a large glass).

My favorite part of the lunch was a little black and white polka dotted box on the table. It was filled with little question cards, and we took turns picking one and asking each other the questions. "What is your best summer memory? (My oldest said it was the day we spent at Main Beach in Laguna and then went for ice cream. The four year old said she just loves the flowers that come out in summer). What would be your dream job? (one wants to own a furniture store (?) , the other wants to be a pilot).

Afterwards, we toured the historical dolls. My girls asked questions about WWII, about Native Americans, slavery and the state of New Mexico. The oldest anklebiter is currently learning about money in kindergarten, and it was a bit funny to her her gasp at how expensive Kit's Tree House was. I am fortunate to know someone that graciously shared their employee discount with me, so today's visit did not hurt their college fund as much as I anticipated. But if we need new clothes? I've got a few old nightgowns we can turn into headwear.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Easter. Once again, the holidays come and go, and I become so mesmerized by their presence, that by the end of the festivities, I cannot look at another egg. Or a bunny. Or a basket. Or I will vomit.

Seriously. I get SO excited for a holiday- any holiday (arbor day, anyone!) and completely overdo things, that by the time they are over, I'm more than ecstatic to have them go away for another 364 days.

And this Easter was no exception. We hightailed it to the grandparents, to hook up with the rest of my family, to commence the annual dying of Easter eggs on Saturday. My Dad was put in charge of the egg dying- and while we practiced egg hunts in the front yard, he set up the vinegar bowls and wax crayons and empty egg containers in the backyard. (Side note: my sister-in-law is the Master Egg Hider, and she taught me some awesome hiding tips. She always hides two eggs in almost the same exact hiding spot. The kid gets so excited to find the one egg, they walk right by the second. Genius, I tell you).

Except, Grandad got a little overzealous with the egg dying. By the time we discovered him, he had dyed half of the eggs by himself, and each kid only had 2 a piece to make their mark on. (What, you think I came by this holiday fanaticism by my environment? Oh no, pure genetics, baby).

We celebrated my Mom's birthday that night- and every year we try and find her the perfect gift. And every year, she gets angry that we spent any money at all. Next year, I'm going to schedule a blood mobile to show up while my Dad is dying all of the Easter eggs. We'll all make a donation in her honor. She will still complain that we should have saved our blood to give to our children.

The next day, the Bunny made an appearance (he had to take a trip to Vons at 11pm the night before to bulk up the Easter candy stash) and we made it to my parents' club for brunch. I indulged in one bloody mary too many, and a few hours later, found myself being driven home by my Dad, while I rode in the 3rd row of my minivan. I told him that it felt just like old times, and that I hoped I wasn't grounded when I got home.

After a quick nap on their super comfy couch, I awoke to a swaying, and rocking sensation. At first, I thought the dogs had gotten inside and were playing coyote- until I heard my Dad softly mutter, "Is that an earthquake?"

It was. We were feeling the rumblings of a 7.2 quake on an previously undiscovered fault in Mexicali. An interesting end to an otherwise unforgettable day.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Random, Useless Update

1. I am sick. A horrible cold has infested my body and turned me into a snivelly, snotty cranky pants. Luckily, Netflix delivered my copy of "New Moon" and I'll have some Mrs. Robinson's Cougar oogling to do over Edward to make me feel better.

2. The much talked about talent show is this Saturday. You can bet your bottom dollar I'll be there with my camera, and will give you guys a full report. Someone recently, anonymously, commented "Stop The Insanity!": and I hear you sister. (or brother, since I'm not sure which gender of anonymous you are). I promise to give all the salacious details as it unfolds.

3. Is anyone watching the show "Parenthood?" If not, please fix this as soon as possible. It somehow captures the melancholy looniness of family life in a way that doesn't dumb things down for the audience. And on the flip side? American Idol has completely jumped the shark. I never thought I'd miss Paula Abdul so much.

4. Has anyone tried Pop Chips? I'm on a hunt for them- and hope they satisfy that 3:00pm gnaw off my arm hunger that is inhibiting my weight loss progress. Pop Chips, I will find you.

5. My kids are now completely obsessed with American Girl. I bought the DVD set of movies at Costco, and suddenly found myself explaining black out raids, circa WWII, and child labor laws. Thanks American Girl, for making me parent a little harder.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Out Of Luck

Today was one of those days. One of those days you don't want to remember when you're gumming jello in the assisted living center. My oldest anklebiter's elementary school is getting out early all week- for parent teacher conferences. So when I showed up for pickup, there was a ton of parents that aren't normally there at that hour. The street was clogged, cars were lining up one after another.

My minivan had been parked against the curb for fifteen minutes. 1-5. As I toted my kids back to the car, there was a woman standing in front of it, looking sheepish.

"Is this your car?" she asked, nervously.

I nodded my head and noticed my left bumper was hanging on by a thread.

She quickly explained that she had run into my car, and was in the process of writing me a note. As I listened to her explain, I found myself consoling her. Patting her on the arm, assuring her that no one was hurt, it could have been worse, yadda yadda yadda. She told me how her husband was going to kill her, how she had never hit anyone before how, OMG! I can't believe this has happened!

I took her info, got the kids in the car, and tried to make my way out of the parking spot. Except the woman that had hit me penned me in. And she was so flustered, she had to leave her car running and jump out to tell the car in front of her the whole damn story. Which left me boxed in. For ten minutes. Ten, very long minutes.

When I got home, I opened the garage door and discovered we have another dead varmint rotting away in our walls.

Yeah, I really don't want to remember this day.


During the dinner party on Saturday, one of the kids inadvertently lost the remote for our family room television. You cannot operate the television without the remote. I feel like I'm starring in my own "LIttle House On The Prairie" but honestly? It's been kind of nice. The kids are playing more board games. We're all reading more books. Talking to each other.

But suddenly I think about all of the shows recorded on the DVR and I start to shake. I've furtively thrown every couch cushion every which way. Looked in every nook and cranny. Natta. Zip. So if anyone watches "The Real Housewives of NYC" and something juicy happens? Please take pity on me.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Broke

I'm whipped. Plum tuckered out.

Some of the country celebrated spring break this week, and even though it was supposed to be work/school, business as usual- we've had quite the time. Last weekend, my family got together to celebrate my older brother turning 40. 40! We rushed home from his shindig in time to greet an old friend that was visiting us for a few days from New York.

Ironically, it was 85 and hot when she arrived, and her family at home was in the midst of a terrible storm and left without power. The orange blossoms are in full bloom over here, and we had one teeny, tiny earthquake- so she got the full California experience. (We also decided to hit Disneyland at 7:30pm on Tuesday night- and between 8pm and midnight, we went on 8 rides: Small World, Pirates, Nemo, Star Tours, Tiki Room, Indiana Jones, Peter Pan & Mr. Toad).

After my houseguest left, we went to a Pirate dinner theater with the grandparents and visiting cousins. It was fun, and I tweeted the entire experience, but if you think the dinner fare at a pirate theater is going to be halfway decent? Think again.

The next day, after school- we hightailed it back to Disneyland. It was a lot more crowded than it was late Tuesday night- but we had a great time hanging out at California Adventure and talked all the little kids into getting on "Soaring" (one of my favorite rides).

Today? We hosted a dinner party for the family that graciously lent us ski stuff for our vacation.

Tomorrow? I'm not getting out of my pajamas. For anyone.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wake Up Call

Today is a sick day. Sick as in, my four year old was up most of last night puking her brains out, and sick because what I had to live through was way beyond what anyone told me was in the Mom Job Description. We've been lucky. My kids haven't been sick much this year. Just when I realized this, the Gods of Bacteria smiled upon me and thrust the plague of ear infections on my brood once again.

Then last night, at 3am, Lucy cried out the dreaded words no mother wants to hear. "Moooommmm? My tummy doesn't feel too goo....."

She didn't get to finish her sentence.

My dog is not allowed to lick anyone today.

I am forever thankful I bought a Hoover carpet cleaner.

The rest of the night spiraled downhill. Lucy knows I'm a huge fan of Jane Austen, and decided to go all "Pride and Prejudice" and insisted on puking in a bucket, while laying propped up on pillows. No indoor plumbing for my little Elizabeth Bennett. Of course, someone needed to procure the bucket, and that lucky job fell to me. We had many important life discussions during this escapade:

1. We discussed the importance of keeping your mouth OPEN while vomiting.
2. We learned why they call it "waves of nausea".
3. Hey! Let's time your waves! 3:30, 4:00, 4:30, 5:30- Wow! We could almost set a clock by her vomiting skills!
4. Yes, I know you feel better. You just puked. No, you may not drink chocolate milk. My Hoover can only take so much.

So today, we are watching lots of television, stupid pet tricks on youtube, and busting out the carpet cleaner. We look forward to returning to regular programming soon.

Friday, February 26, 2010


We just got back from a four day ski extravaganza. It was much more fun than I anticipated since A) I hate snow, and B) I don't know how to ski. But my husband loves it, the kids are young enough to get going and I was taking one for the team. (Plus, I get veto power on the next vacation, and let's just say that I'm holding out for Hawaii. After paying the astronomical ski rentals, that should be in 2025).

We had a great time- the kids played in the snow, yadda yadda yadda. I won't bore you with the family togetherness, but I did meet the coolest lady. On the way home, we drove through a pretty intense snowstorm. We careened down the mountain in our chains, and decided we'd better try and get ahead of the storm and would stop for breakfast further down the mountain.

After driving an hour and a half, we stopped at a place called Jack's Cafe in Bishop, California. Your typical hole-in-the-wall breakfast joint, this place was exactly what we needed. Known for their homemade pie and muffins, the place was brimming with locals eating eggs, huevos rancheros and drinking your standard white diner mugs of coffee.

Our waitress appeared. She looked like an extra from the tv show "Alice." She was gritty, had a smoker's voice and crows feet deeply embedded on either sides of her eyes. She smiled, (which wrinkled up the crows feet) and asked us if we were on our way to play in the snow.

"On our way back, actually." My husband replied, and she took notice of his weary face and white knuckles.

"Did you need chains this morning?" she asked.

"We sure did." my husband grimaced.

She smiled, and immediately careened up and down the aisles, telling everyone to "chain up" if they were headed up the mountain. She refilled our coffee cups, yelled at the bus boy to give us more water and brought me a blueberry muffin that was larger than my 4 year old's head.

Her girlfriends came in and sat at her station. She paused to gossip and give them their cheese omelettes. She was clearly in her element- trading one liners with her regulars and wielding her pot of coffee like she was General Folgers. It was, seriously, the best service I have ever had. I wished I could eat breakfast every morning at Jack's- and then I remembered the snow, waved goodbye, and got the hell out of there.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pampered Pooches

Today I was at Petsmart, and I saw a most disturbing thing: Snuggies for dogs. The most disturbing part of this story is that I came "this close" to buying one. Poor George.

It was 80 degrees today. It's been beautiful all week- I even took the kids to the beach on Monday. So how do we celebrate? By taking a quick vacation six hours away to the snow. I hate snow. But my husband loves to ski and I love my husband. And hot chocolate. And lodges with fires and a good book.

I love watching the Olympics, but I feel a little uncomfortable when we win a lot of medals. To me, it seems like grandstanding. I'm like "c'mon, let Jamaica win a bobsled medal." I like the little guys. I also think Speed Skaters look like sperm in the Woody Allen film "Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex...". Sperm that go really, really fast.

We finished reading "Mary Poppins" during our family storytime, and have moved on to "Little House On The Prairie." It's really interesting to hear this story as an adult. I keep thinking about Ma, and what she was thinking when she sat on that wagon, with her hands in her lap. And why did they make their dog Jack walk UNDER the wagon? His poor paws. He needed a Snuggie.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thank God for the Disney Channel

I know I promised more on Vegas, but given the events of the last couple of days- you guys have to hear this.

My oldest anklebiter goes to a public school. Public. Funded by taxpayers. A really great, nationally recognized PUBLIC school. This week it felt like an east coast private school straight out of the Nanny Diaries.

There is a talent show. Put on by elementary school kids. It's an annual tradition at this school, and folks take it seriously. My daughter was asked to join a group of girls- Kindergarten girls, to perform a 2 minute dance routine. Originally, she said no. Then she realized the weekly rehearsals were a kind of built in playdate and she enthusiastically agreed.

We started rehearsing. When I say "we" I mean the kids and the 2 high school students we hired to teach them a dance. I enjoyed hanging out with the other mothers during the rehearsals, and only when the audition date grew near did I start to get nervous.

"Do they really audition kids?" I ask. "Or are they really just checking for acceptable content?"

"Oh no, they really audition them." one of the more seasoned moms with older children replied.

I couldn't really wrap my head around this because 1. These kids are 5 and 6 years old. 2. They are really cute. 3. They may not be the world's best dancers, but did I tell you they were cute?

Auditions were RIDICULOUS. The group ahead of us was a third grade contingent of can-can dancers in fishnet stockings. (I am SO NOT kidding. I didn't even know fishnets came in such a small size). Their hair was professionally styled, and I watched their curls bob up and down as they nodded their head at their very professional choreographer's pep talk. Next to them was a group of 5th grade boys- all dressed as Michael Jacksons- in wigs, short pants and bedazzled socks. We were in very, very big trouble.

The audition wasn't great. They were cute, but the girls forgot half of their choreography and kind of stood there like a kindergarten amobea, gaping at the judges. The judges sat behind a table, scribbling notes- and I suddenly felt like I was on a rejected version of "American Idol."

We got word on Monday that our kids wouldn't be on the list of accepted acts. The judges agreed to give the kids one more chance, and are letting them have 2 more weeks to try and get their act together. (both literally and figuratively).

We got together today, and rallied in the kitchen. We needed new choreography. Our teenage coaches weren't cutting it- and none of us were Bob Fosse material. You do know I danced like Elaine at the Bellagio, right?

Suddenly, I remembered something. "Did any of you see Daisy Duck do that dance on the "Mickey Mouse Club?" I asked.

The other moms looked at me like I had been smoking too much of Goofy's hash. "You know! Jump Forward, Jump Back, March March March. Slide to this side- Slide to the other side!" I explain. I borrow an umbrella from a 5 year old girl, and start to dance it for them.

The kids are now doing a modified dance routine stolen from a cartoon. Take that, you Hollywood bitches.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Craps- Play It? Or Drink it?

A week ago, I was in Las Vegas, wearing a cocktail dress, stealing sips of a dirty martini and getting on a VIP list at the Bellagio. Tonight I watched my husband drink coffee made from the excrement of some cat-like animal in Vietnam. (Weasel coffee? Who knew such a thing existed, and who in their right minds would think of this?)

But I digress.

I miss my friends from Texas. It's a rare event when you meet a gaggle of girls with no other agenda than having a great time, being supportive and sharing lots of laughs. In my 2 years in Houston, I spent many a Friday afternoon at a playgroup with these women, sharing a glass of wine, parenting skills and the occasional dirty joke or two. I've moved back to California, one other member now lives in New Hampshire, and the rest are still in Texas. We were bemoaning our distance via email when we suddenly decided to plan a Girls Weekend Getaway. In Las Vegas.

Vegas. I had not been there in 12 years. It's changed quite a bit. The slot machines have gone digital- and no longer leave that ding ding dinging ringing in your ears. Most of the upscale casinos do not allow smoking (or have amazing filters). We decided to go out for a Mack-Daddy dinner our first night, so we got all dolled up in cocktail dresses and tried out Thomas Keller's Bouchon. Our waiter was a German guy named Randy that was hell bent on convincing us German guys can have a sense of humor. (He didn't succeed). The food was great. The beignets filled with pastry cream were my personal favorite.

After leaving Bouchon, we hightailed it over to the Bellagio. The light was dim, & I was walking fast- so when I was stopped by a young gentleman in a suit, who asked me if I wanted to get my name on a VIP list for the club at the Bellagio- I stopped short. Envisioning a scene from "Knocked Up" ("Doorman, I'm not too old"!) I quickly laughed and told the guy, "You DO know I'm 37 and have 2 kids right? I'm wearing Spanx which are hiding my stretch marks. I think you have made a mistake." He laughed, asked for my cell number and said he'd text me.

Meanwhile, we decided to try our hand at craps. One of the more well versed gamblers of our group quickly demonstrated how craps worked by pocketing $150 in 30 minutes. How simple! How fun! (Fun yes... simple? No. I lost the next night). But craps is like a party- the kind of party where you hang out with strangers- one that looks just like Bill Clinton and calls himself "Big Daddy" and his escort (using the term loosely) that is, maybe 22- and proud of her big boobies.

We did get into the club at the Bellagio. I haven't been to a club in more years than I care to remember, and I was shocked at the changes. The VIP seating areas cost $750 for a booth, and it comes with 2 bottles of Vodka. (We opted to not do this). However, we did get to watch 2 blondes in gold dresses light bottles of Cristal Champagne on fire and shake their moneymakers in some guys' face. The dance floor was packed, and after a few drinks, we decided to make the best of our situation by either doing aerobic dance moves, or impersonating Elaine from "Seinfeld." No one else around us was born in the 80's so our jokes went unnoticed. We just looked like goofy old ladies that didn't know how to dance.

Goofy old ladies that were having some serious fun.
To be continued....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

9 Completely Random Things You Didn't Know

1. Today I had to attend a scrapbooking convention for work. I admire people that scrapbook, but I just can't do it. Truly? It escapes me. The 300 women I saw today going bonkers for what appeared to be a series of stencils scared me. Really, really scared me.

2. I'm going to Vegas this weekend, with my Houston girls. I cannot wait. My husband is staying home and taking the kids to a local show of "Annie." This weekend? I'm on "Easy Street" and he has "A Hard Knock Life." (sorry, couldn't resist- at least you can't hear me singing "Tomorrow").

3. I joined a book club recently, and volunteered to host this month's session. All was well and good until I drank a bit too much wine and then started acting out my favorite scenes from "Jersey Shore." Instead of demonstrating my intellectual prowess, I told a story about pickles in a spot-on South Jersey accent. And then I showed them where my dog ate my couch. Classy.

4. Tonight was supposed to be my night to cook a mac-daddy dinner, but I was still shaking from my run-in with the scrapbooking fans so I ordered pizza. And checked twitter so I could use the "secret word of the day" and get a free fountain drink. Social media. I love it so.

5. I had to drive to LAX last night to pick up my husband at the airport. I think I'm the only person in the world that loves LAX. I love the pillars of light that surround the "official" entrance to the airport with the cartoonishly large letters that spell out L-A-X. I love that the cops are complete assholes about security, and you can't even idle the engine when you try and pick someone up at baggage claim. (You just slow down, pop the door open, and the person you are picking up throws their bags in and climbs in while the car is still moving. Or you get a ticket. And sent to a jail off the shore of Cuba). I love that security is run by a woman- a no nonsense woman that probably still buys her pantyhose in plastic eggs in the supermarket. That's how tough she is. Plus, everytime I go to LAX, I remember my first time there. I was 15, just moved to Califoria from Hawaii, and saw Kirk Cameron get into a limo. This was the height of "Growing Pains", and it is forever burned into my memory.

6. My dog- my 80lb pile of black fur that thinks he is a lap cat? Smells. And not in a good way. With all of the rain that we've had, he's channeled all of it into one musty, smelly, dog smell. It's payback for making him do his business in the middle of a typhoon.

7. Sunday was National Pie Day. Did you know this? I'm somewhat sad that I did.

8. I am playing Mafia Wars on Facebook, and losing miserably. I never want to fight anyone, or rob anybody. I just want to open casinos, and Italian restaurants. I'm going to wake up one of these mornings with a horse head in my bed, I just know it.

9. Tomorrow I am pitching my newly found Public Relations skills to a new would-be client. This client prides itself on its East coast attitude for the West coast, and I'm wondering if I should act out some "Jersey Shore" stuff for credibility. I'll keep you posted as to how this works out.

The Most Boring Blog Entry Of All Time

My husband spent the weekend in Orlando, at a conference. I can tell you this now, because he is now home, and has returned to his job of protecting us from all would-be home invaders, strange forms of bacteria and door-to-door salespeople.

While he was gone, I cleaned. I know that does not sound exciting, but when this mood strikes, I'm a force to be reckoned with. It's something that must be taken advantage of, because this wind doesn't blow this way that often.

It was the kind of weekend that tied up loose ends- like boxing up the mistaken doll American Girl almost ruined my Christmas with and getting her ready to return to America, or wherever she is from. Finally filing 2 months worth of bills and being able to see the top of my desk. Finishing framing the calendar I bought from Smith & Hawken days before they went out of business and successfully hanging 12 botanical prints in my living room that is ACTUALLY starting to look like a living room, and less like a bowling alley. (I should show you a picture of this one, because it took me an entire afternoon).

My closet still needs cleaning, and I still can't find my debit card. (My kids were "playing" store and it hasn't been seen since). I didn't cook- one night I took the kids out for dinner, the next night we made pancakes. (lemon zest & vanilla are my 2 not-so-secret ingredients). Sunday night, I drove to Los Angeles to pick up my husband and took a deep breath. It felt good. Like we're ready to start the week. Remind me of this on Wednesday, when I'm ready to put someone up for sale.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Internet Is Not So Scary After All

It's Monday.
It's cold outside. And raining.
A harsh return to reality, after a surreal weekend crammed full of fun.

About a week ago, I was on twitter, when I saw a certain photographer of Dallas had the opportunity to visit Los Angeles with her 15 month old. We've virtually known each other for a couple of years, and although we've never met- I quickly browbeat her into extending her stint in LA so we could meet.

Then I got word that she was bringing a friend. Not just any friend- but THIS friend.

When I called my husband at work to tell him, he couldn't understand me at first because I was giggling so much. Then he got worried. He doesn't tweet. He doesn't blog, and generally, he's pretty wary of the internet. But then a case of wine arrived at our house in anticipation of my internet friends' arrival. (They send the BEST hostess gifts. The Cannonball Cabernet is the yummiest thing I have tasted in quite awhile). He laughed his worries away, and offered to cook us dinner so I could drive to LA and pick them up.

They were in the midst of Golden Globes Baby-Palooza. We waited for them by the pool, and as I sat on the chaise lounge and watched my anklebiters do cartwheels in the grass, I laughed at how silly this whole thing was. MinivanMom comes out- and despite her protests about how unfashionable she is (Readers: She DOES know how to apply makeup!) I am here to tell the internet that she is a tall, striking blonde with amazing style. She was wearing a green patterned empire dress, with tall black boots that I immediately coveted.

We quickly hook up with the rest of the party- which not only includes Jen, of Sugar Photography fame (who DOES look like she starred on "Saved By The Bell"!) but her adorable toddler Coco. (Jen is tall- is the entire Posse a gaggle of Southern supermodels? As expected, Jen has epic boobs but a bigger smile). After a quick lunch at In-N-Out, I drove them to Orange County. We visited the beach, the park, they picked lemons and oogled the flora and fauna.

But the best part? You know when you haven't seen an old friend in a while, and the minute you're back together- it's like you never left? That's how it was like with these people that I have never met in person. After polishing off a few bottles of wine (5, but who's counting?) and eating my husband's yummy chicken with morels- we put the kids to bed, lit a fire and just talked (and laughed) until 2am.

I got to see firsthand why Tracey moved to Dallas. This group of women is like a family that they have selectively chosen. They are honest- candidly so. They are very, very genuine. But best of all? They are stinkin' funny. Most of the funny stuff has been locked in the "what happens on the road, stays on the road" vault- but trust me. Hilarity ensued.

The next day, Jen worked her magic and did a photoshoot of my kids that had me weepy just looking at the raw shots in her camera. After dropping them off in time to barely make their flight- I remembered why I love Texas. It's all about the people. And if you're not originally from there, Texas works its magic to get you there. Plain and simple.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Confucius Say: This Girl Is Funny

Last night, I took the youngest anklebiter out with me to pick up some Chinese food. We get in the car, and she immediately pipes up.

"Mommy?" she asks. "Who is farting?"

"No honey, that's just the Chinese food." I reply.

There is a pause. And then she says, "The Chinese food is farting?"

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Smitten With This One...

I know you all know I love food. You are shaking your heads, wondering how I can possibly waste another entry talking about food. Food!

We like to eat around here.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away- I stopped cooking a big dinner on Sundays. We tend to eat a big family lunch after church on Sundays, and dinner is usually mellow- or something we'll grab out. So I shifted the whole "big Sunday dinner" fete to Mondays.

Mondays are dreary. No one likes Mondays. Especially my husband. He detests Mondays even more than Garfield the Cat. And that's saying something, for those of you that were born after 1982. So when I have my act together, I plan a knock down, drag out, time consuming meal for Mondays. It makes everyone happy. It soothes the soul. It makes Monday feel more, well, like Sunday.

This Monday, I cooked this. And HOLY COW! It was seriously amazing. I did not reduce the sauce- I served it right out of the crockpot. I did make the pickled onions, and the red cabbage slaw, and I did serve it on corn tortillas with little bits of jalapeno as garnish.

I'm not usually a fan of the crockpot. I try to avoid condensed things in red cans, and most of the recipes involving crock pots usually use that too. I usually think if you cook anything for 10 hours, it tastes like it. But not this. Seriously. The meat could be shredded with a fork- it practically fell apart. The cabbage slaw had the right balance of crunch, vinegar and sweetness to make me want seconds. But those pickled onions? Stupidly easy- but they make the whole dish get up and sing. Seriously. Even Simon Cowell would have liked this one.

Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Bust out your crockpot and make this. (and don't forget to serve it with your favorite Mexican beer). And then come back here and let me know. Because I love to talk about food.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Catching Up

Happy 2010 everyone!

Our new year started off with an unexpected, unwelcome surprise. Of which I'm not allowed to blog about, or discuss- because it is just plain gross. Seriously. I'll leave it at that.

In other news, have I told you how much I love January? My tree is halfway down, the decorations are halfway in their boxes, and I love the feeling of reclaiming my home. The sparseness, the empty tables- it just feels good. In other news, besides the usual "lose weight, be healthy" etc. of the standard resolutions-- here are a few more I'm adding to my list this year.

1. Plan a REAL family vacation. We went to Catalina for TWO days last summer. That's the most vacation we've had in awhile. Now granted, we live 15 minutes from the beach and visit Disneyland on average, 3xs a month. But still. We need to get away.

2. Try 3 new recipes a month. I did a pretty good job of this last year. I cooked ribs. I made a blueberry pie. We steamed lobsters. I did fancy French food. Now I'm going to strive to cook more seasonally, without leaving much of a carbon footprint. (Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" was my favorite read of 2009). I need to capitalize on the bounty of Southern California's produce. It's seriously amazing. My neighbor knocked on my door yesterday (why yes! It was 2pm and I was still in my jammies) and brought me oranges, tangerines and lemons- picked from her trees.

3. I have some major organizing that needs to be tackled. Before I left for China, I ordered a lovely black lateral filing cabinet for my office. (thanks Ballard Designs!) I envisioned a clear desktop- and oodles of neatly tabbed folders containing all of my organized paperwork. Ummmm..... it contains the paperwork- but it's in stacks, and not filed. And my desk? Is a total mess. So are my closets. My garage. My linen closet. Lots to do here.

4. Focus more on date nights. When I lived in Houston, I was really good about this. We had 2 nights a month- dedicated to spending time as a couple. Every 3 months or so, Matt would take me out to a mac-Daddy dinner and we tried some of the best restaurants in Houston. Since we moved here? Not so much. When we do go out, it's usually for a work function, or to see other couples. I'm tired of having crayons at EVERY meal we have as a couple.

5. Photograph more. We put together awesome photo books for the grandparents for Xmas (thank you!) and it made me realize that I need to figure out how to work the camera (not just in Dummy mode) and take more pictures. My husband is the expert, but I'm the one that's got the time. My friend told me about a class I can take, and I'm seriously thinking about signing up.

That's it! I hope all of you are having a healthy, and welcoming start to the new year. It's gonna be a good one. I can feel it in my bones.