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....