Friday, May 30, 2008


When I found out I was going to have a boy, this is what I pictured: a little tousled-haired boy with fingernails I could never get quite clean enough handing me his treasures to keep for him. I may not have included the 4 Corona bottle caps in my imagination's eye, but oh well.


A. wants to buy one of these. Not necessarily that one - he'd settle for any ride-on battery-powered car. His cousin has one and he's coveted it since he was born. So far he has $5.19 saved up and we have to re-count it every night in case the few pennies he's found that day might mysteriously add another $245 to the tally. That's a lot of paper clips to sell.


When you grow up in a certain kind of environment, especially a negative environment, sometimes you think you've left it behind. "I'm so glad that's over!" you say to yourself. You think you're living your life in a different way, a more positive way, and you congratulate yourself for raising your children completely differently than the way you were raised. You're so much more enlightened. You can even find some empathy for your parents, poor things, who were just a product of the times and their own upbringing.

But then you spend a few days in that environment again, and you realize that it's etched on your soul. You can't leave it behind any more than you can leave your real eye color behind. You can cope with it, sure, maybe better than you did before. But it's still in you and that sleeping girl wakes up - the one who can't do anything right, who is at her core worthless and unlovable. "Oh yeah," you say, "I remember you. You look exactly the same. Boy, it's been a while, eh?"

It's a humbling experience, especially if you're a therapist who's "worked through" most of her sh*t. As you slip back into your daily routines, that girl may fall back asleep, but will never be gone. You can't amputate your childhood as if it was an appendage - there'd still be phantom pain, anyway. It's part of you, like your scars and your gray hairs and your pale red eyelashes.

But the grown-up you can still stay, "Damn. I'm glad I'm maybe 80% not like that." And you remember to watch the other 20% carefully, 'cause it's not going anywhere.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Things I Learned In AZ

1. My dad is a big fan of "So You Think You Can Dance."

2. Some people want to read a lot about John McCain.

3. Highs can be in the mid-60's in May. And it can rain, heavily. In the desert.

4. A tapeworm can be up to 60 feet in length.*

5. My stepmother's three sons never ran in the house or wrestled when they were little. Ever.

6. If you give a retired person a badge, they take it very seriously.

7. Starbucks are the same everywhere.

8. One can, if one chooses, personalize their Dish satellite subscription to be 98% sports, no PBS and very few normal channels.

9. Retirement communities need lots of golf courses.

10. Every saguaro cactus in someone's yard has to be registered and have a number assigned to it.

*needing to find indoor activities, we visited the "Grossology" exhibit at the Arizona Science Center. It scared the heck out of Ben (being inside a sneezing nose was more than he could handle), but A. and I were engrossed. Hah.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Been Through the Desert on a Horse With No Name*

So we're heading off to AZ tomorrow to visit Grandpa Lunasea.

It's actually getting a little easier to fly with the under-6 set as they understand more about what's happening. The portable DVD player and my video iPod help, too.

I would just like to nominate myself for Traveler of the Year for fitting everything for myself, A., and Benjamin in ONE 19" suitcase. Thank you.

OK, I'm taking a backpack too. Still. See you in AZ.

*one of my favorite lines ever was (I think) from Dr. Corndog, who wondered something like, "with all that time in the desert, couldn't they have named the damn horse?" The swearing might be mine.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Torture Devices

I wear these heels maybe once a year. I bought them to go with the black and white dress that I also wear about once a year. I realize they're not totally in style - I got them 3 years ago and can't stomach paying for another pair when I so rarely wear them. Besides, I've never liked super-pointy toes and those seem to be big this year.

I used to be able to dance the night away in shoes like these. Now I think all I will remember about G's 25-year college reunion is how much my feet hurt. Do you know how much time is spent at reunions just standing around? I had to go to the bathroom just so I could sit for a minute.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Single Sentence Friday

I'm giggling at this and thinking about the father's day possibilities: Manbabies

I've finally gotten the hang of turning OFF my new Sonicare toothbrush BEFORE I take it out of my mouth, which means I don't have to change my shirt after brushing my teeth.

Yesterday's California Supreme Court decision may not stick, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out how gay marriage is a bigger threat to my heterosexual marriage than our current high divorce rate.

This was cute and I'm glad I had a camera ready because it only lasted about 30 seconds:

I'm avoiding Facebook because it's a vacuum of time and productivity (as opposed to the Blog, which is Archiving History, and no, it's not cheating on SSF to use parentheses and run-on sentences).

Loved The Office finale last night. Missed Grey's Anatomy, that's how much I loved it.

Phyllis: [over the speakerphone] Hi, are there any local companies that rent anti-gravity machines?
Woman: Anti-gravity machines?
Phyllis: That's right, yeah.
Woman: What do they do exactly?
Phyllis: They make you feel lighter.
Woman: [looking it up] Anti-gravity... um... anti-depressant? I could put you through to someone on that?
Phyllis: [pause] Okay.

Oops, that was two sentences with a quote.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Detritus of Our Kitchen

Because Sarah told me to.

The top of our microwave. Looks like we've been feeling a little sick. Plus, a photo G's sister took of a produce stand in Italy, our pitcher of kitchen tools, a small bowl of cinnamon sugar, an ear of popping corn, and sunblock.

The edge of our kitchen table. We eat on the other 3/4 of the table. There are herbs A. and Ben started from seeds from Grandma, a lima bean plant A. grew in kindergarten, photo coasters from my sister, a drawing by A. of himself and his teacher (who's shorter and in purple), a mother's day card from my other sister, and my nephew's high school graduation announcement. Oh, and some wipes, of course.

My diamond necklace kitchen faucet. It's a really nice kitchen faucet and G. wanted it.

Our bread basket, with bread, fruit snacks and a random eyeglass case.

My sustenance. You can't see it in the photo, but the time is totally wrong.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Swing of Terror

I wish I had a video camera at the playground today, but I didn't, so hopefully I can do the story justice.

When he was a baby, Ben reacted to swings pretty much the way all babies react to swings: "WTH? What on earth are they doing to me now? How did I end up here and why is everything moving? Oh. Huh. This is OK, and everyone's smiling a lot. Yeah. Kinda funny." After that, he liked baby swings like most babies like baby swings.

But then, at about 18 months, he stopped wanting to go in them. I didn't really pay much attention, but thinking about it now, I'm realizing he probably hasn't been in a swing in almost 2 years.

So today at the playground he saw all the other kids swinging and said, "I want to go in that thing," pointing at the baby swing. I put him in from the back and he immediately began shrieking. He clawed for dear life for the chains and screamed, "Mama!" I ran around to the front of the swing and said, "Hey! I'm right here! You're swinging!" His eyes were huge, he was laughing and terrified at the same time. "AAAAAAAGGGGHHH!" Back and forth, "AAAAAAAUUUUGH!"

Ben was going maybe a total of a foot from front and back. Barely moving. The 8-month-old baby next to him was going higher. We all started laughing, including Ben, who was also shrieking. You would think I'd put him on the freefall thing.

He made me get him out and put him back in about 5 times. He finally decided to try the slide again, and I sat down on the bench next to the baby's mother.

"That just totally made my day," she told me. "He was so funny - completely freaking out but he never stopped smiling."

That's pretty much how he goes through life.

Text: "Your baby will have the most winning ways of all babies, and will dazzle you with the sweetest of smiles. Young Pisceans seek attachments to people and animals rather than places and things. They need to be taught to believe in themselves to prevent them from becoming too clinging. These are very emotional kids, so they may be doing a fair bit of crying of their own! It's part of that caring and sympathetic nature of theirs, a sensibility which allows them to feel the pain of others deeply."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy M Day!

Boy, I enjoy Mother's Day so much more now (as a mother) than I did as a kid.

I awoke to breakfast in bed, with mango and strawberries, although Ben ate all my strawberries.

G. had asked them questions about me, and read the answers to me over breakfast.

G: What's Mama's least favorite thing to do?

A: Make things out of wood.
Ben: Clean the tuba.

G: What makes Mama so beautiful?

A: Her pretty hair and eyes.
Ben: Those trees. Her pretty voice.

G: What does Mama most like to write about you on her blog?

A: That we help Mama with cleaning and that we are nice.
Ben: An octopus.

What is the favorite thing Mama does with you?

A: Do crafts.
Ben: Hug me.

A. also came up with some Mother's Day riddles for me:

What kind of husband surprises his wife with a lick?
A lion! (I was sure he was going to answer, "Yours!")

What kind of dog gets married?
A poodle because they look so fancy!


So after breakfast we loaded up the car and headed down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where I took way more pictures of the jellyfish than I did of my own children. I love the jellyfish exhibit. (I love my children, too, of course).

The penguins were cute, too. These two are necking. Or, one of them is.

You can sit under a tidal wave

Here's me with my Mother's Day "corsage" and jewelry. As a bonus, the corsage works for Fourth of July, too. Actually, the boys are wearing most of the jewelry. The best presents are the ones they pick out for me to share with them.

And, from yesterday, a trip to the playground after my salon Mud Wrap, because what mother doesn't want to go straight to the playground after a mud wrap? But the reason I'm showing you this is the happy coincidence of our children perfectly matching the playground structure. I'm sure when people saw me snapping away they thought we'd planned it.

You can see more on Flickr.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Another Worthy Cause

I only charity-blog for the people I know, and this one's for Hyphen - she's a good friend who has darling twin girls who are now 6 years old. Ellie and Lily were born 2 months early, spent quite a bit of time in the NICU, and now every year they walk for the March of Dimes. This year the girls are the local ambassadors. Hyphen's selling cupcake hats and stuff on e-bay to raise money for their walk. If you like cupcakes and saving preemies, go check it out.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Quick Healthy Cooking, and a Long Intro

So, like everyone who turns 40, I have realized that my body will not last forever, and will, in fact, fall apart if I don't take care of it. It may fall apart anyway. It will probably fall apart, but there are some things I can do to keep it working.

My big goal right now is to play with my grandchildren. It's not hard to play with your grandchildren if you have their parents when you're in your twenties. It's harder to play with your grandchildren if you have their parents when you're in your late thirties. I have no idea when my boys will be ready to breed, but since they're just 3 and 5 now, I'm guessing it's going to take a while.

G's parents can play with Ben and A.; Grandma more so than Grandpa, but she's only 70, and had G. in her twenties. Grandpa's in his 80's, which is where I will be if my boys are slow breeders like their father and grandfather. My father is in his 80's and can't hear them, let alone play with them. I'm lucky if he remembers their names (not to mention my husband's name, although that has really gotten better in the last few years). My mother died in her 60's, when I was 21, so obviously she can't play with them, either.

I don't love to cook as much as I love to eat. I love to eat good food, but we can't afford to eat out very often, so I had to learn to cook. I'm not great, but I can find my way around a stove and an oven.

I also hate vegetables. Or, I used to hate vegetables. Growing up, my mother would say every afternoon around 5:30pm - "Go pick a vegetable out of the pantry." The choices were creamed corn or green beans. We branched out big time when we discovered Green Giant frozen vegetables. Woo hoo. I liked Bird's Eye green beans with spaetzle (what ever happened to that?). In college, I learned to steam fresh vegetables, which I did faithfully, but still didn't enjoy them much.

Imagine my surprise to learn that vegetables can actually be tasty, if prepared correctly. My children don't agree, but they'll come around, probably when they turn 40.

We are also doing our best to be green. We get a box of local, organic produce delivered every two weeks, and on the off weeks I shop the farmer's markets. I buy organic whenever I can, but at the same time, I'm trying to shave at least a hundred off our $700/month grocery tab.

So, here are my favorite recipe/food blogs. To be a favorite, it has to feature simple, healthy recipes, especially for vegetables. Most of the recipes have to take 30 minutes or less (and I mean 30 minutes from start to finish - not Rachael Ray's 30-minutes-if-you-have-a-staff-to-cut-everything-up-for-you-first). If you know of any others, link us up.

Kitchen Parade
Seasonal recipes for healthy cooking.

Chronicles of a Curious Cook
The focus on this one is more about saving money, which is helpful. It's a local, Bay Area blog.

Everybody Likes Sandwiches
Not just about Sandwiches.

Frigidaire Pair
By one of my favorite bloggers and chefs, Robin, and her friend, the Other Robin.

The Great Big Vegetable Challenge
A mother and son are working their way through vegetables from A to Z. They're on Tomato now.

Green Lite Bites
By a woman who successfully lost 70 lbs. Some of the recipes use more processed ingredients than I like, but she has some good ideas for reworking comfort food staples.

The Kitchn
Frankly, I can't keep up with this one. Bloglines says I have 200 unread posts. Everything about the kitchen, in detail. Great for research if you need a new coffeemaker, say, or want to display your cookie cutters.

Make Your Own Damn Dinner
This is from Badger, another favorite blogger. Like me, she looks for simple, healthy ways to feed her family.

Simply Recipes
Good archive.

101 Cookbooks
By the author of Simply Natural Cooking. This is where I got my current favorite lunch - green vegetables sauteed and served with lemon zest and a splash of cream (1/2 and 1/2 for us).

Geez, I never realized I had so many. No wonder I need quick recipes. I'm spending all my time reading the food blogs.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Well. That Was Unpleasant.


Let me summarize the experience thusly: The doc put something up the wrong way, and I took a deep breath and said, "OK, that's all, right?" He said, "We're just getting started. I'm only 20mm in and we have 40 to go."

Oh, and they had a nice big flat screen monitor for all of us to see the inside of my colon. If I hadn't been starving, it probably would have killed my appetite. I could've taken a picture. It was like a real-life NOVA episode.

The good news is that all is well and I don't have to do it again for a long, long time.

Survivor: Suburbia

I'm in the 32nd hour of about a 40 hour fast and lemme tell you, I'm not enjoying it. I'm not finding any spiritual awakenings. I'm not discovering how wonderful and light I feel. I found myself at Rite Aid yesterday wondering if I could eat gummy worms, since they're about as clear as apple juice, right? I held them up to the light and I could see through them.

I'm hungry. I think if they have to schedule your "procedure" after 12 noon, they should have a complementary cheeseburger waiting for you afterward. I'm cranky and tired. My brain feels foggier than usual. I did get my appointment moved up from 3pm to 1:30pm, which could save my marriage. And I'm never eating Jello again.

The Fleet stuff I had to drink was vile, but the resulting, um, cleanse, wasn't as bad as food poisoning or the stomach flu I had a while back. Small blessings.

Tip of the Day: If you're about to have a "procedure," don't read other people's accounts of their experiences. If they took the time to write about it on a board set up just for that purpose, it was probably horrible and will not make you feel better about what is going to happen soon.

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