Thursday, June 30, 2011

Confession -- On A Mental Vacay

I know waiting sucks.....

I actually hate it when people use the term "vacay." It makes me want to punch them in the neck. 

You see? After that violent outburst, it's pretty obvious I need a mental break. 

But, as soon as a therapist returns my phone calls, I will get back to laughing and writing.

It may take a little time, considering I have an HMO. 

But never fear; if I don't hear back by tomorrow, I'm scoring some weed and calling my friends at midnight to vent. All three of you. Possibly on conference call. Or three-way, as we used to call it in high school. 

It's cheaper and more fun that way. 

Happy Fourth of July!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Obsession - Green and Crunchy Lunch Gear

Though my week still sucks a chicken's butt, surprisingly a chicken has been my life preserver. If you have not read it yet, you muuuuust read The Bloggess' post from this week. Without it, I may not have gotten out of bed and my children would now be considering Dora their real mother. That bitch is always trying to usurp my life anyway. 

Each day, after I've read that post a few dozen times, I would turn my obsessive attentions to the latest pressing topic -- Maya's lunch box. 

Maya's going to a nature camp in a few weeks and they ask that you send your child's lunch in reusable containers. I consider myself an eco-minded individual, but I have to admit that convenience (read: complete laziness) always wins when packing our food to-go. We're talking Costco quantities of Ziploc bags. They are probably choking a baby seal as we speak. I'm a horrible human being.

But I'm striving to be better. Much better. But also better in an oh-so-stylish sort of way.

When Design Mom posted about these lunchboxes, it was love at first sight.

And, of course, the insanely expensive cost of those bitches only sealed the deal. I had to have them. If they cost a lot, they MUST be good. And the good people at Planet Box have convinced me on their website that the cost is totally justifiable because of the quality of the materials and the promise that it will last even after we are buried alive in everyone else's garbage. 

But I knew Larry would consider  divorce or at least a good stabbing if I purchased them so I just put the lunchbox in and out of my shopping cart every day. Some times I would even enter my shipping address. But I never pulled the trigger and bought them.

Today, a brilliant plan came to mind.

My mom came over and she knew I was having a hard week. The stars aligned. She wanted me to feel better and I wanted a new pony. But I don't even have a backyard so a pony wasn't practical. 

I know! You can buy Maya this new lunchbox!

Everyone now wins. Me, Maya, Larry, my Mom, the planet Earth, the U.S. economy... I really think I should get some sort of altruistic, environmental medal for this one. 

So it has been ordered. So it shall bring joy. In 3-5 business days. 

BTW, Planet Box has not paid me or even sent me a free lunchbox for this post. But I totally think they should at least send me an extra set of magnets. I'm just sayin'. 

PS. Larry is now saying that I'm not allowed to send it with Maya to kindergarten because she will lose it. I wonder if Planet Box sells insurance on these bitches.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Confession - Michelle and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

My week sucks about as much as a week could suck. 

So I do not have a whole lot of humor or even sarcasm to wax on at the moment. But I felt, as blogger of candor, I would be remiss not write something. And maybe from writing, I would find a little comfort. 

But, when I thought about comfort, all I thought about was....

Until I thought about...

But suddenly I worried about...

So I then turned my attention to...

Until I envisioned...

So I thought, rather...

But with a better hat. More like...

Just as long as we steer clear of...

And if we concentrate more on things such as...

We can eventually get to...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Culture - Fathers Figured Out

With Father's Day coming on Sunday, I've spent a lot of time thinking about my two favorite fathers -- Larry and my Dad. 

Now, let me tell you, you couldn't find two more different people. And I think it's a beautiful thing. 

You see, many people, including my mother, would tell you that I'm almost a carbon-copy of my old Pop. (Though she's usually not intending it as a compliment.) And now darling little drama-doll Maya has carried on the legacy of our charisma and charm...much to Larry's chagrin. 

So yes, they are two very different men. But these poles often meet on the other side.

One likes the Angels. The other a die-hard Dodger fan. This makes them both losers.

One will only eat poultry. The other prefers red meat. They both do not grasp the brilliance of blue cheese.

Larry is quiet and diplomatic. My dad can be talkative and sometimes quite blunt. And both call me every day from work or the car to see how my day is going.

They are both affectionate and caring even when they both drive me crazy. Because that also happens daily. Usually five minutes into their phone calls. 

But without my dad, I would not have seen Phantom of the Opera and fallen in love with theater.

And without Larry, I would be the one downstairs right now putting together a fucking paper rainbow wand from Jake and the Neverland Pirates for Maya because she saw it on television this morning and absolutely had to have it even though it will crumple into a paper ball of shit the minute she puts her little digits on it tomorrow morning. 

So I will make Larry some chicken on Sunday. And, for my father, a steak. 

And we all win.

Happy Father's Day!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Confession - Best Parenting Advice. Ever.

Some mommy blog network thingy-maggigy posted this status today:

"If you were to write a blog post giving yourself advice on becoming a mom for the first time, what would you say?"

And I thought, Well, golly gee. I should have plenty to write about that.

So I thought and thought...and thought some more. This is what I came up with. 

Buy a lot of ice cream.

And, though this solution totally applies to a myriad of parenting problems, I began to think it wasn't good enough. So I came up with another one.

Just remember, poop is not the enemy. Watermelon is.

And I believe that to be excellent advice. (Think about it. Think about the chicken or the egg.) But it still doesn't have the wisdom and the light necessary to guide 27-year-old Michelle into the next five years. So this one popped into me noggin'.

The answer to the question "But why, Mama?" is always "God." (Or "magic" if you choose to become an atheist.) 

And while that one does have a nice spiritual message, I think I need to dig deeper.

When in a pickle, just trust your gut. If that fails, just trust your watch. It'll be bedtime soon. 

I think it's a classic. Right up there with "Dance as if no one is watching." But here's a bonus one for you, people. (I know! It's like you've won the lottery, right?)

Your children love you more than anyone else in the world. Remember that when you get a headbutt to the nose or a dirty look when you turn off Dora. Remember it and let them live another day. 

Of course, I'm still learning all the time so I'm not sure the old me should listen to the new me quite yet. Also, the old me and the new me have long term memory problems so, in the event I travelled back in time to give young Michelle some advice, I doubt old, haggard Michelle would remember it at all. I know what you're thinking, How could you forget traveling back in time and talking to yourself? If anyone could forget such a moment, it would be me.

And it's probably best that way. I wouldn't want to see how much I've aged in just five short years. It's worse than what happens to the president. I used to get carded all the time! 

Now, not so much. Sigh. 

Oh, here's another tidbit of advice.

Invent Skinnygirl Margaritas. 

So what advice do you have? 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Obsession - Little Girl Swimsuits

Today was Maya's preschool graduation! 

Yes! I'm still crying!

But I am taking comfort in the fact that summer is finally here. And I live in Southern California! 

Still crying though!

Anyways, as I was saying, I love summer break even though it is not relaxing at all. Every year, I jam-pack summer with trips to the beach, the zoo, the museums, camping, parks, cook-outs... It is non-stop until school starts in September. I love every minute of it. 

My obsession with summer always begins with finding the perfect bathing suit for Maya. Or, shall I say, the perfect seven bathing suits for Maya. I think I have six right now so there is room for one more. 

I know it sounds crazy for a child to have seven bathing suits but hear me out for a second.

She always gets a bathing suit for her birthday. No matter who its from, I always love it because it reminds me that summer is coming and that she has grown out of last year's bathing suit. So now I have a new one in case it gets warm early and I can hit the beach in April. But I didn't pick I need another one.

Then there's the bathing suit she always gets from my mom in her Easter basket. That one stays at my parent's house so she has it ready for their pool. So that one really doesn't count.

Then there's the bathing suit I bought last year on sale. That one doesn't really count either because it isn't new to me. I saw it last year. 

Then there's the bathing suit I see online and become obsessed with even though it costs an insane amount of money. This year it is a Janie and Jack one that sold out almost immediately. And now it's on Ebay for $119.

Ain't it purty? I loved it and dreamt about it for a week before I came to my senses. Luckily I found a more reasonable substitute at Crewcuts

That is, if you find $50 reasonable for a child's bathing suit...which Larry does not. But this one was 20% off and free shipping when I purchased it. And he said, "Well then, that's practically free!" And I chose to ignore the sarcasm and pretend that he was as excited about it as I was. It worked out nicely.

And then I saw this bathing suit at Boden...

And I was in love once more. So I ordered it and it came from England. Good old England. They make such pretty things. Like him...

So pretty.....

Oh yes, bathing suits. So the Boden one came and I love it but I realized that it will probably fade considerably over the course of the summer. Of course, I do have the Crewcuts one and the other Crewcuts one that I got last year....

But wait, what is this I see while wandering lost through Sears? Lands End? Well, the baby Jesus obviously meant for me to get lost and find myself amongst cute, well-made swimsuits that are 50% OFF! 

So I must get this one!

And all is right with the world. Here is the final count. Two bathing suits for the pool. One two-piece bathing suit which I know many moms are vehemently opposed to putting on their child. If I only needed one or two suits, I may not choose a two-piece myself but they are extremely practical for going to the beach and for going to the restroom at the beach.

And then there are other three that will make my heart sing every time she wears them. And isn't that all that matters in life people? 


Monday, June 6, 2011

Confession - Mental Notes

It's gonna be a busy week this week. Maya's graduating from preschool AND has her first dance recital. Sniff sniff...I may lose it a couple times. But you understand, right? I'm still cool. 

My mind has been racing with all the things I have to remember and the "To Do" list keeps growing and growing. 

So why did I surf the Internet for two hours today during Lincoln's nap?

Oh, because I'm crazy. That's why. A friend told me about the diagnosis of "procrastination paralysis." I'm going with it. That's what I got. It's chemical. It's out of my control.

But I did make lots of mental notes today for the future. Such as...

* Do some laundry. Lincoln's been wearing Christmas pajamas for two nights now. Tomorrow, he'll be wearing jeans and a rain jacket to bed.

* Buy more baby wipes. These thin, wet pieces of cloth are the only things that stand between you and a complete mental breakdown on the hour, every hour.

* Don't throw away old breast pads. Apparently they make useful beds for Maya's toy bugs at their buggy daycare. 

* Watch the Breaking Dawn trailer one more time. Or seven. That headboard scene will get you through anything. It's transcendental.  

* Take a shower. Please. Just please.

* Form complete sentences. Maya is never going to get into UCLA when all you say around the house is "No, no. No touch, Lincoln. No, no. No snack snack. No, no. No hit Mama. No, no. No shows." 

* Make more mommy friends. The lady down the street has a girl Maya's age. This could be very helpful.

* Stick with the friends you've got. That lady also has three cats. Something must be wrong with her.

* Be less judgmental. Or, rather, be less judgmental out loud.

* Don't cringe when Maya sings song about "The Lord." She's actually got a shot at heaven. 

* Don't be such a snob. Ice cubes in your white wine is better than no wine at all.

* Don't drink wine before writing your blog post because eventually it'll devolve into rambling drivel. 

* End blog post on a positive note. For once. 


I've got nothing. Good night. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cooking - Strawberry Fields Forever (Recipe Roundup)

Once upon a time someone suggested we go strawberry picking.

What does that mean?

You go to this great organic farm and you pick strawberries. 

For free? 

No, you pay some money.

Are you kidding me? I am a Mexican! I do not pay people to pick strawberries. They pay me!

It was a moral stance I was not willing to compromise. 

This is wrong. This is taking jobs away from la raza.

Get over yourself.


We're all going tomorrow.

How much do I owe?

And it was fun. So I changed my worldview on the matter and decided that, by picking strawberries in the field, I was supporting my people and  teaching my children about their heritage (even though I'm pretty sure none of my ancestors ever actually picked anything). 

This year I even bought a t-shirt. Though I'm pretty sure it came from England and not Mexico.

England didn't make a version for boys. But Lincoln wanted to be in the photo anyway.

I have now grown to love those strawberry tours at Tanaka Farms and look forward to them every year. We get the opportunity to see where our food comes from, enjoy organic fruits and vegetables and get a little dirty.

Forced to take a bite of celery.

Am I the only one who finds this kind of inappropriate?

During the tractor ride, I find my mind wandering and dreaming of all the strawberry recipes I plan on making with our bounty. Strawberry muffins, strawberry ice cream, strawberry salad...

...strawberry pie, strawberry pickles....

And those strawberries didn't even last long enough for my grand plans. The kids gobbled them down in 24 hours. 

Oh well...

So here are a couple recipes that I would've loved to try had I been given the chance. 

(Because now I'm too tired to actually go to the market.)

Strawberries and Dumplings by Smitten Kitchen

Strawberry Shortcake Cake by Pioneer Woman (I actually made this for Maya's 4th Birthday Butterfly Tea Party. It was yummers.) 

Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake at Chowhound. (I have always wanted to make this but have always been intimidated by the process.)

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream by Leite's Culinaria

Roasted Strawberries by Leite's Culinaria (Interesante. Definitely intrigued. They are to put on ice cream, biscuits, pound cake, whatever, when your strawberries are under ripe. )

So go forth and enjoy the sweetness! And let me know if you try any of these recipes. And viva la raza! Or something...