Monday, September 26, 2011

Confession - Wake Me Up When September Ends

My poor, dear husband.

Every holiday of his always sucks. His birthdays, Fathers Day, you name it, reeks likes Lincoln's doody diapees without fail. 

And, no, I am not sabotaging them! I know you were thinking that. I actually want them to be good! I figure that, by setting a good example, I will receive as good as I give. So, even though his birthdays and holidays are still somewhat about me, they still end up in shitsville. Why does this always happen?

This year, I planned the day knowing full well how it would end up. I ordered fancy dried mushrooms online in hopes of replicating his all-time favorite dish that we had in Paris. And I hate mushrooms! 

The evening ended with him eating three microwaved chicken dogs that looked like exploding cigars and probably tasted like rubber. 

Happy Birthday! 

Let me reiterate. Not. My. Fault. His mom actually got really sick and is still in the hospital today. So we have yet to celebrate his 33rd year on Earth. 

I had a great "roast" blog post all worked out for his birthday, but it didn't feel right at the time. And, given the circumstances, I haven't been able to write much since. 

But Larry's mom is improving little by little each day and I just can't move on without acknowledging Larry's big day. 

So, for my newspaper man, here's "just the facts" you need to know about Lawrence:

1. He cannot dance. At least, I don't think he can. I have never really witnessed him do it. We slow-danced at our wedding but that was just swaying back and forth and trying not to look ridiculously mismatched with our 13-inch height differential. 
2. He cannot sing. Again, I don't think a drunken rendition of the "Thong Song" at our wedding counts. 
3. He's the smartest man I know. And I say that with full confidence, despite the incident last week when I sent him to the grocery store to get exactly three things and he came home with only one of them. 
4. He's the best father, son and husband I have ever known. Don't let this list or this blog fool you into thinking otherwise. 
5. No one appreciates him or loves him more than me. And no one ever will. 


Monday, September 12, 2011

Obsession - Halloween Costumes (and What Happened to the Good Ol' Days?)

This morning, I almost had an anxiety attack. 

At kinder drop-off, a girlfriend casually mentioned the subject that I obsess over every single year...

Halloween. Costumes. 

She told me that she had already found the perfect costume for her little girl, Keira. Since her daughter is obsessed with Lalaloopsy Dolls, it was absolute kismet that she found Lalaloopsy costumes online.

Lucky bitch.

And I? I'm breaking out in a cold sweat.

Every year, I feel like I need to find THE costume. Of course, kids look cute in anything you put them in. But I'm insane. (No, really I am. This blog hasn't even scratched the surface.) 

I will spend no less than 20 hours, per kid, looking for the costume that perfectly compliments their features, their personalities, their skin tone, their aspirations in life, my political views, Larry's fictional budget, my current reading list... 

What? Not a normal thought process?

Maya's first Halloween, I picked a cow costume. I have no idea why, after 40 hours of searching, I picked this costume. She looked like a little boy in it. But she was the cutest boy cow EVER.

I think at the time I was dead set on her being a strawberry. But there were no strawberry costumes to be found. Now there are no fewer than 50 to choose from.

The next year, she was a pirate. I was still determined to raise my daughter without forcing her into any gender role. She could be as frilly as she wanted or not. I bought nothing pink. Ever. Everything was gender neutral. So, fighting the Disney princess, I chose a cute pirate.

How feminist am I? And, no, pirates do not hurt anyone. They just like to sail around and say "Arrr...." a lot. The End.

Then she was a mermaid -- a year I would like to forget because the costume was ill-fitting and a disappointment from my original vision. But, she still wears that costume around the house. Yes, the same costume from when she was two years old. Her favorite one by far. 

Then Lincoln came and I decided I wanted a classic Halloween. He's a pumpkin. She's a witch. So simple. 

Last year, I decided to stay with the classic theme. Bat and Cat. So simple. The sort of simplicity that takes weeks to commit to. Kind of like my decision to marry Lawrence...

This year, things have gotten more complicated.

Maya is starting to have an opinion. I'm not okay with that. First, she asked to be Wonder Woman. I didn't say no. But I refuse to say yes. Way too sexy. It's bad enough that she insisted on buying a Wonder Woman t-shirt that sports a busty superhero. AND she apparently has a boyfriend named Mitchell and they like to play superheroes together.

Ummmmmmm...the fuck you do, little girl. You better find some girl friends and start playing some princess shit, dammit! 

Then, I thought it would be cute to dress her as a UCLA cheerleader and Linc as a football player. But then, I thought that I would be endorsing cheerleading as a option in life and nothing could be further from my plans for her. Theater and cheerleading do not mix.


I thought about Snow White and Dopey. It's more about the cute Dopey costume I found on Etsy.

But that would mean I have finally caved and have abandoned all my feminist, non-commercial ideals! But that Dopey costume is reallllly cute.

Today, I found matching costumes at TJ Maxx. Cute AND a bargain. Usually those words are an oxymoron in my book.

Vampiress and Dracula.

But are vampires considered too sexy? And, I guess, there's the whole violent sucking blood factor...

But it's Halloween! What happened to the good ol' gore? Isn't healthy to be a little afraid of the dark? 

Maya's been obsessed with Wizard of Oz and Wicked so I suppose I could play it safe with a Dorothy costume and Lion...

By the way, did you know, Ladies, that you could be a sexy tin woman for Halloween? My search is over! Maya is Dorothy, Linc is the Lion, Larry is the Scarecrow and me....

It's magic.

Unfortunately, I see many sleepless nights ahead of me. And we've still got a least six weeks to go.

What will your kids be for Halloween? Do you have the same worldview struggles as I do? 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Confession - September Eleventh

One Tuesday morning, I woke up to the sounds of nervous laughter. 

Strangely enough, it was Howard Stern's nervous laughter. I am not a Howard Stern fan so I don't know a lot about his "style" but I knew something sounded strange in his voice that morning. God help him, Stern was trying to sort his way through the unimaginable.

I heard him say he was watching the news.

So I decided to turn on my television. 

And there, on my screen, were two burning buildings. 

I stared at the TV a few moments, walked over to my window and pulled open the shades.

And there, out my window, were two burning buildings.

I stared out that window for a few moments and then I tried calling home. The calls would not go through. So I resumed my quiet stare out the window until finally the phone rang. It was Larry, home in California. 

I spoke to him in quiet confusion while my eyes never left the window. He sounded nervous but I was still too confused to feel anything but sleepy and intrigued by the sight before me. 

I felt no sense of fear or danger because the World Trade Center was a few miles away and I had no idea that this was anything more than an accident. 

But I could see everything clearly from the 13th floor of my midtown apartment building and reality would soon set in.

I had only lived in New York for two weeks. Today was supposed to be my first day of graduate classes at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Something told me I didn't need to hop in the shower quite yet.

While talking to Larry, I kept saying over and over again, "This is crazy. How are they ever going to fix those buildings?"

Suddenly there was a huge cloud of smoke surrounding one of the buildings and I couldn't see it anymore.

Larry started to explain to me that people may have run airplanes into those towers on purpose.

Then, I saw one of the buildings simply evaporate down towards the earth. Only after I saw that building fall, did I realize that the other building was no longer there either.

Well, that answered my question. There was no fixing those those buildings.

From then on, my world had changed.

I went to NYU for an adventure. Yup, got that. That night, I slept on the floor of some strange guy's apartment while listening to fighter jets circle overhead. I had never done that before. 

My year in New York City would not be the Broadway dream I had imagined. It was as if I stepped off the plane with my arms wide open and, two weeks later, I was in a fighter's crouch. My fingers became tight, little fists instead of enthusiastic jazz hands. 

Many things changed for many people after that day. All I can do is hope that our children and grandchildren never have to witness such hate. But I do hope they inherit the wisdom we learned from that day -- to unite with and care for your neighbor in the hardest of times.  

Walking to school today, Maya observed a 9-11 flag memorial outside the high school. She asked me what it was for so I answered her as simply as I could. "Ten years ago some bad people used airplanes to run into two tall skyscrapers in New York. Those flags are to remember all the people who died because they did that." 

She paused and I worried about how she would process my words. 

Then she said, "Well those are VERY bad people. When I am a grown-up, I will never hurt anyone because I will have my own mind."


Monday, September 5, 2011

Obsession - Afterschool Enrichment Classes and My (I Hate This Word) Over-Achiever Habits

I don't think that Labor Day should end in an anxiety attack. But, of course, in my world, it does.

I cannot sleep. And it's not for some real problem like Somalia's famine or the country's economic caca. It's for one of my usual mommy dilemmas and it matters far more than it should.

What afterschool classes should Maya take this Fall?

Once upon a time I had a job that didn't involve screaming, "Lincoln!!! Leave that cactus alone or you will get a boo boo!!! A boo boo!!! See? It's pokey! Don't touch. I said DO. NOT. TOUCH. IT!!!!!" Over and over again.

I was the Literacy Director for an educational nonprofit that provided enrichment classes for public schools all over California. I developed curriculum for kids in grades K-8 in literacy, reading comprehension, writing, etc. I also hired and trained teachers as well as taught from time to time. 

It was a great job but, when I had Maya, I made the decision to stay at home because I really didn't make enough money to justify being away from my baby. I wanted to be home with my kids every day and we are fortunate enough to be able to make that happen. 

So, now that Maya is in school, I am really excited to see her have so many opportunities to learn and grow. The problem is, of course, finding balance.

She is an outgoing kid with a curious mind and a love for learning. And she's an awful lot like her mama, she's got a bit of the drama and arts bug in her. 

Sadly, public schools cannot offer a large amount of instruction in art, music, dance, etc. so we have quench those interests outside of school.

But how much is too much? 

She's in soccer right now and loves it. It's going to be one practice a week and a game on the weekend. She gets so much exercise in addition to learning the value of good sportsmanship, discipline, perseverance, etc. 

I also just signed her up for ballet and tap class. It's once a week with a recital in December. We aren't at the competition stage so it's not a huge time or mental commitment.

Then, her school is offering a music class. It would be once a week and she could learn to play the flutophone. (I think they totally made that instrument up. Or are they just trying to BS me by calling the recorder a fancy name? We don't easily fall for that shite.) 

THEN, Maya's been asking to take art class. So the city is offering a drawing class once a week for only five weeks at a time. 

If I'm going to be honest, I want her to do it all. I know so many people will gasp and say, "You are going to stress her out!!! Kids need time to play and just be free."

I totally agree! I want her to have time to breathe and relax and all that good shit.

But here are my two being me and one being Maya. 

Me: I am an over-achiever by nature. I never want to miss a thing. Every single weekend is jam-packed with activities and shit and I'm always stressed out. But I also have a lot of great memories and feel like a well-rounded individual. 

Maya: She's like me. She isn't into sitting around and relaxing. She always wants to be with friends and DOING something. If we are home, she actually has a hard time thinking of something to do by herself. It drives me a little crazy but it's her personality. She begs for me to put on television because she just doesn't know what else to do. I would rather her be busy in classes than asking me to watch freaking Dora. I hate that bitch!

Now, I know I could've totally made Maya that way. But she doesn't appear to be a stressed out child. And, because she seems happy, I do not want to hold her back from learning all she can learn. 

So do I let her try and do it all? Or do I make a parental decision to limit her activities and just encourage her to have more free play at home?

I'll be up all night, people.

What do you think is best?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cooking -- Last Suppers

For the 20th time this year, I'm trying to diet. 

It's not going well. I'm PMS-ing, hence all I can think about it eating fries and chocolate while drinking gallons of Coke. 

I also can't stop thinking about murdering anyone who looks at me but that's not polite conversation in a post. That could get me thrown in the clinker. 

But if I were thrown in the clinker, I would have even more time to think about my last supper. I personally don't believe in the death penalty (I know, I find trouble understanding my own logic) but, if it's going to happen, shouldn't you get more than one last great meal? I'd want a whole week's worth of last meals.

Then again, I may just be grateful that someone else is cooking and doing the dishes. 

OK, my point is coming....

What meal would be your last meal on earth?

OBVIOUSLY, mine would include fries and Coke. But not just any fries. I mean, I'd totally eat any fry you give me any day of the week. But if it's my last day, I'd probably be a little choosy. So don't go to In-n-Out. Not a fan. 

My last meal would totally be this...

Shredded beef tacos with guacamole and cheese, french fries, Coke and a banana sundae for dessert. 

Another one would be....

Ribeye steak with some sort of bearnaise or blue cheese sauce, french fries and Coke.


Lomo saltado...that Peruvian dish that is a glorious stir-fry of filet and french fries together with an awesome spicy green sauce on the side.


Philipe's French Dip sandwich with fries and coke.

Is anyone else noticing here that chicken is nowhere present on my list?

Don't bring any birds near me. I've been in poultry hell long enough and I will haunt your shit if crossed.

Basically bring me some meat and potatoes. I'm a simple gal with a murderous heart. Hypothetically, of course. I'm only a hypothetical sociopath. 

My children are fine right now, why do you ask? Yes, Larry is home. Yes, he's ok. 

What would you eat, my friends?