Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Airing Dirty Laundry

Doing laundry, at any rate. Yes, today is Monday, and for the Mama P family, that means laundry day! I may spread the ten loads out over the whole week, but on a good day, like today, it gets done in one foul swoop. It's both clean smelling clothes and an arm work out as I haul my very tired laundry basket up and down the stairs at least 4 times. For Xmas I might ask Santa for a new basket. Or at least a big Pampers box. My wicker bucket finally hit the skids.

As you know by now, I'm a big believer in setting goals, even if when I don't always follow through 100%. If I get half accomplished, it's better than nothing. While I don't follow the 50's housekeeping guide to the side of my desk (so very Donna Reed with its designated hour/day of tidying to keep things pretty and pressed), certain daily routines have stuck. In fact, they have been so cemented in our lives that I dare say, as of this historic moment, they are being upgraded from weekly activity to traditions. Those items that made the cut (cue theme music now) are:

- Monday Laundry! My house might stink like an oinion, but my garage smells like a rose! (Or better stated, discount Albertson's soap. Note: For 9.99 you can get a spa size tub of laundry detergent that cleans as good, if not better, than Tide, and lasts 10 times as long. One of James better finds. Go Papa Bear!)

- Taco Tuesday! My longest tradition yet. Come any Tuesday unannounced, and you'll be treated to fine Mexican dining, Mama P style. I have 3 Fiesta Ware type dishes that hold exactly 9 toppings: cheese, oinions, tomatoes, guacamole, olives, taco shells, beans, salsa and meat. I sometimes do meat in advance so I don't have to cook that night, but even when that's not the case, I can get a meal out quicker than you can shout Taco Bell & bathroom emergency. I just added fried corn tortillas to the ensemble when I ran out of shells. Muy bien! Sophie and Nick love it so much, they pound their fists and sing "Hooray! Horray! It's Taco Tuesday!" Well, Sophie just screams "acos! acos!" and beats on table "Bueno!" or better said, "nay no!"

- Date night Saturday! We dine out, we drink Starbucks, no kids, James pays. 'Nuf said.

...and most exciting....

- 6 Hour Sunday! Okay, so this tradition (giving me much coveted alone time) has only been in place two weeks in a row, but I am already so attached, I am giving it a First Place Ribbon and its own reality series. Just try and take this away from me and I'll scratch your eyes right out.

I love the idea that there's a place for everything. Like a blanket, we have our little individual threads that make us unique, but when put together properly, we have something warm. An heirloom of memories so to speak. Of course, I can't knit. But I did pass by a group of ladies at Starbuck's once who called their group a "Stitch and Bitch". I love that. I wanted to join just for the bitch portion, but apparently you need to make something other than jokes, so I wasn't given membership.

Here is a shot of our Monday zoo visit. We had such a fabulous time, I hope to add Family Day to the list soon, as opposed to "Let's got off our ass and take the kids some place... we have no food anyway." It was a blast.

It's now 4PM. My goal: get dinner, floors and post office run done by 5. Like I said, it's the intention, not the completion, that gets me through the day.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Let Your Light Shine

Or if you have no inner energy, at least have fabulous lamps.

Check out this incredible find I got at my local thrift store. I won't give the price, because in case you come to my house, I am vain enough to have you believe it's reasonably expensive. I just think it's stunning... so much so that I am uploading 3 shots of it. It screams elegant, classy, but sassy enough in this shag carpet green to not give a crap. I WISH I had as much confidence as this diva. I love her. I will never get rid of her.

Unless someone in the Ebay community is willing to pay the Buy It Now price of 150.00.

Then it's good ridance, glass girl!

(But secretly, I priced it high with the hopes she'd have to stay put. She's like the stray white kitten I found when I was 14... so original and quirky... so perfect. I know I need her about as much as a Harry Potter bobble head, but she just makes me happy. And unlike a Harry Potter bobble head, she won't wind up on Maury Povich in ten years talking about how she was high during the entire third installment and made out with the headmaster. Who had to sit under makeup for "six hours a day! Can you believe it?" )

Is it too much for me to serenade this fixture to "You Light Up My Life?" Because after a long day of dishes and running around after kids, she really does "Give Me Hope... To Carry On..."

On a final note, I'd like to give James some credit for putting the skip back in my step. I had six hours off yesterday to putter around my favorite haunts. He took me to dinner tonite. He even paused his computer game to go with the kids and I to the zoo (on a Monday no less). And... he encouraged me to buy the year long pass so we can go back again. To prove this event took place, I even have photos. (Though I don't love them quite as much as this lamp, hence I'm not uploading them now.)

Something is amiss. I am getting time off, dinners out & family day trips to the zoo. I could say it's all because I stood up a few weeks ago and finally asked for what I need - an obvious "duh" thing, but so many women don't. I could say it's that James really loves me and wants to spoil me. I could say it's a combo of both.

But I think I'll credit the lamp.

The wonderful, retro-y, magical lamp.

Excuse me while I go lick the glass.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Don't Call ER But...



HOURS... 6....myself... me.... today.

In such coma relaxation from mumbled words are my.


Lunch out



Store thrift

Kids home to see happy me.

Drooling monitor over keyboard.

I happy me.


PS: I almost titled this blog "I'm Not Terry Schiavo But I'm Still In a Coma". Then I thought better of it.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I Feel Awful... All full, I Mean

Does anyone else eat so much on Thanksgiving that they might as well stick a string up your ass & add you to the parade in New York? Good LOOOOOOORD. Between my in-laws' fiesta at Stella's, as well as my mom's, I have eaten enough turkey, potatoes, greenbeans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, bread, pumpkin pie and various jello/fruit/yam concoction-thingy-ma-jingys to last me at least.... two days.

Highlite of Stella's? Coming home (not that her dinner wasn't a blast... it was) and driving Nick through the Calabasas Commons. Rich shopping centers have their share of pretentious Valley elitists, but they also have the most fabulous Xmas trees. It was like Disneyland - nothing out of place except my hair. Some people might balk at the over-the-topness of this consumer extravaganza, but it made Nick happier than a sale at Fred Siegal, so I just sucked it all up. Well, I sucked as much up as I had room for, after all the aforementioned food.

Highlite of my mom's? Leaving Nick for the night to crash with Grandma. I adore my son, but it was so wonderful to go home and just relax with James. Sophie crashed in the car, so we both ebayed side by side, the epitomy of modern romance. "I love you, but I will not touch you. If you want to communicate, even if I'm sitting next to you, shoot me an email for a quicker response. Or grunt. But email beeps are preferred.").

After an hour I reluctantly turned off my machine to turn on my husband. This entailed taking the very sexy tutorial of his favorite computer game. I really do deserve an Oprah nomination for "Most Devoted Wife" for doing this. It took all my willpower to read the words across the screen and ignore the online guide, a stoned looking accountant type in the upper left screen who, in between ordering directions, looked like some cult member who was about to ask me to shroud myself in purple and down cianide. After a half hour (29 minutes too long) I now know how to right click "Settlers", left click them to various spots on the map (based on turns left, indicated on the lower left boxy deal), build a hut, masonry or farm, create a scout (which makes all foreign lands friendly, as opposed to "we're going to kill you with our spears and angry bullls").

I figure if I can build a wonder, triple my population and conquer some heathen nation under my warrior name - Mama P (of course) - James can navigate his way through a Nordstroms sale with me one day. Though truthfully, I think the roaming savages of his game are more civilized than some of these princesses at Topanga Plaza. I mean, get your head cut off with a sickle or your eyes scratched out with acrylics? It's a tough call.

(Pictured: My kids... decked out in their finest holiday wear. I actually had a brown and orange vest for Nick, but nothing matching for Sophie. And given I now have seven - I kid you not - holiday dresses/outfits for the little diva hanging in her closet, I thought I'd have her display the first course early.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like...Materialism

It's not even December yet, and I already have enough catalogues to build a Habitat for Humanity house. Which would be ironic, because while the world really does need more shelter, I wonder how much these homes need a $150.00 bullfrog bookend? ... "We don't have enough money for food, but look at this fabulous $300.00 silver nut tray shaped like a horse's head... No, wait... that's Maria Shriver..." (Sidenote: I actually find Maria Shriver quite stunning. And classy. But she does have a little horsey quality to her... the hair perhaps? Or maybe it's because she's married to a man who rumors say is hung like one? The verdict is still out.)

Getting back to these catalogues, here is Mama P's official stance on Xmas: I love it. I mean, LOVE IT. The lights, the sounds, the smells, the glorious anticipation of family chats by the fireside, resplete with the dog licking off the remaining pumpkin pie and upchucking on the linoleum. I've been known to listen to Dean Martin's "Rudy the Red Nosed Reindeer" in the middle of July if I'm having a rough morning. I have my local radio station, 103.5, preset for 24 hour/day holiday classics. Bring on the Back Street Boys crooning "Silent Night". Send in the Spice Girls rendition of "Sleigh Ride". I hardly even listen to country music during this season, because while one of my other guilty pastimes is all honky tonk all the time, there is nothing worse than hearing an L.A born cowboy screeching "Santa Baby".

What I HATE is the pressure to buy. And honestly, I joke about being cheap, but in truth, I'm not. I like nice things as much as the next girl. Just look at my obsession with making my living room perfect. I don't want a house full of crap. I believe in selecting just the right product that reflects your inner soul. This philosophy extends to buying gifts for others. Example: I might salivate over an overpriced tee shirt that reads "I'm tired of being my wife's arm candy", but I'd never purchase that for James (not when there are so many Star Trek figurines on Ebay). Gifts are for marking special occasions, not getting what you like. Which also leads me to...

The most important things in life aren't gifts. It's time spent with those we love. It's remembering how lucky we are to have what we have. If James does nothing but give me time to myself to breathe (with a card that mentions he's crazy for me) I'm a pretty happy camper. Sure, I want the diamond earrings. But I also want my kids to go to college. I want happy memories of us baking cookies and laughing around the fire. And yeah, sometimes crap happens, and life isn't so rosy. Fantastic. But while my babes are young and innocent, I want to build traditions, not debt. Until they are old enough to get mad at me for picking them up at preschool in a shirt that reads "Embarrassing my Kids... Just One More Service I Offer", they are getting a homemade ornament with their apple cheeked grins on it for Xmas blackmails to come.

Second Side note of the night: To prove that I'm not against gifts, I am telling the world "Thank you, Kim, for that amazing gift card! So unnecessary, but so appreciated. Now stop buying me coffee and start your own blog because your writing is great."

Third Side note of the evening: I am going to stop complaining about a maid. First off, James is getting me one for Xmas. (See, time, not gifts, is the best). Second, I'm now paranoid that people will think I'm a cry baby and send me gift cards when really, sometimes I'm just having a bad day and want to crawl into the womb and not come out until my carpets smell like bad carwash Pine Tree Vanilla - hence I complain in my blog. I do know that I am the most lucky woman alive to live this life. I thank God each day for James - he's the string on my balloon. And of course, Nick and Sophie are the helium. I'm also the most neurotic person in the world, hence I'm the balloon flying all over the valley wondering "Am I flying to high? I love this bold shade I've picked out for myself, but will it force my kids into therapy early in life?"

Well, I'm off to relax with James. He took the day off and cooked dinner for me like the old days. As much as I love my Wednesday leftovers (one day it was turkey and egg sandwiches with corn), I'm looking forward to the stew.

And our talk.

And crashing on him before he gets two minutes in.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Room With a View...

...That I can live with.

Move over, Nake Berkus. Mama P has entered the building!

Going Crazy... For Chicken

So I inserted a small adendum to my last post which I will repost here. This diamond nugget advice is crucial to all moms, busy gals, vegetarians and all around cheapskates, of which, out of these 4 categories, I fit 3.

** El Pollo Loco has the BEST dollar menu on the planet. I highly recommend the cheese quesadilla. For a buck you get four grilled pieces of flour tortilla with generous helpings of cheese. These steamy numbers are a savior for moms and non-moms alike. There's also the drumsticks, beans rice & cheese burrito- known to Pollofytes everywhere as the 'BRC' - and even churros (which I have not yet sampled given my penchant for giving up one addiction for the next. Sadly to say, I have yet to say "I have given up McDonald cookies and replaced them with... water! Chilly, delicious and life giving, they are soooo much better than fried lard patties! Mmmm, call me Aqua Mama!" So, on that note, I give you...

*** McDonald sugar cookies --- I love them so much... how do I count the ways? The buttery goodness, the crisp outside, the mushy inside... the changing toppings from season to season: orange sprinkles for Halloween, red and green for xmas, red white and blue for The Fourth of July. It's a sad stretch of time for me August through September when there's only plain cookies with sugar crystals on. If you hit on a good day, you might be treated to a few 4th of July hanger onners, but these leftovers can usually double as sugar craving fixes or hockey pucks. Regardless of texture or color, these bad boys come three for a dollar. My motto: If you're gonna keep your fat prego ass, do it for cheap.

More later. I'm off to finish painting my living room while Nick reads to Sophia upstairs. (This will most likely result in a new blog this evening about how he stuffed her in the lower pj drawer, but fingers crossed both walk out unscathed.)

Monday, November 21, 2005


...from a long day of running around.

First we hit Toddler B's Sherman Oaks casa for a rousing run through the yard, scurrying through tents and the obligatory Thomas the Train. B's mama made lunch for the kids, I made her chicken salad from the steamed chicken I originally brought for Sophie, and she returned the favor with a tuna sandwich and baked chips. Despite more than a few time outs and one large pissing contest between Nick, Sophie & Toddler B. over a muddy plastic car, it was a relaxing afternoon. When two moms get together and split parenting, it conjures up images of kibutz living... one automatically chops while the other gently disciplines... one washes while the other dries... One changes a diaper while the other wordlessly pulls out wipie. Somehow information is exchanged, support is given, and plans are made for the next communal gathering - in our case, a trip to the zoo. (For any moms who are reading, I find the most interesting part of female caregiving is the ability to stretch a 15 word sentence over the course of an hour... "Do you have any -- Sophie get down off that table--- knives--- Nick, you hit Toddler B one more time we're leaving -- for the onion--Yes, Nick, that trains boiler is busted--which I'd like to put--SOPHIE MARE GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE CAT DISH! - - in this tuna.)

After a two hour pit stop at Casa di Mama P, where Sophie miraculously slept and Nick pretended to snooze (and I pretended not to notice so I could drink a cup of coffee in peace) we were off to my friend JK's for a mom's meeting. JK is more open than I am when it comes to having people over, despite the circumstances. In her case, she was knee deep in kitchen remodeling, yet she was able to prepare Thanksgiving handouts for the kids, lead a craft, set up food and sent me home with hand-me-downs. JK is one of my oldest friends (we met when we were 5 at a summer school class... we made aprons. She obviously got the hang of it, while that was the last time I ever wore one.) JK is the no nonsense, coupon cutting, craft queen of the Valley and I am blessed to have her in my life. In a show of appreciation, she wins the El Pollo loco quesadilla package tomorrow night so she doesn't have to set up a makeshift cook top in her garden (and believe me... this chick would). ** Note: El Pollo Loco has the BEST dollar menu on the planet. I highly recommend the cheese quesadilla. For a buck you get four grilled pieces of flour tortilla with generous helpings of cheese. A savior for moms and non-moms alike.

After prying Nick off of Toddler M's dollhouse, we met my sister, Hennie, and her kids, Barbie and Ken, at McDonalds. It was all fun and games until an oversized grade schooler blew his nose threw the open weave tubing, narrowly missing my left eye.

On the way home, out of nowhere, Nick proclaims "Talk about Xmas, Mommy! Talk about Xmas!" I put on my Sunday School hat and immediately talked about the baby Jesus who was born in a barn. How his mommy and daddy loved him so much. How he came to earth to save us from bad things. Which sounded great, until it turned into...And we celebrate this birth by buying Xmas trees, and keeping the fireplace clear for Santa to come stuff you silly with presents. And we drink egg nog and hang lights and go shopping and have to keep from saying that expression you're not allowed to say when the BMW nabs our parking spot because they obviously are more important than we are.

I gotta work on this talk obviously. When I was through, Nick thought Joseph was a reindeer and Mary was the elf that saved Jesus from the Grinch at the mall who took his parking spot. It's a work in progress.

Tonite, after baths... after I read Nick his turtle book from James' folks.. after we brushed teeth and he used the toilet for the last time... we lay in bed and said prayers. And then I sang to him one of my favorite songs from my youth "Longer than, there've been fishes in the ocean... I've been in love with you." And by the end, like a scene from Mary Poppins, that kid was snoring. I ran my fingers through his hair and thanked God for this little person that lights me up more than any holiday bulbs. And despite all the running around earliar, my brain took a breather, and it was peaceful. Love was tangible and goodness abounded. I made a note to myself to remind Nick that it's these feelings that Xmas should be about.

Then I went downstairs to Ebay and make some cash.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Let the Feast Begin!

You know the holidays are fast approaching when you get the detailed email from the kids’ great grandma, Stella, regarding what to bring, how to bring it, where to park and how to emotionally approach the event. I adore everything about this wacky lady, from her quotations around everything (to carve the “bird”…. K, bring a “Green”…) With so many quotations around everything, like cramming for a final, I take the safe approach and assume everything is important. But should I forget, "no problem". Stella has every dish, every plate and every utensil set three weeks in advance with sticky notes to remind her, and us, what is needed, where it is needed, and again, why it is needed. I fully expect a card near Sophia’s strap-on booster chair (which Stella graciously bought at Target last week for nine bucks – she’s a nifty thrifty like me) that reads “Paventi great granddaughter – Mangia!”

Between my four, James folks, his sister K. & hubby Mr. T., cousin M. and various neighbors in the mobile home park, this double wide will be rocking. Excuse me, after one martini from Stella, and the fact that everyone, but me, is Italian, it will be talking and rocking.

Did I mention Stella won first prize at her park’s Halloween party for her classy rendition of a pregnant ballerina? At 84, she’s online daily, drives everywhere, just got back from Maui with her young friend (Young friend meaning only fifty four), goes to parties with me and has hit on 30 year olds (I quote you… her arms were around a friend of mine, D, who at the time was 35… and she says “If I were only 30 years younger” at which I replied ‘You’d be 50” at which she replied “You’re a smart ass. Just like my family. You can stay.” Oh, and she now has a blog. This KILLS me. Link to come.

I don’t expect festivities to be quiet, but life is too short for silence, and as long as Stella’s throwing the party, I’m going to crash it. (I will also be crashing my SUV if I drink her martini, hence, it will be Thousand Oaks finest tap water on the rocks for me. Cecelia can attest to my martini handling skills)

Here’s the first email (of several I’m sure). Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Sidenote: I must add that I find it hysterical that while I am bringing a bottle of wine, and K. is bringing only a green dish, we get primo double wide parking spaces. Meanwhile, JV and Lottie are schlepping the turkey and stuffing and they get to “take a hike”. Ha! Ha! Ha! That tickles me to no end. Drag out the turkey feathers, I can’t stop laughing.

Stella’s email

Hey family ! Now hear this....... Our Thanksgiving dinner will be simple, but the get-together, fun...

Plan on being her for drinks at 4:00 (JV to carve the "bird" at 4:30 (cuz I need the oven for a half hour before dinner to warm foods..), and we'll have dinner at 5 PM.

I have made and in the freezer, a sweet-potato dish; a Ms Cubbison's stuffing dish, a potato casserole, and will have a green salad. I have dinner rolls, 3 bottles of wine, pie/cake, coffee and "enough" simple-type orderves and chips. I also have plenty of Vodka, Sprite and several beers, plus milk....and oh, also the whole cranberry sauce (canned, but good). All I need now is: from Lottie...the "bird", un-stuffed, with directions to cook so it'll be ready to carve by 4:30; " Lottie...the gravy (from Wms-Sanoma?... lots of it) " K. new ...a "green" (warm) veggie dish " Andrea...a simple bottle of wine ("1" inexpensive bottle is enough...I already have 3) and, of course, I will need your "appetites" and happy faces.... (Andrea - don't need a hi-chair, etc.)

The driveway will be open to park 2 cars (one for James and one for K., cause they will be carrying things....so JV and Lottie "take a hike" (pun, natch!). I, too, will be taking a hike and will park my Toyota also in the guest parking below. I invited Michael who said he would like to join us but may have plans to use his place at the river over the long weekend; said he would let me know....would be nice to have him.

Any questions, email me. Otherwise, that's the plan...and don't need any help. It's all done...and pls, do not bring extras as it will only be going back home with you (I'm starting a "diet" the following week.....) You can stop laughing now...... luv my family! mom/gram/gr-gram

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A Comment from the Star Trek Gallery

James read my latest blog and remarked that his fabulous cd is NOT Age of Empires, but the newly released Civilization IV. Ooooh. I'll mark that on my my "What to Remember" list along with flu shots, Costco diapers and learning Farse.

Friday, November 18, 2005

No More Tears for Fears

Had a much better day today. It's amazing what good talk and a plan can do. Just the idea that I have six hours on Sunday to do what I want... be it write, paint, thrift, or simply sit in m SUV in front of the Canoga Park El Pollo Loco and people watch makes me as giddy as an Oprah Winfrey/Tom Cruise interview. I'm not about to jump on a sofa, but considering yesterday I was this close to landing on a therapist's couch, I'm pretty content.

Nick and Sophie were in great form today. They actually sat in the kitchen sink for over an hour while I took photos of my last remaining Ebay items. As much as I love the anniversary edition of "Star Trek Omnipedia: a voice-activated guide to the future", it's about to beam out of here.

Nick is now into Spanish, and he's into pretend play. I smiled as I watched him say to Sophie "Hola. This is an azul truck. Watch as it goes under the rojo bridge! Watch out for the ugly old troll! Never mind... that's just mama."

I took my brother to Social Security while my mother watched the kids. I do not lie when I say it was heaven. For those of you faithful viewers, you know that I grapple with religion. Which means sometimes I doubt if heaven really does exist. But today... being alone for 2 hours... I am seeing the light. It's as if God himself sat in my passenger seat and whispered, "Child... take this Diet Coke... ponder the trash on DeSoto...and be happy... for this is Heaven. But before you do, take a course at the DMV, because you drive like crap.") As Brother M. waited his turn on hard plastic government chairs, I ran errands... the tile store for an estimate on kitchen floors (I'm thinking brown and black ceramic diner tiles... as of YESTERDAY. James is thinking inexpensive linoleum, as of February... Decision T.B.A.. ) I hit McDonalds for a Diet Coke and 2.5 cookies (as opposed to 3... I'm whittling my way off them... I also lie like a mofo). My final destination? Predicatably the thrift store where I nabbed 150.00 bucks worth of kids clothes for nine dollars. I can't wait to send Nick off to Catholic preschool in his Harley Davidson black and orange sports shirt.

With the wind in my hair and my country music blasting, I almost forgot that this time yesterday I was crying my eyes out. Clearly I don't set the bar too high, or I am low maintenance, because by my smile, you'd have thought I was in a convertible Mercedes on Sunset. It felt that good. Botoxed blond in a botoxed Mercedes cut me off.... I flashed her my best grin. Teenager in a beat up bug gave me the finger... I just winked. The gardener in front of me could have dumped cow shit on my roof and I'd have been, "Ooooh, I guess I'll be gardening this weekend! Gracias, Senor!"

My kids are now sleeping (one on James). As I type to the background of James' Age of Empires computer cd, I might as well be an animated princess called,"The Queen of Thrifting who Captured Time in a Bottle"... My voice would boom in surround sound "Beware you crafty knights... I don't care how shiny your armor is... you take away my personal time and I'll slit your throats quicker than a bubbly goes down mine. But before you die, can you clean my toilets?"

Did I mention how much happier I am today? Wacky, fried, and still not in love with my living room paint, but happy. And I can't even credit the Zoloft. Sometimes, just when things seem unmanageable, life throws you a curve ball of joy. Be it some money, a good friend, or in my case, some time. It's true that the best things in life are free.

Except for maids.

They cost money.

And I'd sell James to have one still, but that's just me.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fireside Chats

Who issss this woman? Is she really that happy to make lists in her Landsend sweater and suburban track home? Is it just me that makes up their real stories? Like... I think her name is Brenda. She's 28 but looks 35 due to 3 kids and a bad dye job. She used to be a stripper, but then met Doug, a married exec stopping through Barstow on a business trip. She's since converted to Christianity and learned the wonders of cock... I mean... crock pot cooking. She freezes with ease and goes to Curves. As she sits on her Martha Stewart K-mart sofa, she wonders when Doug is going to call. Is he really out at Knights of Columbus or is he plugging the waitress from the Waffle Hut? Should she go back and get her dental hygenist degree or get knocked up one more time to stave off the boredom. She would like to paint her walls purple, but Doug doesn't like girly colors, so she sucks it up and plans Sara's fourth birthday party. Sara is really into princesses. Mikey's into Thomas the Train. Jeb is into breastfeeding. Brenda's into... well, not so much. She wonders what her best friend, Kelly, is doing these days. Is she still doing lap dances, or is a baby sitting on it instead?

Does anyone else ever do this?

Restoration Dorkware

I had the day from hell. Not only did I do something against my grain and spend $65.00 on two gallons of paint from Restoration Hardware (that I could get for $40.00 from Home Depot), but when I got home, the color I picked was the same as my original wall color... this ivory white... the very color of the tower I think James should be putting me on, but I digress...

To make matters worse, I poked a hole in one lid since I was too impatient to find the correct tool, so one of the cans was rendered unreturnable. Then I couldn't find the receipt. Luckily a salesclerk took pity on me, found my paperwork from earliar in the day and gave me 32.50 back on my Visa. Of course, prior to my Restoration Hardware return, I bought two gallons of paint from my local Catalina store - boring yellow beige (which I have yet to open and would not be the least surprised to find Booger Sage.) So not only am I in the hole 30.00, but I feel ridiculous for buying paint purely for the market affect of "oooh, you'll feel rich and elegant with your high-end mall paint". It's like all my decisions lately can be blamed on paint fume highs, but I haven't even finished the job.

And before the Catalina store? Breakdown from hell. I could not stop crying today. The dishes. The constant grind of the kids. The driving. The coupon cutting. As I sat boo hooing in the Target parking lot, I impulsively called James at work - from the emergency cell phone no less. When he asked "Do you need me to come home?" I did a very un-Andrea like thing and sobbed, "Yes."

Of course, before he came home and saved the day (which he did... hugs, dinner out, errand running with me) he emailed me a whole list of what I was doing as of late to "work harder, not smarter" and I countered him point for point. While he is right... I do too much... he also has no idea how hard it is to raise 2 kids on a budget. To do the best you can with limited time.. To focus on the positive always. I let him know that I saw his points, but that I needed what I needed, too. If he could go to lunch each day, I deserved a maid. If he got Saturdays, I deserved Sundays to myself. If he got computer nights out, I needed more week nights out. And... I didn't want him coming home telling me that I ruined his day. I know how hard he works, but damnit, so do I. I told the side of me that is always "doing it all" to shut the fxx up and told James that despite my independence, I'm a person. Better stated, a female on PMS who sometimes gets emotional. Who sometimes can't always shop alone. And go to kids' parties alone. And paint alone. And cook alone. While he's out traveling the world for business, I'm home with two kids. And once in a while it gets to me.

And it's Christmas. I used to love the holidays: the bright lights and the music and the food and the presents and the delicious anticipation of Xmas morning. But ever since my dad died two years ago Thanksgiving, I cringe. I think of all the wonderful times I had with him and my mom... waking up without a care in the world to presents and a great meal. Sure, I was a kid, and now I'm a responsible adult. It's different. But it doesn't make me miss my memories any less.

Topanga T promised that she and I would take a mall day together to take in the sites. We'd shop. We'd drink a glass of wine. We'd stick the kids on Santa's knee.

It's going to be so god damn festive I can't stand it.

Especially when my walls are done.

And while I didn't win the maid debate, guess who has 6 hours every Sunday to herself? Now if only Cecelia would post a comment, call me back, or email me, maybe we could make plans to do some damage. (Where the hell are you Cecelia?????)

Side note: Part of my frustraion, besides lack of time, is lack of feeling... stupid to say... but pretty. I lost my mojo somewhere between my episotomy and the rinse cycle. My last ten pounds are sticking to me as tight as the guilt I have from purchasing over-inflated chain store paint. I swear, I'd do anything to lose weight except diet and exercise. This subject came up with my ultra thin husband a few nights ago. As we lay there, him trying to sleep, me trying to annoy him, I was bemoaning the hard core truth that to get ultra shapely, I would have to give up my daily McDonalds cookies. I'd have to plunk down 40 bucks on a used double stroller and start walking to Arco again. I'd have to not count the peanut butter toast (eaten after 7PM) as protein for my growing soul. Nothing but tenacity and sweat was going to shed my zaftig curves.

James, who I assumed was zoning me out or dreaming of alien women, piped up "What does zafig mean? I told him it meant curvy, rubenesque. With a devil grin, he grabbed a belly roll and exclaimed"zaftig!" Then he'd grab my thigh and shout "zaftig!". Then my left cheek... "Zaftig!". After the 4th "Zaftig!" I grabbed him a bit on the lower extremity and exclaimed "soft dig!"

He laughed. His ability to chuckle at me is one of his sexier qualities. Not so sexy that he got laid, but sexy none the less.

I'm off to drop a can of paint, wake the babies, and stuff myself silly with carbs.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm a Flamer

As in Flaming June. Here she is above right in orange. The fabulous diva next to her is Woman in a Purple Coat by Matisse.

I've loved these prints long before I had kids, but now, they seem to resonate even more - a fantasy life, if you will, of laying in peace. No interruptions. Ready to be served. Of course, I have my own opinions about what each gal is thinking. June is more the princess type - the one who gets her nails done and shops for shoes at DSW (though she's not wearing them now since she kicked them off after a long night of dancing). She's into hair and decorating and while kind, is a bit self-centered. She doesn't think twice about that five dollar cappucino. She's worth it, no? She goes through men like Evian and sleeps in 200 thread count sheets, which someone washes for her. She's demanding and fairly self-serving, but she's so beutiful, you can't not hang out with her and drink her up.

The Woman in the Purple Coat... she's a bit more my style. She is wearing things her career bought for her... she's a fast talker, not one to rest. Even in sitting, she's got this "Move Out of My Way" quality to her. You either love her or hate her, and regardless of your opinion, admire her. (Of course, I have no career now, but this is my art fantasy, so I can inject any opinion I want onto these women. Who wants to see a painting of a tired mom in vomit stained sweats? "Post Pardum & Some Sticky Wipes".... Ooooh, can you see it hanging at ZGallery now?

To find your own inner art goddess, you can check out Art.com.

Well, I'm off to spend the day with the martini goddess, Stella. If Picasso painted her, her mobile home would be in bright Italian reds and yellows. Her 1960's decor would have aqua and purple hues. The brush strokes would be hurried - like her talking talking talking. Stella is 84 and like a fine piece of art, priceless.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I'll Take the Black & Tan

As in accessories and wall color. Lord knows after my experience on Saturday, I shan't be drinking any time soon. Despite my affinity for all things merry and bright, I can't live with the pumpkin orange. Last night, as I looked at James, his face started blending into the drywall. It was as if I painted the wall caucasion pink. I can't take it. So, I turned off artistic voice, and turned on Cecelia practical (no offense, lovely Cecelia, but you really are practical. Which is why I need you around.) I whipped out the Pottery Barn catalog and chose a lovely shade of tan that has a hint of yellow in it. Yes, K, I am joining the ranks of boring T.O.. It shall be boring and simple but full of fancy accessories and art prints. Vibrant, bold art pieces... that I can't yet afford. But they're looking awesome in my head. Ya'll are my witness when I say that one day double matted Flaming June or Woman in a Purple Coat will hang boldly on my waspy, unoriginal, but fabulously painted, walls.

I am done with Act 1 and on to Act 2 of my pilot. I am hitting a stride, which makes me happy. Normally I wouldn't take this long to complete a project, but having kids is sort of like walking around with two bowling balls all day. It's possible, but it's heavy. Sometimes you need to put them down to get things accomplished. But what if your errand involves hills? The ball could roll down the hill and smash the old lady selling oranges on the corner. You have to be on guard. But it's worth it, because bowling is fun - especially bumper bowling where you're guaranteed to make a strike and everyone is happy. Especially the toddlers. Which, speaking of, leads me back to why this script is taking longer than usual.

My storage unit/office is almost ebayed off. I am concerned about one item that sold for sixty bucks. Personally, I wouldn't have paid 10 cents for it. Then again, I am also notoriously cheap. Except when it comes to my time - which I do give up pretty generously. Bottom line: I'm thinking any time now the buyers are going to demand a refund, but no word yet. Fingers crossed they like their brothel style/beads falling off/piece of ca ca lighting fixture.

Side note: Nick and Sophie are tearing out magazine pages as I type. I already scolded them once. Am I the worst mother on the planet if I just let it go and pretend I don't hear it? Nick is fully toilet trained. He is off the bottle. He sleeps through the night... isn't that enough for one day? Then again, cut to fifteen years later when we're talking through bars at Juvie Hall because I was too lax. Ah well. At least I'll have his room as an office.

What else...

I am not only a delinquent parent, but a delinquent citizen. I did not vote this past election. I did not vote for our past president. I did not vote for the WGA awards. I did not vote for our preschool auction. I have no excuse. I am not informed, aware, or at all poltically enlightened. I did take down some links Cecelia sent me, and I'm attempting to read up at least 10 minutes/day on local events. But the world at large, I'm ashamed to admit, like staring at my living room walls too long, is a big giant blur. I don't know the difference between the House of Representatives and the House of Pancakes. I have no right to complain if I don't vote or stay in touch.

So I will try.

Just like I will try to query magazines. And parent my kids. And get in shape. And go to church. And maintain a romance with my man.

I wonder sometimes if I come off self-depricating. Like, I'm really not as fat as I make it out. Or as lazy or unaware of the world. But I do have goals I want to set, and since I don't have the time to do everything I'd like, due to kid obligations, the ghosts that spur me on come out as howling neurosis on the web.

Lucky you.

But hey, if you don't like it, just delete me. Otherwise, you're a freak too, and glad to have you on board.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Punch Drunk Love

Perhaps the decision to paint my walls day glow tangerine is a result of the previous evening. James and I had 4 hours to ourselves. We sauntered up to the bar at the Olive Garden and, like Cheshire cats, ordered two martinis, giddy with our early arrival and long stretch of people watching ahead. All I know is that for six one, I am a lightweight. If you put me in the ring with Gary Coleman, I'd be knocked out before he took his first punch. By the time Cecelia and Slim arrived, I could barely make it through dinner. In fact, I didn't. I had to excuse myself and pass out in the car while James paid the bill.

I don't remember the drive home.

I do remember rushing past the babysitter, who was shocked we were home two hours early. I told her "I don't feel well, James will pay you."

And then I got under the covers and crashed, head spinning... ready to vomit... more sick than any of my two pregancies.

ONE martini, people. ONE.

I suck suck suck suck suck.

James and I have another five hour date planned for this Saturday (thanks to a babysitting birthday gift from my sister, L.) I'm already hearing cracks from him about,"Hey, where do you think we can go for 45 minutes before you pass out on the couch?"

I hate that I can't drink.

I hate my living room walls.

But I love my Ebay this week. Making some money! Ya'll might get two gifts from the Salvation Army this year.

Okay, off to finish bathing children and make my writing plan for the week. Did I mention I have one and a half weeks to finish this damn pilot? I may not blog as the deadline gets closer. In fact, I may not bathe or cook or change diapers. We all may stink like crap, but my script will smell like roses. And then it will sell. And then I can get a personal chef, maid and nanny to help us all smell glorious again.

...."Delusion" - the latest perfume from Mama P. Available at cul de sacs near you.

Afternoon Delight

The first upshot of my Sunday? I baked my first turkey and despite both smoke alarms going off, my fifteen pound winged buddy tastes delicioso (sorry to Cecelia, a vegetarian super stud). I'm seeing turkey salad, turkey soup and a lovely batch of turkey cookies in my future. And yes, a living creature might be head first in a pot in my refridgerator, but I have a whole week ahead of me of stress free dinners. Which means at 5pm I'm not going loco. Which means the only bird James comes home to at the end of his day is on his dinner plate.

The second upshot of my Sunday? While the turkey was making my house smell almost as enticing as a maid (but not quite) James watched the rugrats so I could paint my living room. In two and a half hours, I taped, patched holes, and painted two walls. This includes cleanup and pictures back on the wall. (A first for me, who is known to take three months to complete one wall, all the while leaving open paint cans and emergency room-inducing screws littering the floor, not to mention enough paint to give our 1950's wood floor the look of a mechanic's shop).

While the end result was a professional looking paint job, it looks like someone vomited an orange push up in my living room.

I'm trying to tell myself that this color is what I had anticipated: warm... rich... indicative of the vibrant life I lead (inside my head). When one walks in, they will have memories of fall... soothing smells of pumpkin pie and lazy summers by a lake. This hue whispers artist... funky enough to be original but mellow enough to shrug, "I didn't try that hard."

And then when I take off my Raybans the delusion party is over and the crowd is screaming "You tacky Walmart Valley Girl, you have no taste. Go back to K-mart and get some Martha Stewart mellow yellow."

I'm keeping it until Sunday when I have my painting date once again. I'm taking suggestions. And sure, put on your sunglasses first. Research says if you stare too long you might blur your vision.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Apple of My Eye

After a second visit to Kaiser today, and a scream session under ultraviolet lighting, the doctor pronounced Sophie's eye all healed. He also gave her a full bill of health for her lungs, informing me that he has not heard decibals hit that high in quite some time.

We entered the waiting room to have my mom inform me that Dominic played the whole time with the beads on the wall. He would make up stories with them. "Green ball, catch the red one. Blue ball, go to the castle." This was all fine and good until he started moving them one after the other and stating "God Damnit. God Damnit. God Damnit". He wasn't angry or anything, just making a statement.

I need to work on that.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My First Submission

Okay, so it's not a submission yet. It's an article that needs a query to certain magazines. And the cuss words have to be taken out (not mine, the authors) depending on what publication I submit it to, but it's done. It's been checked off my to-do list and sent to the author for editing. After a week of fighting a cold, scurrying Sophie to Kaiser for a ripped eye cornea, dealing with busted cars, rain and a surprise job orders (long story) , it's a blessing to have this off my mind. And I'm proud of it. I can now sleep in coughy, achy, sneezy peace. My remaining goal: The pilot. I didn't make this Friday's mark, but I'll hit the Thanksgiving draft mark, and then I can get my Girl Scout Badge. And stuff myself silly with turkey. And sleep like the dead. (Oh wait, I have kids. I'll be too busy feeding them turkey to eat it myself. And with my luck, those rugrats won't sleep, which mean I won't either. But I'll still be thankful, because that's how dorky I am.)

Please let me know if this article would make you consider reading this book. Or not. I'm open to suggestions (If you hate it, save it for Monday so I can finish my pilot in a delusional state of accomplishment. Grassy ass)

The article:

Marrit Ingman’s musical tastes range from The Telephone Company (popular among the toilet training crowd) to Nine Inch Nails. She’s an advocate of breast feeding and organic foods. She swills coffee and is a self-proclaimed pie junkie. She’s a devoted wife and mother. Yet when her son was 15 months, she considered driving her car off Highway 183 to get away from the pressures of family life.

Such is the duality of 33-year old author, Marrit Ingman. In her first book, Inconsolable, published by Seal Press, Ingman portrays a dark, disturbing, and real version of her experience with post pardum depression. If Brooke Shields is the Hollywood PPD cover girl, Ingman is the anti-Hollywood mug shot. Raw, raging, and always poignant, one isn’t sure to wash her mouth out with soap or hug her.

Academically educated and schooled by life, Ingman’s writing is at once intimidating and approachable. It’s intense and casual. Not many people can use the words ‘platitudinous’ and ‘bad-ass mama’ in the same sentence, but Ingman rocks it. If Ingman were a baker, her cakes would be fluffy, but the frosting would be black. It’s this darkness, and eventual journey into light, that makes Ingman’s book so compelling.

Inconsolable isn’t a book that sugar coats the post-pardum. There’s no black and white portrait of Ingman on the front cover, looking wistfully away from the camera in classic Herb Ritt’s contemplation. Instead, Ingman shines a glaring spotlight on her mental deterioration. Part Girl scout leader, part crime scene investigator, this author is a no nonsense mama when it comes to telling it like it is – detail by gory detail. Take page 4 as an example: “With PPD, you might feel as if you caused a person to exist and every moment of his or her life is misery. You have made life’s biggest and most irrevocable mistake. You need to get the fuck out of here, and you’ll do whatever you can-you’ll put a gun in your mouth, you’ll cut yourself – to stop the racing thoughts in your head… you are a piece of shit. Killing yourself would be a blessing to your child.”

While the faint of heart might initially cross Inconsolable off their book club list, they might also reconsider switching their coffee to whiskey and giving it another go. What Ingman’s book lack’s in platitudes it gains in reality. And like truth of any kind, this book is real, and one needn’t be afraid. Ingman would be the first to agree that if Woman #1 in the book club never had an ounce of post pardum depression, good for her. She can use this book as a “Thank God that was never me” example. But say Woman #2 had some thoughts about hating herself and her child, but all she had was Woman #1 to talk to? Inconsolable would do a fabulous job of making her not feel so alone.

Of all the insights Ingman has into womens’ many expectations of motherhood, it’s this theme of isolation that seems to rise again and again. In her chapter “The United States of Generica” she states, “I saw all these mothers walking around with their babies in Pope-globe hermetic strollers. I had no idea there were so many other people with children in my town. I’d flag them down, but there’s no place for us to stop and stand, to talk to one another… it concerns me that for so many post-pardum women walking around the mall with the baby is their way to ‘go out.’ Go out and what? Be isolated in public?”

On several occasions, Ingman delves into the concept that while mothers go to places where other mothers are, everyone works so hard to pretend that they aren’t mothers. When she first discovered she was pregnant, she admits she had unrealistic fantasies herself: the Ikea rocker, the baby sling, the cool haircut, and her baby in retro tee shirts. She’d be so cool, no one would even know she was a mom! But life changes, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad. And her message is loud and clear: It’s okay. She smirks, “I sure wish I could be sexy or political, though. I wish depressive mothers could have alt.fan Usenet groups. I wish people would write graphic novels about depressive maternal superheroes who mange to get out of bed and floss and resist suicide.”

While much of Ingman’s novel focuses on dire facts of post pardum depression, it’s her personal anecdotes that keep the reader from feeling like they’re being preached at. There’s laugh out loud passages of play group drinking games. There’s the Leapfrog caterpillar her husband, Jim, programmed to say a certain F word. There’s three pages devoted to categorizing different kinds of mothers, from “The Sunday School Mom: Wears floral-print smock dress. Tends flock; likes ovine metaphors.” There’s the “Free-Market Mom: Wears Nikes and American flag t-shirts made in Pakistan by ‘terrorists’.” And of course, “The Crazy Mother: Wears stained maternity panties and the tiara from her kid’s toybox…My score: HIGH. ‘Nuff said.”

She goes on to conclude that all these categories are for crap. It’s this sectioning off of parents that make motherhood so hard. Instead of tearing each other down to make each other feel better, Ingman encourages women to support each other. Her message: If you want to wear your kid in a sling and eat Vegan, good for you. If you want to shop at Walmart and wear white Keds, go for it. Ingman, who admits she’s critical, is also first to admit that we need to stop being so judgemental and just get on with doing the best we can.

Once in a while, despite the darkness, and despite the rage, Ingman sneaks gentler feelings of motherhood into her memoir. She’s mentally healthy now, and in a passage of rare vulnerability, writes,“In spite of everything, I have fallen in love with my child. When he nurses, he runs his fingers along my other arm and threads them through mine. His hand feels spidery. I tell him, ‘Nose to nose,’ and he leans into my face and presses his nose to mine. We sit like that for several seconds.’

It’s these moments of softness that make Ingman such a forceful writer. Like that feral cat you just can’t trap, she’s wild and unpredictable. You’ll never catch her standing still. But then there’s the rare moments when she eat out of your hand. And you smile at the warmth of it all. But don’t get too close… she might bite ya.

Inconsolable can be found at major book stores, as well as Amazon.com. It is distributed by Seal Press.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Women Are Crazy III

Not an hour after I finished my last post, Nick interrupted my bath with terrified screams of caterpillars in his bed. I should have been annoyed, but I got out of the tub, threw on my tye dyed shorts and tank, and joined him in his little star bed nestled in the alcove. We sat there with our arms wrapped around each other and chit chatted about his friends at school, him in his little sing-songy voice. "Deeeecalin hit me, and I said NOOOOOOO... you don't hit Dominic!" and he goes on to add "I love Deeeeecalin, tooooooooo." Despite it being 11:15 pM, we sat up on the pillows, clapped our hands on our laps like in circle time, and sang "Good morning, good morning, good morning to you! Good morning, good morning, good morning, good morning to you! The day is beginning, there's so much to do!" (At 'so much to do' the palms go up - very important, apparently). I took the opportunity to adjust the lyrics a bit "The Day is now ending, it's time to go snooooze..." and improvised snores, which didn't exactly calm him down as he proceeded to have a five minute snort session. But eventually I did what I do to James when James starts in on his half hour motor talk... I ignored him. And five minutes later, he was asleep in my arms. I don't know the last time I had this little man breathing into my neck, the smell of him so close I could eat him.

As if the two of my kids had conspired together, Sophie woke up moments later. I went to her, too. Within seconds she was asleep, her little arms wrapped around like a noose. She now takes over my whole upper body, and the warmth of her rocked me to dreamland as quicker than the financial report on CNN. In those moments between waking and sleeping, I forgot about the dishes, and the laundry, and all my unfulfilled career ambitions. It was just me and this little lifeforce, clinging onto what she considered the most important person in the world. She could care less about my paycheck, or my figure, or my domestic skills: Mama, couch, tired... that's it.

I woke to a start at 2am with no Sophie on me. The little munchkin managed to roll off the couch and was sound asleep on the linoleum. I shook her gently to be sure she was okay from the two foot drop. Then I kissed her, set her in the crib, and slept until 7am.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Bad Timing

I haven't written much lately. And what I have written is less than noteworthy (Not that my posts about James screaming about my burning butt is so memorable... just saying...) Chalk it up to a timing thing: When Nick is napping, Sophie is clinging to my leg like a jelly fish screaming "More! More" and throwing Elmo books at my face. When Sophie is sleeping, Nick is watching Thomas the Train and I'm furiously Ebaying, only to exit my office to find him on top of the kitchen counter, microwaving Kosher salt. When the kids are together, Nick is poking Sophie in the eye with back yard sticks, or throwing leaves in her hair, or hugging her so hard she can't even scream (a first for Sophie). More often than not she is screaming so loud I can't even hear the phone ring. I'm so mentally drained from giving Nick Time Outs that today I just pretended not to see him swipe Sophie's bottle then proceed to suck it down under the wicker outdoor couch. When my angels are playing together nicely so I can cook dinner, I look out the kitchen window to find them throwing Legos in our three legged turtle's tank. (At least if they get salmonella I can blame the tortoise and not my chicken). I know that motherhood is about giving up time. And I know that unless I have the funds for a nanny or maid, this is just how it is. But the past few days, it's been rough. I want to finish my writing without explaining that dogs don't need to eat raisins. I want to have normal conversations with adults that doesn't end with "And do you need to go poo poo?" Just today I was talking to Nick about strangers. I said "What do you do if someone you don't know comes up to you and wants to take you away?" He responded, "I'd say 'Take Me!' ". I am keenly aware that these years are all too brief. I cry at least once a month about the kids growing up and leaving me. When Sophie runs full steam ahead with her toothy grin and shrieks "Mama! Mama!" I wouldn't trade it for a fancy sitcom or all the Elmos in K-Mart. But right now I feel a bit hazy. Beaten up. Like my life consists of these tiny little threads of conversation and activities. If you put all the threads together, sure, there's a blanket. But the squares are all a bit uneven. And it smells suspiciously of sour milk. How do we find balance in our lives? How do we not live a life of excuses, but give ourselves credit for doing the best we can, even when the writing isn't done? Even when we ate sugar past 7PM, and our arm strengthening routine consists of hoisting a wriggling Sophie up and down in reps of 12, Pipsqueak squealing delightedly“Gen! Gen!” Even when the house is less than Oprah's designer, Nate Berkus-perfect? Because does Nate Berkus have it so good? He might be gorgeous with a glorious dimple, but his flashing eyes watched his lover drown in the Tsunami, and he now has to explain to his posh gay friends from art school that he's the official spokes model for Linen 'N Things. I know I'm doing the best I can. I look fine. I have accomplished more than some moms with one kid. And if I lived in a crap pile, that would be fine, too. I'm just tired. And I need to sleep. But sleep won't clean my house and get the writing done. Nor will it buy the new quilt I bought from my Ebay earnings. An insightful person would tell me that my list is too long. "Just focus on what you can do and that's good enough." And yeah, the logical side is nodding her head. She's brushing her teeth and going to close her eyes next to the piling laundry But her irrational side wants to forego Zoloft pills for magic pills that transform those two blissful hours after the kids are asleep into 10 hours, giving her time with James, time with her computer (well, James is a computer, so it’s kind of the same thing), time to work out, time to read, time to watch tv... the list of what I'd do is actually longer than my to-do list. On my way to Kaiser yesterday, for Zoloft refills no less, I asked my mom why so many women these days go through what I'm going through... this trying to do it all, even though we know it's impossible. She admits that in her days of mothering, there was no complaining about not having a maid. She just did it. While I happen to think she was a saint, I wonder, too, if all this sacrifice denied her from being something greater. But what is greater than having the love of your kids and family? For all my friends, and my, education and choices, we’re less contented then she was/is. And when I do manage to have a successful day, is it because I’m a really well rounded person, or is it really the self-delusion of the Zoloft, putting a happy spin on the mundane crap of the world – crap that women of older generations not only did, but didn’t complain about. I don’t want to be this mother who spends so much time worrying about her place in the world that she forgets to treasure her childrens’ fleeting childhood. At the same time, I can’t help that inside I have this raging spirit that wants to sometimes paint walls, not clean crayons off them. I want to talk on the phone to San Diego A., not keep Nick from jamming Sophie on the head with an Elmo phone. I want to go out for wine and pasta dinners with James, not deal with whining and macaroni and cheese. Somehow it will all work out. But it’s not going to happen overnight. And if you’ll excuse me, I have ten minutes to list 10 Ebay items, finish Act 2, and begin a query letter. And final note: Because my last few posts put me at risk of sounding like a whiny bastard, I really do want to find a balance in my life, as I’m sure everyone else does. It’s not about being rich, or wildly successful. We have one life to live, and I hope to live mine surrounded by the family and friends I cherish most. If can make some money off my writing to buy cappuccinos and maid service as well, that would be great, too. That’s all I’m saying.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Coking it Up

This just in from Texas Lizzy. I am disturbed. Now do I not only have to feel guilty for indulging in a terrible habit, but I can add 'you're going to die you lame coke addict' to the list.

Enjoy the light read.
WATER OR COKE? This is really an eye opener... Water or Coke? We all know that water is important but I've never seen it written down like this before.

WATER 1. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. 2. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger. 3. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as 3%. 4. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study. 5. Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. 6. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers. 7. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page. 8. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer. And now for the properties of COKE: 1. In many states (in the USA) the highway patrol carries two gallons of coke in the truck to remove blood from the highway after a car accident. 2. You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of coke and it will be gone in two days. 3. To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola in! to the toilet bowl and let the "real thing" sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous China. 4. To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a rumpled-up piece of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola. 5. To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion. 6. To loosen a rusted bolt: Applying a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes. 7. To bake a moist ham: Empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan, wrap the ham in aluminum foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for a sumptuous brown gravy. 8. To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of coke into a load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. The Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains. 9. It will also clean road haze from your windshield. For Your Info: 1. The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about 4days. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the rising increase in osteoporosis. 2. To carry Coca-Cola syrup (the concentrate) the commercial truck must use the Hazardous material place cards reserved for Highly corrosive materials. 3. The distributors of coke have been using it to clean the engines of their trucks for about 20 years! Now the question is, would you like a coke or a glass of water?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

I've Been Maid Crazy

So that last obnoxious post re: a maid? I take it back. Not that I didn't feel that at the time, but it's pretty rude to tell people what to get you... especially since I don't really do gifts anyway. Please see it as the altered state of too many nights without James, too many days with kids. James took over a bit more this weekend, the office is almost cleaned out, I'm about to drink a beer and finish off the bedroom paint... life is better.

And James is getting me two days of maid service for Xmas, so everyone can tell me to shut up now about cleaning. Bring on the cheese logs. Bring on the Bed Bath and Beyond soap. You're all going to get something special from one of my favorite class act thrift stores: Super Thrift, Out of the Closet or Salvation Army on Fifty Percent Off Thursdays.

Or a fabulous pair of green velvet fag overalls.

(No offense to any gay readership out there who might enjoy parading around in elf inspired holiday duds... you're fabulous, too. Unless you have no kids, a clean house and a maid. Then I hate you.)

Friday, November 04, 2005

$1.99 and Counting

...That is the price of the going, going...not quite gone green velvet kick my ass Xmas suspender set shown a few blogs below.

Did I mention I love Ebay?

All I Want For Xmas is a Maid

I know it's only November 2, but with all the holiday hype going on, I thought I'd put my two cents in now. Listen up: People, friends, family, neighbors... bums on the corners with two teeth that use their pan handling money for Starbucks and Kinkos internet access to check into this whiny blog... I don't want gift certificates for bookstores, coffee or Macy's. I don't want fancy Bed Bath and Beyond gift packages, because how can I relax in a tub covered in rings, plastic boats, and those bad curly hairs. James, I don't want any more ass warmers for my car, stereo speakers, or anything that needs a wire, plug or batteries.

I need help.

In the form of someone to clean my house so I can take a breather and do what I want to do: be it Ebay, play with the kids, or drink a cup of coffee and soak up my beautiful stained linoleum... I mean, nice house.

As a mom, time is more needed than any gadget. Personal sanity takes presidence over lip liner and gift baskets. I love you all, but if someone gives me one more sweater for my already too small midget closets, it's going back on Ebay.

It's probably tacky to tell the world what you want for Xmas, but I'm having a desperate day. And I'm sending out an S.O.S... as in my house has Sxxx on Sxxx... and I need a maid to clean it up.

Now that I've complained for the day, I'm off to do what women for centuries have been doing and not had the luxury of complaining about: clean my kitchen. Then, I will put at least 10 more things up for Ebay. And write tonite (almost done with Act 1... thank you very much, Susan!)

And on a good note, I know how lucky I am. I have the best friends and family in the world. I don't need presents from you this holiday season - just your presence is enough. But if you came over and cleaned my house for me, I'd love you even more.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Ebay

Inspired by an ebay post sent to me by K, I have taken to spicing up my own holiday listings. My favorite so far is this one, which I will share with you.

With this auction, you will win 3 fabulous things:

1) The opportunity to have some great Xmas photos taken with your son looking more dashing than Rudolf
2) The "oooohs" and "awws" of all your family members as they compliment your darling elf on his classic and old school Christmas duds
3) The perfect black mail photo potential to show his friends when he won't listen to you. Because nothing will embarrass your son more than a photo of his cute little chubby knees sticking out of this designer velour shorts outfit.
And it really is cute. Just check out the photo!

Happy bidding. May all your holiday memories be happy ones.


James went on to add: "The outfit alone screams 'I'm a nerd'. The bowtie adds an additional 'And don't forget to kick my ass.' "

Funny, James. You very very funny.

My Kid's Costume Was Cuter Than Yours

Do ya think he had any fun on Halloween?

Happy Birthday Texas Dottie

Since I am feeling a bit sorry for my abrupt job termination, I would like to turn happy thoughts to Texas Lizzy's mother-in-law, who I will refer to as Dottie T. Dottie, while I'm thrilled you had a surprise birthday party this weekend, I'm not tickled that my name was used as the decoy. Especially because I was not on some tractor with my munchkins, downing Corona. Instead, I was wallowing in the self-pity of not having a job I thought I had. But all is well. I will get to Texas one of these days anyway, and I hope your day was fabulous. I feel as if I know you through Lizzy, and I can't thank you enough for taking such good care of my good buddy.

I'd thank you even more if you'd say a prayer to the writing god that I finish my g-dxxxx pilot.

Susan, if you're reading this... I have committed myself to my rough draft being done by next week. You will have a polish end of November...

It's not like I have a fancy career as a garage editor ahead of me.

Boo hoo hooo.

See how self-centered I am? Going from Dottie's big day to my own pain? (It's quite shocking I'm not a Hollywood diva yet.)