Saturday, March 31, 2007

Child... I'm Throwing a Tantrum!

Some of you might remember that I received my first national magazine break by landing the back essay for Child. The good news is, that after 3 rewrites, they loved it and were ready to publish it!

The bad news is, as of Thursday, the publication is folding. I'll be lucky if I see a dime of my $1500 fee. I do have a kill fee in my contract, but I think that's assuming there is a magazine available to kill it. (New York times sums it up best:

Ah, well. I'll just have to work harder at querying some other places.

Truthfully, I should be more active in the query department, but it seems I get pulled further and further into thrifing and flipping. I just love it. It finally dawned on me that, unlike writing (which is so cerebral), shopping is a way to touch something tangible. And sales: instant gratification.

So, here's the new plan: Find something that combines both of my skills. I will have to do it myself, of course, and then let other people find me. So, like my goal of last year (to have one article accepted by Septemeber) my goal by summer is to have my own website (Buh, bye, Blogger!) This website will be similar to this website:

I will have weekly newsletter sign-ups for the shopper in everyone. It will be less hummingbird brain, and more of a focused brand for myself. You'd be surprised how many of my magazine writer friends have had editors find them, simply by googling "yoga and pregnancy" - boom, Ms. Mindbody appears.

Are there other shopping websites out there? Of course. I'm hoping what will make mine different is that it will explore not just how to land good deals, but talk about the zen behind bargain hunting.

You heard that: I've had many spiritual epiphanies as of late at my local "Out of the Closet" resale shop, right there between the fifty cent sunglasses and the bucket of free condoms (No, the rubbers are not USED, you pervs.)

In my wack a doo brain, I am really starting to see parallels between how people shop and how they view life. For me, it's all about the vision... the finding the good in people. For example: If you look at a man or a job like an old chair, you can see two things: A dead end, or a good solid piece that, with a little TLC, is priceless.

I used to battle this idea around in my head... that if I had higher standards (or were willing to put my family in debt) I'd simply go straight to Nordstroms. But after some thought, and some hefty raises on Rex's part, I've realized it's not about the money. It's about the thrill behind the shopping... "What will I find today?"

Anyone can walk into Macy's and know exactly where to get that $2000 bedroom set - which is nice, and I'll probably find myself there one day soon (Not that Rex and I don't adore your 1970's child starter set, K. I especially dig the appliqued roses on the teeny desk and dresser, and the fact that I get to twist in half just to get to my underwear.)

For me, though, malls can't offer me the thrill of the bubblegum pink lawn furniture. For five bucks, I can scare my neighbors and throw it away if I get tired of it. (Translation: Rex gets tired of it.)

What do you all think of this site idea - even if you're not shoppers?

And better yet, what shall I call this new venture? ( is mostly likely taken.)

Anybody else out there with similar ideas of how to follow your passions? Be it school, or cooking (such as Maggie's great cooking blog:

I leave you with this: my first big earnings from my ads are going to buy and send gifts to all you lovely folk who have listened to me ramble for two years while I find my voice. I can't thank you enough with words, so some rockin' thrift store finds with your personality written all over them will have to do.


Taking Candy From Strangers...

Unlike the popular adage, "Don't take candy from strangers", my children see me talking to all people, from all walks of life, every single day.

The Israeli Arco manager, Jewish dry cleaner and Hungarian grocery clerk aside, I can get more info out of someone in three minutes than their spouses can in a week.

While my husband used to be annonyed at my gift of gab (as I'd spend more time finding out if the busboy escaped Vietnam in a boat or plane rather than asking Rex about his oil change or something equally life altering) I have converted him.

You see, if what you love makes you successful, and what I love is to talk (and thrift, but that's a subject for another day) then it only makes sense that I'd eventually get paid for my passion. This leads me to the answer of the Ty Pennington riddle two posts prior. Which, sadly, none of you smart people solved. The story goes like this:

I walked out my door a few years back to find a camera crew in front of my neighbors' house. This is nothing new. We live in a suburb that is constantly being used for filming due to its two story Cape Cod charmers. Our homes our small, but our charm is big. Due to our classic American pie vibe, it is a perfect venue for advertising to Main Town USA.

What made this day different for me is that I actually recognized the dude walking down the porch: none other than Ty Pennington himself.

A non-L.A. native might have dashed out their car for an autograph, flipping it for twenty bucks on Ebay, but I knew of someone worth more: The location manager.

I complimented his tight production schedule (foreplay for film crew) and, more predictable than Suri Cruise's future autobiopgraphy Life in Freakville, he gushed that he was always looking for new locations to shoot Ty's Sears ads. I invited him over to my house, and that very afternoon he shot pics of my dirty laundry... er... lovely 3 bedroom starter home.

Five minutes later he told me that my house was too small for the large cameras, but before he left, I turned on my comptuer and showed him pics of my childhood hood - a much larger, high ceilinged dwelling a few towns over. "Looks good," he said. "I'll call your mom."

He did.

Two days later my mom had a six thousand dollar contract in her hand to shoot a Sears' linens commercial in her house. (Not bad for a widow in search of some extra cash.)

Two weeks after that they shot the commercial (much to the disdain of the other homeowners on her street who want to retreat from their Hollywood day job, not still feel like working.)

Two weeks after that, I had a gorgeous chocolate brown sectional in my tiny tv room (I wish I could say it was from Ty, but it was from my mom. I still refer to it as my referal fee... or my L-Shaped vomit stain) since...

Two weeks later my couch looks like it does today. (Flattering photo above - of the couch. Well, of my family, too, if I must say so.)

Come on over and sit. On my couch. Not my family.

I'll regale you with stories of each and every one of the stains.

As they say in da biz,

That's a wrap!

PS: The other photo of Stella whacking a pinata on her 80th birthday in my mom's back room is what sold the director on using the home. It used to be an open porch, but in the mid '80's my father met a man in a doughnut shop who, in between drinking, re-did homes. They closed it up with French doors and, one year later, and feeding George each night for dinner, my folks had a beautiful sun room. The very one I danced in on my wedding. (I'm thinking my gift of gab comes from my dad, no?)

My mom looks none too happy in this shot. I should have snapped one of her after she got her check. That's me on the far right, during my short hair days and vintage cat eyes - the very pair, combined with a 1950's dinner coat, that I met Rex in. (He should have known then and there he wasn't marrying his mother, Our Lady of William Sonoma.)

And PSS - because I can't really ever shut up, you might find this last tid bit interesting: After the plant department filled my mom's backyard with exotic flowers and palms. After the set department re-painted the entire room and filled it floor to celing with Ty's Tricks: African linens, pillows, etc.,. After new furniture was placed throughout the siderooms (including an African drum and one vase shaped like a Buddah's Belly) you can't even see the transformation due to the tight shots of Ty's face.

I don't know why they didn't just use a studio, but as I crash on that comfy couch each night, I'm glad they didn't.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Me me me... Um.. meme

I was tagged by a lovely lady named Amisare to do a music list. I am supposed to write down 7 things I have listened to recently, then tag 7 other readers. Basically, that's all everyone who reads this, so start thinking.

Let me preface my selections by stating that I still get chills listening to Muskrat Love. That said, here's my list of recent listenings.

1. Ragtime: The Musical - one of the most amazing stories set to music I have heard in the past ten years. Of course, I haven't seen Wicked or any Dora on Ice extravaganzas, but still.

2. Tim McGraw: Everywhere. Rex and my wedding song is on it, so of course I'm biased. "Dancing in the dark... middle of the night... taking your heart... and holding it tight... emotional touch... touching my skin... and asking you to do what you've been doing all over again..."

All I think about when this song plays is swaying with Rex, tears streaming down his mother's face in the corner near my parents' French doors (the same room I used to play handball in twenty years earlier.) It was a past, present and future moment for me, entwined in pink (my dress color... God help me) and alternating emotions of sheer joy, nostalgia and hunger. When the hell could I eat?

3. Sandy, from the Grease soundtrack. Stink has a penchant for ballads of loss. I wish I were kidding. He loves to sing "Oh Sandy darlin', you hurt me real bad. You KNOOOOWWW it's truuuueeee"

Today we heard Garth Brooks Ain't Goin' Down 'Til the Sun Comes Up and when Garth croons, "Mama's on the front porch screaming out her warning, 'Girl you better get your red head back in bed before the mornin'", Stink comments, "Did the girl come back from that man's car? That mommy would missssss her!"

4. Anything by Brad Paisley makes me smile. Today I heard his song Celebrity... "Can't wait to date a supermodel. Can't wait to sue my dad. Can't wait to wreck a Ferrari, on my way to rehab."

5. Sheryl Crowes Greatest Hits compliation from Starbucks. I got it with a gift card. I love the strength in her voice, combined with a honey like soprano.

6. Tricia Yearwood - she kills me. Even you non-country fans might like her. The Song Remembers When? Ahhhh, killer. Don't listen to it when meloncholy, dying to travel, or torn between adoration and murder for your ex.

7. Lyle Lovett and His Large Penis... Er... Band (Seeing if you're paying attention. And sorry, I'm open minded as the next gal. But while I love his voice, the only thing I'd like less than mold in my shower is Lyle Lovett practicing vocals.)

This said, he is a brilliant lyricist. The lyrics below are such a definition of love to me:

And I like cream in my coffee
And I like to sleep late on Sunday
And nobody knows me like my baby
And I like eggs over easy
With flour tortillas
And nobody knows me like my baby

It's shocking, with my love for lyrics, that I'm not a sucker for any musicians. As artsy as I am in my soul, I can't get over the idea of a man who is never home. That would kill me.

This ends the meme portion of tonite's blog.

Okay, TAG EVERYONE!!!!!!!! No comments without at least 3 suggestions of songs you like and why!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spirituality for the Hummingbird Brain

So it's been 2 months since I've let Zoloft go. No one is more suprised than me at how much other stuff I've let go in the process. Namely: fear, anger and frustration over situations I can't change.

I have always considered myself an open minded person - and I am - but I've realized that is has been to the detriment of myself. When I let one friend go a few months back, I was talking to another buddy of mine. I mentioned, "Why did I put up with this person's dysfunction for so long?" She replied, in her ever straight shooting way, "Because you're the only one who would."

It's true. I have been raised to be this non-judgmental person - which is great to a point. But often, in bending over backwards to accomodate others idiosyncrasies (because I really do think everyone has something to offer) I have neglected myself.

Lack of Zoloft, for me anyway, has forced me to be less relaxed about things that bother me. It's okay for me to have an opinion. To demand things for myself. To set boundaries. To push back.

I'll go out on a bit of limb here to say that my biggest insecurity has always been what other people think. It is hard to even type that statement, because it's in direct opposition to my biggest asset: fighting for individuality in this wack a doo world. To putting much of my life up for display on this forum.

I suppose I'm the worst kind of friend to have, because while I might tell you everything about my life (I can retain about as many emotions as a strainer holds water) I'll seethe inside about your response to it if it isn't what I want to hear.

The real rub is that I will never take my irritation out on you (it's not your fault) but if I had some milk for every time a past conversation would churn, I could rival Ben and Jerry in icecream sales.

The true wonderful, glorious, fantastic epiphany I have uncovered in the stillness of the past few months, is that while I still have that side of me that cares what others think, I'm starting to care about myself more.

It used to bug me if, for example, if Cecelia had something honest, but unflattering, to say about Rex (which she'd always share because I was complaining...not of her own free will). Now I see that my frustrations over her seemingly critical responses were due to the fact that we had "grown up" together, so to speak. We had our perfect marriages and perfect lives all planned out from the Saved By The Bell production offices, fielding calls for Screech and catering.

I somehow always felt guilty that I didn't live up to that perfect movie making marriage I thought I would have. The perfect motherhood existence. But you know what, she didn't live up to it either. She wanted to be a producer and travel the world. She's now a stay at home mother who bakes cakes and scrap books. Of course I would kill myself before I did those things, but she's happy with it. She knows who she is. She's into politics. And animal rights. And art. And travel. She's just... right now... a mother. Who bakes cakes. (I can't get over the cake baking... sorry.)

As for me? I am less able to define my role. While some of this stems from the fact that I see more people in a week than she does in a year (can we say "unfocused Mama P for 800?") other things are becoming crystal clear:

Rex doesn't have to be perfect to be worth loving. My daughter doesn't have to grow up thin and subservient to be considered an elegant woman. Stink doesn't have to be a staid Catholic school boy to be worth loving.

I forgive myself for not marrying a character out of a movie.

I forgive myself for having children who don't have Gap & Children's Place labels permanently sewn into their necks.

I forgive myself for being just a little less free-spirited than I once was. My dad died. I had two kids in two years. I'm adjusting to life at home.

What I won't ever forgive, however, is allowing anyone to make me feel bad about myself anymore. Because that's my fault. I am demanding respect and honor from everyone - but mostly (because now I care less about others, it comes right down to the final 3) my family. I expect nothing but devotion from my 36 year old husband down to my 2 year old toddler. I deserve kindess. Laughter. Chocolate over vanilla because you pay attention to me and know my favorite icecream. I don't need your money, but I do need your attention.

But the first person who must do this for herself is me. And man, it feels good.

Thank you, Cecelia, for pissing me off to no end, without even knowing it. Isn't that what friends are for? Could I ever have learned this if we had made all our Hollywood dreams come true?

Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

PS: Why yes, that is Ty Pennington in my mother's livingroom, nine months after I gave birth to Sophie (hence the bad, bad BAAAAD mama hair... trying not to make excuses EVER anymore, but damn, could I have at least put on some lipliner? Ty seems to have mastered the hairspray can - do you think I could have managed a brush?)

Whoever guesses why he was hanging at my mom's house wins: Da da DAAAAAAAAA...anything they want, ten bucks or under, from my Ebay store! Go!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Can You Laugh? Depends...

Old people are not what they once were.

Take for example the oversized maxi pads many of them wear. I am convinced, as of today, that they are for holding in urine due to guffaws of laughter. And frankly, after what my 76 year old mother sent me, courtesy of my 80 year old uncle, I could have used one a few moments ago. I am still laughing and just know you will love it. (Just copy the link and stick it in your browser... it'll take two secs!)

This little ditty, minus the blinking oiled men in their early twenties (damn blogger for not allowing that) comes to you courtesy of 85 year old Stella.

Male Strippers and the Red Hat Ladies

Last night, my Red Hat friends and I went to a Ladies Night Club. One of the girls wanted to impress the rest of us, so she pulled out a $10 bill.

When the male dancer came over to us, my friend licked the $10 bill and stuck it to his butt cheek!

Not to be outdone, another friend pulls out a $20 bill.
She called the guy back, licks the $20 bill, and sticks it to his other butt cheek.

In another attempt to impress the rest of us, my third friend pulls out a $50 bill and calls the guy over, and licks the $50 bill. I'm worried about the way things are going,! but f ortunately, she just stuck it to one of his butt cheeks again.
My relief was short-lived.

Seeing the way things are going, the guy races over to me!
Now everyone's attention is focused on me, and the guy is egging me on to try to top the $50. My brain was churning as I reached for my wallet.

What could I do? The woman in me took over!

I got out my ATM card, swiped it down the crack of his butt, Grabbed the eighty bucks, and left!!!!

Finally, here is the clip Texas Lizzy sent me from the previous post. Thanks, Meno, for showing me how to add links.


Happy Monday everyone! If my posts are short this week, it's simply because Rex is gone until late Friday (uggg) and I'm focusing much of my free time on some magazine nibbles. I'll let you know if anything transires.

Friday, March 23, 2007

What a Scream

Texas Lizzy sent me a link today showing a mother at a store. Her son picks up a box. The mom says no. The toddler screams bloody murder, but before the inevitable tantrum, the mother drops prostrate on the floor, kicking and fist pounding like the best of them. The son stops his tantrum immediately and the mother goes back to shopping.

When the one minute video was over, I look over my shoulder to find Pipsqueak's standing there, eyes wide as saucers.

With great absolute confidence, she stares at the lady on screen and announces, "That's YOOOOOOOUUUU Mama!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Your Wish...

Is my command. I give you my favorite new song: Ticks

Monday, March 19, 2007

Why I Love Country

Meno posted a shot of her tatoo today. Check out her site. (You can find her in the comments section as I'm too lazy to find it. One day I'll get a roll bar with everyone's fabulous links in it.)

Meanwhile, in response to her post about tatoos, my tatoo is pictured above.

It's on my bootie.

It's yellow and purple.

Laker colors.


Made for my first boyfriend and first husband (one in the same.) The person who came with me to get it was the one I was really crazy about, but alas, my right butt cheek is as far as it went.

Given I don't know basketball from underwater basket weaving, I'm thinking of getting this emotional tribute to hoops removed.

Note: Unlike Meno's photo in which she explains that the white around the tatoo is not her skin (simply the photoshop set to bring out the artwork), the white on my seat is, sadly, my super fair butt cheeks. Do ya'll think I was brilliant for offsetting my glaring snow skin with Crayola's most famous color, Caucasion Yellow? "I'll take brilliant honky for 500!"

Going along with the theme of the day, here's little Pipper at the museum yesterday, bossing the ink lady around. "I want that picture. With (you guessed it) PINK!"

If you are ever in L.A., the Zimmer Museum, on Miracle Mile, is a fantastic place to take the kids. I never knew it existed, and between the airplanes to ride and all the samples of stuff for them to "do in the community" (from ride a wheelchair, to shop for groceries, to play with water and draw murals) it kept them busy for hours. I am definitely going back. Here in the burbs, it's so easy to forget how much stuff L.A. has to offer.

The subject of tatoos is in my favorite new country song, Ticks, by Brad Paisley. He's married to Kimberly Williams of Father of the Bride and According to Jim. He's funny as hell. (pictured above) Rex and I are going to one of his concerts as soon as he's back in L.A..

And so I present you with............. Ticks.

Everytime you take a sip
In this smoky atmosphere
You press that bottle to your lips
And i wish i was your beer

And in the small there of your back
Your jeans are playing peek a boo
I'd like to see the other half
Of your butterfly tattoo

Hey that gives me an idea
Lets get out of this bar
And drive out into the country
And find a place to park

Cause id like to see you out in the moonlight
I'd like to kiss you way back in the sticks
I'd like to walk you through a field of wildflowers
And id like to check you for ticks

I know the perfect little path
Out in these woods i used to hunt
Don't worry babe I've got your back
And I've also got your front

I'd hate to waste a night like this
I'll keep you safe you wait and see
Ththe only thing allowed to crawl all over you
When we get there is me

You know every guy in here tonight
Would like to take you home
But ive got way more class than them
And that a'int what I want

Cause id like to see you out in the moonlight
I'd like to kiss you way back in the sticks
I'd like to walk you through a field of wildflowers

(and my favorite ending to a song ever...)

And I'd like to check you for ticks.

Anyone else out there want to share a tatoo story? Or simply direct us to Meno's site if you already shared there. I'm all for lazy. Speaking of, there's a package of Stove Top stuffing and frozen veggies with my name all over it. Ciao.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Playing Ball



Today we met Stella for lunch at her local park. While my version of a picnic lunch tends to be cold Happy Meals and a melted soda, she surpassed all expectations with a cooler full of chicken, grapes, cheese, orange juice, sunchips, Ritz crackers, sliced carrots and those mini cigarette bread sticks with spreadable Cheesewise.

Let's not forget the 1976 thermos with coffee for me, replete with lowfat milk (much appreciated for the car ride home.)

Before ya'll are ready to bestow the "Great Grandma of the Year Award", let me state that she loses out due to the Twinkie infraction. As in she introduced those to Stink somewhere between the final bites of chicken and the merry go round.

Did he like them? Does a rabbit like carrots? He ate...inhaled... two spongey confections, totaling 876 calories.

Luckily we burned some energy by running around the track afterwards.

It was fun to see my kids dashing down the path, hand in hand. Who knew there was so much to see on a dirt road: birds tweeting ("Where is their Mama? Someone call Diego!")... Exercize bars ("These are slides! Let's ride them!")... Flowers to be picked (translation: old dandelions and weeds)

Stink wore a brand new Mets baseball shirt from one of my thrift store days. I'm sorry... I don't know Mets from Dodgers, but the bright orange and purple lettering gave my little dude such a varsity feel. He must have had a premonition, because the track let up on a shiny baseball field.

If the freshly mowed dirt lines weren't enough to say, "Run around and leave your foot prints!" the crisp ball in the catcher's pen sealed the deal. (Catcher's pen? Is that a word? Um, I'm married to a computer geek... can I use that for an excuse? I'm too tired to look up the right word... can I use "lazy ass" for an excuse?)

Even though Stink and Pip used the ball to play soccer, the whole scene brought to mind much of what I've been experiencing lately. Call it lack of Zoloft, or just plain getting older, but I've been hit with personal insight lately. For example, like these photos:

* Sometimes, similar to this huge field, you go through this daunting world alone - running aimlessly, kicking up dust
* Other times you have someone to play with
* Sometimes someone coaches you
* Sometimes you let someone take care of you (such as lunch today)
* But in the end, like my little Pip, despite falls and bruises, you just have to laugh

With this in mind, like my goal to get a magazine gig by this past September (which happened!) I'm planning on narrowing in on my non-mothering life purpose (which will fill both my spiritual and financial need) by June. My kids will both be in summer school, and with 6 hours/week to myself, I can go full steam ahead.

Meanwhile, somewhere between my proposed life advice column on Ebay, thrift store shopping, regular Ebaying, magazine querying and tv script writing there's a perfect gig for me. Which I, no one else, will execute.

Because, going back to the baseball analogy, it's fun to play the game, but rather than wait for a coach to ask you to be part of the team, isn't it better to be the owner? Then, even if you're old, a terrible hitter, and have a Shrek sized ass that has to be greased (perhaps by Twinkie filling) into the team uniform, no one is going to fault you for getting out there and having fun. After all, you're paying their bills, not the other way around.

People, what are your dreams? Let's think outside the ball box, shall we?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Home, Clean Home

Today was my weekly four hours off. The kids were thrilled to play with the hot babysitter across the street, while I was thrilled to play in a local thriftstore, scoring the cutest set of pink bags for Pip and me, as well as a matching Dora sun shirt for 75 cents.(As you can see, the princess was very disappointed with her wares. More things to sell behind her. Clearly I don't need to be spending anymore cash at resale stores, but I can't help it. I'm an addict. I must FEED. DA. BEAST.)

Post squealing like the little girl that she is, Pip crashed hard shortly afterwards, giving me some much needed Mommy and Stink time.

As he sat on my lap, I grasped the opportunity to talk about what he's learning at school, his friends, his feelings. We got on the subject of education... how Papa is studying German... how Grandma shares the same Ebay disease as Mama... how it's always good to better ourselves. The conversation went as follows:

Me: Even Mommy has to improve sometimes. Tell me, Stink, what do you think I could do better?

Long pause, then...

Stink: You should stay home. And get clean.

Duly noted.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ann of Green Fables

In revising some of my Ebay listings, and scratching my head at how people make more than $1.75/month at this, I came up with the idea of an advice column.

To my surprise, there aren't many of them out there online. At least none with a sense of humor. The one below goes for $24.95 and she's sold over 100 so far. Do the math, peeps! We're talking $2400.00 in clear cash: No mailing - no nothing - just straight email info. Here's what she has to say (my revisions within the parantheticals):

I have done this work for more than 26 years
there is no one else on eBay who does this kind of
Original Automatic Writing (Because I am a freak)

You will see for yourself the wonder of this writing when you receive it. (You will see it because you, too, are a freak to spend 24 bucks on something you don't need.)

As we all know TRUE SPIRIT DO NOT LIE. (True spirit also not be good at da grammar.)

You are about to find out how you can improve your love life, your relationships, your happiness, and most of all, your unique personal psychic ability. (Great, because everyone needs some ESP to ponder the moral question of 'do I or do I not let the neighbor plug me when his wife is out of town?')

Here is a small excerpt of something our spirit friends wrote recently:

"….We will tell you of your majesty and greatness. We will write to tell you who you are in this life and the next. We will take you back to show you the progress you have made since last you trod this path. (But mainly, we spirits will make a lot of cash at your expense. Ex: You came into this world as a human, but you be leaving it as a donkey 'cause you are an ASS.)

I am constantly honoured at the many requests from around the world and I am humbled at the wonderful testimonials.

Without you my gift would not, could not last. (Neither could my husband. Or my firm ass, that spends way too much time sitting at this computer, throwing away my money to wacky English women wearing Turbans who hit the Ebay conventions at Vegas with their earnings, screaming, "I'll take triple idiots for 2400! I win!")

For this I thank you sincerely. (You dumb, dumb bitch.)

I am so confident in the truthfulness of the Spirit Writing that I will give you a 100 % refund if you are not completely satisfied.

In Love and Truth (In lies, deception and strong wind)


No part of the text or photographs must be copied or reproduced.

Hey, Ann, I hope you and your gang of spirit devils find my Mama P ass and sue me! Which I will be able to pay sin problemo because, beginning tomorrow, you have yourself some competition! Except in my spirit world, there are two toddlers. In psychic talk, this means yours truly has no time to blow sunshine up your butt because I'm too busy wiping them. Peace.)

Look out for the link manana, peeps. Mama P is in! The! Spirit House!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Our Lady of Salvation...Army

I'm not going to lie to you, peeps. I have a sickness that only a miracle can cure. I can't walk past a garage sale, flea market, driveway sale, ninety nine cent store, thrift, retail or salvage store without digging into my pockets for spare change for treasures. I spit on the day I must make a choice between a Happy Meal for my child or a 1980's orange ceramic set of trolls hugging in front of a typewriter with the words "Love is Writing With Your Best Friend."

Like a true addict, I don't EVER believe I buy junk. I mean, just check out this bag I got for half off just last week. It holds all my Ebay packages and only cost 49 cents. It's the size of a small jacuzzi, which doubles easily as a kitten rescue bag, or to haul 100 pounds of banana.

I named her Our Lady of Salvation Army. I pray to her at night after I brush my teeth (toothbrushes I buy NEW, thank you very much. Though to spend 6.99 at the grocery store when I can get them at the 99cent store just makes no sense.) My heartfelt rosary to this goddess of thrifing goes something like this:

Our Lady of Salvation Army
Who art More obnoxious than the dinosaur, Barney
Keep me from my buying trinkets that once
Lay for years in Aunt Matilda's moth bitten trunk
Keep me from buying used baby books
And anything vintage that's glued on a hook
I don't care if it's half off on Senior Tuesday
Keep me from parking there anyway
Help me to sell all the things I have first
Before spending yet another hundred dollars worth
Land me a job where I can shop on for some cash
Cause' how long can this obsession of mine really last?
I'd pray to you longer, but I must get some rest
For tomorrow I'm hauling home a bright pink treasure chest

Only 7 bucks. I mean, can I really pass that up?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

It's Getting Hot In Here

It's summer time in Los Angeles, and like the celebrities of my home town, my kids have taken to stripping down to nothing and running around the block.

Do I think it's a good thing to encourage this with the amount of pervs lurking about? No. Last Tuesday I sternly told them "You get your clothes on this minute! I mean, in two minutes! After I snap this photo!"

My condolences to you cold weathered states, but it's been heavenly around here - I'm talking about the weather outside the house and inside my soul. Usually, when I take this long to blog, I'm either fighting with Rex or fighting my inner demons (sometimes they are both pretty interlinked). But this time? I've been super content to let the days go by. I see blow up elephant pools, a hammock and lots of post dinner walks in my future.

I need to start seeing some work in my future, too, so this week I'm starting the 5am daily hikes up Query Trail... the weekly jogs through Networking Jungle. The daunting sprints through Organization Highway. The dizzying escapades down Ebay Junction.(Are you with me on the travel analogies?)

My biggest news? Brace yourselves... I am officially Zoloft free. We're talking almost two months. I'm thinking of putting up one of those Osha signs in the geranium garden: "22 days without an Accident" and then crossing out Accident and writing "Meds". I might cause our neighbors some concern, however, and I don't need any accidental extra shakes of spice in the Wickemasarian curry chicken that's coming my way at the block party this summer (party to be planned by me, no doubt.)

I feel better than I've felt in years. Well, 7 to be exact - the length of time I've been on it. Do I have any regrets about taking it when I needed it? For adjusting to a new marriage? A new tv show? A lost tv show? A lost father? Two children? My lost independence? No.

But I started to think (which is a scary thing in itself) that life is always going to deal good and bad cards my way. I decided that rather than drink 7 diet cokes/day and 3 cups of coffee and supplementing with anxiety meds I could simply cut the caffeine in half, cut out the Zoloft, and then exercize and eat well.

The main side effects are two fold: The first? I can't be Super Woman anymore. I mean, if I'm pissed, the real Mama P will let you know quicker than the subdued one whose high spirits have been dulled by downer affects.

While on my medication I wasn't having panic attacks (thank God...) but I wasn't feeling as much joy or creativity. I realize now, with all the laughter ringing through this house, that I missed that squirrely side of me. However, with more passion and zip comes more exhaustion. When I'm tired, Rex has to step up to the plate and do what I ask him to: no questions asked. As mostly my close friends can tell you, Rex is a stubborn, quiet man. (But whose husband isn't a pain in the ass in some form or another? I mean, if they did exactly what we asked them to do, like some robot slash pussy slash therapy beaten freak zoid, we wouldn't really be attracted to them, would we? Well, I for one wouldn't.)

The bottom line: our communication styles, like so many couples out there, is my husband's and my biggest pain point: I am a natural giver, he's a natural "leave me aloner because I'm a loner" but, given that the #2 side affect of no drugs is high high HIGH libido on my end, he's dealing quite nicely with the changes.

All this said, if you see a picture of me running around the cul-de-sac in my skiivies, please point your web broswers to

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Something Stinks

I spoke to one of Stink's teachers last night for an hour on the phone. Being open minded, I listened to a few very minor concerns she had about his disposition.

I then spoke to my sister-in-law, a Master degreed teacher with ten year's experience, who told me that, while these women mean well, they are most likely full of crap.

I like his teachers, and though the optimist wants to believe that they truly want what's best for him, the mother is for once siding on the side of the sister-in-law, not because I'm that easily swayed, but because, deep in my gut, I know it's right. There's not a damn thing wrong with my kid. (And after seeing kids who bite, hit, tick, stutter, swear, drool or stay silent, I can say this with confidence.)

I am arriving at the following conclusion: No one knows their kids like their own mothers. I believe many people mean well in regards to other peoples' children, but a little education over serious subject matters can lead to some seriously unnecessary drama.

Ex: If a volcano is errupting, I'm thinking a blind mute could satisfactorily declare, "Get the Fxxx out of here!" and no one will argue. But an hourly tour guide with a certificate from a three hour geology study, throwing out buzz words to bewildered tourists, does not a mountain expert make. They cannot, on a hot day, reasonably suggest that: One tall hill + 100 degree heat + something weird "we can't put our finger on" + a few colorful rocks that stand out from the normal boring plains and valleys of robot land = DANGER! FIREY EXPLOSION! POSSIBLE DOOM FOR MOUNTAINS SOCIAL SAFETY! Let's call in chief Volcanobugabooo from the mainland to haphazardly diagnos issues that aren't there and scare the crap out of its sister mountains who helped create it!"

My point (yes, there is one) is that my sister in law teacher - who I trust - who has seen it all - reassured me that I'm not crazy. That my kid is fine - more than fine.

I won't be bringing up this conversation again. Not only because it's not fair to Stink who, honest as I might be with my feelings, might not want his life spread out in gory detail for classmates to read when he's 12. But also, because I think there comes a time in everyone's life, mother or not, when the analysis has to stop. When you know, deep in your gut, that you don't need listen to every Tom Dick and Mary that has an opinion. That, if something is warranted, you'll stick your neck out. But until then, the conversation is closed. Even to friends. I know I brought it up, but now? I'm done. Let me deal with this in my way.

And with that, I'm off to kiss my perfect (yeah, you heard that right) perfect kids before I knock off. Because, I said it before and I'll say it again: this world has gotten insane with over thinking. The right school, the right brand name diaper, the right baby formula, the lack of baby formula, the right car, the right class, the right rod up their ass - you need it ALL to have PERFECTION.

Let me tell you that even if my kid had 12 toes and a humpback, he/she'd be perfect because God made them that way.

And that's just that.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Home Sweet Home

We're home! Great to go, great to be back. I am too tired to say anything, but I will add that, after prayers tonight and our story, I taught Nick four new words. He says them with huge gusto and feeling (something he is not known for - he's very tall, but has a very quiet voice.)

He was so thrilled with his new found bravado, he ran downstairs to interrupt Papa's nightly, errr, toilet routine. He shook his fist wildly in the air at him and proclaimed: I DON'T TAKE CRAP!

The irony was not lost on us.

(Sorry for the poop reference, Mom. I'll refrain from pushing one out for at least another month.)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Tall but Small, Small but Tall

For those of you who couldn't sleep, wondering if I made it to Monterey, rest assured I am here, safe and sound in paradise, away from it all. Well, except for the zillions of people I am connecting to through cyberspace (from my favorite blogs, to You Tube, to music files.)

I spent the day sleeping in, walking 2.5 miles around the wharf, downing beers at a pub with Rex (he drank 4, I drank 1... I'm a lightweight) and having some great laughs. And now, with the window opened on our 100 year old hotel (1905), the sounds of dixie land music pouring through from a college bar down street (it's Monterrey Jazz Festival weekend), I can't help but smile at the irony of the old and new: old hotel / internet wireless, young college kids / old artists with funky hair do's and glitter shirts, new atmosphere for the hubster and I, old habits (him reading a computer game book, me on this lap top).

My main reason for writing is to say that, despite wanting to get away from the kids, they are very much in my hearts. Once a mom, always a mom.

Despite all this joy, however, I had a quick teary conversation with Mrs. V. tonite, in the cellar of a pub, determined not to let a short burst of meloncholy interrupt my husband's buzz but compelled to release my stress. Turns out that even the smell of the sea air, a berry cobbler & coffee in my immediate future, couldn't erase thoughts of an impending teacher conference about Stink, initiated by his teachers on Thursday.

I might have mentioned a while ago we were going to neurologist about his "tics". Turns out he had allergies (no thanks to my dumb HMO... I had to do all this myself, from initiaing eye appointments, allergy appointments, finally buying Claritin and boom - tics stopped.) I am so relieved, believe me. But, according to his teachers, they want to talk about a few concerns they still have. What exactly those are? I don't know. It's all very mysterious. In a shotgun defense, I told them I was open to hearing their thoughts, but since they gave me two hours notice for the meeting (which I canceled for Thursday - too much going on) I assumed they were going to come up with a list of what their school was doing to aggravate his "situation", from environment (mold? carpet?) to aggressive kids (such as x, x and x he sometimes mentions).

I'm torn between gratefulness about their due diligence/analysis, but irritation. We saw the HEAD of NEUROLGOY. I was told he is fine. Now, I'm not a teacher (so all you educators out there, PLEASE comment.) But I am a mother, and I know my boy. And while I'm the first to admit when there are problems, I really think this is a case of when he's excited, he needs a way to output his energy. So he dances here and there. He hops. He throws his arms up. Big whoop. (Again, this is not a regular occurence - I'm talking NEVER at home, probably because he's comfortable with us. School? New friends? A recently released Scooby Doo and a bowl of icecream? Um, you're gonna see more dancing than Michael Flatley and a Lord of the Oinion Rings merger at Burger King.)

I'm just pissed that what if he's one of those artsy kids that doesn't fit in with the cookie cutter J Crew crowd. What if he prefers dancing over football? So what? I don't want him being diagnosed as this "weird kid". It just breaks my heart. (And of course this is not what his teachers are saying. I'm just being this defensive mom who loves her kid. That, and I project small things into huge ones quicker than Viagra on a senior.)

And this leads me to my midget waxing post of late. While I wasn't making fun of any midgets, in a way, I guess I was by retelling the goofy conversation I had about one. And now, I feel a bit guilty. Because you know what? No one has it easy. You think being short with a wacky body is easy? What if you had cancer? Or couldn't talk right? Or had a limp?

I really feel our generation of mothers have it hard, because we've seen so much tv, and there's been so much education. It's almost like if there's something a bit different, we have to see top specialists and label it: He eats from a pink spoon? He's a feminine utensil ADD addict! Bring on the meds!

I don't know. I just don't want my boy being made fun of. Ever. He is the most special kid on the planet, and right now, I'm pissed off at the over analysis, because if he had some real problem, don't you think, knowing me, I'd notice it? Then tell the world about it and become head of the society of "Kids Who Shake Inappropriately to Spanish Guitar?"

Clearly, the only one with the problem, now, is me. I've got an internet addiction. Quick, before this runs out of batteries, call Social Services! She's too social!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Through the Gate/Out the Hatch

After nary a bump in the road or complaint from the rugrats, in just under 6 hours we pulled into my cousins' Tuscan Village Estate. (Well, a condo named Bellagio in San Jose.) Mid seconds after our tires hit a speed bump, Stink vomits all over his blankets, pillows and favorite Snoopy Doll.

I'm telling my cousin it's "car sickness" and we're going to our bed and breakfast in Monterrey even if it means Stink is in HER bed up chucking his breakfast for two days.

On that note, I aim not to blog for two days as I relax, sleep and eat with my husband.

However, since God tends to laugh at all those who make plans, I'll probably check in with you tomorrow as I'll ultimately feel too guilty to leave a sick child with my cousin.

And I am sad for him, of course. But J.C. on a pogo stick dancing Turkey in the Straw - .d damnit, what does a mama have to doto get a vacation in Parent Town?

Pray, cross fingers, whatever... for little Stink and little moi---(and for those of you without vacations who don't feel sorry for me, believe me, it's my first in a while and I, as do you, friggin' deserve one! If this one is canceled, between you and me, I'm going to be deathly sick on Thursday and Friday of this week. I will be holed up in my room drinking decaf and catching up on celebrity haircuts through You Tube. Anybody have a great suggestion for a faux vomit?)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Stranger than Fiction...

...and oooh, the friction!

Did you know that in order to get a really good hoo-hoo wax one must hold down one's, errrrrrr, "area" with the same two words used to describe the frames around someone's mouth, so that they don't fly away when the beautician rips the hair off?

Here are four things I learned about this while getting a facial this morning. (Thanks Mrs. V for the gift card! I now look about 36 and 9 months instead of 37 - and I feel great. Also, despite the tranquility of the low lighting and herbal teas, I still managed to down 3 lemon cookies and a cup of Earl Grey before stretching out on the table, my heart fluttering like a hummingbird and having to pee like a racehorse being chased by a fox. Be warned, wordster women of cyberspace yonder - don't EVER fix to out-talk me in an animal similie. Save the tree frog!)

Questions about the mysterious Wax On/Wax Off

1. Why do I - someone not shy of speech - not directly use the word "labia" in above paragraph?

2. Isn't it amazing the information one can find from someone they just met? I mean, I went in for a zit pop and came out with a sex education. I have never discussed so much wiener with anyone in my whole life - not even my husband (both husbands for that matter.)

3. Why would someone, who is not planning on ever having ass sex, want to have her sisters ripped off the dirty highway? Please, someone in cyber space (preferably someone waxed like a little school girl) explain this to me. I'm Catholic and confused.

4. How is it that, besides me asking for information, I'm also able to get dirty details just by seeming friendly?

For example, the beautician could have simply answered, "Not usually" to my question of, "Do you ever get grossed out by pouring hot wax on womens' va-jay-jays?"

Instead, she squeezed yet another blackhead and volunteered, "I don't mind cleaning down South one bit. (Pause) Except for that one time I almost puked while grooming a midget..."

This is where I audibly yelp in surprise, but since she doesn't know that shock is incredibly rare for me, she simply apologizes for squeezing a pimple so hard.

She continues, "I mean, I wasn't freaked out by her tiny size. But, since she was too short to climb onto my table, I found myself in the awkward position of hoisting her up there myself.

Then the midget's friend found herself in a worse awkward position of holding down the midget's "area"0 since, given her buddy's stumpy arms, the midget couldn't cover them herself. She pressed, I waxed, the midget screamed - loudly. Small bodies, but same vocal range."

No joke, people. I can't make this shit up.

What did ya'll discuss before the morning coffee sunk in?