Friday, December 28, 2012

The big hat sign that doesn't look like a hat

I got the kids swimming lessons and new swim suits for Christmas. Their first lesson is this Saturday. Jakob, who for the life of him, could not remember what he had for lunch today, asked me to try and remember where my mom took me for lunch after *my* swim lessons almost 40 years ago. Is it weird that I remember? Arby's. My mom took me to the Arby's down the street from the community pool.

Saturday, January 07, 2012


Time to 'fess up:

2 pieces of pizza
a bunch of your kids' odds and ends of pizza scraps
does NOT = 2 pieces of pizza

Friday, January 06, 2012

A blessing and a curse

Hey Wavy,

I've been home from work now for just over a week, recouping from my ass surgery. You've been home, too, cuz you're "between schools," as they say. You just started back to preschool on Tuesday, after three months off; it's only two days a week, but other than that, you're time is your own, as they say.

I think I may have had visions of my post-op period as a completely bed-bound invalid, my butt swaddled in gauze, you and Jakob held meticulously at bay by your daddy. But it is hard for an ass patient to garner much sympathy from a heart patient, and I think daddy saw this as a little vacation, a chance to take a kidlet break while I entertained you with my mere presence.

In other words, you and I have been steadfastly in each others' orbit, 24-7, for the past week. Jakob has had a break from me, as he has returned to school following his Christmas break, but you, dear heart, were stuck with me for the duration.

Today was the first entirely Percocet-free day, and we got out of the house for a bit and ran some errands. We dropped off four bags of books and a box of old toys at the thrift store, took about a million plastic grocery bags to the recyclers, took some more clothes to the clothes mailbox, and had lunch at Johnny Rockets. The last time I had lunch there with the two of you a couple months ago, I was in so much pain that I was nearly in tears the entire time. So this was a refreshing change. We even had a chance to stop at this sad little park for a few:

This depressing scene somehow reminds me of Steve Buscemi in "Con Air."

But the housebound days beforehand were pretty much just you and me, laying in bed watching tv, taking baths, doing crafts, laying in bed some more, mucking about on the laptop, reading books, eating snacks, doing each others' hair, doing our nails, cleaning out my desk and dresser drawers and laying in bed again.

I think it was the best Christmas present I could've gotten. Yes, I bled out a few times, I was high on narcotics for the most part and I think we both sniped at each other at least a couple of times, and even caught each others' colds for a couple days, but spending these days with you has maybe been the highlight of the past year, and I will be unspeakably sad to return to work next week.

You are smart and sassy and your razor-sharp wit has kept me in stitches (literally? figuratively?). You have this disconcerting way of stopping in the middle of a long, loud laugh to tell me that you love me. When you fall asleep in bed with me, your little hand blindly reaches out and pats me on the face. When I snag your hair when I'm braiding it, I say "sorry" and you always say, "that's okay." Same thing when I poke you in the eye with my fingernail, which happens more than you think it would.

Jakob is spending the night over at a friend's house tonight, so you and I made popcorn and watched one of the DVD's that you got for Christmas. Of course, you fell asleep before it was over, but I stuck it out and watched the whole thing. "Princess and the Frog." Meh. It was okay. I was never one for Disney princesses, but you seem to like them, probably because your Cali grandma force feeds them to you. But that's okay. Yesterday you asked if we could watch the last episode of Lost again. We only watched a little bit of it, but you told me what was going to happen before it happened. Weirdo. My little lovable weirdo, I love you so.

Good night and sleep tight, princess.

cleaning up 2

Realized halfway through yesterday that I'm in manic mode. That my post-op week at home has coincided with a manic episode, and the result is -- since my last post a mere eight hours ago -- four more bags of books culled from the bookshelves to go to the thrift store; all the door jambs in the house wiped down with a magic eraser sponge, all my handbags arranged into two of these:

Plus, I gathered up all of the plastic shopping bags under the sink and they're in the car, awaiting tomorrow's trip to the bag station at the store. And two loads of laundry.

I know I should thin out my scarf collection, but at least now they're organized and in one place, instead of strewn all over the place and in at least four different drawers:

Okay. 2:26 a.m. and I'm crashing and burning. Off to bed so we can get up in few hours and get started again.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

cleaning up 1

It's been underway for a few days. Cleaning out my closet, my desk, my shelves in my office area. Today I took two grocery bags of pristine books to donate to the library. Still have a big bag of less-than-pristine books to take to the thrift store.

Kind of working in quadrants, with my area being the first. I'm slowly recovering from a surgery, so shambling about in this small corner of the house is just my speed for now.

Little things this afternoon, like taking a big pile of recipes that I've cut out from magazines, looking them up online and putting them into Springpad; clearing all the kids' crayons out of my desk and putting them in their own tupperware.

All just drops in the bucket, but I'm slowly making a difference.

Oh yeah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and Happy Birthday and all that, kids! Hugs. Love you. Now stay out of my way.

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Operation Fall Color" Day 2

Left the hotel at a decent hour, for me, anyway. 10 am is reasonable, no? and I only got out that early cuz I was trying to get out before the maid knocked on the door.

On the way out, I insisted that the desk clerk call me Kelly, and I found out that his name is John. We are one convo away from a dinner date. I will suggest the Thai place down the road.

Yosemite is nice, but even this late in the seaon, it is clogged with tourists. I've stopped at a little picnic spot on the Valley floor to write you guys some postcards, and eat my sandwich. It's not the most picturesque locale in the park, but it'll do.

I stopped at the mega gift shoppe a bit ago to buy the postcards and some souvenirs for you. Had every intention of buying Jakob a personalized Swiss army knife, cuz I am sure that I had one at seven years old. But I put it back. One more year, perhaps. So... T-shirts it is. And a money clip. That will blow your little mind. A gadget that keeps all your tooth fairy money folded neatly and in one place.

I think I'm starting to relax. I just need about three more months of this. You would join me in a week or two, of course.

Anyway, I drove around some more and found that classic Yosemite that I remember:

So I sat there on a stump in the meadow and gazed at the face of El Capitan for a bit before hitting the road again.

On the way out of the park, I finally found it -- exactly what this little getaway was supposed to be about.

A secluded little piece of real estate where I can just sit and be. I sat and ... be'd ... for a good couple of hours, savoring the sunset, breathing deeply and then being some more.

100 or so miles of driving today (Yosemite is HUGE), plus gas and a $20 park entrance fee, but it was all worth it to find this little piece of nirvana.

"operation Fall Color" Day 4

This is what I should've been doing since Day 1. Fuck Yosemite and Mono and all that. I am so incredibly blissed out right now I could swoon dead away.

But it came at a price...

So... Momma takes this medication that makes me have to pee a lot in the morning. I stop at a restroom at the side of the road here in June Lake. It's pretty secluded. Find out it's closed for the season, but time and pee wait for no one, so I run around to the back to do my business. There are no cars coming from that direction. That I can see. So as I finish up, a car zips around from out of nowhere, and in my haste to pull up my pants, I stumble on a log and fall down. Hard. So I'm laying on the ground with my ass hanging out of my pants, writhing in pain, as a family drives by, the mom on the passenger side taking a peek then turning her eyes resolutely away as they slowly drive by. I can't be too embarrassed, right? I'll never see these people again, right? Nope, we're now sharing a beach together, enjoying a photo break down the road, on June Lake. It's just a matter of time before they come over and ask for me to take their picture, then realize who I am, and back away slowly.

Here's the damage:

I'm mostly alone here in my pretty little spot, though. People stop every once in a while, take a photo of the lake, jump back in their cars and move on. But mostly it's me and the ducks, a couple of horny sand flies that keep buzzing by, and a trout that swims back in forth in front of me.

Even though I am on my way home to you, it will be hard to drag myself away from my perch here.

So what is it that makes it more enjoyable to sit here on the edge of a lake and stare at the mountains than to sit on a curb and stare at traffic? What in our DNA makes this universally preferable? Obviously, the quiet and the encompassing views make it possible to see and hear approaching predators. But beyond that, why do I feel compelled to sit here all day? Well, besides utter laziness.

One more stop before I head home for good: the ghost town of Bodie, to return something that Jakob stole a while ago, activating an ancient curse that has plagued us in the intervening years.

Well, time to get moving, I guess. Another place on my list of places that I want to bring you back to soon, before it gets too cold.

After turning off the main highway, it is a 12-mile drive out to the ghost town of Bodie, some of it paved, some of it not. Regardless, it is quite a trek, especially when you don't even want to stop and see the sights, just drop something off, then turn around and head back to the highway.

We all came here for a visit a couple years ago, and Jakob, unbeknownst to me, committed a big no-no. He brought a piece of Bodie home with him in his pocket. A little piece of wood. The Bodie Curse is such that anyone who pilfers a piece of the town will be heaped with bad luck. In a small timeframe following the violation, we indeed had a string of bad luck, culminating in your daddy's most recent heart attack and the quadruple bypass -- all less than two weeks after our trip to Bodie.

I'm hoping that the artifact's delayed return will finally restore our family's good fortune, at the very least leading to some kind of super lotto win.

The ranger at the entrance to the town said she would see that the item is safely returned to an appropriate spot. So instead of paying a $7 entrance fee, I just handed over the wood, snapped a pic to prove that it's no longer in my possession, flipped a bitch and headed for home.

I can't even begin to imagine where that little piece of wood will actually end up, all I know is that it's no longer in our house.

Okay, so I fibbed. ONE more stop before home. Dinner in the little town of Bridgeport, an hour and change from G'ville.

This is the exact moment where Operation Fall Color 2011 ends and Project BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger begins.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

All-or-nothing vacay...

Is there any other kind? I have two weeks off from work to:

1) unwind, rest, sleep in, nap, decompress, relax, center, re-energize

2) reconnect with my children

3) clean and de-clutter the house

4) bake everything on my wish list

5) do something "vacation-y"

I'm in the middle of doing something vacation-y now; I've booked three nights at a motel in Mammoth Lakes, about two hours south of G-ville on Hwy 395.

I'm calling it "Operation Fall Colors 2011." I spent the couple of hours driving down here gawking at the reds and golds and listening to John Prine songs, the ones that make me cry.

A few miles before Mammoth, I switched gears and started listening to Les Baxter, and my whole mood changed. Much less morose. I took off on a side road into the June Lake area and imagined myself as an early-'60s era Vegas showgirl on the run from the Mob, an unwitting witness to an execution of a low-level city official in an abandoned warehouse. Hard to imagine yourself as anything else BUT a mob moll with a heart of gold when you're listening to Les.

Is it possible to plan a whole vacation around a chair? Cuz that's pretty much what I've done. I have this canvas chair with a clip-on umbrella, and all I want to do is set this chair up in pretty places, away from people and their noises and their talky-talky bullshit, plop myself into it and read books or stare at the scenery.

Rolled into town kind of late today to do any seriously hardcore lounging, but did manage to sit at a picnic table at a scenic overlook for about an hour and soak up some sun.

Doesn't it look like a giant spider emerging from the ground?

Finally got into Mammoth at about 4, checked into the motel and immediately fell for the desk guy. Woof. Asian, maybe about my age, rugged looking, insists on calling me Ms. Davis. Very nice.

Ventured out into town and got some pizza, then came back to the room and am now vegging in front of the tv. Wild woman, me, no?

Looking to do a casual loop around Yosemite tomorrow, search for the perfect spot to set up my chair, maybe get a sammich. Nothing strenuous. Nothing stressful. Just ommmmmmmmmmmmmm...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

That's why!

You know why I love you kids? Because today we each picked out some new scented wax melts for the candle warmer, and you both acted like it was the second coming of Christ. You both discussed the merits or shortcomings of each scent all the way home in the car. Jakob, you were practically vibrating with anticipation over which one we were going to pick for tonight: vanilla shortbread, pumpkin pie or blueberry muffin. And Wavy was in awe that the whole operation wasn't going to burn the house down, and if I didn't pick blueberry muffin, you were simply going to perish and die. We then lit the warmer up, turned out the lights and told elaborate stories about all the animals we saw at the park today.

Either I have to get you guys out of the house more, or -- your finely tuned sense of wonder at every little thing has not yet been obliterated by the inevitable jaded ennui that will eventually devour your precious little souls.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Five Things

1) I've got a cold. The girl who sits next to me at work has had a sinus infection for a few days now, and I'm hoping all I've caught from her is a cold. My sinus infections last for weeks and weeks.

2) Discussed the feasibility of my upcoming vacation with my super at work. Is it reality? Is it fantasy? Spent a good portion of the day thinking about what kind of laid-back kind of things I'd like to do if it indeed comes to pass. Driving around looking at fall colors figured prominently in my thoughts.

3) Started designing the front page of the Tahoe paper tonight but had to pass it on to someone else because I was crying too hard to see my computer screen clearly. The cover story tonight was about a young army man from South Shore who had been killed Monday while serving in Afghanistan. I didn't know this person, of course. It's just unspeakably sad. He was only 21 years old and it was his first deployment.

4) I made pasta for dinner tonight. I sautéed a bit of salmon and dumped it on top, and crumbled some feta over the whole thing. This is only notable because I hardly ever cook something for myself anymore. It's gvçomusually leftovers from your dinner with daddy and nana and papa or something I pick up on the way home.

5) Jakob, you were still awake in bed when I got home tonight. I laid down with you for awhile to shoot the shit, cuz that's what we do if I'm lucky enough to get home while you're still up. We started talking about where we'd like to travel when we win the lotto. You mentioned Spain, and I thought that was a very fine idea. You got kind of ticked off that I don't make enough money working in newspapers to be able to take you there right now. You asked me why I don't pick another career. Actually, what you said was, "Why don't you ..." and I said, "What? What? Why don't I WHAT?" and you said, "Oh never mind," and that's when I said, "oh screw you" (well, okay, not in so many words, but you got the gist) and i got up to let you go to sleep. Someday you will read this and be sorry that you hurt my feelings. And i will re-read this someday and be bummed that I got my feelings hurt by a 7-year-old and got mad. But I forgive you. Do you forgive me?

Love you both. Good night.

Sunday, September 04, 2011


My grand plans this Sunday: cleaning certain parts of the house. Yes, I know I don't deserve a medal.

I'm starting with the kitchen and defrosting the freezer. I gathered up all the disparate and lonely little bags of leftover frozen vegetables a consolidated them into one large bag, with thoughts of making a soup or stew tonight with them. Then images of that lady from "Hoarders" that hoarded rotten pumpkins popped into my head, and I threw all the vegetables in the Insinkerator and bid them goodbye.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Ah, the siren call of this modern life: "Kids Eat Free." More and more establishments are adopting this to lure cash-strapped parents out of their pantries of spaghetti and hot dogs and into the land of meals served with an actual (or at least a facsimile of actual) smile and a thank-you.

I took both the kids to Qdoba yesterday. Both of them ate and drank for free while I got a pretty tasty salad. Afterwards, with the money we saved, we went to Target and bought a Jenga set, took it to the park and played with it until it was too dark to see. Money well saved and subsequently spent, IMO.

Four-year-old Wavy is much better at Jenga than you would think a four-year-old would be.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What did Momma do on Saturday?

Hey kids,

Since I don't get to see too much of you during the week, Saturdays are usually jam-packed with us-time. Running errands, lunch, movies, shopping, time at the park, generally anything and everything that gets us out of the house.

Yesterday seemed particularly manic. The following kind of reads like Henry Hill's coke-fueled "Helicopters and Tomato Sauce scene" from GoodFellas, right before he gets hauled in by the DEA.

Woke up at 8:30 a.m. and made you guys breakfast, then went back to bed to read the news and check my email for about an hour. Wavy and I took a shower together at about 9:30, Jake at 10.

We loaded up the car with about 100 lbs of old clothes for Goodwill and maybe about a metric shit-ton of old electronics for the computer recycle center.

First stop then, was Computer Corps computer recycle center. This is right next to where I work, so after a year of driving past it every day, I finally stopped last week to drop off an old printer and test the waters. Basically to see if they really do accept everything, working or not. They do. So now it is my life's mission to empty out the garage of all the old electronics that your daddy hoards. One load down, many more to go.

Lunch at Charley's Grilled Subs. It's our fast, easy, cheap go-to on Saturdays. Next we each picked out a tiny treat next door at Schat's Bakery.

I got a macaron and you guys got honeycomb dipped in dark chocolate (which is something I've always wanted to learn how to make). Lah-de-dah.

Then it was off to Borders. The entire store is 50-70% off. Jake got a book about sharks, Wavy got "Dora Goes to the Doctor," and I got a spiral-bound book of appetizers.

On to what I call the "Goodwill dumpster," and what Wavy calls the "clothes mailbox." It's one of the boxes in the store parking lot where you deposit old clothes donations.

Next up: Payless Shoes for some school shoes. Ran into an old friend there that I haven't seen since she got married some 10 or so years ago. Disconcerting to see her with her 9-year-old son.

WalMart. Not to shop, thank god, but just to drop off a ginormous bag of plastic bags in the recycle bin.

Too damn hot for more errand-y types of stuff, so we stop at 7-Eleven and get slurpees and retire to a shady spot at the park to read our new books for a while.

Back to the house to get ready for BBQ at Nana and Papa's. I slice up and marinate some acorn squash, pack a basket with brats and buns and load up the truck with bikes and cupcakes.

Then off to Nana and Papa's. While daddy fires up the BBQ, we take a bike ride around the property, and spy on the huge strip mining operation next door.

Stuff ourselves on brats, salad, berries, squash, corn-on-the-cob and cupcakes, then take another bike ride. We sit outside until it finally starts to cool off, while Nana and Papa ramble on with their endless stories (Papa calls them "sea stories") that we've all heard a million times before. I teach Jakob how to find the North Star (Follow the two stars that form the outer edge of the Big Dipper, which points to the North Star. Easy peasy.)

Daddy and I leave you two to sleep at Nana's so you can go to church with her early in the morning. It's about 10 p.m. and I have grand plans for the rest of my evening. I want to update my baking blog and get started on my felt sushi.

But I get home and lay in front of the fan and feel like doing neither of those things, so I hop back in the car and go to Redbox and rent The Beaver, with Mel Gibson.

But before I watch it, I sit down at the computer and am compelled to create this piece of cheez, for reasons still unknown:

After the movie (and a piece of toast and butter around 12:30 a.m.) I finally go to bed around 1:30.

Is that a lot in a day? It feels like a lot. And we only got in one fight today, when we were at Borders. You guys were enchanted by all the 50%-off toys and pestered me nonstop that you'd rather have toys than books. I was having none of it. NO MORE TOYS!!! OR WIRE HANGERS!!! But we all got over that rather quickly, after I threatened you with leaving with NOTHING. But other than that, a pretty good day.

Friday, August 19, 2011

When does it end, this childlike dorkitude

I'm 43 years old. Let me re-iterate by saying... I am 43 years old. Yesterday at work, I tore the top off of my whipped chocolate yoplait yogurt, then slowly and repeatedly squeezed on the sides so that the yogurt oozed in and out of the top of the container. I turned to my co-worker and said, "Look, my yogurt is turtleheading."

I mean, wtf was that. I remember when my mom was 43. Never, ever would it have crossed her mind to think -- much less say -- something so stupid. But me... will I still be making fart jokes when I'm in my 70s?

Also, I am wearing temporary tattoos on the backs of both my hands today. I offered to put one on Wavy before school this morning, but she said no thank you.

Monday, August 08, 2011

What's in Momma's purse?

This is my purse of the month. It's a large, boxy number by Nine West that I bought on a whim because the price was right. I didn't think that I would like it as much as I do. I was *hoping* that I wouldn't like it as much as I do, because it's not that attractive. But it's deceptively huge and holds all my regular stuff, plus all my extra stuff (full-size camera and my iPad and a bottle of water or three) when I need it to.

1. Prescription sunglasses that are about three prescriptions behind my regular prescription sunglasses.

2. My super-duper Card Cubby wallet. See below.

3. Checkbook. I almost never write checks anymore, but whenever I found myself in a situation where I need to, I never seemed to have it on me. So I resigned myself to allotting precious purse space to the damned thing.

4. Pens: A gimme from Half Moon Bay Comfort Inn and one from Flying Fish Grill, also in Half Moon Bay. I thought maybe when I used them, I would be transported back to our recent vacation there. No. Also, the black Sharpie Johnny Hickman used to sign a photo I took of him 17 years ago.

5. A comb. I have four of this same comb strewn about my house, because no other comb will do. I would rather not comb my hair than use a comb that is not this particular species of Goody comb.

6. First aid and sundries #1. See below.

7. Change purse. It's a purple cow, you see.

8. I've discovered Aleve and now use it in copious amounts.

9. My "smart" phone. If you know me, you know how much I hate phones. But this one is fun to take photos with and upload to that social networking site. You know which one I'm talking about.

10. Lip Medex by Blistex. Not Carmex. Not Burts. Lip Medex, which of course is harder to find than than any other lip aid.

11. Tiny tape measure. I never knew how much I would use it until I actually had one in my purse. I measure things all the time now. All the shit I buy now FITS where it's supposed to, yo! No more buying 9" pans when I meant to buy 8" pans.

12. First aid and sundries #2. See below.

First aid and sundries #1:

1. Bite ointment. I take the kids lots of places where they get bitten. It is what it is.

2. Nail file.

3. Tweezers.

4. Eyeglass kit. Perilously low on those maddeningly tiny screws.

5. Burn ointment. I try not to take the kids lots of places where they get might get burnt, but you never know.

6. Souped-up bite ointment for those souped-up bites that occasionally happen.

7. A dollar store multi-tool that will be the surgical instrument used to hack my arm off ála Aron Ralston when I eventually find myself between that rock and that hard place.

8. Cough drops.

9. Two doses of Benadryl for Jakob, if and when he ingests one of those myriad things that he is allergic to.

First aid and sundries #2:

1. Big bandaids. The bigger the kids get, the biggers their scrapes.

2. More cough drops.

3. Three days worth of my prescription meds. Meaning I will make it through three days of the zombie apocalypse before throwing myself at a pack of zombies and begging them to put me out of my misery.

4. Wet wipes and Shout It Out wipes. Can never have enough of these. I have small children. 'Nuff said?

5. Small bandaids.

6. Backup lip aids. Cuz the zombie apocalypse is gonna dry us up beyond all belief.

7. Allergy eye drops.

8. Airborne tabs, mixed in with Tums.

9. Discount store Neosporin.

10. Ventolin, sweet Ventolin, for my asthmatic moments. Thankfully they are few and far between these days, but I still gotta carry it. The thought of it *not* being in my purse makes me all angsty and asthmatic.

The vaunted Card Cubby. A godsend to organizational freaks like me. Freaks who take it upon themselves to document the contents of their purses. But really, I don't know how many times I didn't use my discount cards because I couldn't find them in my old wallet. But nowadays I'm all about the fro-yo punch cards and at least 5 different frequent flyer sandwich cards. Don't judge me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Phone purge, part 2

Hey kids,

I don't really like to tell people my dreams, because I know how tedious it can be sometimes to listen about *other* people's dreams. But I'll tell you about this one I had this morning. Because you are a captive, sleeping audience.

This dream just went on and on, and I kept waking up a bit and thinking, my gawd, it must be time to get up, then looking at the clock and seeing that it was still quite early, and going back to sleep and back into my dream.

So, I dreamed I was a personal assistant to the actor who used to portray Ed on Northern Exposure. I have recently started following this actor's current activity on Facebook (now isn't that a hoity-toity way of saying "cyberstalking," or what), so I suppose that's how my dream-self came up with this particular dream character.

He took me to his home, which was an enormous, dilapidated houseboat parked in the harbor of an exceedingly seedy part of town, where he left me by myself while he went elsewhere. I explored the houseboat, found secret rooms, untied a little boat and rode around the dirty harbor a bit. Found a clean, sparkling patch of water back near the houseboat, where some dolphins as big as small cars were frolicking with manta rays as the tide went out.

When my boss returned and told me I could go home, I got on a bike and started riding, eventually realizing that I had no home to go to. I couldn't turn back, so I kept riding and riding, eventually riding onto a rocky beach and almost into the ocean. I had no choice but to call my boss and tell him that I had nowhere to go. His wife answered the phone, I told her my plight, and it turned into an interview to become their children's nanny. She asked me "what I considered myself to be." I told her I thought of myself first as a graphic designer, and second of all, a mother. My answer disturbed me in my dream, and continued to disturb me for the rest of my waking day. I mean... where exactly *were* my children in this dream. That's the last I remember of my dream, so I don't know if I got the job or not. Or if I ever found my home and my children.

So glad I got that out of my system here, and didn't unload that rambling mess on a real live, awake person. Tedious and boring indeed!

So anyway, a few more phone photos.

Daddy about 45 minutes after his quadruple bypass.

Daddy getting up out of bed and walking around for the first time after his quadruple bypass.

Nana and Papa flew out to be with us while Daddy recouped. This is you fascinated by Papa taking care of the RV.

I must've taken a photo break, cuz this is a rather large leap in time to Jakob's birthday or thereabouts, at Chuck E. Cheese.

More Chuck E. Cheese.

How many children are maimed or dismembered on Chuck E. Cheese thrill rides every year?!!?

All right. Off to sleep. Perchance to dream again of Ed Chigliak. Love you. And yes, I am a mother first and foremost.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Phone purge

Hey kids,

I got a new phone last week. Had to de-activate my old phone, but there were more than 80 photos on it that I had to either toss or slowly and painstakingly send to my email for download. And, hoarder/sentimentalist that I am, of course I was going to keep them.

The old phone was almost three years old, and the photos were like a weird time capsule of random moments from the last three years that I thought worthy of a snapshot, for some reason or another. Here's a few, more or less in the order in which they were taken.

You look so young. It's you trying on your Lion King headwear for Halloween.

It's Neko Case at Hawkins Amphitheater in Reno. I can't believe this show was that long ago. Time flies.

It's you having lunch at Wendy's. This was the day that we drove to Truckee to stake out the Camper/Cracker venue and find our way around so that I wouldn't get lost when I went up there for reals on the day of the show.

This is some of the $150 worth of food that I bought for Camper and/or Cracker, laid out nice and symmetrically on a table.

You visiting my new office, before they took it away from me and sent me back to cube-land.

X at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz. I went with Laurie. At the end of the show, I almost passed out and had to sit out on the sidewalk in front of the venue.

The waiting area at Carson-Tahoe hospital. Daddy had another heart attack and I had to bring you both with me to see him at the hospital, because I had no one to drop you off with.

Wavy sat outside with a nurse, but the doctor thought Jakob was old enough to come in and see his daddy for a bit.

On the way home from the hospital, we stopped at the grocery store. I think this was the very first time I had ever gone to a store with BOTH of you, by MYSELF. Up to that point, I had only ever gone to the store with you, one at a time, while one or the other of you stayed with dad. You were just slightly naughty, not the juggernaut of chaos that I thought you would be.

Maybe some more later. It's time for bed. Love you both.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Breaking news

Hey kids,

It's time for a Thursday 13 of breaking news items. But it's Saturday, and it's only 5:37 in the morning, so let's just do two, to start us out.

1) The Department of Homeland Security out of Alexandria, Virginia visited my site at 08:59:06 last night. WTF? Are all blogs routinely monitored for terrorist content, or have I been singled out as particularly subversive?

2) o.b. tampons: I thought it was just me standing in store aisles, glumly wondering where they all had gone. This week I dumped out all the contents of all my handbags and scraped together enough stray o.b.'s to get me through a couple of days, but they are gone-gone-gone from store shelves. An official statement from o.b. yesterday says they will be back on the shelves soon, but it's been a long couple of months without them. Meanwhile, people are making a killing on ebay.

Okay, back to sleep. This up-with-the-sun shit is for the birds. Love you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Birthday: A Post-Mortem

Hey kids,

It's been forever since I last blogged, and guess what? I'm STILL sick with that damned sinus thing. Four days before Christmas was when all this started. Throat was infected, eyes were infected, sinuses were DEF-CON 4. I've gone through two courses of antibiotics and am just now (touch wood) on the mend. Still stuffed up, still coughing and wheezing a bit, still can't hear too good. But energy's up a bit, can sleep through the night without tossing up a lung.

I am paranoid that all the coughing has detached a retina. Seriously. All of a sudden I have a plethora of floaters in my right eye. Well... two or three. One appeared a couple of weeks ago, toward the bottom of my field of vision, and I thought it would drive me insane. Just when I thought I could possibly make peace with it, a second one appeared, three times as big and right in the middle of my vision. It's shaped like a seahorse, with a long stringy tail that curls up under it when I look to the left, and then the tail flows out behind it when I look to the right. So yeah, I can make it do tricks. Am I the only person in the history of the world to name my eye floaters? I've named this one Seabiscuit. Or Wilberforse. I can't decide yet. But don't worry about me yet, kids. I'm making an appointment later this week with my eye doctor. I need new glasses anyway, and our new vision plan has finally kicked in.

Enough about my ills. It was Jakob's birthday!

I mean, THIS is what I had kids for. You guys are finally old enough now for Momma's big payoff. The planning, the baking, the research, the spending, the spending. I LOVE THIS SHIT!

So Jakob had his first real birthday party.

Inspired/Ripped off by the following book cover:

I ran off a few of these at Kinko's and spray-mounted them onto blank cards. We reserved the party room at the bowling alley down the street, and I let you invite your four closest friends. I invited a couple of my friends, and then with me and daddy and Nana and Papa and your sister, plus your friends' parent/s, we quickly filled up our 16-person limit. After that, it would supposedly be an extra $10 per person.

The party room is pretty danged cool. There's four whole lanes that we got to ourselves, plus a disco ball and blacklights and crazy Top 40 music. The staff fed everyone a choice of corn dog or hot dog or chicken tenders with fries and soft drinks.

I made a cake, of course. It was my secret dream that the league bowlers that saw me bring the cake in from the street would inundate me with requests to make similar cakes for their league nights. I also went on to dream that I would charge them $250 each, and that I would quit my day job. But alas, I got a few friendly "hey, that's cool!"s from the leaguers and a "best birthday cake yet" from the bowling alley kitchen lady, but so far, no orders. Bah.

Upon review, it is a bit plain up top, but I will be honest with you. I simply ran out of steam. I was still pretty much sicker than a dog at that point, and a cake with cookies takes at least a week of after-work nights.

One night the previous week: make and refrigerate the cookie dough
Sunday: Bake the cookies
Monday: Make the fondant
Tuesday: Apply fondant and royal icing to cookies
Wednesday: Bake and freeze the cake
Thursday: I actually took this night off cuz I felt like utter crapola
Friday: Frost cake and cover with fondant and decorate, wrap up remaining cookies for favors

I had wanted to get all fancy with the top layer of cake, maybe with some fondant stripes in accent colors, something-anything, but what-ev. At this point I just wanted to send SOMETHING down the runway, even if my model was half-naked. Whoops. Sorry. Lapsing into Project Runway-ese. But for anyone keeping score, I used this devils food chocolate cake recipe, this fondant recipe and this chocolate frosting recipe. Oh dear GAWD, the frosting. So, sooo delicious.

Party favors: wanted to send kids home with something substantial, so I went to Borders and bought a bunch of fairly nice books from the cut-out bin on 50% OFF DAY. Then set them out and let each kid pick out which one they wanted to take home. I even accounted for the one uncouth mother whom I KNEW would bring the whole fam-damly, rather than just the one daughter who was invited. And I wasn't wrong... she brought all four of her kids. Which is fine... I'm not bitching. She's a nice lady. Plus, no bowling alley management ever showed up to do an official head count, so we got away with it.

And the bowling! Apparently, you and Wavy were the only two kids who had never bowled before. You loved it. Even Wavy, who I had figured would be all stand-offish and shy, really got into it, especially with the bumpers up and the special bowling ball ramp for kids and differently-abled adults:

I was worried and anxious that it would be hard to get kids organized enough to bowl, and then to stop bowling to eat and do presents and cake, and then to bowl again, and then to stop when we had to. But it all flowed pretty well with a bare minimum of poking and prodding and everyone seemed to have a great time, even me, after I unclenched my teeth and my butt cheeks and just let everything happen.

You enjoyed it so much that you are already hoping to go back this weekend to bowl some more. And then you mused for a bit, and asked me, "Isn't your birthday coming up in March, Mom? I'm thinking of a kind of birthday party that you might like..." Oh yeah? "A bowling party, Mom. Doesn't that sound like a good idea?" Yes, Jakob, it certainly does...

Daddy was in charge of the camera that day, so needless to say, ha ha, we didn't get a whole lot of quality photos of quality things. We did get a dozen shots of the back of your head while 20 people sang Happy Birthday to you, but zilch-o shots of 20 people singing Happy Birthday to you. And hardly any shots of you bowling. Go figger. I think the following is my favorite that daddy took:

Isn't that PRECIOUS?!?!?

So, final words about the whole process, this whole first birthday party thing. Even though I was at death's door the entire time that it took to throw this together, it was still thrilling and fun and just an overall hoot. I even had just enough steam left over the next day to make THESE for you and your classmates for your school birthday party:

Granted, it was 99¢ Duncan Hines cake out of a box, but it was that same sinful chocolate frosting that was on your birthday cake. And so pretty! Too pretty for you little animals.

Let's do this again! Throwing parties is fun! Why do we have to wait for a birthday to throw a party and unleash my inner Julie the Control Freak Cruise Director. Let's have a Welcome to Spring Party, and a Fourth of July party, and and and...

Good night.... Love love love you both.