Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Need An Intervention (aka Let's Go Shopping!)






I've pulled myself away from my latest internet obsession to make a public confession...

...I am addicted to these new Private Sale websites that sell designer goods at ridiculously cut-rate prices.  HELP.

Have you heard about them?  Seen them?  The NYTimes wrote about them the other day but it wasn't like I needed the news to tell me about it.   But I feel I am alone in my obsession, so I'm telling all of you. 

Cause, you know, it's the holiday season, and I want to live vicariously through you guys spending instead of  me, have someone to talk to about it, spread a little cheer. 

These sites like Gilt, RueLaLa, HauteLook, and Ideeli are incredible.  You can browse from the comfort of your own desk chair or pillow.  You can bring as much food and drink as you like.  You don't even have to get dressed or put on make-up!  All you have to do is give them an email address and password.  That's it!

Of course, you can't try the pieces on but they do have return policies and it keeps you from buying things on a whim (most of the time).

So far, I've spent much of my time doing the browse/no purchase thing, but I did buy a pair of mixed metal mesh hanging earrings from Gilt.  They came quickly and I LOVE them.  AND THEY WERE CHEAPY, CHEAP, CHEAP!  Gotta love.

So, my blogger friends, please join me in my latest addiction because I need an intervention company.   Just to be clear, I am getting no payment from anyone.  This is purely a personal review/recommendation/plea for help.

Oh, and hubby, if you're reading this, I'm stopping right now and going to work on my writing.  K?  Really.  I mean it... (And I truthfully have only bought the one pair of earrings...though I have wanted to buy MUCH MUCH MORE).  See how good I've been???  Aren't you proud?

The rest of you,  see you at the sales!  (not now, of course, I'm off to work, tomorrow.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Talking Trash About merlotmom

Where the f*ck is merlotmom?

I have no idea.  That bitch has the nerve to call herself a blogger?  Sheesh.


I know!  WTF!  So, what d'ya think?  Should we trash her blog while she's away?

Nah!  Can't hate on her just 'cause she's a flake.  I hear she's been spending her free time working on a novel.


So what!  Like the rest of us don't have busy lives?  We work, we write, we care for our kids...who does she think she is?


I did hear she had lunch the other day with this blogger.  Wonder how she had time to do THAT and not THIS.


Now you're getting it...


Although, in her defense, I know her writing workshop is right near where this blogger lives.  She's gotta eat, no?


Why are you defending her?  She ditched us.   She's a bad blogger... a bad blogger.


Jeez, you sound like Rain Man.  Maybe, maybe, it's a generational thing.  You know, I hear she's turning 48 this weekend and when we were at BlogHer this summer she wasn't nearly as interested in texting and twittering as the rest of us.  


Right, I noticed that, she even teased us about it.   She told me they didn't even have computers when she was in college.  Can you imagine?   She said she spent years working as a secretary in NY typing on an IBM Selectric.


IBM Selectric?  What's that?


I don't know exactly.  I think it's one of those ancient typewriters, you know, the black ones with those little round keys on sticks.


Nooo!


Yes.


Wow! She's old.  


And getting older every minute.  Fine.  I'll give her a break.  When we get to be her age, we may have no attention span either.  Scary.


Yeah.  Let's not hate her.  Let's feel bad for her.

Okay.  Well, gotta go.  I've had thirty DMs just since we started talking.   Don't forget to send merlotmom a Happy Birthday tweet.


Will do.  

And all of YOU better, too.  She still deserves your good wishes even though she's old.  Maybe even moreso.   ;)











Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Spider And You (Or This Is Your Brain On Drugs: A Cautionary Tale)

My sister sent this to me the other day with a note saying "hysterical".  It is.
Enjoy.





Monday, November 16, 2009

Don't Underestimate the Power of Your Telemarketer




I don't know about you but in the past few weeks I have been deluged with unsolicited sales calls.  Did I miss something?  Did the DO NOT CALL registry expire?  Because literally one day my phone started ringing off the hook with sales pitches of all kinds.  If you scroll down the "calls received" on my handset, there are at least twenty to thirty in one day.  Not only do I receive mostly junk mail now but most of my phone calls are junk too.

When this began, I answered the calls as I always have. 

I didn't. 

Well, most of the time.  If I did bother to pick up the phone, I would only do so long enough for the obnoxious intruder to hear me hang up on them.  My husband, who is away most of the day, and doesn't have the pleasure of these telecommunication gnats constantly gnawing at his ear, has fun with them. 

He morphs into varying characters:  pretending he's hard of hearing, fluent in another (gibberish) language, a gun-toting conservative, a hippie dippie liberal, whatever is in direct conflict with what the person is selling.  The  hired employee desperate to make a sale, repeats their pitch over and over, keeping my possessed husband on the line long enough to have me and my kids rolling on the floor in hysterics.  Which is when they get a clue and hang up.  My husband has even gone so far as to ask them for their phone number so he can call THEM back during THEIR dinner.  (Funny guy, this is why I love him.)

But me?  I'm not so generous.  When I do bother to talk to these intruders it is not a conversation. 

"Please take us off your list," I order and then hang up on them as they attempt to change my mind. 

This is what I continued to do when this recent flood of phone calls began.  This time, the man on the other end yelled back, "Can you please let me say something?"

"No!" I said.  "I cannot."  And with that I hung up.

That very day and for every day since, I've been getting calls minute after minute, hour after hour, from salespeople asking for someone named Muhammed.  Or Ali.  Or Cassius. 

Do you see a pattern here?  Me, too.

I think that guy I yelled at put my phone number on every list imaginable.  Revenge is sweet.

Well it kind of is.  Because the telemarketer gnat  taught me a lesson.

If I ignored the dozens of calls I was getting a day, the same numbers would pop up on my phone 2, even 3, times in a 24 hour period.  The interruptions just kept multiplying.  It was like a horror movie, INVASION OF THE TELEMARKETERS.

So, I tried a different tact.  I did answer the phone.  And I politely listened to them asking for Muhammed.  Or Ali. Or Cassius.  Or sometimes, lo and behold, my real name.  And then I would, even more politely, in my sweetest, yet tele-weary voice, tell them they had the wrong number or I was not interested, and would they mind please taking me off their list. 

Well, you definitely get more bees with honey, or less bees, (whatever!)  because I have never spoken with such a lovely group of telemarketers.  Luck of the draw?  I think not.

Though I still do get many calls a day, the same numbers are not repeating themselves as they once were.  These are all new, unsuspecting sales grunts.

And one by one, I'm going to kill them all with kindness.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday

I am grateful I caused no physical harm this weekend to my Bat Mitzvah-defiant, Torah portion-rejecting, non-speech writing daughter.

I am grateful for Tylenol.

I am grateful for Wii Fit Rhythm Boxing.

I am grateful there are less than three weeks left until my life returns to it's regularly scheduled programming.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Some Wisdom Not Written By Me So You Can Take It Seriously





This came to me from a friend.  It was written by a woman journalist. 
Some of you may have seen it already but I thought it was worth passing around. 
Some good stuff to remember here.

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio 

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written."  My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone..

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.   I would add, "gracefully allow others to have their own opinion.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.   .....especially family and friends

29. What other people think of you is none of your business..

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Again, I'm having a brief moment of sanity but this woman's wisdom should not be discounted by my next (sure to be) hysterical post.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

L'Shana Tova to my Jewish readers.  Have a sweet one!  (Hence the graphic.)

...and speaking of the graphic...

*photo courtesy of google images

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Momentary Case of Mistaken Identity

The other day I wrote this post.

It was a nice post. 
A sincere, written-from-the-heart kinda post.

But, I am NOT the woman who wrote that post.

No.

That post was written by a woman whose kids were still at school.
That post was written by a woman whose dogs had just been fed and walked.
That post was written by a woman who was sitting in her quiet house, drinking her favorite green tea, thinking she had accomplished a great deal.

That calm, reflective, introspective woman went missing a mere two hours after writing that post.

When her son came home with his first homework assignments and regressed to his tantrum-throwing, foul-mouthed self.

When her daughter, after being given questions to help her formulate her hopes, concerns and dreams for her Bat Mitzvah speech, came back with these (cough) heartfelt and thought out answers:


What does being Jewish mean to you? 
That I have to go to temple on my birthday.  That I have to learn Hebrew. 
What does having a Bat Mitzvah mean to you?  
Nothing.  I don't want one.
What have I learned from my Mitzvah (charity) project?
Nothing.

Oy.

No.  That woman, as much as she meant what she wrote in her last post, is loooooong gone. 

She's been busy screaming at her kids, waking at 2am to scribble errands on post its,  and having late night "can't catch her breath" panic attacks.

I am soooo not the woman who wrote that post.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday


Sometimes it takes a lifetime to get perspective.
Sometimes it takes one phone call. 

I started my morning, as I have every morning lately, going through my list of "to do's".  Just sitting at my desk ignites stress.  The piles, the post-its.  What did I forget?  What more do I have to do?  The lists are endless,  boundless petri dishes for my type-A tendencies. 

And as the date of my daughter's Bat Mitzvah draws closer, I find myself forgetting about the joy and significance of this milestone and focusing more on the expectation.  The obligation.

Until today. 

With one call, with one distressed voice on the other end of the line, that changed.

Because of the event, I am in touch with family members I rarely speak to.  All of them live out of town.  Many of them are elderly.  And I have suddenly been given a glimpse into their daily world.

I called one of them this morning, expecting a conversation of details and chit-chat and instead encountered a woman who was pre-occupied, impatient, and not the least bit interested in talking about my daughter's Bat Mitzvah.  It turns out her husband had spent the night in the E.R. and she was, at that moment, preparing to take him back to the hospital.  She was worried.  She was scared. 

We spoke briefly.  I wished them both well and we hung up. 

I felt bad about the phone call.  Bad that her husband was not well.  And bad that I had stirred up so much anxiety for myself over a Bat Mitzvah.  I felt petty.  Shallow.  Small.

I thought about them a lot, and other relatives/friends of ours from their generation.  About how so many of their lives now center around doctors' appointments, trips to the pharmacy, the hospital. 

I thought that as much as I muse about mid-life and lament about turning 50,  I am totally clueless about what it's like to actually be OLD.

Cherish the moments.
Celebrate the milestones.
Enjoy life.

I hear people say these things all the time but I never feel they apply to me.  I'm too busy supermarket shopping, cleaning, carpooling, living my daily life, to make a big deal out of things like birthdays and anniversaries.  It's nice for other people and I love being a part of their celebrations... I guess I just thought there'd always be time.

And hopefully there will be. 

But with this one phone call, I began to wonder, "Why not start now?"

So, for today, I will be grateful for the stress and the chaos that this celebration brings.
And grateful for the loved ones and friends who will be here to share it with us.

Because while a Bat Mitzvah may not be a matter of life and death, it is very much a matter of LIFE.

And, you can bet, we're going to celebrate the shit out of it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bat Mitzvah Talk Will Not Stop Until October - Deal With It!

 

 
Guest List - done
Invites - done   (despite losing 25 of them the night before they went out)  
Mitzvah (charity) Project- chosen and in process.
Florist - chosen
Caterer - chosen
DJ, photographer, entertainment - chosen
Video Montage - WORKING ON IT!
Hair appts - booked
Hebrew Names for family - who the f**k knows.
Daughter's dress/shoes - done
Husband's suit/shoes - done.
Son's outfit/shoes - this weekend.
My outfit - who the f**k knows.

After a lifetime of being a non-Jewish Jew, I am suddenly immersed in everything Jewish.  We're doing Shabbat, going to Friday night services, becoming buddies with the (heretofore strangers) Rabbi and Cantor. 

Not to say it's bad.  In fact, it's rather nice.  But while I can organize a party as well as the next yahoo, I am out of my league when it comes to the religious aspects of the Bat Mitzvah.  Memorizing and singing prayers (and, of course, understanding their meaning!), researching Hebrew names, figuring out the logistics of the actual ceremony...

...Way...Over...My...Head. 

It's gibberish.  It's greek.  It's daunting.

OY.

And the part that gives me the most tsuris?  Is the SPEECH. 
I am the mother of the Bat Mitzvah girl, for God's sake.  I can't have a lame speech!

OY. 

And, yes, some part of this event IS ABOUT ME!

I want the speech to be good.  Really good.  So, of course...I'm having total writer's block.

Does someone, anyone, have ideas/advice on writing a dynamite speech?
The last time I spoke in front of a lot of people was Public Speaking 101 at UMich which was way too long ago to mention, much less draw from.

 Any openers?  Jokes?  Ghost writers?  (kidding).   But advice and guidance would be greatly appreciated. 

OY.


*photo courtesy of google images

Monday, September 7, 2009

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday

As I go through family photos to include in my daughter's Bat Mitzvah montage, it is clear to me that I should stop romanticizing the past...and begin being grateful for:

Lasik Surgery
Tamer Hair Styles




OMG!

I guess middle age ain't all bad.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Autopsy of A Summer

 
This summer was an experiment.

It was the first time I abided by my kids' wishes and let them stay home. 

When I told mom friends of our plans, I endured their quizzical faces and their gentle suggestions of, "Are you sure that's such a good idea?".

NO.  I wasn't sure.  But past history of spending thousands of dollars on camps only to have them come home whining about how much they hated them didn't thrill me as an option either.

So I went with saving the money.  (Hello, we have a Bat Mitzvah in October!) 

I turned the experiment into an opportunity.  My kids and I would enjoy quiet, no pressure time together.  We would play tourists in our hometown.  We would do ALL the things we thought about during the year but were too busy or tired to get to.

I diligently assembled a list of local sites: museums, the observatory, amusement parks.

This was going to be fun.

And, having no carpool schedule was, admittedly, a HUGE TURN ON for me.

We began our adventure with two weeks visiting family in Park City.    We hiked, we biked, we took boat rides.

This was going to be easy. 

Then we returned home, I took the path of least resistance.  No rules.  No regulations.  NO technological time limits.  I let my kids go with the flow. 

They slept in.  They stayed in their pajamas.  They ate breakfast for lunch.  My daughter was delirious.  She stayed in bed all day with her laptop.   The internet was her new boyfriend and she could survive the entire day without food or water escaping her lover's amorous grasp only to pee. 

My son had his own romance with the Wii.  He, and sometimes his friends, would play Madden '09, Ghost Squad, and NBA basketball for hours only emerging from the playroom for snacks and water.

But too much of a good thing... soon the drug of hedonism wore off.  My kids needed more to satisfy them.  And even then, the high just wasn't the same.  My daughter lagged.  My son whined.  I became cranky.

We needed to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. 

So, despite their screachy protestations (my neighbors must have thought I was taking my son for repeated limb amputations the way he yelled and shrieked), I dragged my kids to Chinatown, the Grammy Museum, the Petersen Auto Museum, Hurricane Harbor, the Malibu Tide Pools.  We even hit our local beach which is something we NEVER do. 

They loved Hurricane Harbor but predictably whined at the museums.  My son just wanting to hit the gift shop and my daughter only interested in how the colors of the cars matched her nail polish collection.  And though the beach sounds like a relaxing afternoon for most, my kids hated it, so, it was no day at the beach.  

Thankfully, as we were all at our wits end, my husband came home one night in the beginning of August, and after years of begging him for a trip to Hawaii, he decided it was time to oblige.  We used our miles, found a hotel, and off we went for five glorious days in Kona. 

And now, here we are.  Less than a week away from the start of school.

How do I rate my summer?

Well,  I can't honestly call my experiment a success, but I wouldn't call it an absolute failure either.  It was an experience.  Not all good.  Not all bad.  Just different. 

Would I do it again? 

I'm not sure. 

Am I looking forward to school?

Yes.

and No.

Maybe I'm no smarter than I was in the beginning of the summer.  Maybe I have no real wisdom to share.  But in the end, we all survived.  We're all happy.  We're all still talking to each other.

And, the one thing I CAN take away from this experiment is...My kids can never again say I never give them anything.

And rest assured...I'll figure out how to use that to my advantage somehow.












 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday



I am grateful for paradise...and pineapples.

Mahalo.

What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our Kids Are Growing Up: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

 
My son's friend, the boy he's been closest with since pre-school, is here for a sleepover.  We haven't seen much of him this summer.  He's been off at camp, taking tennis lessons, and visiting relatives on the East Coast, while my son's been watching tv, playing Wii, and eating everything in my pantry.

This boy is incredibly smart.  Way ahead of my son.  Way ahead of most kids his age.  But as far as maturity, he has always been true to his nine years. 

Since they were three, he and my son have enjoyed bouncing off my walls, eating all my food, and torturing my older daughter (the longstanding object of this boy's affection). 

My daughter had her own thoughts about him over the years but hers were easily reduced to one word:  pest.

But tonight was different.  A tectonic shift in the natural order of things.

The boy came into my house dressed in board shorts, ready to swim.  Bare chested, tanned, I noticed that he was...built.  Muscular.  Broad.  Thinking it was an illusion, I looked at my son standing next to him.  By comparison, my boy was pale, boyish, scrawny. 

Uncomfortable, I turned away and let my thoughts drift to other, more innocent things, like dark chocolate and Twitter.

But just when I thought it was safe, when the kids were screaming and squirting each other with water guns, I heard my daughter yell out to the boy, "Wow (his name), you're buff!"

The look on the boy's face was priceless, and, as a mother, all too frightening.  The object of his crush, rather than tossing him out of her room, was tossing him a compliment.   He was proud.  Pleased.  His chest pushed out a fraction of an inch further.

"What does everyone want for dinner?," I interjected.  I'd seen enough of the future for one day.

*photo courtesy of google images

Monday, August 17, 2009

Give Me The Grateful Life Monday (eventually...)

 
"How are the Bat Mitzvah plans going?"  People ask when they hear it's less than two months away.

"Fine."

"So you've sent out your invites?  Bought your dress?  Ordered the flowers?"

"No, no, and, ummm,  no."

"Oh," they say pretending to be impressed while simultaneously creating space between you as if laziness is catching.  "You're so... calm," they add.  Where calm really means  HOLY SHIT WOMAN why are you sitting here talking to me when you should be home ordering yarmulkes with your daughter's name on them!

Needless to say, I spent this weekend stuffing, stamping, and addressing envelopes and I can already share with you a few of the errors of my procrastinating ways:

1.  DO order extra envelopes and DO NOT stamp them BEFORE you address them.  I apologize in advance to those guests whose beautiful envelopes arrive scarred with ugly cross outs, "N"s that look like they were once "M"s, and street addresses that say "Drive" instead of "Road".   I sure hope those last ones get to you :).

2.  DO have your entire guest list typed up and DON'T forget to include the addresses.  You don't want to be embarrassed (or drawn into another lengthy phone call with your lonely, great Aunt Sylvie) because you forgot to write the info down when you sent your "Save the dates".

3.  DO tally (DO NOT estimate) your guest list before you order your invites.  Almost is okay for horseshoes and hand grenades, but not when needing two more means you'll have to order 50 and wait another two weeks for delivery.

4.  DO NOT realize all this days before you leave for your tropical vacation when your calendar is already filled with day trips to amusement parks, Target runs, and double sessions with your Wii Fit trainer.

OY!   So much for calm.

"Hey," I can hear you saying, "it's Give Me The Gratitude - Monday, where's her f**king gratitude?"

And you're right (but you didn't have to get all bitchy about it.)
Here it is.  Jeez!

  • I am grateful for the season opener of Mad Men and the chance to watch Jon Hamm for another short, but very sweet, season.
  • I am grateful for the big, cushy lounge chair waiting for me on the big, cushy island of Hawaii.
  • I am grateful for the Wii Fit cause in the next few days that motha's gonna beat my abs into bikini-ready submission.
  • I am grateful for the cream-cheese frosted, triple-layer, berry cake from my favorite bakery, Huckleberry (which means spending more time with the Wii Fit but it was totally worth it.)

What are you grateful for today?

Friday, August 14, 2009

My New Design - You like?

I just wanted to call attention to my new design and thank Sam at Temptation Designs (see button below) for her gorgeous work.

I tried working with other designers but Sam got what I wanted immediately.
It took me so long to find the right person but once I did, the process was quick and easy.

Thank you, Sam. I LOVE my new site. Maybe the beauty of it will motivate me to write MORE.

I hope so.

Mommybloggers Get Trashed After Schuler Tragedy

 
The horror on the Taconic involving Diane Schuler, the drunk-driving mother responsible for the deaths of eight people, including her own, has turned into a media mutiny on moms who drink.  One journalist, Ada Calhoun, in her recent TIME article "Mommies Who Drink: No Joking After the Schuler Tragedy,"  states that mom blogs and sites whose titles reflect mothers who make light of needing the occasional drink, are now uncool and unfunny.  She infers even worse; that indirectly, these mothers who drink are responsible for these kinds of deaths.

My heart bleeds for the families and friends of all the victims.  In particular, I ache for the lone survivor of this emotional wreckage, Ms.Schuler's five year old son. But, in spite of my heartache, my blog title, merlotmom, and my sense of humor persist.
This does not make me a bad mother.
It does not make me a blogger with poor taste.
Nor, as Ms. Calhoun's Time article suggests... read the rest of the article here at LA Moms Blog


Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Rabbi, A Son, and A Pocket God

 

From behind closed doors,  I listened to my daughter demurely sing as her tutor led her in the Hebrew prayers.  To my right, behind a glass case, stood three Torah scrolls.  Precious and worn, swathed in silk and suede, I stared at them.  Silent.  Curious.  

"Mom.  Mom.  MOM!" my son stood beside me, poking me out of my reverie.  "You said you'd update Pocket God for me."

Funny.  The God, the religion, that I longed to know better was of absolutely no interest to my son.  The only God he desired was electronic, palm-sized, and responded to his every button-pushing whim.

Minutes before, our Rabbi had explained to us that our role as the parents in the upcoming Bat Mitzvah ceremony would be to literally hand the Torah down to the next generation - to do our part to ensure the carrying on of the ancient Jewish stories and traditions that resided within the text of the sacred scrolls.

So, as the game was updating, I put down the phone and pointed out the Torahs to my son.  I explained to him, hoping to elicit an appreciation in our next generation of Jewish adults, how it took over a year to carefully, hand write each page of the Torah and how the scrolls were made from animal skins just like they had been over 3000 years ago.

"Yeah, yeah, great, Mom.  Is the app loaded yet?"


I'm not sure my son is who the Rabbi had in mind.


*photo courtesy of google images

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In My Day: Another of My Failing Attempts to Revise History

Back in the '80s, I interned in New York City for a well-known international advertising agency and one of the big three television networks.  My cohorts and I thought we were pretty cool.

We eagerly performed all of the lowly, degrading jobs these guys speak of and more.  During the day, we got coffees, lunch, and dry cleaning.  At night, we stayed late while drunk clients abused us and commented on the size of the girls' asses.  We hand-delivered letters to satellite offices in Hell's Kitchen, almost getting caught in the middle of a drug deal gone bad and seeing a pistol up close for the first time, because an a-hole executive "forgot" to mention it could go in an inter-office envelope.   (Okay, that just happened to me but it bore mentioning anyway.)

Unfortunately, in my day, we didn't have the rap, the palm-sized digital videocams, and the internet to prove how cool we were.

Hold on...wait...

On second thought,  I guess we did have Kurtis Blow and Grandmaster Flash.  We did have video cameras, though they were the size of a Smart Car,  and we did have the internet, though common use was limited to Computer Science majors and nerds with no life, bad complexions and over sized prescription eyeglasses.

Okay, forget it. Compared to these guys, we weren't hip.  We were losers.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday


I am grateful for television.
I am grateful for baths.
I am grateful for wine
      ....and my bed.

That is all...

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Truth Hurts: My Post BlogHer Marriage Lesson



My bags were in the trunk.  All evidence of my weekend away neatly packed and stowed.

After a kiss hello, I asked, "How was it?"

I wanted him to be beaten down.
I wanted him to sigh with relief at my return.
I wanted him to drop to his knees and french kiss the ground I walk on.

But he did none of those things.

"It was a breeze," he said.

"A breeze?  Come on."

"No.  Really,"  he confirmed and then had the nerve to add, "In fact,  it was...easier."

It took all the impulse control I had to not haul off and smack him.   This man I love.  I mean, really.  This is the thanks I get?!

I wanted to get back on the plane.  Fly back to my girls.  To people who appreciated my company.  Laughed at my jokes.  Complimented my hair AND my outfits.  (Please read the rest of my post at LA Moms Blog by clicking here).

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Public School Answering Machine Teaches Parents A Lesson

 
If you are a parent of school-age children, please click on this link, to hear the funniest school answering machine message EVAH!  It was rumored that a school actually used this but according to Snopes.com, the rumor is false. 

I apologize, you will have to go the extra step and download the MP3 file but don't blame me, blame Blogger.
 
For the love of Pete, Blogger, please figure out easier ways to upload video and MP3 files into the posts!  Thank you.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Give Me The Grateful Life Monday AKA BlogHer09 Follow-Up


Wow. 

I am once again surprised by the lingering impact the BlogHer weekends have on me.

Last year, my first, I didn't know what to expect. 

This year, I thought myself an "expert" and not vulnerable to being blindsided by the intensity.

But I am.  The schedule, the crowds, the number of great women (and few men) with whom I wanted to meet and connect. 

I am exhausted.

My head is spinning.

But I feel great.

I know there is a lot of negative buzz going on in Twitterland and elsewhere 2.0 about the weekend.  But I am choosing to be grateful for the fun times I had, the amazing people I met, the fantastic city I explored.  I'm letting the rest of it, the shit, settle to the bottom where it belongs.

So here is what I am grateful for today.  I will write in more detail once my brain is fully functioning:

  • I am grateful for getting to/from Chicago safely and on time.
  • I am grateful for not getting stuck in rush hour traffic and overstuffed limos.
  • I am grateful for going to so many parties and yet not being a party to high drama.
  • I am grateful for the amazing, informative seminars, the ROTFLMAO Humor Panel in particular.  (Please BlogHer ladies, get a bigger room next year, this subject deserves it.)
  • I am grateful for protein and oatmeal at breakfast.
  • I am grateful for a great roomie.
  • I am grateful for making it to the Cheezburger party this year.  (Where else would I don a McD's bag on my head and not look strange.)
  • I am grateful for seeing and meeting so many of my blogger (now IRL) friends.
  • And though, for me, BlogHer was NOT about the swag (I didn't go to parties for it and I didn't even visit the Expo until late Saturday afternoon), I am truly grateful for the Kodak pocket videocam.  Sweeeeet.
  • And, of course, I'm grateful for my husband who supremely held down the fort in my absence.
  • And I am grateful for my kids.  (Who I still think are cute.  Ask me later today.)

Welcome home everyone. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Picked A Lousy Time To Have Blog Fatigue


I have a pre-BlogHer confession to make...
I haven't been reading your blogs.
I know I should have.
At least I should have been catching up.
But I haven't.

I could have kept it a secret longer but with the big weekend coming up,  I didn't want anyone to mistake my blank stares for rudeness or indifference.

It's not either.
It's ineptitude.

I just cannot find the time to go through my reader.
When I do snare a few minutes to relax with my online friends, I manage to get through the first few blogs in my reader and then, no doubt,  I'm off again,  rushing to a pair of rabid children who are scratching each other's eyes out and to a pair of wild and hungry canines who will chew through my living room furniture if kibble isn't readily served.  So, basically, if you're at the top of my reader, I'm up to speed (all four of you).  If not, I apologize.

So when you see me and refer to an incident or post from your blog expecting some recall on my part, and I smile weakly and say nothing, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT take it personally. 

I mean - have you seen how little attention I've given to my own blog lately?

Blame it on adult ADD.
Blame it on Chronic Social Media Fatigue - CSMF
(Look it up in the most recent Physician's Desk Reference...I dare you!)

In any case,  I don't have IRL fatigue and I'm looking forward to seeing/meeting all of you in person.  So don't bite.  Puh-leeze.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday

 
I am quickly losing track of time.  I cannot remember what day it is with no school or camp schedule to keep me in line.  The days are seamless, bleeding into one another.

But you know what?  I'll take that over getting up early, packing lunches, and carpools, any day.

Which leads me to this week's gratitude...
  • I am grateful for the lovely breakfast I had with Heather and Meghan (and two new friends, Hannah and (another) Heather), yesterday morning.  It's always nice to see my girls.
  • I am grateful for the selfish Sunday I had - swimming, sunning, and working out -  after a totally chaotic week.
  • I am grateful that the huge zit which lived and breathed on my chin for over a week is finally taking it's last breaths. 
  • I am grateful that I will have a new design for this blog soon.
  • I am grateful that my trip to Chicago is in little over a week.  Are you ready to PARTAY ladies!
What are you grateful for?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Can You Spell L-O-S-E-R?

I would love to tell you all that I am 3/4 of the way through my novel for FraMoWrihoweverlongittakesMo.
But I'd be lying.
I am not even close.

I did get off to a strong start but truly...what the hell was I thinking???

I committed myself during a time when:

  • school was finishing
  • we took our family vacation (which was great btw)
  • we are undergoing construction and other home improvements 
  • the kids are home EVERY DAY, ALL DAY  
I set myself up to fail...which is a whole other Pandora's box of therapy-worthy introspection  (but not now, I don't have time!)

It literally is a joke.

All day workers call my name, hammers pound my walls, shovels dig into my dirt, drills screech into my stone.  My kids whine, my dogs bark, and the phone, please, will someone please quiet the damn phone.

And then it's 9am.

I'm exhausted.
I'm frustrated.
I'm hungry.
I want to write!

Last week, I told myself this week.
This week, I've promised myself next week.
Wonder what I'll tell myself after that.

I feel like a failure.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Now This Is What I Call A Vacation

This is Mirror Lake



Not hard to figure how it got it's name.

As our family drove the scenic byway 10,000 feet up through the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, we marveled at the majestic evergreens and watched in amazement as our car's outside temperature gauge dropped from 80 degrees to 76 to 74 and down to a final 62 degrees upon reaching our destination. 

We saw remnants of winter clinging to life



As summer pushed it's way in

 
 We watched as city boy met country boy
  
and learned about trout fishing

Watching the life go out of these innocents was a little hard for this city girl to take but since I'm not a vegetarian, I was not one to judge.  (The family who caught these were planning on eating them for dinner, fyi.)

When we got home, I spent two hours working on my novel.

It was a good day.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mountains and Lakes and Word Counts...Oh My

To those of you who may be wondering,
NO, I haven't stuck to the NaNoWriMo schedule.
NOT EXACTLY.
But don't be disappointed IN me or FOR me because I have been writing away.
I've been outlining, and thinking, and dreaming, and, on top of that, I've written over 3500 words.

I quickly discovered that writing a novel without an outline, no matter how spontaneous and freeing and full of possibilities, is not my style.  So I'm keeping my outlines to the bare minimum to allow for surprises and making up the rest as I go along.  I'm pretty much a trailblazer like that.  I guess I could call it FraNoWrihoweverlongitfreakingtakes.

Hopefully, I'll have a rough draft sometime before the plans for my daughter's Bat Mitzvah kick into high gear at the end of summer.  But, truly,  I'm just happy to be writing.  I still need you guys to kick my ass encourage me because my husband is too scared to try I'm not sure how long this productivity is going to last.

But for now, I'm on family vaca in Utah and it is bea-u-ti-ful.  The rain stopped for our arrival and the temps rose.  In only a few days we have biked, hiked, visited large lakes and small towns, and sunbathed by a pool.

This is the view on our morning walk with the dogs.

I need the new iPhone.  I hear it has a better camera.  This one STINKS.
 
And this is the Jordanelle Reservoir just outside of Park City.  


Tomorrow is predicted to be another beautiful day.  A hike in the Wasatch mountains and some WRITING is in the plan.

I like it here in Park City.  It's even more beautiful in summer.  The only thing not to love is the Utah "5 oz" pour.  Can you spell g-i-p? 

And, well, from their t-shirts, I can tell they just get me here...

 
  
 

Who told them I was coming?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday


Summer is here.  What's not to be grateful for, right?
  • I am grateful for successfully motivating myself to write. It has been empowering (so far).
  • I am grateful for gorgeous green mountains against blue, non-polluted skies.
  • I am grateful that my kids are relaxed and stress-free.
  • I am grateful for watching them play and laugh in the pouring rain.
  • I am grateful for Jamie Lee Curtis.
That last one is curious, I know.  But hear me out.
I've always loved Jamie Lee Curtis.
Not for her role in the Activia commercials, not for her movie roles, but for her contributions as a writer.

She has published some amazing children's books, written for Salon.com and is currently a contributor at HuffPost. For someone who grew up in Hollywood, with celebrity parents, Jamie Lee Curtis has a strong sense of right and wrong. Her feet are firmly planted into the ground. She is sensitive, attentive, and eager to share her parenting mistakes and insights with the rest of us.  I always enjoy, and learn, from her pieces.

I came across her most recent essay today and thought it was a "must share".   For those of us who didn't have the benefit of seeing what she did first hand, we can take her experience and find a way to make it our own.

Here is the link to her essay, Pay Attention,  in today's Huffington Post (for which I am grateful).

What are you grateful for this week?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Latest Wacky Attempt At Calling Myself A Writer: NaNoWriMo

This is a short post. 
It has to be.
Wanna know why?

'Cause I've up and started my novel.
Yes, I said novel.
Not a great American.
Just a novel.

Oh, and I'm writing it in 30 days.
Yes, I said 30 days.

'Cause I'm an idiot that way.
'Cause otherwise I'll spend another 15 years writing nothing.



It's called NaNoWriMo.  NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth.
For everyone else it's in November.
Crazy people, like me, get together online and spend the month of November killing themselves. 
They lose touch with their families, forget to shower, drink too much coffee, eat too much junk, chew their nails to the quick, pull out their hair. 
But they do it together.
And at the end of the nightmare they are rewarded with a first draft, albeit, most likely an awful one, of their novel.

The timing makes sense.
The weather is miserable in November. 
The kids are in school.
It's before all the holidays.
But I rarely do things that make sense.
And I can't wait that long.

So.

I'm doing it this summer.
Starting today in fact.
While living in sunny California.
Within walking distance of the beach.
During the time we take our family vacation.
And while my kids are going to be home ALL THE TIME.

Make sense?
Not to me either
But... WTF

So wish me luck.
Don't mind my absences.
And please feel free to check up on me to make sure I'm not rocking back and forth and babbling incoherently and my ludicrous endeavor.

Really, I'm going to need someone to kick my ass encouragement.

So, here goes.
You heard it here first.
Now I have to do it.

Wait.  Is that a dust bunny under the bed?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cleaning House In The Digital Age

Every morning I wake up and one of the first things I do, sometimes even before hitting the bathroom, is turn on the computer.  It's the modern-day equivalent of running to the mailbox.

I love to watch the screen fill up with emails.  The quiet morning air abuzz with possibilities: friends or colleagues answering a question I posed, sharing a joke, making a date, or re-discovering me, after many years, on Facebook.

Lately, though, the emails that fill my inbox are from strangers.   Nigerian bankers, people with funny sounding names wanting "to be my friend", Harry and David, West Elm, Pottery Barn, anyone and everyone I've ever had the brief pleasure of sharing my credit card with, no matter how casual and brief the interlude.  I don't know these people, I don't want to know these people, and yet they are here, knocking on my internet door before I've brushed my teeth or drank my morning tea.

Junk email is nothing new but since the recession I've noticed a huge increase in volume.  Stores introduce new sales, and even newer sales, HOURLY.  Scam artists demand my attention and my money DAILY.  On-line media promoters and marketers solicit me WEEKLY.    It's so desperate, so distracting, it's the internet equivalent of drunk-dialing.

I have squandered so much of my valuable energy and time deleting this vast wasteland of correspondence from my computer and then doing it all over again on my iPhone that today, I decided to put an end to the nonsense.  I decided to take control.

I unsubscribed to ALL the merchants.
I marked as junk ALL the people who claim I'm about to become a millionaire.
I wrote to ALL the promoters and said thanks but no thanks.

I took my life back.
And I will keep taking my life back until all the unwanted strangers are gone and I can open up my email in the morning and SMILE once again.

Take that internet.
Don't mess with a busy mom.

*photo courtesy of google images

Monday, June 8, 2009

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday

It's June Gloom here on Los Angeles' westside.  I'm wrapped in a sweater, gazing at grey skies, waiting for the first rain drop to fall.  This is the one time of the year where it is NOT better to live by the beach.  While the rest of you thaw in the heat of the new summer sun, we ocean neighbors chatter our teeth, socked in by cool, damp, blankets of fog until late afternoon. 

We may get to neener, neener the rest of the year, but in May and June, you have it all over us. 

You may gloat now.

But it's Monday, so enough complaining, let's get to the gratitude.

  • I am grateful that my son and his friends had a fantastic time at his birthday party.
  • I am grateful that no bones or furniture were harmed during the production of said birthday party.
  • I am grateful that both of my kids are occupied until 5pm today. 
 


Yes, the boy with the wild expression and the equally wild hair... my son.

What are you grateful for today?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Intellectual Fantasy - What Goes Around Comes Around for This Shallow B*tch

I don't go out a lot.  Not (so much) because I don't get asked... but because there's little I'd rather do than cozy up in my pajamas and read or watch tv.

But last night, Ira Glass, host and narrator of This American Life, came to town and I wanted to see him.  I have always been a fan of good storytelling and T.A.L. is some of the best storytelling around.

When I was young, I had my share of nerd crushes but I never allowed myself to date any of them.  No.  My dates were not pale-skinned and weak-sighted, buried in books and hiding behind cloudy, prescription lenses.  No.  My dates were smart, athletic, they knew how to PARTY and they were CUTE.  Always, they were cute.

Shallow.  I know.  I was young.  Insecure. 

Give me a break.

But now, in my 40's, I have shed my superficial, worried-about-what-others-will-think-of-me cloak and find myself intrigued more by brains and less by looks.  I find myself regretting the missed mind-expanding opportunities of my youth.  I find myself with a crush on Ira Glass. 

Why not? 

(Besides the fact that I'm happily married.)

I love his smooth voice, his sharp wit, his brawny confidence.  He even dresses...alright.  I can get past the coke-bottle lenses in anachronistic frames, the non-movie star features, the way he reminds me of boys who sat in the back of my classroom picking their noses. 

But, as life often finds ironic ways to make it's point,  my maturity has come too late.  The current object of my affection could not care less about my admiration.

To Ira, I was just another notch on his fan belt. 

My crush crushed me.

Karma is a bitch. 


(This crappy photo is not my fault. I credit my dear friend, Sarah, who is my intellectual superior,  an incredibly talented yogi, a many time black belt in karate, a fencing champion... but apparently not too great with the iPhone cam.)    ;)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday

Here we are again, another week another budget cut reason to be grateful. 




  • I am grateful that Peanut is back to her energetic self and that all of her blood tests came back negative.
  • I am grateful that summer is near because I am as sick of doing homework as my kids are.
  • I am grateful that my son's turning 9 this week and hoping that I survive his first sleepover party.
  • I am grateful for summer fruits, late sunsets, and chardonnay (sometimes I skip the merlot).
  • I am grateful for being part of a public school where the parents make things happen even when the people who are supposed to (Schwarzenegger, LAUSD and UTLA) DON'T.

What are you grateful for this week?

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Little Peanut

This is Peanut on any given day, trying to coax my her lazy sister, Greta, into playing:


This is Peanut today:

 
She's been throwing up for two days, she's lost four pounds, and she has ZERO interest in the ball.
There is something wrong with my Peanut.
$500 later, the x-rays show nothing foreign in her stomach, we're still waiting for the blood test results, and the vet says if she's not better by this afternoon she needs to be put in the hospital.
I can't think.  I can't work.  I'm worried about my Peanut.
I hope when I return from carpool, she barks at me and drops wet, disgusting balls at my feet.
Then I'll know my Peanut is back.
 
The quiet is killing me.
(Remind me of that next time I complain about her boundless energy, k?)


* Update.  It's 5pm. She's baaaack! When we returned home from carpool, Peanut dropped her tennis ball in my daughter's lap and barked.  And barked.  She made it on a walk around the block and is now roaming the backyard.  No evidence of sickness anywhere.   I'm crossing my fingers.  Thank you everyone for your concern.  So appreciated.  Here's my baby now.


 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Foul Ball

 
A few Saturdays ago, I pulled my car to the curb in front of a park where my daughter's friend was playing softball.   We used to live near this neighborhood but it had been at least six years since we'd been there.  The present games were about to end and the teams playing next were practicing on the periphery of the field so it was very crowded and had taken a few circles around the block to find a spot.

Before I stepped out of the car, I heard a thunderous bang.  The way the inside of my car shook, I thought a tree branch had fallen on the roof.

As my daughter and I got out to survey the damage, an adorable girl with long, blonde hair and a lanky pre-teen frame ran over to us.  "Oh my G-d, I'm  so sorry.  Are you okay?  I'm so sorry.  I am the worst pitcher."

She was penitent. 

"It's okay," I said, wanting to make her feel better.  "Accidents happen.  You can't be that bad,"  I pointed to the dent, "looks like that ball had some speed."

She cracked a tentative smile.  A man came up next to her and further apologized on her behalf.

I felt immediate relief.  I was being cool.  He was being cool.   We could get through this scene without collateral damage.

"Let me get her father for you," he said.

Shit.

I tried to look casual and relaxed as I watched them inform him.  A handsome man with designer sunglasses, he looked vaguely familiar.  I watched as the father looked at his daughter, looked at me, and looked at my car.  I watched as his jaw got tight and a darkness fell over his expression.

I watched.
And I waited.
And waited.

I started feeling self-conscious.  Was he going to come over?  Was he going to leave me hanging there?  Was he going to wait for me to give up and leave with my tail dragging between my legs?

For a moment, I did consider going.  Ditching the imminent unpleasant confrontation and risk paying for the damage myself.  But I crossed my arms against my chest instead and stood firm against the side of my car.  Five minutes later he approached me.

"So, what do we have here," he said brusquely, as if he were a doctor and I was his hypochondriacal patient.

"The dent is right there above the window."

"I am so sorry," repeated the daughter.

The father stepped back.  "You know," he told me, "parking in front of a baseball field is like parking in front of a golf course.  You have to expect to get hit."

"So,"  I argued, as I pointed to all the cars densely parked on either side of me, "does that mean that all these people shouldn't have parked here either?" 

"Look,"  I tried to make light of it so I could get the hell out of there, "I have no idea what it will cost to take care of that, why don't you just give me your phone number and we'll deal with it when I find out."

The father went to get a business card, which was in his car, which was parked three cars in front of mine.

"I don't have any cards with me," he said walking back.

I immediately recognized his name as I entered it into my iPhone.  He was a Hollywood producer, at one time a very successful one, and a dad from my daughter's pre-school. I knew his wife.  His daughter and my daughter were friendly.  But it had been so many years that neither girl recognized each other. I did not let on that I knew who he was and he didn't bother asking my name.    I could feel his patience dwindle as I tapped his phone number into my keypad.

"All right.  I'll call you," I said as I put away the phone.

He walked off.  The other man, who had been standing there the whole time, shrugged his shoulders in perplexed apology.  The daughter, once again, apologized.  I felt worse for her, figuring the brunt of her father's bad mood was going to hit her with the same force her bad pitch had hit my car.

I drove away feeling manipulated.  Played.  My mind pitching woulda, coulda, shoulda fast balls.

 * * *                                                            

Today, I got two estimates for the repair.  It turns out, the dent is located in a spot that is difficult to access and it is part of one huge piece that has to be taken off, replaced and repainted.  The best estimate came to $1,000.

I did NOT want to call this guy and give him THAT number.  I felt sick.  I knew I should be more secure and not worry about being bullied by some slick, Hollywood producer...

But I asked my husband to do it.
And he said yes.

Sigh.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Children of the Recession: The Education Blame Game

In connection with Katie Couric's CBS reporting on Children of the Recession, SV Mom's Blog is dedicating all of today's posts to personal accounts of how the recession is affecting their contributors and their families.  The following is my story:


Sacramento is a sinkhole.  The more tax dollars we contribute, the more our futures get sucked down into their soiled, political toilet.  Los Angeles' sales tax is at an astonishing 9.25%.  Parking meter rates have doubled.  Living in this city has become impossible if not downright imbecile.   The cost of living here is skyrocketing, while the quality of our social services, employment, the value of our homes, are plummeting.  And our children, by way of having their education budgets slashed and burned, are the most innocent victims in all this political infighting and incompetence. 

Both of my children go to public school.  We have an active and generous parent body, more so than many schools in the LAUSD, nevertheless, I still watch from the front lines as our most  promising new teachers are fired, as our Assistant Principal is let go, as our already parent--funded programs such as art, music, drama, and P.E. are threatened, because those monies have to be diverted to hire additional teachers to keep class size down and other necessities, that should be, and have previously been, funded by the government and district.


On May 15, I participated in a parent rally called The Lemonade Initiative.  The idea came to three moms while watching their sons' baseball game, and within two weeks time, they mobilized over 200 local parents to speak out against the budget atrocities.  The rally was covered by CNN, NPR, the LA TIMES and others.  With their voices, they urged the Superintendent of their school district to come out and hear their complaints about wasteful spending and demands for smarter, more long-term solutions.  (To see a full list of their complaints and demands, go to www.lemonadeinitiative.com).

One newscaster, while covering the budget crisis, the looming teacher's strike and the parent rally, had the nerve to pose this editorial question to the parents, on air,

(please click here to read the rest of the article on LA Mom's Blog)

Thank you.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Notes from the PMS Trenches

PMS episode #:  342

Dear Diary,

I can tell I'm about to get my period because I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon with my head inside my pantry. 

First, I grazed on chocolate, then cookies, then tortilla chips.  Then I tried to be good and ate a nectarine, an apple with peanut butter, and then I went back to chocolate.  After that, I drank chamomile tea to settle my stomach.

I thought I'd start off fresh today.  Have a healthy breakfast, one that would keep me full and ward off the munchies until I could eat a healthy lunch. 

After dropping my car off to be serviced, I walked to Wilshire Boulevard to get some breakfast.  There is no shortage of restaurants on this part of the Wilshire strip;  three Jewish delicatessens, a health food/yogurt cafe, Subway (ugh, as far as breakfast is concerned), Krispy Kreme...you get the picture, Diary. 

Stangely enough, I found myself walking past all these places.  It was as if my body had a will of it's own,  like it was my own personal ouija indicator, guiding me toward some mysterious culinary secret.

Well, never underestimate the power of PMS, it has excellent taste.  Here is where it led me:




Huckleberry is a small cafe that serves breakfast and lunch.  It's only a few months old and is run by the pastry chef of a well-known eatery a few doors away.

Run by a pastry chef.

Diary, how am I supposed to resist that?  PMS or no, but especially with PMS.  Gah!

After ordering my fried eggs atop roasted asparagus, dusted in a fine parmesan reggiano, I was supposed to move forward to let others order while I moved on to the cashier.  Instead,  I remained in place, ogling these:


and these:


and these:

Fresh berry tarts the size of my kitchen sink, vahlrona-filled croissants so big you need to nap or throw up afterward, chocolate truffle pudding, jelly-filled donuts sugar dusted to perfection, just baked country sourdough loaves, cupcakes, tea breads, and more, so much more.  
And all in one place!   I could get the nutrients my body needed, eggs, asparagus, cheese, and then chow down on all the carbs and sugar my body could tolerate.  They even had potato chips to satisfy my salt craving.
I found myself standing in the PMS pantry from heaven thinking all menstruating women should experience this manna.   
It was a morning I'll never forget.  
Today, I was a lucky girl.  A bit nauseous, and bloated, but a very lucky girl.
Until next month,
Your friend forever,
merlotmom

Monday, May 18, 2009

Give Me The Grateful Life - Monday



It's Monday.  Give Me the Grateful Life Monday.

Except I am frustrated today.  With myself and my kids.
But in light of finding things to be grateful for (because isn't that what this is all about, finding gratitude even when you're not quite feeling it?), I am going to find a way to turn my angst into appreciation.

Here goes:

  • Even though my kids are both locked in their rooms because of yet another fight about chores and homework (and in the case of my son an all-out scream fest), I am grateful that they are home, safe, and healthy.
  • Instead of beating myself up over battling yet another round of writer's block, I am going to focus on how grateful I am for having the time to pursue something I love and TRY to take the pressure off so I can enjoy it.
  • Despite spending a significant part of my days distracted by and tending to my insatiably active puppy, I am still grateful for having her around 'cause she's so cute, an amazing guard dog, and I just couldn't imagine not having her around.  (Most of the time.)
  • I am grateful for the BBQ with friends last night and for watching a video of our kids in pre-school when my son's hair was neat and clean and so were the words that came out of his mouth.
  • I am grateful for having friends who are do-ers (Elisa, Susan and Jennifer - The Lemonade Initiative ladies) and motivate me to get out of my head and out of my house to fight injustices like the drastic LAUSD budget cuts.
  • I am grateful last night's earthquake was not the big one. 


Wow.  See what happened?  I went from forcing myself to feel grateful to actually feeling grateful.   If you "act" you will "be".  I honestly feel better.  Pretty cool.


What are you grateful for this week?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Un-Neighborly Neighbor

 

I had a post for today, a post mother's day post if you will, but after what just happened to me, that one will have to wait.

I've told you before how much I love where I live.  The mountains, the ocean, the tight-knit community.   But with every silk lining, I guess there comes a black cloud.

And today, I ran smack into one.

I was on my regular walk with my two Labradors, Greta and Peanut.  On the way up, toward the crest of a tall hill, there are two gated properties.  Two properties.  Three dogs.  Every time I pass these homes, I veer off the sidewalk and a bit into the street to make a safety zone between my dogs and the other three.  I can't go too far into the street because it is a narrow, winding road at the top of a hill and, though visibility is slim, cars still drive at full speed.

The three dogs came up to their gates, as they often do, pushing their snouts through the wrought iron and barking.  If my dogs were off leash, we could walk by without a hitch, but on leash, Peanut, my almost 2 y.o. rescue, still has issues when confronted by another dog.

No matter.  I've been there, done that.   I had the situation under control and we walked by with little more than a yank and a skip.

Until we returned on the way down.

That's when all the dogs went berserk.

There was barking, growling, lurching, twisting.  I was in the street, attempting to get some distance but, instead, I got caught up in a tightening snare of leashes, bared teeth and furry muscle. 

Just then a woman came out of her home about 100 feet up the hill and said something to me. 

"What?" I replied, cupping my hand to my ear trying to block out the dogs, "I can't hear you."

"I saw you hit your dog," she repeated.

Taken aback (I assumed she was going to ask if I needed some help),  I responded, "I did NOT hit my dog."

"I saw you," she accused, pointing her finger at me as she further threatened, "and if you do it again I'm going to call the police."  

With that she turned around and went out of sight denying me the chance to prove my innocence.  To tell her, what anyone who knows me already knows, that I am a HUGE dog lover.  That I go above and beyond to take excellent care of my dogs whom I would NEVER abuse.

I didn't get to say any of that.

As soon as I untangled myself and began the descent toward home,  my blood started to boil.  My heart started to race.  My breathing got tight.  I began to think of all the things I should have said had I been quicker to the draw.

So I did what any falsely accused person would do...

I screamed back at her at the top of my lungs:


"YOU'RE CRAZY!"



"MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!"


"GET A LIFE!"

Okay, maybe not ANY falsely accused person, but THIS falsely accused person.

She PISSED ME OFF!

A bit later, I'm finding it interesting, worthy of some analysis, that I was so enraged by a stranger.  I know I didn't hit my dog but I am livid that she doesn't know it, too.   This woman walked into her house convinced that I was a dog abuser.  She's telling people, as I'm telling you, that she encountered some crazy woman who screamed insults at her from halfway down the block when all she was trying to do was protect a dog.

Well, at least I have my readers, who will hear my truth.  There is some vindication in that.  And at least now, having let it all out, I won't go back and leave a nasty, turd encrusted note in her mailbox.

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