Friday, February 12, 2010


Okay, this is it. The last post before vacation. Can you handle it? Good. I'll see you in a week.

I am mentally preparing to lose my mind in pre-trip insanity tomorrow. I'm doing all the laundry, tidying up the house, paying bills, answering e-mails and returning phone calls so I can feel reasonably up-to-date by the time I leave. The silver lining of Rob not joining us until next week is that I don't have to get mad at him for letting me do all the work because he has nothing to do tomorrow but be at my beck and call. Need something from the drugstore? Right away, honey! Need the big suitcase down from the rafters? On it! Bikini wax? Consider it done! I've done this trip a dozen times now, so its not that difficult, but you know how it is: you have to pack all your stuff, pack all the electronic stuff and all the chargers, pack all the bathroom stuff, pack the kid up and all her books and toys and junk that she wants to take along. There's a lot to remember, but I have all day tomorrow to remember it.

You know what's funny? I started thinking about what to wear in a warm, balmy climate, and I had no memory of what I wear in the summer time. I had to look in my closet and go, Oh yeah! Wasn't even that long ago, and I can't remember. I am so pushing 40.

I think I'm going to lie down for a while. Leila has a friend over right now, and they are quietly drawing, so now is my chance. These little girls are getting to the age where they want to lock the bathroom door when they have to pee. This is in sharp contrast to them leaving the door wide open, not flushing, barely wiping, and going in there in teams. Eventually, they'll go to the restroom in teams again, but for now they've gotten very modest. This particular little girl has never been to our house before today. She couldn't be more polite if she carried an Emily Post book on the top of her head and absorbed its contents through her barrettes. Our bathroom door doesn't lock (old house=old doorknobs) and its so funny to hear kids try to lock it. Do they really think that I am going to come barging in? Like she didn't just pass me sitting here on her way to the john, and I'm just going to wander in. I guess if you have a little brother or something, locking the door is necessary, but its still funny.

This has been a very lack luster post for my last one before vacation. Sorry. Hopefully after a week on an island, drinking at noon with my parents I'll have some good stuff for you.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Vuh Rye Uh Tay!

Friday night was the school's variety show, where any kid who wants to can get up on stage and sing or dance or do gymnastics or whatever they feel their special talent is. There were about 400 people at this blessed event, and about four or five baked goods per person if the leftovers from the bake sale were any indication. Leila worked on her piano act all week, we picked out the outfit, and she was all set.

I awoke on Friday morning and did my usual run down of the day while my eyes were still closed, and when I got to variety show, my stomach lurched, my eyes flew open, and, oh the fear. When I was eight years old, you couldn't have given me any amount of gummy coke bottles or actual coke bottles to get up on stage in front of people and sing or dance. I did it alone in my room all the time. In fact, I had it in my head that I really sounded like all the different parts of The Sound of Music, even Captain Von Trapp, and I would tie scarves and towels around myself to make outfits, and I would sing into my hair brush in front of the mirror for HOURS. I still do it today, only I don't make up outfits and I use the steering wheel of my car instead of a hairbrush. Anyway, that was all well and good in the privacy of my dorm room, I mean, uh, my childhood bedroom, but there was no way I was doing that in front of people, so when Leila wanted to do it, every eight year-old nerve in my middle aged body was on high alert.

I was very good, though. I did not ask her if she was nervous, I did not tell her that I was nervous, and I went on with the day as if nothing at all was different except the amount of Tums I was swallowing. She said that, out of ten, she was two nervous and ten excited. She was a pretty cool customer. 1000 times cooler than me.

We got to the school gym, I sent her off with the parents putting on the show (they're like gladiators, I swear) and I went into the kitchen to sell baked goods. Now, you know me, normally, I would stuff my face with as many mini cupcakes as I can before anyone notices, but I had no appetite; too nervous.

I sat down for the first act, and when the kids came on I immediately started to cry like a big dork. It was just like when I saw Maya Angelou and I started bawling when she took the stage, but instead of a national hero of literature and poetry, these were three girls bouncing around in their pajamas to the Black Eyed Peas. God, I'm a dork. I pulled myself together. I clapped loud. All the kids were so brave, and I was so jealous that I never in my life have had that kind of bravery. Anyway, I'm obsessively looking at the program, counting down until Leila's performance, when suddenly she appears on my lap, crying. Of course I'm thinking, well, that's the end of that, but I was wrong. She insisted that she was not scared to perform, but that she just didn't want to sit on the mat without me (all the kids were seated on tumbling mats between the audience and the stage.) Well that was a load of bullshit if ever I heard one. I had to make a choice: do I wimp out and tell her that she doesn't have to perform if she doesn't want to, or do I hard line it and push her up there with both hands? I chose the latter. I agreed to go sit on the mat with her until it was her turn to go back stage. As we got to the edge of the mat, one of the show's helpers beckoned her backstage because it was almost her turn. Well. Weepy windbag says, okay! and runs up the ramp. I go with her and she's all, you can sit back down now, I'm fine. with the tone of don't let the door hitcha...

I return to my seat, and I am a nervous wreck. I want to puke, and I haven't even had a cupcake yet. Some of the other kids performed with a buddy or in a group, but my little, teeny, tiny blonde girl was going to be up there ALL BY HERSELF playing the blues in my bowler hat (from my Unbearable Lightness of Being phase) and some dark glasses that came out of the lost and found at my old work. Honestly, who wouldn't puke?

Readers, she did AWESOME! She was nervous. Her shoulders were all hunched up, and she was doing deep breathing exercises for what seemed to me like an eternity before she started to play. She played her song, flubbed up a coupla little times, did her bow with a flourish and exited stage left. Or right, I'm not sure. It was a great moment, over too fast as all these great moments are.

You know what wasn't awesome? Besides the stomach ache I had from gnawing on the program with anxiety? My decision to ask Rob to record her performance. It turns out that this was one of the top ten greatest moments of stupidity in my life, evidenced by the video below. He missed the bow! He cut off the end! He shook the camera! He zoomed in too far! The whole thing is a mess. Sorry, Leila of the future, blame dad.

At intermission I went and sold more cupcakes, and by the middle of the second half of the show I was so ready to get the hell out of there. The kids were all great, and even the Myley Cyrus songs didn't bug me, but being a nervous stage mom all day can wear you down. My favorite act was a girl who roller bladed around the stage and then played Ode to Joy on the keyboard all while HULA HOOPING! She kept three or four hula hoops going the whole time! It was a sight to see. Leila says she wants to sing in the show next year (gulp) and is bummed that she has to wait a whole nother year before getting on stage again. Atta girl! One of my friends said something really interesting: She pointed out that during school, our kids are required to sit still and be quiet with the rest of the class, and asking them to do the opposite, like sing and dance and roller blade on stage, is totally contrary to their conditioning, and that makes the fact that they do it anyway that much more impressive. You go, kids! Even if it sends your parents to an early grave!

Speaking of hula, I will be gone next week, living without a computer or internet access. I know, right? Fear not, I'll be back!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pink and Blues

God dammit, I smell like curry. I specifically took my shower and blow dried my hair first thing this morning so I wouldn't let it slide another day, and then I made butternut squash soup with curry powder, and now I smell like effing curry. I only used a half a teaspoon! Its better than when I smelled like chili, but still. No one warned me that cooking at home would make me stink. So if you're out there, and you're considering removing take out and Trader Joes frozen food from your life, I hereby warn you, you will stink.

I want to update you on the great boil of 2010. Obviously, its not a boil, its a cyst, but boil is a much better word. Actually, I just looked up the word boil in the magical Mac dictionary, the best invention ever, and what I had on my face could almost accurately be described as a boil. I could go on about what the difference is, but it makes me want to puke just thinking about it, so if you're interested, go look it up yourself. Now, I will give you two pertinent pieces of information: The cyst did rupture as a result of the doctor poking it with a needle. The cyst is now gone, leaving only a bruised and battered looking circle on my face. There is a lot of information that I could add between those two statements, about how the stuff in the cyst got from the inside of my face to the outside, but if my husband is any indication, no one wants to hear about that because it is too gross. He's kind of a candy ass when it comes to this kind of thing. Fortunately, I do have a couple of friends who allowed me to go into great detail about it, so I was able to share the repulsiveness. I couldn't just keep it to myself, I had to tell someone, it was INSANE!

Now on to new business. Tomorrow is the school's variety show, organized by parents with infinite patience and a masochistic need to watch children sing Hannah Montana songs. Leila will be playing the blues on the piano, a spiffed up version of what I posted here a few months ago. This afternoon we have to nail down the outfit she will wear onstage. I proposed she wear this cute little pink sweater, and I was informed by her that, you can't wear pink when you're playing the blues, Mommy. Truer words were never spoken. So now she is putting together pieces of clothing that fit the dark and bluesy persona that she thinks will go with her song, but she looks ridiculous and I, as the mother, cannot allow my child to stand on a stage in front of people and look like we picked her clothing at random from a bin in the back of a dark closet. Of all the unwritten rules about parenting little girls, this is the one I'm choosing to enforce today. So far it looks like a dark brown ruffly skirt white tights, and a green shirt, but this could change at any time. She's sure she wants to wear dark glasses, though. If it was appropriate to put a lit cigarette in an elementary school child's mouth, I would totally do that.

I think my dog has OCD. He is obsessed with those balls that he kept trapping under the sofa. I almost lost an arm trying to get one out because he was scratching at the sofa and crying endlessly. Seriously, I thought I'd have to call out for help because my arm was stuck under the sofa, and I started to panic that the phone was so far away and no one would hear me, and I'd be stuck there all day, and my cats would start to eat me alive. I escaped with a little mark on my arm, phew! and now those stupid balls are in the backyard. But now Perry is crying at the back door because he know they're out there. What is wrong with him? Can't I have normal animals?

I need to have an experience so I have something to write about. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What's more Disgusting?

So, some gross things happened in the last 24 hours, wanna hear about them? One is grosser than the other, and you get to vote which one you think is more nasty.

On Sunday, I went to the farmer's market to get Little Gem lettuce. Did you see that Oprah last week with Michael Pollan? All about the American diet? Well, I did, and it got me wondering why I stopped shopping at Whole Foods, and what the effect of that has been, and it isn't good. I bring home way more crap than I used to, most of the produce I buy is not organic like it used to be (you're reading a mom who made all her own organic baby food) and my whole family's dietary habits have suffered (Lucky Charms, much?) Anyway, I was inspired to go to the farmer's market where I bought my lettuce (the best lettuce EVER) a butternut squash, and some walnuts. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah. Okay, so the lettuce guy at the market says, Have you ever tried grilling the lettuce and serving it with a poached egg and crumbled bacon? Um, YUM! I have had this in a restaurant, and it is out of this world, so last night I decided to try it. I halve the lettuce, put it cut side down in a little left over bacon grease, and then I go to poach the eggs.

I have never poached an egg before, and I think I've only eaten two poached eggs in my life. So I follow the directions in my you-can-cook-anything-and-it-will-be-easy cookbook, and it was N.A.S.T.Y! I managed to get the yolks out of the pan, and even ate them on the wilted lettuce, and Rob generously said, this is delicious (such a liar) but it was a completely runny, soggy, snotty looking failure. The bacon though, as always, was awesome.

The second disgusting thing is this mountainous, volcanic cyst in the middle of my face. We have been making a lot of jokes about baby spiders escaping from it, and not angering it! and I've been getting a kick out of quickly turning my head when Rob goes in for a kiss so his lips land on the monstrosity (he's totally grossed out) and so on, but today I went to the doctor to have him do something about it. I would post of picture of it, but its so disgusting. Its red and swollen and pulsing (not really) and you really don't want to see it. Just ask the PTA ladies who had to stare at it all morning during our meeting. Everyone is so nice, and no one says anything, but I know they are thinking Mother of God! Is she trying to grow a third boob? I find myself hiding it with my hand, and then I think that appearing embarrassed about it is worse than just standing up tall and saying to the world, yes, I have an enormous boil on my face, and I'm still worthy of love! So the doctor came in the exam room took one look at it and screamed bloody murder because it really is that hideous. Not really, but he did shoot the thing full of cortizone to kill the baby spiders and the aliens living in there, and it should shrink down in a few days. Another option was to lance the thing and drain it (barf) but we went for option one, needle in the haystack-sized face-lump. Then he's all, It may burst when I stick the needle in. Uggggghhhhh! Gag me.

In other news, my dog keeps batting his little ball under the sofa and crying until I get it out. Then he bats it under there again, and cries some more. My knees can't take it, and he's driving me absolutely nuts. I try to throw another ball, or bribe him with xanax, but to no avail. Leila will be home soon, and it will be her job to retrieve the stupid ball from under the sofa. Note to self: destroy ball. In the process of trying to get to it, he is walking over this big bag of paper shavings that I emptied from the shredder. If he breaks that bag open, or wrecks my couch trying to get to that stupid ball, I'll have to strangle the little beast.

ADDENDUM: No, the baby spiders haven't hatched yet, but E invited me over tomorrow and is going to make me watch The Believers, a movie featuring a scene where spiders crawl out of a lump on a woman's face. Awesome!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Stupid Grammys

You know what bugs me? Among many other things? The fact that I spent $66 at the grocery store on Friday, and now I have to go back there AGAIN and spend more money and cook more food. I didn't actually cook much of anything this weekend, kind of took the weekend off, but still! How could I have gone to the store 72 hours ago and still be out of syrup? This, in a nutshell (although, with me its always an incredibly large nutshell) is the problem with housewifery: It never ends. Ever. You can do all the laundry and put it away, only to have some man throw his dirty panties in the hamper one minute later. You can make the beds, and people just sleep in them again after a few hours. You can feed people, and the next day you have to feed them again. I know a lot of jobs are like this; you have to make the donuts every day, you have to update your spreadsheet every day, to follow the presidents motorcade every day, but at least you get a lunch hour AND A PAYCHECK. Jeez!

In order to avoid the grocery store, my most hated place next to the dentist's and airports, I want to talk about the Grammys. I talked about them last year at this time, and talked about how damn old I am and how I've never heard of half of these performers, and it seems like I've heard it all before, and I guess that's all I really have to say about it this year. Except for this Lady Gaga: really? I mean, really? I guess she can carry a tune, and play the piano, maybe, but, really? See? Old. And I think Beyonce stinks. She's very pretty and seems very sweet, but she still stinks. (Catherinette said, I don't know what I hate worse, Beyonce or Mondays, and I vote Beyonce. I'm so done with her B.S.) I do like the Taylor Swift, but last night she sounded like a piece of poo. I was a little embarrassed for Stevie Nicks and her jangly tambourine. But here's the other thing about the Grammys: I LIVE ON THE WEST COAST! All the winners, and all the outfits and all the downloadable performances were available on line before my Tivo even started recording the red carpet. SHUT UP rest of the country!

OK, I don't think I can avoid it anymore. I'm going to go to the stupid store, buy some stupid groceries, make some stupid stew and take a not-at-all-stupid-smartest-thing-I've-ever-done nap.