Thursday, December 30, 2004

oh my.

OK, it's after midnight. I just called Archie to make sure he was OK because of the rain and wind and all. He's fine. The extend-o-remix-extravaganza is still going on. Still. Arch said they took a few minimal breaks for nourishment and he'll probably leave before the 40 minute finale. But still. They've now officially started on a second day.

He's still gonna take the trash out, though.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Well, not really. My mom is in the guest room watching her TiVoed soap operas. The girls are all asleep. It's storming like crazy -- high winds and the rain has been coming down for several hours. Am I getting wet and taking the garbage to the curb? Um, no.

Archie left this morning at about 10am to spend the day with a few friends and watch "The Lord of the Rings" extend-o-version. It's 10.30pm now, so they might be close to the end. There will probably be some game console play, as well. I think I'm the best wife for handling all the kid and house duties for the entire day so he can go and pretend to be in high school for the day.

He can take the trash out. I think he can get up with the girls come morning, too. I feel in need of a late start.


My mom and I took the girlies to see "Polar Express" yesterday. It was fun and cool that all 3 of the kinder can now go out and behave appropriately. (And, yes, I consider Cha taking a nap during the movie as appropriate behavior. Although that nap meant she missed all of the movie set at the North Pole. Oh, well.) If you asked Bebe what her favorite part was, she said, "I loved the elves!" Lulu said, "I liked all the stuff on the train!" ChaCha said, "I lovedlovedloved the yummy popcorn and the Icee!" I adore that her favorite part of any situation is the food.

Archie and I have watched quite a few DVDs over the holiday. "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" was quite good. It made me cry, but the next day, I had to chalk up the tears to possible hormonal causes. There was also the documentary "The Mayor of the Sunset Strip" about KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer. It seemed kind of straight-forward and then veered into becoming a really sad look at a man and his damaged family and adult life. Damn. I had to go to bed when the woman he was obviously in love with said, "I have a boyfriend and Rodney is just a friend." While Rodney sat next to her. Ouch.

Then there was "Dodgeball." I know I should have hated it. I do dislike Ben Stiller. And much of the humor was over the top and gross. But I think I may be in love with Vince Vaughn. And the guy from "Firefly" who plays a pirate? Alan Tudyck, I think. I think he might be my secret boyfriend. You may want to stop reading at this point. Really. Go away.

I now have a new phrase. "You had me at blood and semen." That line is so very wrong and yet so very, very right.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

almost over.

I had to go to the grocery store tonight. On the way home, I saw a house I've never really noticed before. But with a Christmas tree in the front window and lights along the eaves, it was so pretty and looked so cozy. I was glad it was on the corner by a stop sign so that I could look at it for a few moments.

As I drove down our street, I saw that Archie had turned the lights on our Christmas tree on. It looked so lovely -- it's a shame we'll have to take it down in a few days.

Monday, December 27, 2004

the best present ever.

My mom is staying with us and she was appalled at the state of our dishwasher. The hinges on the door are shot and we have to prop it with a cup to load and unload. So Mom wanted to buy us a dishwasher for Christmas.

Today it was installed. It's white. I would have liked stainless, but Archie was dead-set against that. He says it's too much trouble to keep clean. So white. It's quiet. The other one was so loud we had to turn up the TV if we ran it while we were awake -- or shut the hall door if we set it to run after we went to bed. And it has a control panel lock. This is great as the girls love to press buttons and now they can press away!

And it has a 3 year warranty. It is the best present ever. I have apparently become a grown-up.

Friday, December 24, 2004

...and to all a good night.

The presents are wrapped and under the tree. (Our tree has a name. Tiggles. It had a little tag on it when Archie bought it. If the tree next year isn't named, I'm gonna call it Augie.) The stockings are stuffed with candy and assorted little goodies. Santa has eaten his cookies and the reindeer enjoyed their carrots and sugar cubes.

My 3 little ones are asleep and snoring. They had tacos for dinner -- they love to assemble food. We made the aforementioned cookies together. We checked Norad's Santa site. They didn't particularly like roasted marshmallows. They liked the idea and sticking the marshmallows into the fire, they just weren't fond of the "burn-y taste." So I got to eat lots of burnt marshmallows. (I will probably not mention "marshmallows" again until next Christmas Eve.)

All is quiet and I'm sure to be awakened early by excited little girls. After the orgy of unwrapping and exclamations of excitement over the gifts, I'll be making brunch. Fortified by mimosas, because champers always makes Christmas much more fun. Then the dinner -- prime rib, broccoli with hollandaise sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, and Yorkshire pudding. Then pumpkin pie. Don't you wish you were coming over?

But that's all tomorrow. Tonight is relaxed and calm in anticipation. Merry Christmas to all...

Thursday, December 23, 2004

mean girls.

We watched "Mean Girls" tonight. I liked it better when it was called "Heathers."

what will we do with all the time?

Last night, Archie and I (with a little help from my mom) wrapped all the kids' presents. The books and the clothes and the games and the big-ass My Little Ponies. (The scooters will be assembled tonight while we watch a movie.) My mom said, after I'd taken out the present-filled bags to the garage to wait for Christmas Eve, "This is just wrong. It's not Christmas Eve. What are you going to do on Christmas Eve? I can't remember ever having everything done before then!"

This is true and I am nothing if not my mother's daughter. Every other Christmas since we've had kids, I've been, at the least, wrapping on Christmas Eve. Several years, I was out purchasing gifts. And then wrapping. Maybe even assembling a few things. What will we do with this gift of time?

Well, it will mean that the Christmas Eve activities won't be rushed or devolve into tears and anger, like other years. We'll bake cookies and leave out the carrots and sugar cubes (the reindeer need a snack, too). Archie will build a fire and we'll roast marshmallows on stretched-out coat hangers. We'll read "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and sing a few songs. Then off to bed with the girlies. Even if they want several drinks of water or come out a few times to sneak a peek at the fire, it won't be a big deal. Because we have time.

Archie will make the pies for Christmas dinner. I'm still debating whether I should mix up the Yorkshire pudding batter. I just might do that. We'll probably enjoy an adult beverage and stare at the fire for a little while. The girls should be good and asleep by then. We'll troop out to the garage and bring in the bags with all the loot. I'll let Archie arrange everything while I stuff the stockings.

Maybe we'll watch a movie. But it won't have to be a Christmas-themed one like most years. That's a force of habit, but also a motivational tool to keep me focussed on wrapping.

I feel so virtuous with this gift of time. I want to have even more for next year. How could I arrange that? Well, I could try to do what I've wanted to ever since the girls were born -- buy everyone a gift every month. Bring it home and wrap it, label it, and stow it in a big Rubbermaid tub in the garage. Then, when the season turns festive, I'd only have stocking stuffers and maybe some special thing each girl just discovered they want. Then I'd have so much time. What would that be like?

Sunday, December 19, 2004

one more story about my grandmother.

My grandma grew up on a farm. She went to a one room schoolhouse through the 8th grade. She led a rather sheltered life.

When Grandma was 16, her older sister, Wave, had a job in town working for the telephone company. One day she took my grandma in to work with her. After a time, she asked Grandma to go over to the local store and buy a bottle of milk for them to share with lunch. Wave gave her the money and told her to hurry back.

Grandma was terrified her sister was making fun of her. Milk didn't come in bottles; everyone knew it came from cows! She was afraid she would ask for a bottle of milk and the sophisticated city folks would laugh at the simple country girl, just like anyone would laugh at a man asking for a left-handed monkey wrench.

Imagine her surprise when she asked for a bottle of milk and it was handed to her, she paid for it, and took it back to the phone company!

(I remembered this story because my mother asked ChaCha where milk came from and Cha answered, "The store.")

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

things we said.

Yesterday was an award ceremony for the twins at their school. Here are some of the funny (and possibly evil) things Archie and I said during the festivities.

The principal announced that the awards were for perfect attendance, outstanding citizenship, and organizational skills. We weren't told what award the girls were getting. I said, "They missed 2 days for illness and if they win anything for organization, I'll clean the kitchen floor with a toothbrush for a month." Yep -- outstanding citizens. Whew, dodged a toothbrush on that one.

The girls' teacher sent home a note recently stating that, for religious reasons, she doesn't want her picture taken. As I got ready to take a photograph, I said, "Is it wrong that I have a desire to steal her soul with my digital camera?"

There are 3 kindergarten classes. In one of the other classes, one little boy got all 3 awards. Archie said, "I so want the girls to kick his butt academically and beat him out for valedictorian." I replied, "Dude, they're in kindergarten! Dial it down."

Monday, December 13, 2004

three stories about my grandmother.

When my grandma was engaged to my grandpa, he taught her how to drive. One evening, he told her to drive them home from a carnival or fair or something. It was dark and the road was winding and my grandma was scared. She'd only been driving for a short while and she was afraid she would crash the car. But Grandpa didn't make any sound or say anything, so she figured she was doing a good job. Because, of course, he would say something if she made a big mistake.

She got them out of the frightening winding road area and pulled over to ask how she did. "Gordon? Gordon?" She leaned over and realized that my grandfather was asleep. And then it dawned on her that he had been asleep for the entire drive. "Gordon! Wake up! Do you know how scared I was? We could have both been killed and you were just sleeping away!" "Aw, Molly," he said (my Grandma's name was Lena May, but Grandpa always called her Molly), "I knew you wouldn't kill me."

After they were married, my grandparents had two vehicles; a pickup truck and an old Model T. Both just had starters. Grandpa showed my grandmother how to take off the distributor cap so if she went into town no one could steal the car. My grandfather trained horses and drove there and was gone all day (and sometimes late into the night) and they had 3 young children at the time -- my mother, the baby of the family, and her brother, the next-to-youngest hadn't been born yet. Grandma couldn't take the kids in the pickup truck to visit with her mother or go into town, so she spent many days on the farm, alone with the kids. She hated it.

One morning, when Grandpa had been out late, Grandma got up and went out to the Model T. She took off the distributor cap and put it in her apron pocket. Grandpa got up and went out to leave. He tried to start the car, and it wouldn't start. He got in the truck and left. My grandmother loaded up the kids and went to visit her mother. Neither of them ever mentioned that the car wouldn't start or that there was some problem with it.

My grandparents' house only had a coal stove for heat. The chair my grandma sat in was right under a register near the stove that opened up into the kids' bedroom on the second floor. Grandpa would often bring Grandma a Milky Way candy bar -- often as an apology for staying out late. She would put it on top of the icebox. After the kids were in bed, she'd get her candy bar and sit down in her chair. As she opened the wrapper, the kids could hear the crackling of the paper. They'd call, "Mommy? Do you have a candy bar? Mommy? Can we have bites?" And she'd go upstairs and give each of the 5 kids a bite, leaving not a lot for her. One of my uncles had a habit of bringing Grandma Milky Ways when he came to visit. (All those many years later, when I was spending the night at her apartment, I'd hear her opening the wrapper. "Grandma? Do you have a candy bar? Grandma? Can I have a bite?" I'd call from the bedroom. She'd always give me a bite. It did leave a lot more for her, though, since it was only me.)

At her funeral, my uncle's family's wreath had several Milky Ways attached. And they were put in the casket with her, so she'd have some candy on her final journey -- and not have to share them.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

there may be no toys for christmas.

Charlotte is playing with a cigar box that houses a collection of outlet protectors. If you're not familiar (and that would be because you have no children) these are plastic things that fit into electrical outlets so the precious kinder don't feel the power of PG&E. What can you do with these things?

She put one on her nose and then started to oink like a piglet. The crowning touch was when she capped an oinking aria with a high-pitched "SQEEEEEAAAAAL!" Of course, it's much better if I play along -- so we had a piggy duet. Then she put one against her eye and said, "Ahoy, Mama! You scurvy dog. Let's sail the Spanish Main!" Then the cover became a "stefascope." Did you know there is such a thing as plastic broccoli? It grows very well in my family room.

My contribution to this fascinating exercise (aside from my best porcine imitation) has been using them as tiny defib paddles on one of the Teletubbies. Lala apparently has a wonky ticker, so we yell, "Clear!" and then electrically reboot her heart. It's all about the teachable moments.

Is it wrong to just want to scour the house for objects to wrap up for Christmas gifts? This will probably be the last year I could get away with it. "ChaCha! Santa brought you a spaghetti strainer spoon and some boxes and several cans of peaches. You are the luckiest girl in the whole world!"

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

i want to be a dentist!

Not really. Not even close. But the big girls and I did have dental appointments today. Oh, the holiday joy!

Some of my earliest memories are connected to the dentist, though. I have very cavity-prone teeth and I seem to manufacture plaque at an alarming rate. (Aren't you glad you're reading?) So I had to go to the dentist for fillings before I was 3. My mom had no idea there was such a thing as a pediatric dentist, however. So she took me to Dr. Mario, who was sweet and charming and my best friend -- in the waiting room. In the examining room was another story.

I had to be sedated when I had a tooth filled. My mom said she gave me a portion of a Valium at bedtime and then some more an hour before my appointment. And I wasn't thrilled with not eating, but I wasn't supposed to. So I was a groggy, hungry toddler. Whee!

The memory I have is being in the chair and Dr. Mario putting the Novocaine needle in my mouth. Which I bit down on and wouldn't stop. They were afraid I'd break it off in my mouth and kept saying, "Open, Cay. Open up so we can take the shot out." But I recall thinking with my 3 year old brain, "If I open my mouth, they will stick me with that needle. And that hurts. I'm not going to do that." Then they brought my mom back to convince me to open my mouth.

That was the last time I saw Dr. Mario as a patient. He recommended a pediatric dentist who made everything a lot easier. No Valium, no Novocaine. I began to like going to the dentist -- even though I seemed to have a cavity every visit.

Do my girls go to a pediatric dentist? Nah. They don't seem to be as cavity-prone as I am, for one. Our family dentist seems really comfortable with kids and the girls love him and the staff. Being the Bay Area, he's all high tech and has a camera and takes their pictures with a little mini-camera and then prints it out. (Also, if he does work of any length -- like a filling or root planing -- he has cool goggles so you can watch a movie while he works!) The only negative thing for them, dental-wise, is the fact that the twins will most likely need braces. Our dentist has told me this every visit since they were 2. I suppose so it won't be a surprise.

I have lots of experience with the orthodontist, too. Oh, the stories I could tell. But I won't.

At least, not today.

Monday, December 06, 2004

it's just not a party...

Saturday was a birthday party for a friend of the twins. Charlotte (our youngest) was invited, too. So we all went over to the family's house for pizza and cake and assorted kid merriment.

I mentioned Charlotte because she's such a stinker. All of the girls are individuals, and she's no exception. She's gregarious and very affectionate. Everyone is a friend. When we take the big girls to kindergarten, ChaCha always gives her sisters hugs and kisses -- and she bestows the same to her sisters' classmates, the teacher, and assorted other parents. (Her favorite is the father of one little boy who has the same name as my husband -- Archie -- and who returns her attentions fully. She calls him "my second favorite Owchie" which is very amusing.) Cha also has a fondness for being naked. She will take her clothes off at the drop of a hat. She's preferred nakedness since she was an infant. Most babies hate to be naked -- when they have to be nude for weigh-ins at the doctor, they scream and fuss. ChaCha has always loved it -- our doctor even mentioned how odd it was that Cha was perfectly content to be bare-assed from her first checkup. (She also doesn't cry when she gets vaccines. It's quite possible she's an alien.)

So, at the birthday party, Charlotte was having so much fun. She was chatting up everyone, eating pizza, lobbying to play Pin the Tail on the Donkey about 20 times. (She even spun herself around and then laughed the loudest when she put the tail on the wrong wall.) The big girls were being very well-behaved and we were all having a nice time. So, all the adults ended up talking in the living room. Then the magic ended.

"Charlotte has her clothes off!" I went into the dining room to see Ms. Party Animal stripped down to her Pull-Up. She was doing a little dance and singing, "I'm nake-y! I'm nake-y!" I told her she needed to get dressed. She refused. So I told her there would be no cake if she didn't get dressed. That did the trick. All the other parents thought my daughter's aversion to clothing was funny.

"Well, it's just not a party until Charlotte takes her clothes off, " I said. "And I really hope that I never hear teenagers saying that in about 12 years!"

Sunday, December 05, 2004

yee haw!

Well, here we go. Why "slug rodeo?"

I have three daughters. My twins are 5 and the baby is not-quite 3. One afternoon, they were outside, digging in the dirt next to our driveway. Lots of chatter and squealing. It was warm and sunny and I was reading while they were all occupied.

But the general sense of fun coming from them was too much to resist. So I closed my book and went over to see what they were doing. There was a circle of dirt -- like a circus ring, I guess. And inside that enclosure was the biggest, grossest slug I'd ever seen. "Whatcha doing?" "It's a slug rodeo, Mama!"

A slug rodeo. I now think of it as a metaphor of my life right now. Slightly slow, mostly silly, with occasional flashes of excitement.

Oh, and gross. Can't forget the gross with young children.

So, welcome to the slug rodeo. Nice to meet ya. Watch out for the slime.