Monday, October 31, 2005

happy halloween!

Ooo, spooky! Scary!

We carved our pumpkins yesterday afternoon. When did my kids get all prissy about pumpkin guts? Since last Halloween, apparently. ChaCha got her pumpkin a few weeks ago when her preschool class went to the pumpkin patch and it's kind of small. So we made a makeshift Plankton out of it, with one eye. She fussed because he doesn't have an eyebrow or antennae. So, next year we'll get a taller pumpkin and kit it out with MacGuyvered clothes hangers, I guess.

Someone donated a truckload of pumpkins to the elementary school and each of the kids up to third grade got a free one. I received a phone call Friday before lunch and Lou asked if I'd bring a stroller because she had a big pumpkin. Bebe had a good sized one which I had to carry all the way home. Lulu's was enormous! I had to jam it into the umbrella stroller and I made Lulu push it home. They will look very cute all lit up tonight.

Why do I have boring, girly girls? The twins are princesses -- gone is the Halloween when Elizabeth was the cutest Sully monster in all the land. Charlotte is Minnie Mouse. I swear, we should just give all of our disposable income to Disney. Next year I'm going to make them be ghosts or something. Well, if I can get motivated to actually create a costume. There are benefits to being a whore to the Empire of the Mouse for parents, too, I guess.

And I'm betting I won't use "pumpkin" in a sentence again until next Halloween!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

twenty random facts about me.

1. I am the only girl in my family -- I have four brothers.
2. I breastfed twins for 18 months. I think I deserve a medal.
3. Even though I've given birth to three children, I have never felt a painful contraction. Don't hate me -- recovering from a c-section is more than a little painful.
4. I met my husband online. We both posted on a music BB on Prodigy -- the strip mall of online services! (I don't know why they didn't think that would be a good slogan.)
5. I play the viola.
6. I only have 24 teeth. I have very large teeth and a small mouth and I had a lot pulled so the remaining teeth would fit.
7. I got glasses when I was 10 months old. You people who complain about getting glasses in elementary school are poseurs!
8. I have had four surgeries and threw up on my mom after three of them. Sorry, Mom.
9. My favorite comfort food is chip beef gravy. Shut up.
10. I broke a kid's nose with my viola case. I'm hard -- don't mess with me.
11. I was a nanny for over five years.
12. I had a powder blue, 1965, Ford Galaxie 500 convertible. It came off the line the week I was born. It was my car twin, I guess. I loved that car.
13. My first date was to see "The Muppet Movie". Yes, I'm old.
14. I adore reality TV. I will harm you if you try to come between me and "America's Next Top Model", "The Amazing Race", or whatever the reality show of the moment is. I am even watching "My Fair Brady". I may need an intervention.
15. I'm a Cubs fan. This has been a character-building experience for me.
16. I have an English degree and a teaching credential. The earning potential there is dizzying.
17. I wore Doc Martens at my wedding reception.
18. I talk in my sleep.
19. I can start a fire with my glasses. And I've done it -- it was a big hit when I was a kid and went to camp. Sometimes being far-sighted is an asset, I guess.
20. We moved into our house in January 2001. Most of my books are still in boxes in the garage.

Thanks, jenijen, that was fun. I have no one to tap, however. Oh, well. Life will go on.

lulu joins the club.

Louisa lost her first tooth! She apparently did not fully believe in the Tooth Fairy, because this morning she said, upon finding money on the saucer, "Wow! The Tooth Fairy is really real!"

five songs...

...I know all the words to:

"American Pie"
"Baby Mine"
"Rock Lobster"
"The Battle of New Orleans"

And, because it kills my husband (in a good way, I think) I know every lyric to Pink Floyd's "The Wall". Not the song -- the entire album. Right after we were married, Archie put on the CD of the Berlin Wall performance. I was folding laundry and singing along. We were about halfway through, when Archie paused the CD and asked, "Do you know all the words? To the entire thing?"

"Yeah. Duh!"

"Kate, why? Pink Floyd is such a guy thing!"

"Remember, I have four brothers. And most of my friends in college were guys. I think I heard this album, conservatively estimated, once a day for about six years. Also, lots of The Who. But some song or another from this was always being played within my hearing about every day."

"Do you like it?"

"Well, like probably every 14 or 15 year old, I thought it was brilliant and speaking just to me -- an ordinary, well-adjusted teenage girl in Ohio. By the time I was 18 or 19, while I still appreciated the music and lyrics and performances of a lot of the songs, it began to seem like the biggest extended whine in all of rock music. Especially when I realized that Waters was a grown man in his 30s when he composed it. Jesus Christ, dude! Grow up and stop spitting in fans' faces and try to move on."

For the next week or so, Archie told all of his friends about how I knew all the lyrics to "The Wall". Every guy was shocked. I found it all amusing.

Monday, October 10, 2005

insane squirrel explained.

The Sun (so take this with a huge grain of salt) is reporting that squirrels are finding hidden stashes of crack and behaving strangely.

And, of course, you know where I immediately went with this information. We had a crackhead squirrel last week!

All is explained.

note to jenijen:

Was it enough fun for all the mothers? It was a huge burden, but I think I may have been up to the task!

my beautiful weekend.

This was not my beautiful life -- but it was my beautiful weekend.

We left Friday night after dinner. We joked that the scenery was beautiful -- what a shame that we couldn't, you know, see it, in the dark.

Our hotel in Calistoga was very 60s and retro. The room was clean and a strange mishmash -- cinder block wall, wooden beam ceiling, wallpaper with a watermark imprint over a stripe pattern. But look -- a double bed just for me with eight pillows!

I woke up at 8am. While this may sound early, keep in mind that I'm usually up by 5.30 or 6am and have to jump right in fixing breakfast. I had a shower all. by. myself. We had a nice breakfast at a little cafe and then programmed the GPS in the BMW (it's nice to have a friend with a fabu DINK lifestyle -- and is everyone else loving all the acronyms? I love the acronyms!) and proceeded to a few Napa wineries. Hey -- everyone should ocassionally start drinking at 10am! Cuvaison had a very adorable twentysomething redhead boy pouring and I had to bite my tongue to not ask him to wait a couple decades and then marry MY redhead. So I could guarantee ginger grandchildren. Heh. Very nice, huge cabarnet. On to Twomey. ("How did you find us?" "Your sign. We wondered if it was 'Too-me' or 'Twu-may'?" "It's 'Too-me' and that was some money well-spent!") A superfine pinot which I had to buy -- $40 be damned. I'm thinking of inviting my friend and her lovely husband for a meal of duck and jasmine rice and drinking that. So good.

Back to Calistoga to get ready for spa experience. Amy said we only could arrange a 30 minute massage at our hotel's spa, so before we went down, she called another hotel down the street and got us both in for an hour massage there. No, you can't have her. At our first place, we had a mineral bath, a steam, a blanket wrap, and massages. The treatment room with the mineral and mud baths was very stinky. And the mud was scary and we congratulated ourselves on not going that route. While the steam room was very ultilitarian it was still a steam room and we had a great time sweating and chatting. More of life should be spent naked and sweating, I think. The blanket wrap bed was very uncomfortable and made the massage a must. Heh. I was non-commital about the native American chanting music, but my masseuse was quite good and she worked out some heavy-duty stress from my shoulders and my ass. (Who knew my ass was full of stress? But it was!) Then we had to walk back through the smelly treatment room to shower. Not a great layout. But overall, I was pleased.

We had a light lunch at another cafe -- I had a mixed green salad with plum vinagrette, delicious tiny tomatoes, plum pieces, and lightly toasted brioche croutons with a smidge of goat cheese. Amy had a lobster bisque that she said was quite tasty. On to the second round of massage!

This spa had a very fancypants atmosphere -- all beige and white and candles and classical music. (More spas should have soothing classical music -- I have decreed it.) It was very resort-y in feel. We compared notes afterwards and I was just OK about that massage -- the masseuse bent my legs in a weird, semi-painful way and I think she ruptured my kidney at one point. Amy said her masseur had gigantic hands and kept telling her she should pretend to be dead but not stiff on the table. And that he made her ass hurt. So, our conclusions were that the first place had no atmosphere but better, although short, massages while we loved the resort feel of the second place but disliked the massages. It was stinky vs painful. Can we complain about anything? Apparently, yes.

Totals? Two meals, two wine tastings, two massages, three showers. We were very clean and mostly relaxed and pampered. Then we went to Sterling Winery, rode a tram up a mountain, and had a breathtaking view of the Valley. And bonus -- the wines were quite nice. I'd had a Sterling pinot at an anniversary dinner a lifetime ago and they had a special -- 3 bottles for $45. Very smooth and drinkable and not super-expensive. Give me the 3 pack, please.

We went to get ready for dinner. On the way, I picked up presents for the girls. I almost went too crazy and got them music boxes which were very sweet but very expensive. Then I saw the necklaces. Little resin insects on pretty cords. (Not realistic insects. Although that could have been very cool.) Bebe got a bee, Lulu got a ladybug, and ChaCha got a butterfly. And they loved them when I handed them out. I hit the gift jackpot with those.

Dinner was the highlight. The restaurant was amber lighting, had a ginormous bar, with lots of wood and leather. The place was hopping -- lots and lots of people. The reason became apparent -- the food is absolutely divine. We split an appetizer -- a baked polenta cake with cheese, herbs, and mushrooms with a reduced burgundy sauce. The cake was light and fluffy without any grain-y-ness and we both confessed that we could have happily licked the plate. (We were only semi-barbaric and sopped up the remaining sauce with some bread.) Amy had a hanger steak with more of the polenta as a side and I had rabbit (all off the bone and like a thick stew with mushrooms) with a risotto cake. It was crispy on the outside and smooth and creamy inside and was fabulous with the rabbit.

As we were finishing our main courses, Amy said, "You know what the perfect dessert would be? Warm chocolate cake!" Oh, yes please. We were hoping something like that was available. Our French waiter asked us if we wanted dessert? Um, hell yeah. He said they had ice cream, sorbet, poached pears. Oh, and if we could wait about 15 minutes, the kitchen could make up a warm (check), chocolate (oh pleasepleaseplease) souffle (dingdingDING!). Amy and I both started touching our noses. This confused our waiter. "Why are you touching your noses? What does that mean? Would you ladies care to share one?" "Oh, NO! Two, please!" "Of course, very, very good."

About 15 minutes later, two warm, chocolate souffles (with coffee ice cream) were placed before us. "Are you going to touch your noses again?" Heh. No, we are going to stuff our faces. Angels sang, Jesus wept, and we moaned. Perfection.

Stuffed, we rolled back to our room, read a little, and were asleep before nine. We were exhausted and full and I needed every one of those pillows!

Sunday morning we were on the road by about 10. We stopped at my favorite winery -- V Sattui. I needed a gamay rouge and their amazing champagne. (They now have a gamay rouge champagne and I may have to order some online later.) Seriously, I highly recommend both of these wines. We're going to drink our champagne for New Year's and the gamay is already gone. Heh. It's like summer in a bottle -- light and smooth and just a hint of sweetness. It's perfect with a light summer meal. And a glass after when you bathe the kids you haven't seen in two days.

I haven't been to Napa since right before the twins were born. So, imagine my surprise to see a Dean & DeLuca right across the street! It's good that there isn't one too close. I could easily bankrupt us. Pretty packages.

We hit Freakmont a little after noon. My 40th birthday was six months ago, but this weekend was fantastic. And I was reminded how close and fun wine country can be. I think Archie and I may go for an overnight stay when my brother comes out for the holidays. We'll need some more wine by then, for sure.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

i'm back -- now completely relaxed.

This weekend was the best. I will write more about it later. Fantastic.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

i know it's wrong...

...but I really, really want to take the kids to get ice cream and call it dinner. Because I'm tired and have a yucky cold and I had to take a precious hour out of the six allotted to me per week without kids to drive my husband to work (hear me whiiiiiine).

I'm really glad it's Thursday. This is the last night of homework for the week and I am really starting to hate supervising homework. Especially when my nose is running and I have a headache and I'm just dragging, the last thing I want to do is listen to two kids complain about doing a couple of math problems and a word search.

Tomorrow, a friend is coming over for dinner and them I'm blowing this popstand to go to Napa and do spa activities, hit a wine tasting, maybe do a bit of window shopping, and relax without small people who don't give a damn about the state of my health.

I just hope they don't tie up their father and burn down the house while I'm gone. That would be a bummer.


Yesterday was all excitement. We went to the dreaded Disney Store and purchased Halloween costumes. Bebe is Jasmine, Lulu is Belle, and ChaCha is the cutest Minnie Mouse. I foresee wearing these costumes every day until Halloween. Oh, yeah, and we picked up a DVD of "Cinderella" because we are slaves to the Empire of the Mouse.

Elizabee lost her first top front tooth. After rinsing and rinsing and rinsing to stop the bleeding, her first activity was to say some "s" words -- you know, like Chrithmath, Louitha, and Thanta Clauth. Very cute. When the neighboring tooth comes out, the new lisp will be even more pronounced. We'll have to start working on a rendition of "All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)". And, for the record, the Tooth Fairy was a little short on quarters, so Beebs got a Sacajawea dollar and a quarter and one of the new nickels. The new nickel was a huge success. Take note, other Tooth Fairies.

Also, yesterday was picture day. So Bebe's new toothless smile will be recorded for all time. Hee.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

one year ago.

Well, it was pretty much the same as now, except with added diaper changes because Charlotte wasn't toilet trained yet. The big girlies were in kindergarten. I was initially a little anxious and concerned -- but then we fell in love with the kindergarten teacher and fears are always quieted when the teacher tells you what fantastic kids you have. Heh. You love my kids? You are my new best friend.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

silly lulu.

Louisa just informed me that pandas eat up to ten hours a day. I replied, "Wow. I guess that's why a panda has never won a Nobel Prize in physics."

And because she's whipsmart and a total goofball, she laughed and said, "Because they don't have any time to study and work, right? Because they're eating all the time!"

Sunday, October 02, 2005

the whereabouts of the fish.

The other day, I was reading "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" to ChaCha. I know, I know, but it's a year-round favorite in our home. Anyway, I've probably read this to the girls several hundred times (and by "read" I mean "recite from memory"). Cha pointed out in one of the illustrations that the Grinch took a fish. I had never noticed the fish before. A few pages on, the fish had its head sticking out of a bag on the Grinch's sled.

We had a fun time making up stories about the fish. Where did it end up? Did it join in with the Who Christmas sing? Was it a course in the Who feast as a counterpoint to the roast beast? What happened to the fish?

Inquiring minds want to know.

five years ago.

2000. The twins were about 15 months old and we were living in a smallish two bedroom apartment in East Palo Alto. They were sleeping through the night, both had been walking for months, and Archie had left WebTV and joined another start up. We were looking for a house. (A fortuitous stock sale was the down payment.)

The house search was a nightmare. In our (admittedly insane for the rest of the world) price range, I saw houses that needed to be scrapped. Design and decorating nightmares. (Let us never speak of the house that will forever be known as the NASCAR house -- it started with the mailbox painted in black and white checks and extended to the bathrooms that were tiled in psychedelic colors that apparently were racing colors for specific drivers. The horror!) When we extended our search to the East Bay, we started to see much better options and found this house by the end of the year. And there was much rejoicing until we realized just how much money we were paying for a 50s ranch house. Ugh.

We also discovered that our real estate agent was an alcoholic and there were many strange phone conversations. If we ever buy another house, I'm insisting on a drug and alcohol screen. Because I don't ever want to have anything approaching those conversations again.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

ten years ago.

So there's a little survey going around, and I thought I'd take one question per day. Yeah, I'm lazy and time-strapped.

1995. Archie and I were coming up on our second anniversary. We were living in Phoenix, where I had somehow adjusted to the insane heat. And Archie was preparing to move to the Bay Area for a job that one of his best friends had arranged an interview for. I was stressing about being responsible for packing up everything so that Archie could come back and we could move all the possessions and me to California in a few months.

We were sad because we couldn't take our dog, Oliver. So I was trying to find a home for him. I was terrified to move to California after it had taken quite a while for me to feel comfortable and more at home in Arizona. I had a decent job and was making the most money I'd ever made in my life. But the salary for the new position was more than double both our salaries. (Little did we know that double our salaries was not that great for the area. But that was later.)

I was 30 and wondering when we were going to start a family. I knew it wouldn't be too soon, with a new job and a move and all of that. So I was basically sad and stressed.

I had no idea that we were on the very cusp of a new life and adventure.


Tomorrow: Five years ago. (And maybe some talk of my evening out. Ooo, the excitement! Ooo, the glamour!)