Wednesday, December 31, 2008

last day of 2008

We've got hugely unhealthy bacon appetizers in the oven, all the girls are loaded down with new books (courtesy of their grandma), and there are lots of chocolate desserts on hand. The twins are excited about staying up until midnight, even if their parents would rather turn in a little earlier. Cha is gonna try her best to stay awake, but she'll probably only last 'til nine or so.

It's been a good year. Here's to 2009 being just as good, with no major bad surprises.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

when christmas songs and advertising collide

There's this commercial -- it's just the music to "Silent Night" with lovely pictures of babies sleeping. Very sweet and the girls and I saw it today and we all made the appropriate ooh-ing and aw-ing noises. The small print at the end said, "" and Elizabee sang, "Sleep in heavenly pee-ee/Sleep in heavenly pee."

I think the Pampers people missed out.

Monday, December 29, 2008

it has begun

I've always tried to be kind and show some concern for my kids' privacy. Man, I have some hilarious stories, but I don't think it would serve anything to put them out onto the internet for anyone passing by to read. Because, maybe not now, but someday, they could prove to be embarrassing. And, as we all know, the embarrassing stories must be saved for future meetings with dates. There is tradition to uphold.

Also, as I've told other people, I don't really want to stumble across my kids' websites or blogs and read about what an evil, awful witch of a mother I am. This is why I don't give in to the momentary urge to ever talk about what terrible, horrible, misbehaved children I have. They have their moments, like all people, but mostly they are fantastic and wonderful. Plus, sometimes they're tired or hungry or just having a bad day. I have bad days -- I wouldn't necessarily want them memorialized for all eternity.

All of this has been brought to the forefront because the twins have requested to set up their own blogs. Oy. Here's hoping they keep in mind that a momentary rush of revenge is not good for the long-term mother/daughters relationships.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

a shaggy dog story

We took the girls to see Marley & Me. Lulu and Beebs had read the book (which had been edited for children) and they were dying to see the film.

It's cute. Who doesn't love a dog story? I'm sure lots of people find it barely a step up from sitcom-ville with a manipulative ending. Whatever. All of us enjoyed it -- we laughed and cried. Yes, there is great catharsis in crying, especially when one of your daughters is sobbing next to you and it's not because of anything related to her life. That, for me, the Queen of Sobbing Sentimentality, is pure heaven. Here, have a napkin, Lou. We'll sniffle together. I love you.

(It should be noted that Bebe was tearful, as well, and Archie held her hand, even if he didn't share in her crying. This is a big step for a guy who laughs at me when I recount some story I've heard and get choked up in the re-telling. Charlotte was kind of bemused being surrounded by all of us blubbering. She is her father.)

Also, this movie proved that I am becoming some old prude. There are several parts where we are to understand that Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston's characters are going to get down to some love of a physical nature. And I was charmed that we never had to witness it, really. A thrown pillow, a camera tracked upwards. Suggestion instead of showing. It made me very, very happy. Possibly because we had a six year old and I didn't want to have to explain.

A day later, we were all talking about our favorite parts of the movie. Cha said, "I liked when they were having romance in the swimming pool and Marley just swam by them." Having romance? So cute.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Man, Dance Dance Revolution is already a huge favorite with the twins. They're playing right now and there is nothing more amusing than one of them on the mat and the other next to her doing it together.

OK, there is one thing funnier. Lou was really having trouble getting the wrist flicks down. Bebe came through by showing her how to hold the controller and nunchuk and doing a modified sideways wrist snap. Lou yelled, "Oh! Like a temple strike!" Bebe agreed, "Yeah -- just like in karate."

So, that's my holiday tip to you to improve your DDR play -- pretend that you're striking someone with a karate chop to the head.

Friday, December 26, 2008

where i almost became john cleese

The theme of this holiday season for me is apparently WWII.

Last week we were at a party. Living in the Bay Area, there are a lot of different people -- Russians, Brits, various nationalities of Asians, Aussies. This party was no exception. I was trying to tell one of the Brits about a segment of Ricky Gervais' stand-up we'd seen on HBO.

Oh, hell, have a look at his take on sharks and Nazis.

I was trying to explain this and a guy I didn't know at all had joined our little group. After the rest of us had finished laughing at "sharks are brilliant; Nazis are rubbish," the new guy jumped into the conversation and we all realized that he was, in fact, German. D'oh.

Archie told me later it was a good thing I didn't decide to reenact "The Germans" episode of of Fawlty Towers, complete with goose stepping and cries of, "I'm just trying to make the Kraut laugh!"

I swear, I don't have a head injury that I'm aware of.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

the merriest

Whispers and pitter pats. Up at dawn to rip into the presents. Happy playing; minor tussles. Good friends coming to share a meal where every item had some butter in it. Naps as kids dance, dance, revolution. Pie, pie, pie, pie -- which kind of pie? Have some of each because Christmas comes but once a year. So eat four pieces of pie!

And then to bed to look forward to making merry again.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

germans in arizona on christmas eve

There was a large POW camp in Papago Park during WWII. One subset of the prisoners were commanders and crew from U-boats. They wanted to escape, to Mexico, where they thought there would be people sympathetic to their plight.

They started to dig a tunnel. They told the guards a story -- that they were making volleyball courts. And they had a stroke of luck -- they had obtained a map. There was a river on the map -- the Salt River -- which led into the Gila River, which fed into the Colorado. They could take this route, if they built a boat, all the way to Mexico. They wouldn't have to hump the distance by foot!

So, they also built the pieces of a boat. And late on the night before Christmas Eve, the other prisoners celebrated with loud singing and merry-making to cover the fact that a large number -- somewhere between 25 and 40 -- of men were escaping from the camp through the tunnel to hike to the Salt River to assemble the pieces of the boat and begin their journey to the border.

If you know anything about the Phoenix area in the winter, though, you might have an inkling at what happened next. The Germans escaped and made it to the Salt River, only to find that it was dry. That was a blow, but they pushed on to the Gila. Which was mostly dry -- just some puddles. On the morning of Christmas Eve, the Germans were facing cold and the only water was drizzling rain.

Meanwhile, back at the camp, their escape had gone unnoticed until the first of the Germans walked back to Phoenix and started to turn themselves in. A few holed up in caves and other outcroppings for a few days, but the official story is that all of them were eventually rounded up and ensconced safely back in the POW camp.

It's like Hogan's Heroes in reverse!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

only since i was 18

Archie was admiring the lovely diamond earring in my right ear the other day. Then he turned my head so he could watch the one in my left ear twinkle. He said, "Huh. How long have you had that second earring in your left ear?"

"Only since I was 18."

Don't let anyone tell you there aren't surprises to be had after 15 years of marriage.

Monday, December 22, 2008

our christmas movies

I'm sure a lot of people have movies they like to watch around the holidays. These are mine.

Elf This is the first of two newer movies which I love. Tonight, we watched it with the girls after toasting marshmallows and I'm starting to feel a little bit Christmas-y. I guess if you hate Will Ferrell you won't like this. I happen to love Will Ferrel and just about everything about this movie. The girls love it -- probably because Ferrell is just a big, oversize kid in his reactions to everything. I hope some people call me in the next few days so I can answer the phone, "Buddy the Elf. What's your favorite color?" I may get a little teary at the end. I may have to watch the scene where Zooey Deschanel is singing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" as an inadvertent duet several more times.

Millions The feel-good, Christmas version of all those "What would you do if you found a huge amount of money?" movies. In an interesting twist, the director, Danny Boyle, made another movie with the same theme -- the very un-Christmas-y, feel-bad, very adult and dark Shallow Grave. But this one has saints and pounds which need to be converted into Euros, and a lovely performance by a young actor which is just about perfect. It's just a wonderful movie, and I might get a little choked up at the end.

A Christmas Story I'm sure that this is one that lots of people love. I'm sure it is since they show it for 24 hours starting on Christmas Eve. The very best scene is when Ralphie mishandles the lugnuts as he and his father change the flat tire and Ralphie swears. Watch closely -- the dad sends Ralphie back to the car seemingly angry -- but then the briefest of smiles crosses his face. Because he's proud of his son's swearing, of course. Then we get the crazy phone call when Ralphie sells out his friend and Ralphie with the bar of soap in his mouth.

And, the best Christmas movie ever, which must be watched on Christmas Eve is...

Santa Claus I will stop and watch this movie, in Spanish, on Spanish-language televsion, even though I can't understand Spanish. But we watch the MST3K version. This version was first broadcast the Christmas right after Archie and I were married -- so we've watched it 15 years in a row. We've been watching it off a VHS recording made 15 years ago -- the commercials are hilarious in and of themselves. The first time we watched it, as married people for all of 5 days, I said, "I can't wait to have kids and we will watch this with them on Christmas Eve when they're old enough!"

Finally, they are old enough! We've watched some other MST3K things with them and they know the theme song and Archie got Santa Claus on DVD. I really am excited and happy. Now, Christmas Eve will also include Mike and the 'bots and the politically correct holiday song and the weird Mexican Santa mythology, with the devil and the robotic reindeer. Total Christmas awesomeness.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

three more days

I have quite a lot to get done and no energy because I'm feeling like crap with a cough. I'm tired and sluggish and I would much rather have a few days to rest. Which is not going to happen.

So, I'll go see the doctor in the morning and then I'll come home and make cookies with the girls. Then I'll do some tidying. Maybe I'll get a nap or a rest in. Then I'll face whatever else needs to be done.

But I'd rather just be napping.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


We were sitting in the restaurant, waiting for our appetizers, and Archie said, "So, I didn't know what to get you for our anniversary. But you were talking to Charlotte a while back and she wanted something and was crying about it and you told her that you didn't have a pony or diamond earrings and you could somehow go on with your life."

"You got me a pony?"

He reached into his pocket and put one of my favorite things down on the table in front of me. A little blue box with a white ribbon tied around it. "No."

And inside, those earrings sparkled like the diamonds they are. Damn, real diamonds? Are really, really twinkly.

Friday, December 19, 2008

15 years

I'm kind of at a loss as to what to say on our 15th anniversary. It would all sound trite or too pat.

But what the hell. Let's go with trite and pat. I love my husband more than I did on the day we got married and I'd do it all over again. Here's to the rest of our lives together being half as happy and fun as the first 15 years have been.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

be careful what you name your children

My mother-in-law went to a hoity-toity girls school in Los Angeles. One of her friends was called "Pishy." (That's in quotation marks because my MIL didn't know how "Pishy" spelled her name, if it was her given name, or if it was a nickname.) After a few years, she asked if there was a story behind the name. "Pishy" said, "Oh, yes! My parents always loved the story of Cupid and "Pishy." It's one of their favorite myths."

Cupid and PSYCHE, people.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

down in front

Tonight was the first grade Christmas concert and you would have thought it was a rock show since the vast majority of the parents spent the entire first fifteen minutes standing up to take photos or video. Or talking like they were at home, making it impossible to hear. I will admit that it was probably a wee bit rude for my husband to bellow, "Down in front! Sit down!" when all the kids were in place to sing, but whatever. We were in the back and we don't spend our lives looking through a viewfinder, so we like to actually see what's going on.

And guy in the black jacket who wouldn't sit down and who Archie singled out by saying, "Guy in the black jacket! SIT DOWN! We can't see our kid."? No apologies from me -- you were totally blocking my view of Cha and I really was not harmed in any way by the face you made at us. Also, once you grudgingly sat down, I could see and greatly enjoyed the rest of the program. Neener neener.

I'm kind of at a loss as to why people think it's completely OK to stand and ruin other people's view so they can get a picture or a better view themselves. Do you really need 75 pictures or 30 minutes of video of the first grade concert?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

'tis the season to be snotty

Snotty as in sobbing uncontrollably. Archie has asked me several times this week if I have a cold. "No, honey, I just saw that commercial for St. Jude's. You know the one that says to give thanks for the healthy children in your life and then give to St. Jude's? Waaaaaahhhh!"

Or, "No, I was just thinking about Toys for Tots and I looked up the commercial from years ago where the little boy asks the Marine if he is Santa. And the Marine is all silent and standing at attention. And then the boy says he has his Christmas list for Santa and the Marine just turns his hand, in that white glove, ever so slightly so he can take the list. And the boy walks away saying he knew it was Santa. Waaaaaahhhhh!"

Of course, my husband has to be a smartass and say, "That Toys for Tots commercial is so fake. A real Marine would be all, 'This Marine saw a fat son-of-a-bitch entering the perimeter and shot him down. No Christmas this year!'"

Yeah, he's a jackass former Marine, but it does stop the weeping.

Monday, December 15, 2008

bebe's silliness

A few weeks ago, I was getting ready to drive the kids to school. We were all in the car and the girls were buckling themselves up. It was windy and a leaf went wafting past the window. Lou said, "A leaf flew by my window!" And Bebe piped up, "That sounds like it should be the first line of an Emily Dickinson poem. A leaf flew by my window/Even though it had no wings." Hilarious!

A few days later we were walking in a parking lot and Beebs asked me if I would do some physical activity and I said, "Oh, no -- I'm too crabby and old for that!" She smiled and said, "You're not crabby, Mama!" I stopped and looked at her and said, "What did you say?" And she grinned and said, "I didn't actually say you were old -- I just implied it!"

Clever girl, huh? And funny.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

pretentious party

Last night was the holiday party for Archie's employer. That would be the gigantic company which purchased the place he works for about a year and a half ago. It was very fancy. Archie kept saying it was so foufy he was sure they'd kick him out at some point. Maybe because he brought a flask with him and plopped it on one of the (many) bars and said, "Hey, can you make me a Manhattan with this?" Which they did, and he was happy.

There was really good entertainment -- although no dancing for the attendees. Our favorite performers were the beatboxers and the breakdancers. We were cheering the breakdancers on because they were completely awesome. We even went over to congratulate them on their great performance. I said, "We're old enough to have been almost-adults in the 80s and you guys are totally cool." I'm pretty certain most of them weren't even born in the 80s!

The food was terrific. After I'd had a rocks glass full of vodka with a splash of orange juice, I was apparently quite loud as I chased down a waiter carrying parfaits we'd been hunting down, yelling, "Parfait guy! Parfait guy!" It was totally worth any embarrassment -- those parfaits were delicious.

As we were leaving, I noticed a woman who had on the same dress as I was wearing. I leaned over and said, "Hey! Great dress!" She turned and started to say, "Thanks!" and I leaned away from her and did the Vanna White hand gestures to show her we had on the same dress. Whereupon she kind of hissed, "Get away from me!" I smiled and said, "It's a compliment! We both have great taste!" As Archie and I walked away, I said, "You know, you can only be upset about encountering someone in the same outfit as you if you've paid for a couture gown and been promised by the designer that it's the only one on the planet. Then it's annoying and embarrassing. But, seriously? Getting upset that someone else is wearing the same dress when you bought it off the rack? Honey, I'm wearing the same thing and I know you got that dress at Target. You are beyond pretentious being upset that someone else is wearing the same thing as you."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

o, tannenbaum

It's big. Too big, actually -- there isn't room for a tree topper. It's also really full and fat. And it smells divine.

Archie brought the tree home this afternoon. I guess it was time, since there's less than two weeks until Christmas. Arch and I have a party to attend tonight, so there's no time to decorate it today. We'll get to that tomorrow.

He was putting the water in the stand and caught his hand on something and said, "God damn it!"

"Sweetie, that's what everyone wants to hear during the season of Our Savior's birth."

Friday, December 12, 2008

i got nothin'

Hey, what do you want? I went an entire week without complaining about writing here or going full-on Christmas on everyone. I think an award is in order. OK, maybe some chocolate.

Is there any chocolate in my house? Of course not.

Wait -- there is. Dark chocolate M&Ms in Archie's desk drawer.

Later, gators!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Archie had a physical for an insurance policy today. The nurse or physician's assistant came round and drew blood and took his blood pressure and had him fill out a health questionnaire. But Archie was concerned that this woman was coming to the house. "It might just be a scam to look around and see if there are any clues to my lifestyle choices that could affect my health."

I said, "Oh, God -- wouldn't it be hilarious to have a bong on the coffee table and scatter hypodermics all around and you could down a shot and chase it with a beer when she gets here? At 10am? That would be awesome!"*

Sadly, we did not do this. It was all very boring and calm.

*(We don't own a bong or have any needles. And, while we do have some booze, we don't drink at 10am. Ever. Although all bets are off come 10.30am.)

a conversation with chacha

The following conversation took place as Charlotte and I walked into Target this afternoon.

Cha: You need a dress. And you're getting my sissies and me tights. Anything else?

Me: Well, I will look at the shoes, too, but I probably won't like any of them and I'll go to Macy's tomorrow. I also need to get my hair cut tomorrow.

Cha: We all need haircuts. Well, except Daddy. He needs to grow his hair out.

Me: Honey, I think Daddy growing his hair out is a hopeless cause, at this point.

Cha: Yeah, he's just turning into a baldy.

Me: Yeah.

Cha: Maybe that's why his mommy named him Archi-BALD!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

why i love my husband

We were talking and he said, "You know, since I've started playing World of Warcraft again, I've only reached level 48." (Or something like that. I don't play WoW, so I just know that he stopped playing because he couldn't devote enough time to increase his level to keep pace with his single, childless friends who could play for hours at a time.) "And that's just sad."

I asked, "Why is that sad? Because the guys are so far ahead of you? Or they've raised the levels?"

"Because I just said that and I'm a 42 year old man."

Monday, December 08, 2008

cow babies

I have been feeling a little under-the-weather and when I feel blah, I find myself watching videos of the kids when they were little. And I can never believe how little they were. Or how impossibly cute.

And there's nothing more adorable than two two year olds in cow suits. If you don't think they're cute, don't say anything. Because it would just be admitting that you have a tiny, black piece of coal for a heart. How can you not love my Lou, when asked if she's a Holstein, saying, "No, we're cows."? And if my Elizabee saying, "Moo. Moo. Moo. Moo, moo, moo, moo, MOO!" doesn't make you smile, you have to be dead inside.

Without further ado, toddlers frolickng in cow suits.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

killing at target

Yesterday, we had to do a Target run. There were birthday gifts to purchase and also some boring household products and assorted sundries. While checking out the toy section, the girls noticed these little teeny stuffed animals they have a few of and they were cheap, so I got them each one. This was especially good because Cha had misplaced her teensy monkey and they had another one! Score.

In another section of the store, they had even more of these stuffed animals. ChaCha thought a unicorn was soooo cute and she decided she'd rather have the unicorn. Fine, whatevs. As we were making our way to the end of the aisle, she was trying to sound out the name on the package. "My-stik-qwa. That can't be right. What's the name, Mama?"

I looked and said, "It's Mystique, sweetie." There was a man looking at something near the end of the aisle. "That's an interesting choice for a name. It sounds more like the name of someone in a not quite...respectable profession than a children's toy."

The man laughed and then tried to cover his laughter by pretending to cough. I said, as I passed, "Oh, you can laugh. I knew my kids wouldn't find it amusing."

Saturday, December 06, 2008

why i should not be trusted with my iphone

Archie came home from work last night and I said, "You didn't tell me you had an off-site or some kind of rah-rah rally today." He looked a tad confused, but I soldiered on. "How was the Gladwell talk?"

"The what?" Now he looked really and truly confused.

"Gladwell. Malcolm Gladwell." Why was he not understanding me? Maybe I'm having a stroke and "Malcolm Gladwell" is coming out "green beans and puppies are terrifying" or maybe "arghgh blerg potatoes" or something else nonsensical. "You sent me some text messages this afternoon and seemed very excited about hearing him speak. In person. We agreed you'd talk about it tonight."

He grabbed his iPhone and scrolled through some texts and said, "Ah, here we go. That was Susan -- she sent me a message about a talk, but then she realized she'd sent it to me by mistake. She wanted to tell you."

I got my iPhone and looked at the text messages and had a V-8 moment, complete with smacking my forehead. "In my defense, no one but you ever texts me!"

So now I have to email my friend and explain that I am a moron and I thought she was my husband and I'm really sorry I kind of blew her off by writing, "We'll talk all about it when you get home." Hello -- she doesn't live at my house or even in my state.

I really shouldn't be participating in an activity that is so linked to teenagers, I don't think. Not at my age. I might sprain something in my brain.

Friday, December 05, 2008

eating our way through phoenix

We went to Phoenix for Thanksgiving and the big holiday meal was the least exciting of the entire trip. So, what follows are some places you should try if you go to the Valley of the Sun.

1. Los Compadres. The one on 7th. This is where Archie and his family ate every week when he was growing up. It's in a little house and it's kind of dive-y and lacks atmosphere. But, the food is to die for. When we lived downtown, I would stop off and get takeout at least once a week. Right before we moved to California, a snowbird crashed into the building while coming off the curve. The fire department showed up and decided they needed to close down the restaurant since there was a car which had crashed through the front. The fire chief showed up and said, "No way. Put up a tarp! We can't have Los closed down -- where would we all eat?" If it's an essential for the fire department, you know it's good.

2. Casa Reynoso. This is in Tempe, in a strip mall and it's perfection. They cook with lard. So run! Run in and have pan-fried tacos and burritos and experience the divine refried beans. If you love the hot, ask them to bring you the family hot sauce from the back. I do not have the heat-tuned palate, but my husband does and he always sighs when he eats the hot sauce. My children recommend the fried ice cream. I recommend the strong margaritas. And the delicious cheese crisps. Did I mention the lard? Mmmm.

3. Matt's Big Breakfast. We saw this place on a Food Network show a few months ago and decided we had to eat there. It's downtown. Try to hit the sweet spot of a late morning meal or you will be waiting for ages. We had a party of six, but we got there around 10am and only had to wait about 20 minutes. The people who were seated before us said they had been there for three hours! I don't know that I would recommend it for a three hour wait, but it was a good, hearty breakfast -- good coffee, fresh-squeezed juice, chocolate milk where they'd just squirted in the chocolate and had a spoon to stir it up. (The girls loved that. They also loved that it was whole milk since we drink 1% at home.) I had the pancakes which were wonderfully fluffy and huge -- Cha and I shared an order. And the bacon was thick-cut and peppery. Filling and tasty.

4. Lolo's. Also downtown; soul food. Chicken and waffles. Fried catfish. Sides of macaroni and cheese and grits (which came with a stick of butter melting on top). I knew I was going to love this place when my husband said, "I'll have the red Kool-Aid." And then they brought the Kool-Aid in super-large Mason jars which made me say to our waitress, "Oh, my. Do they come with a complimentary catheter?" She smiled and said, "Well, since you asked, I'll bring one out. Ha! Just teasing!" The sweet tea was also wonderful and came in the same super-extra-ginormous size. We all became diabetics and then died of heart attacks, but it was totally worth it. Frankly, it's good that we don't live in Phoenix anymore because we'd want to eat there all the time.

See why the Thanksgiving meal itself was kind of a low-light?

Monday, December 01, 2008

still alive

I am still here. I'm participating in Holidailies again this year and posting begins on the 5th. So come back then and there should be fresh content every day through the 5th of January.

Some teasers: I'll tell you all about our dining adventures in Phoenix over Thanksgiving and I'm thinking of interviewing the girlies. Also, I will have the best Christmas Eve entry ever. Seriously, it's an awesome story. If any of you who are reading have any suggestions or requests, leave them in the comments and I'll try to oblige. It does get hard to come up with something to say every day for a month!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

charlotte's thanksgiving story

The turkey did not want to be dinner. He said, gobble, eat ham, gobble! Eat ham and make a turkey happy!


No spelling mistakes, all neat, super cute. I especially love that she used exclamation points.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

why we're still married

Archie just came in the house after working on a door to hang in the garage. I asked how it was going.

"Fine. I still have to paint, but then I can mount it."

"Wow, that sounded kinda dirty."

"And that's why I love you, baby."

Monday, November 10, 2008

birthday texts

There are a few things you must know for the following text conversation to make any sense. Today is the Marine Corps birthday. Archie is a former Marine. Arch's actual birthday is on the 12th. And I called him and said, "Happy birthday!" and then the call was dropped, thus initiating the following texts:

Me: Happy Marine Corps birthday, devil dog!
Archie: Thank you. I feel pretty spry for being 233 years old.
Me: You don't look a day over 150.

Yeah, we'll be here all week. Tip your waitress and try the veal.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

grounds for divorce

Archie makes the coffee. He buys beans from a local independent shop which roasts their own beans and have very tasty coffee. He buys a different blend once an old one runs out. Generally, I drink Coke Zero during the week (even in the morning) for my caffeine fix because he gets up later than I do and I'm in no shape to make coffee when I get up -- plus, I have to get the girls up and off. So, I do look forward to coffee at home on weekends. By the time Arch gets out of bed on a Saturday or Sunday, my Coke is wearing off and a nice cup of coffee is just the ticket.

Lately, I've been feeling very, very sleepy in the late morning and mid-afternoon, even after my coffee. A few weeks ago, we stopped at the coffee shop because we were running out of beans. Archie ran in and got them and I took a peek to see what new roasts he'd picked out. People, right there on the label: DECAFFEINATED! This is wrong, wrong, wrong. He has been fooling me. I am not pleased. Switching out fully-leaded coffee for decaf could be a deal-breaker.

(And, now you know why the title of the post is so very punny. Ha!)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

see you boys in april

So, the end of the season for the Cubs. It was painful and hard and I'm not ashamed to say I cried a little.

I'll be fine -- I've had almost 40 years of practice. I love baseball and my team and I'd really like a season which ends with a successful October and World Series.

There's always next year.

Friday, October 03, 2008

the pain

Man, that was extraordinarily painful. Like, I still have a little bit of a stomachache painful.

One of our neighbors was outside this afternoon as I walked to go pick Cha up from school. He knows of my Cubs love. He said, "Wow. The Cubs didn't look good last night." And because I have also lost any ability to engage in small talk about this particular subject, I replied, "Didn't look good? That was embarrassing. I almost cried. I'm trying to remain hopeful, but it's taking a lot of energy to do that. Like, I could use a nuclear reactor to manufacture some hope right now."

Yeah, I know. It's sad that I'm so invested in this, but what can I say? It's a lifetime relationship. The thing that makes it really, really horrible is that I don't know what happened. The team looked so good for the entire season and now it's like there are a bunch of imposters on the field.

It's only baseball. But, then again, it's baseball.

On to Saturday and L.A.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

we got letters

Dear Cubs,

Could you guys please play like the best team in the NL that you are? Didn't you realize that to take advantage of the home field advantage you have to, you know, win at Wrigley?

Love you lots, still,

p.s. Eamus Catuli!


Dear Sweet Lou, (the manager, not my daughter, although she's sweet, too),

Light a fire under the boys, would you?



Dear Dodgers,

Fuck you.

No love, not a bit, not a smidge,


Dear Viagra,

Could you possibly make your commercials a little less, um, graphic? It's not a fun time to have to brush off questions like, "What's an erection? Why would it be a problem for it to last four hours?" from my kids in the middle of the fifth inning of a playoff game. Think about it -- should people really be getting warnings about side effects of a prescription medication from a television ad? I think not.

Not holding her breath and hoping the ad execs who developed the ad all have four hour erections and no relief,


Dear Major League Baseball,

Could you kindly stop taking money from Viagra and running the ads in the middle of baseball games? Yeah, I know, lots of old guys with penis problems watch baseball games. But. Lots of women watch, too. And. Lots of families watch with their kids. We would appreciate not having to think about sexual dysfunction during a baseball game. Or having to explain it to our kids -- who are the next generation of fans. But they might not be if we can't stomach all the penis talk during commercials.

Just saying,


p.s. Thanks for joining the 21st century and getting instant replay.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


After three weeks of vacation, I've been staying up late trying to watch Olympic coverage. A major fail was when Michael Phelps was going for the 100M fly and our power went out. Do you know how long it takes a DirecTV box to reset? A really long time. And then that night, I wanted to stay up and catch the Mark Spitz interview. Guess what? I fell asleep.

I woke up on the couch and was confused by the TV. There was news on and it was Bay Area anchors and I was sure, in my sleep-addled state, that I was still in Ohio. It took me quite a few moments to figure out that I was in my own house, on my own couch in California and not in my mom's house in Ohio.

Hi. I'm back from vacation.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

i am the meanest

Lou: You will never buy me an iPhone.
Me: Nope.
Lou: Then how will I ever have one?
Me: Get a job and save your money.
Lou: But I'm only eight, almost nine.
Me: Which is why you don't need an iPhone or a job.
Lou: You are the meanest!
Me: Yep.
Lou: Can I have a shuffle?
Me: No.
Lou: It was worth a shot.
Me: I appreciate the effort.

Friday, July 11, 2008

the american girls, they are us

The girls are all in love with the American Girl dolls. Bebe wants one for her birthday. They all received mini-dolls and pets for Christmas and they enjoy the books. This morning, Elizabee asked, "How old would someone be if they were born in 1974?"

Me: 38.
Bebe: So Julie would be 38 now.
Me: No, Julie wasn't born in 1974. How old was she in the books?
Bebe: Nine.
Me: Then she was born in 1965 so she's my age.
Lou: So how old is Felicity?
Me: Dead.
Bebe: How about Kit?
Me: She'd be about as old as Great Aunt Nonie. And Molly was in WWII, right?
Lou: Yeah.
Me: So she'd be about Grandma's age.

Maybe when the girls are all grown up there will be an American Girl who was born at or after the Millenium and they can tell their own girls about how Julie is Grandma's age now and the new-er girl is the same age as Mommy.

I think I just imagined having grandchildren -- whoa.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

i got it right!

We had McDonald's for dinner. (Shut up. I really wanted a Big Mac and it's hot and gross and we're not supposed to grill because did you hear? California is on fire.) And I went to the one a little further away because they have shakes. (Don't even get me started about how stupid it is that the Mickey D's close to our house doesn't have a shake machine. But -- they have $1 sundaes. I think not having shakes is kind of like not having fries. But, anyway.) So, Lou was sucking every last tiny bit of shake out of her cup, making that slurping sound.

Archie: Do you know what that sound means in Australia?
Louisa: What?
Archie: The same thing it means here!
[Child looks confused.]
Me: That's wrong! Lou, do you know what that sound means in Australia?
Louisa: What?
Me: The cup is empty -- same as here!
Archie: That's what I said.
Me: No, it's not. What you said makes no sense. What I said is funny. Because, that's my joke and I was the person who told it to you.
Archie: Wow. That's the first time since I've known you that you didn't mess up a joke.
Me: I know! Really, I'm all proud of myself here.

Monday, July 07, 2008

thoughts on le tour de france 2008

1. I love Team LiquiGas. But I mourn when the announcers used to pronounce it "Leaky Gas." Now they say, "Lee-kwee Gas" and my inner twelve year old is sad.

2. I love Phil Liggett.

3. An announcer tonight said, "We'll return to Nantes -- the Venice of the west." I turned to Archie and said, "Um, isn't Venice the Venice of the west?"

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

charlotte becomes me

A very long time ago, when Charlotte was just barely a toddler, she said something very, very amusing. (I'm thinking she was right around two.) I'd put her down for a nap and had taken a shower and put on a little makeup and fixed my hair -- which was a far cry from what I'd looked like when I put her down. (Incredible bedhead, mismatched pajamas, probably unbrushed teeth.) I walked into her room to get her out of her crib and she looked at me for several seconds. "Mama, you are adorable!" Then she looked at my shirt, which was from the Heard Museum in Phoenix and has this Catrina picture right in the middle. "And evil! Adorable and evil."

Today, Cha was the only one of my daughters who fell in love with a pair of fake Vans with glitter skulls on them. She didn't really need any new shoes, but hey! They are very cute and she was the one who enjoyed them (and they were on sale). As we were waiting to get our hair cut, she was admiring them and pointed out that the padded collar of the shoe has butterflies and hearts and flowers as a border. "Mama, they're adorable!"

"And evil!" I replied and Cha laughed and said, "I'm just like you, Mama!" I don't know how she remembered that, but it was obvious that she did. So Ms.ChaCha is achieving her apparent goal of being adorable and evil, just like me.

Monday, June 30, 2008

why is everyone asleep when I have bad puns to make?

I just noticed in the TV listings that there is a show on called All About Dung. The following is my imaginary conversation:

Imaginary person: Hey! Whatcha watching?
Me: All About Dung.
Imaginary person: How is it?
Me: It's a piece of shit.

Friday, June 27, 2008

"in the shadow of the moon"

Hi. It's apparently all space stuff all the time around here for now.

We finished watching the documentary In the Shadow of the Moon, which was wonderful. I have decided that John Young is about the coolest cucumber ever. (He's the astronaut who said he was on the moon when he heard the shuttle program was approved and who said it like he was at the grocery store or something.) He did a mission to the moon with Eugene Cernan who said that when they had liftoff, the flight surgeon said that Cernan's heartrate was about 130. But Young's was around 70. Man. "Just going to the moon on top of this rocket, but it's no big deal or anything."

And I just went to read his Wikipedia entry and I think I love him even more. He's flown four classes of spacecraft, walked on the moon, set a lunar rover speed record (now there's a rarified category), and was on the maiden shuttle voyage. But do you know what sealed the deal of my love? The man smuggled a corned beef sandwich on a Gemini flight. (For which it says he was "reprimanded." Like I'm sure that upset him!) Also, even though he's almost 80 and retired several years ago, he still attends weekly astronaut meetings.


Monday, June 23, 2008

"when we left earth"

Last night we finished watching When We Left Earth about NASA and I discovered that I will still cry when watching the Challenger explosion. The kids (especially Lou) have been enthralled by the previous episodes, but Archie and I watched the final two hours (covering the shuttle program) last night without kids.

The astronauts are the kings of understatement. One from the very first shuttle flight was asked where he was when he found out that the shuttle program would be funded. "On the moon. I was on the moon." With a totally straight face, no emotion -- as if "I was on the moon," was just the same as saying, "I was at the DMV -- getting my license for my LUNAR ROVER!" Heh. Also, Gene Kranz became, for me, like Buck O'Neil was in Ken Burns' Baseball -- the break-out star commenting from the sidelines. (Or Mission Control.) I think I'm kind of in love with him.

We were making a lot of fun of some of the stuff relating to the space station. Especially the Russians. "What do the cosmonauts eat?" "Borscht!" "No, dehydrated space borscht. And potato. A potato. And then they ask the astronauts to bring some Tang -- to sprinkle on the potato." Also, we wondered if the Russian cohort has a vodka still.

Just more proof (Ha! Proof! Vodka! Ha!) that we can make stupid fun of absolutely anything. Well, except for the Challenger explosion. Because that is still almost unbearably sad.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

i am becoming an old, crabby woman

I'm watching the Cubs vs. Sox and getting upset about the baseball pants. Have you seen how the young kids are wearing their baseball pants? They don't tuck them into their socks -- they wear them long and all pooling over their shoes! It's really ugly. And it makes me unhappy and forces me to talk to the TV.

I am officially old, I think. "Get off my lawn, turn down your troubled youth music, and tuck your damn pants in!"

"the sting" and coincidences

Archie and I watched The Sting tonight. In a weird coincidence, I found two people on Facebook this evening who I first saw the movie with over twenty years ago. Cue weird Twilight Zone music.

Anyway, man is that movie slooow. It's something that seems apparent with a lot of movies from the 70s. I kept wanting to scream, "Move it along! It's called a movie! Let's see something move for Christ's sake!" Seriously, there was a static shot of a God damned light bulb. Why? I suspect the director thought it was very artistic. And, talky. I love a talky movie sometimes, but really.

Paul Newman is super hot, though. Those eyes. Wow. And when he's wearing the tux in the fake horse racing book? Ah, a wing-tip collar is so beautiful.

And, an added bonus -- a quick story from when I was in college, related to Paul Newman. He went to the same college I did. When they were breaking ground for the new library, I went to the ceremony. A few friends and I told some gullible new students that Newman was supposed to attend and they should look for him. Ha! Also, somewhere I have the alumni registry with Paul's phone number in it. Wouldn't it be hysterical to call Paul Newman? "Hi. I went to the same college you did. I watched The Sting and you were very, very hot." OK, maybe not such a good idea.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

i love dairy too much

So, maybe you've heard about the 21 day cleanse that Oprah is/was doing? My understanding is that it's essentially a vegan jump start -- so no animal products. And I am cool if you're a vegan or vegetarian. Yay for you! But, I like dairy. I really don't believe that soy ice cream is anything like real ice cream. And I love real ice cream. Also, butter. Don't even get me started on sour cream and the place it holds in my consciousness. Honestly, if I could free my mind from the almost constant reveries revolving around sour cream, I could probably solve the mortgage crisis. Sorry, America.

Anyway, the real point I want to make is that the message boards on the cleanse topic are hilarious. Another thing you're supposed to give up is alcohol. And one poster said, "I really like a glass of wine in the evening. I think I'll just continue on with that plan and give up meat and eggs and wheat and sugar and dairy and deliciousness and my will to live."*

The reply to that comment was, no kidding, "Substitute pomegranate juice for wine!" Now, I'm totally cool with anyone giving up whatever they want to, but that person has obviously never had an alcoholic beverage, ever. Because if anyone told me to substitute pomegranate juice for wine, I might have a stroke from the laughter.

*Obviously paraphrased. And, also, my own characterization of my reaction to a cleanse that I think is a tad extreme. I'm pretty sure a lot of vegans actually eat things with sugar and gluten. And have some wine and caffeine.

what it's like in our house once the kids are in bed

[Archie is flipping through the channels and puts on The Freshman.]

Me: That was a cute movie.
Archie: Yeah.
Me: Sadly, it just reminds me that Bruno Kirby is dead.
Archie: He is? When did he die?
Me: A year ago? Wait. [I search for Bruno Kirby on IMDb.] Shit. He died almost two years ago.
Archie: Wow.

And, scene.


While getting the girls ready for school (next to last day, yay), there was a piece on the Today Show about how women who have two cups of coffee a day have a 25% lower occurrence of heart disease or heart attacks (or something having to do with the heart -- I wasn't paying super-close attention). Lulu asked me why I thought that was the case.

"Um, maybe because with the caffeine from two cups of coffee, women are vibrating [and here, I stood up and started to shake in a violent manner] and the plaque can't stick to the arteries?"

There was a pause as Lou stared at me.

"I don't think that's why, Mama."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

favorite twitters the second

I should really be getting to bed because I am exhausted and I have to be up and showered and totally presentable since Cha's kindergarten graduation is tomorrow morning, early. But, instead, I thought I'd share some of my favorite twitters with you. Again. (First installment here.)

koroshiya: also, i find it increasingly hilarious that people bitch about twitter while using twitter to do so.


mrsnewman: Drinking a homemade (workmade?) iced latte, contemplating how I've become a completely detestable yuppie.
wonkybutt: a detestable yuppie with a delicious beverage!


ravinald: Person on train: Is that a *bacon* wallet? Me: Yes it is! Person: AWESOME!


mrsnewman: me, on eating some Japanese hard candy: "I has a weird flavor!" @rnewman in response (playing GTA4): "I has a rocket launcher!"

rock on, celtics

I am a dedicated Suns fan and since they aren't in the Finals, I shouldn't be paying any attention to basketball at all. But the Celtics (a team my dad loved and which I rooted for through my childhood and young adulthood) just came back from a 20 point deficit to beat the hated Lakers. And now they're up three games to one.

That sound you hear? Me laughing myself silly.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

i may not be hot -- but my new bike is

We picked up my new bike. An Electra Amsterdam in basic black. It is beautiful. It rides like -- well, remember how much you loved riding your very first bike? How fun it was? Yeah, like that. With a bell to ding-ding, too.

We walked into the bike shop (Bike Garage, in Fremont -- they're good people and Archie's done a lot of business there and has been very happy) and when we told one of the guys we were there to pick up the Amsterdam, he said, "Man, that is a pretty, pretty bike." When he brought it out on the floor, it turned other customers' heads. As Archie was finishing up paying and stuff, this very young and pretty girl approached me and asked, "Is that yours? It's beautiful! I wish I was in the market for a bike like that!"

I rode it home, smiling all the way. Then I took the girls down to the schoolyard so Lou and I could pedal around on the playground. (Bebe and ChaCha wanted to swing and play on the jungle gym.) Lulu and I were zipping around in the front parking lot and I heard a man say, "Excuse me?" I stopped and turned around. This guy was standing there and he asked me what kind of bike it was and where I got it. So I told him and he said, "An Amsterdam, huh? That's the perfect name -- I lived there for a few years and everyone had a bike that looked like that."

I think my bike is the equivalent of a cute puppy. I guess I need to brush up on my small talk skills. Apparently, having a pretty bike gets you noticed.

Friday, May 30, 2008

can you use it in a sentence?

It's spelling bee time! Oh, how I love it. Today, in the earlier rounds a girl said, "Can I have an easier word?" And, really, there were some hard words -- especially the words based on names. I mean, I know how to spell "Biedermeier" but that's because I've seen it and I kinda sorta know the rules of Germanic spelling. I also got a little teary when a boy who was making his fifth appearance at the Bee was eliminated and everyone stood up and applauded for him. Poor kid. His face just fell as the bell was sounded.

The girls and I are planning on making brownies and watching the finals tonight. We just have to decide which kind of brownies to make -- with chocolate chips, with nuts, with caramel. I think we'll also have some ice cream, too.

There is much to do tomorrow. Clean the pig sty we call our house, color my hair, find a blouse to wear to a wedding, go look into getting that bike I want. Also, "Lost." We have the finale on the DVR and man, it is killing me not to watch it. And if Desmond and Penny don't end up together, I will have to hurt someone.

Monday, May 19, 2008

double score at target

We had to pick up some stuff at Target on Sunday. So, we all loaded into the Saturn and arrived to find it fairly empty for an early Sunday afternoon. We saw individual Indiana Jones DVDs, which excited Archie because, "I can just get the first and third ones and pretend the second one never existed!" Ha! The girls were happy and Archie was pushing all three of them on the cart -- Cha likes to balance on the bottom shelf of the cart and hang onto the handle, kind of in-between whoever is pushing the cart and the cart itself. The twins were each on a side. We debated whether to stock up on Coke Zero, since it was on sale and decided cheap caffeine was a worthy expenditure.

We were in the first aid aisle as Archie tried to figure out which Band-Aids he wanted. A woman approached us and asked if all the girls belonged to us. "Um, yeah." Cha was on the bottom of the cart, picking her nose and the twins were standing being all emo-like and staring at their feet. The woman said, "They are all super-cute and so full of personality!" She must have been stalking us through the store. She introduced herself as a talent scout and gave me her card. There is no way I want to get my girls into the entertainment business, but it was nice to have a professional who tries to find cute kids as her job tell me mine were adorable. Score one for the girls!

So, now we've got the Band-Aids and we're moving past the electronic section and Archie notices boxes of what look like Wii consoles. We thought about getting a Wii for Christmas, but they were tough to come by and well, we're kind of lazy and figured we would get one after the Christmas rush. Except they've still been hard to come by. But our local Target had just gotten in a shipment that morning and we instantly bought one. Second score for the whole family! I think I was much more excited than the kids -- they seemed kind of bored, while I was actually doing a little dance right there.

The kids became appropriately excited once we set up the console and let them play. They love it and I think I've already developed Wii tennis wrist. I foresee summer tournaments. A friend came over last night and we all took turns (we only have two controllers) bowling and playing tennis. I had to promise the girls we'd set up Miis for them this evening -- but I made them promise that they'd get their homework done and take showers before we did that. I will live up to my end of the bargain!

(The best thing last night was when Archie and Jeff were playing tennis after I'd put the girls to bed. Cha was exhausted and I think she fell right to sleep. But the big girls both came out several times to get drinks of water and they would stand and drink very slooooowly so they could watch. That was very funny.)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

maybe cha will be the evil genius

This morning, as Charlotte and I waited for the class to open, a little boy who she dislikes was walking across the play yard. Cha said, "It's my nemesis, Christian!" And she said "Christian" just like Jerry Seinfeld always said "Newman." It was hilarious.

Especially to think that a six year old has a nemesis. Christian should be very afraid.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

best birthday song

Last night, as I was getting ready to turn out the lights and send the girls off to sleep, the twins told me they had a special birthday song for me. They'd learned a song at school for Cinco de Mayo and they had reworked the lyrics to make it a birthday song for me. Lulu sang the new song and Bebe had me in tears with laughter. At the end of each line of the song, she would pop her head out from behind her sister, flash some perfect jazz hands, and chant, "She's 43! She's 43!"

It was absolutely hysterical and I hope it becomes a birthday fixture.

Monday, May 05, 2008

the most random exchange ever

Happy birthday to me! And happy Cinco de Mayo to those of you who don't view the day of my birth as a holiday. Although, in all honesty, I still think that lots of people are really celebrating my birthday.

Today is great -- it's sunny and beautiful and Cha is currently playing in the kitchen sink and we're singing along to ELO and enjoying the early afternoon. Not only have I been enjoying the day, I've also been productive. Several loads of laundry and a load of dishes are knocked out. Also, I cleared the hated tiny table because my husband put together a cabinet to use as a pantry and he can take that awful table out to the garage or something.

Yesterday, I took the girls to get shoes. We were on our way home and had the Barenaked Ladies song "One Week" blaring on the Shuffle (hooked into the car radio), with the windows rolled down. We were at a stop light and a very large man was walking through the crosswalk. As he got next to my car, he said, "Remembering 1998, huh?" I laughed.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

making gentle fun of the child

Charlotte and I went to the library and happily brought home our books. Cha was very excited until she realized that a book she picked out was "scary, Mama -- really scary!" This one. Actually, it's really adorable and I love Judith Viorst.

So, tonight at bedtime, Charlotte had an attack about the book. It was too scary. Wouldn't I take it back to the library tomorrow? I told her I wasn't going to have the car, so I couldn't take it back and what was a book going to do? It doesn't have legs, so it will stay wherever I put it. I promised to hide it and she could forget about it. But, she still complained.

And Archie said, "Charlotte? You want to put the book in the freezer?" and I laughed and then Charlotte was mad because she thought I was laughing at her.

[There is a Friends episode where Joey and Rachel are reading each other's favorite book. So Rachel is reading The Shining and Joey is reading Little Women. Rachel tells Joey that The Shining is frightening her and Joey responds that whenever that happens to him, he puts the book in the freezer. At the end of the episode, Joey comes into the girls' apartment and the following conversation occurs:

Joey: Beth is really, really sick. Jo's there, but I don't think there's anything she can do.
Rachel: Joey?
Joey: Yeah?
Rachel: You want to put the book in the freezer?]

reason #528 why i love my husband

Way back in 1992, when Archie and I were emailing each other on Prodigy ("The Strip Mall of Online Services -- TM me), he sent me flowers for some occasion and the card was signed "Leonardo DiCaprio." I thought this was hilarious -- mostly because I'm not really, nor have I ever been, into Leo.

Archie nowl signs emails with the names of guys I think are hot. Usually combos. So I've had mail from Sayid McClooney (mmm, "Lost" and the George and Ewan McGregor all combined!) recently and over the years, lots of other famous people who obviously adore me.

Today, I had an email from Naveen Firth. "Lost" and Colin-y goodness all wrapped up in one dream package! Of course, Naveen Firth was responding to Jessica Alba. It takes two to be this ridiculously silly.

why i cried at 7am today

Just go read it and look at that picture. I dare you not to get choked up, at the least.

I think I'm going to print out that picture and frame it. Just to remind me of what people are capable of, in a good way.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

the perfect storm of quirkiness

Last night was terrific. The twins were in a good mood, everyone had their homework done with minimal freak-outs, no one complained about leftover pasta for dinner, all children were bathed well before bedtime. We even had pie for dessert, right before the girls were off to bed.

Let me say that Cha is at the point where she's fascinated with death. Not in a completely morbid, detail-oriented way, just kind of run-of-the-mill-everyone-will-die-even-me way. Louisa is very sensitive. She will get choked up about anything which isn't all rainbows and unicorns. And Bebe just wants to fix everything and keep everyone on an even keel. With that in mind, this was the conversation I had last night:

[The twins are finishing their pie and I'm straightening up the kitchen. Cha comes out of the bathroom where she's finished brushing her teeth.]

Cha: Mama, when I die, will you come to my funeral?
Me: Sweetie, usually children live longer than their parents. Probably your own children will go to your funeral.
Lou: Can we not talk about this? It makes me cry! [She starts to get choked up.]
Cha: But if I die before you, Mama, will you come to my funeral?
Me: Honey, you're upsetting Louisa. Let's talk about this tomorrow when the big girls are at school.
[Louisa is now sobbing. Bebe gets up and goes over to Charlotte.]
Bebe: [whispering] Charlotte, I will come to your funeral, OK? Let's go to the bedroom and let Sissy finish her dessert and I'll read you a book.

I was trying very hard not to laugh. Which is very mean of me, but come on! "Will you come to my funeral?" What is she, a 16 year old goth girl? And I have empathy for Louisa's sensitivity because I can be that way myself. But. I've seen her get worked up in exactly the same way because we're out of Key Lime yogurt. And Bebe trying to make everything all better! I thought I would die over the whispering, but promising to go to Charlotte's funeral just struck me as funny. Also, removing the sister who won't get a clue is classic Bebe -- if she'd tried to comfort Louisa, it would have all ended very badly.

God, I love them. But they are very, very quirky.

Monday, April 28, 2008

another good nickname

While watching MMA tonight, we saw a guy called Lyle "Fancypants" Beerbohm. That is fairly amusing and may be in the running against the Mexicutioner.

In fact, I would like to see a match of the Mexicutioner vs. Fancypants. Sadly, they are in different weight classes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

watching american idol with the kids

This year, the twins have expressed interest in watching American Idol. It's been fun to talk about who we like and if we think the singers are doing a good job and to complain about Simon. Oh, how quick kids are to catch on to a formula. This morning (I let them watch the previous night's show while getting ready for school), as Paula was winding down her always-complimentary comments, Louisa said, "And Simon says...something bad!" Which cracked me up. And he said...something bad. To which Louisa said, "Ta da!"

Monday, April 21, 2008

a sentence never uttered before II: electric boogaloo

[The original is here.]

Elizabeth just said, "Oh, look -- my liver is under the table! I've been looking for that!"

It's a stuffed toy liver, but still. That's comedy.

Friday, April 18, 2008

puppet mania

Louisa wanted to make a puppet tonight. Specifically, a sock puppet. But I am not crafty and I didn't really have what she wanted to make a sock puppet -- buttons and yarn for hair and whatnot. Also, I don't have any small size lunch bags kicking around, so that was right out, too.

But we could use markers and make a hand puppet a la Senor Wences (please imagine the tilde in Senor). Do you know Senor Wences?

So then, of course, Louisa's hand puppet was quite the hit and Beebs and Cha wanted their very own. Bebe made an owl, which I thought was quite clever and I was trying to help Cha learn how to move her thumb so the "mouth" would move and explain Senor Wences to Lou at the same time.

Cha somehow smudged the mouth of her puppet and she was slighty upset until I reassured her that she could wash her hand and we could make another one. But as she ran to the bathroom to wash her hand, I told Archie, "With the smudged mouth it looks like a Courtney Love hand puppet." And then Archie started to sing "Celebrity Skin."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

things to make your day happy

1. The Cubs are in second place and well over .500. This is not a jinx -- it is always good to revel when the Cubbies are doing well. You never know when it might end. (This is known as the "When's it gonna spill?" rule.*)
2. Tim Conway telling the elephant story from the Carol Burnett Show. This is only the second funniest thing ever...
3. ...because Tim Conway as a Nazi with a Hitler puppet is even funnier.
4. You can go and find the "Went With the Wind" thing yourself -- but really? The dress made out of the curtains is so fantastic -- I'm giggling right now remembering the curtain rod! And, the tassel as a hat!

[*So, if you ask an optomist to describe a glass with half liquid in it, she will say it's half full; a pessimist will say it's half empty. A Cubs fan asks, "When's it gonna spill?")

happy early birthday to me

I came home from taking the girls to school to find a lovely black MacBook sitting on the side table next to my chair. I love my husband! Thank you, sweetie! I am making this post from it right now and it is lovely and small (I specifically noted that if the spirit should ever move Archie to get me a new laptop, I did want the smaller size because, well, I don't really need the biggest thing possible) and all new. Also, I'm going to try to make it all mine -- no little girls fighting over it. OK, I may let them use the photo booth thing. And I will leave the folder Louisa made on my desktop, labelled "awesome folder!" because that is hilarious.

In other materialistic news, I am now smitten with this bicycle. (The particular model I want is the classic 3 in black.) I will never be a serious cyclist and the looks of that bike make me happy -- as does the fact that our local bike shop (seriously local -- right up the street from our house) is an Electra dealer. I have already outfitted it with a back basket and a mirror and a little back roll bag for under the saddle. Archie thinks I'm ridiculous, but whatev. It's pretty and I would have a blast pedalling around on it.

Also, I want this camera. Do I take pictures? No, not very often. And film? Why would I want to go there? I guess I'm having a good time imaginging a life riding around on my Dutch-like bike, stopping to take a few pictures with my plastic camera that uses film -- could I be more of a Luddite?

The weirdness of being me -- I'm all goopy about my new computer, but pining over bikes and film cameras. Welcome to the contradictions!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

all that matters

There is a new 30 Rock on tonight. I love that show. I want to take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant.

a short conversation

I was reading Vanity Fair yesterday evening (I think I can call it yesterday evening, since it's 12.30am or so) and the girls were all in their jammies and had eaten dinner and were occupied with various things. I expected Archie home at any time because he had kajukenbo class. The phone rang. I went into the kitchen to answer it and it was Archie.

"Hi, it's me. My ride had a late meeting and I'm not going to make it home anytime soon..."
[At this point, I walk over to the sink so I can throw something I picked up off the floor in the trash and there is yogurt all over the rug in front of the sink.]
"Oh, God damn it!"
"I'm really sorry -- but Marty is stuck in a meeting..."
"Honey, I'm not upset at you. We're all fine; everything is under control. It's just that there's yogurt on the floor..."
"I told you the kids have to eat at the table."
"They did! But one of them threw away a yogurt container and spilled some on the floor. Why did we have kids again? Remind me?"
"Because it's fulfilling."
"Oh, yeah. Right. Just not so much right this very moment."

[And then the rest of the evening was terrific and the girls were silly and fun. But still and all -- the yogurt on the floor was not a welcome addition to my day.]

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

last week on lost

They're still lost. And, they're still lost. Did we mention how lost they are? Are you confused yet, because they are and they're lost. And now they're taking turns pushing a button -- but still lost.

Arch and I are just a few eps in to the second season. Archie walks around whistling the creepy theme music. I wish he'd get busy and come up with some lyrics. Something like, "They're really lost...they're all still lost...yep, they're lost..."

We watch at least an episode a night -- sometimes we squeeze in two. We're only several years behind everyone else!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

thanks, public school system

This morning, the girls became fixated on a piece of cake which we brought home from a birthday party. Shocker -- they wanted to eat it for breakfast. Archie and I both calmly and firmly told them that we were not allowing them to have cake for breakfast.

Charlotte said, "Hey! Let's strike!" And then she and her sisters started to march around the kitchen chanting, "Strike! Strike! Strike!"

I looked at Archie and said, "And this is what happens when kindergartners are taught about Cesar Chavez. They encourage strike tactics at 8am over cake."

I really can't wait until they pick up on the phrase, "Speaking truth to power." Because I am gonna laugh my head off and then say, "Oh, sweeties, power trumps kid truth in this house. You want chocolate cake for breakfast, you're going to have to get your own house."

Monday, April 07, 2008

where did march go?

Wow. March just slipped right by, huh? I'm trying to think what we've all been up to, but it's mostly just the same fun and minor kerfluffles and general awesomeness.

Is that bragging? Sorry. But I put up with a whole lot of non-awesomeness early on with the twins, especially, and the girls just seem to get better and more fun and everything all the time. The twins are now orange belts and Cha and I will probably start with kajukenbo this summer. We'll be a whole kar-a-tay family! A while ago, I was all excited because everyone in the house used the toilet and now I'm ecstatic because everyone can read! Cha loved books and being read to, but now she's all about reading to us. As with all big changes, the initial phases are a tad tiresome -- it can take thirty minutes for her to make it through a book that I could easily knock out for her in half the time -- but it's also so sweet. And, being Cha, she literally wiggles all around throughout the reading.

There have been birthday parties and tests (Lou took an ability test for the gifted program in our district and she was going on about how easy it was, so, maybe she's well on her way to being a super-evil-genius, heh). Cha seems to be getting close to controlling her wiggling in class. Maybe. The twins are excelling in everything, it seems. Archie and I have become hooked on "Lost" via DVD.

Oh, and baseball season is here. April is always a welcome time.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

old school

Last night was the third stripe test for the twins. This is when they have to show everything they've learned for Sifu and he watches for mistakes. If they make less than three, they earn the stripe and are clear to belt test in a few weeks. Both of the girls were nervous, but that good butterfly nervous, not the terrified nervous. They both made it through the squat sets, forms, and self-defense moves without any mistakes, which is so great. And it really boosted Bebe's confidence. She had to test twice for her second stripe and was feeling a little down. But we stressed that it just meant she had to work harder and practice. And? It is always sweet when your kid says, "You were right, Mama!"

There was a little boy who made a lot of mistakes. Sifu singled him out and asked, "Was it because you haven't practiced enough or because you were nervous?" The kid shrugged and Sifu asked his mom, "Does he practice enough or is he nervous, Mom?" She said, "It's Guitar Hero."

Sifu said, "Oh, no. No, no, no. You bring Guitar Hero to me and I keep it until you get your third stripe."

This is becoming a trend at the dojo. When kids are slacking -- too much time spent with video games, not doing their best in school, misbehaving outside of the dojo -- Sifu steps up and enforces a consequence. And it seems to work every time because the kids generally want to do well and make him proud. I have used the, "Well, I'll talk to Sifu about this!" threat and just the threat works for us to put an end to contentious behavior. It is my trump card, though.

The funny thing is watching Lou when she does forms and self-defense. She already has the "warrior face" and really puts energy into her moves and groundwork. She seems so angry! Which is the point, of course. And she sticks her tongue out which is hilarious. Also sweet, because she had a tied tongue as a baby and we were thinking she might never be able to stick her tongue out at all. So, I love seeing it peek out when she's concentrating so hard.

Friday, February 22, 2008

my kids know the real truth

I have always loved kids and I have always been quite popular with the under-12 set. I think teenagers kind of like me, too -- at least, the kids I taught years ago seemed to. But teenagers don't do the crazy, lovely things that younger kids do.

When I was a teenager myself, a friend and I did a biology project that required hatching ducklings. Our teacher suggested we go to some local elementary schools and describe our experiment -- which we did, when we just had eggs. Then we arranged to go back and show the ducklings to the kids. At the end of the school year, our teacher pulled out huge manila envelopes full of thank you letters from the classes we'd visited. Of course, they were adorable. But the surprise was so many of the letters were all about how cool and great I was. There were pictures of me and poems to me and it was about the greatest thing. Ever.

When I was a nanny, the little girl I took care of was about four and she started to turn herself into a little mini-Katie. She had her mom cut off her jeans into long, rolled shorts. She made her mom buy her some black pseudo-Docs. Her dad took her to get her very long hair trimmed and Elise came out with a shockingly short hairdo that looked surprisingly like the way I wore my hair.

Which all leads to today. I took my viola and visited Charlotte's kindergarten class. I played a little and talked to the kids. My favorite questions were, "How does it make the sound?" Which I thought was a really great question and I told them how the strings vibrate and the sound echoes in the inside of the instrument. And a little boy asked, "Can you play some Metallica?" Sadly, no. And then the chorus started. "You're so cool!" "Yeah -- you're the coolest!" "Charlotte, you are so lucky to have such a cool mom!"

When Cha and I were in the car driving home, she told me she was glad I came to her class. "All my friends think you are really cool, Mama." She paused. "But you're really just old and boring."

Of course, the only kids who are immune to my hipness are my own. Which is as it should be.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

funniest comment ever

Archie was watching MMA fighting (in HD! in HD!) last night. I must make a few comments.

Man, all of those guys have lots of very bad tattoos. I was almost excited during the title bout because it looked as if the contestants were tattoo-free. Fail! They both had tats. But nothing like the guy with the huge Iron Cross on his chest. Nazi much, dude?

There is nothing as much fun as putting on your best Cartman voice during grappling and saying, "I love you."

And, the winner of the title match made the funniest comment ever, even if it was inadvertently. Maybe because it was inadvertant. When asked if he liked that the fight went to the mat and was a display of Brazilian JiuJitsu, the winner said, "I'm very comfortable on my back." Yeah, I'm a 12 year old, because that made me laugh and laugh. Thank you, crazy MMA guy.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

our new tv

Our TV was purchased before the twins were born. It was a big-ass Sony -- we used to joke that the weight of it would prevent anyone from ever stealing it. A few weeks ago, it was exhibiting signs that the tube was slowly dying. The screen would flash black about every ten seconds. This was very annoying. So we went to look at new TVs.

My only input was that I thought a 50 inch set was as large as we should go. Of course, being a man, my husband thought we would probably need a 60 inch. But seeing some in person did convince him that I was correct in the size assessment. I left the rest to him. He settled on a plasma screen, because our TV stand is a little high and we're also thinking toward the future -- when I hope to reconfigure the family room and possibly mount the set on a wall. Last week, the beautiful thing was brought to the house. And at the end of this week, our DirecTV HD satellite was installed.

I am sorry to see the TiVo go. (Look -- there's proof that I can complain about anything. "We have a great HD plasma TV, but I miss the nine year old TiVo box. Waaaaah!") Just the listings format gives me hives. But I'm sure I'll adjust. I have adjusted -- no flashing, bright colors, and God, HD is cool.

Also, when you turn it on and off it makes a little "bloop bloop" noise and there's a soft blue light on the bottom of the screen that glows. Pretty, pretty.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

don't ever change internet

Guess what? I'm number four if you do a Google search for "best nickname ever."

As we all know, the answer is the Mexicutioner.