Saturday, June 27, 2009

Eye Candy

I love Alice and Wonderland and adore Tim burton. Needless to say I am giddy for this movie to open.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I realize he may have been creepy

Even though he may or may not have been a child molester I cried when I heard that Michael Jackson was dead. I am dramatic, I know. I used to create poorly executed dance numbers to his music while I lip synched into a wooden spoon. One Christmas my Aunt Rose bought my sister and I a mini record player along with records. We had Madonna's True Blue, Cyndi Lauper's True Colors, The Jackson Five, and the soundtrack to Stand by Me. This is how I like to remember Michael Jackson with his cute afro:

death by swine

When I get back from visiting my brother in San Francisco I feel terrible. I have the shakes and cough every time I laugh. It is annoying. My husband tells me that a 20-year-old woman died of the swine flu while I was gone. “She felt sick on Friday and decided to wait to go to the doctor until Monday,” he tells me. “She died on Monday.”

“Are you trying to terrify me?”

My husband just laughs.

I have it. I know I do. My death is eminent. I feel like the universe is trying to tell me that I deserve it. That’s what I get for faking a hacking cough when I spotted that mom with a mask on at my son's soccer game. “What a nut!” I whispered to my husband and then proceeded to fake cough while standing next to her. I deserve death by swine due to the blackness of my heart.

My husband reminds me that it should be called H1N1. I think that’s stupid. It’s far more awesome to die by swine flu. Almost as awesome as living on Bacon Tree, a one-block street in Linda Vista with the greatest name ever. Bacon on trees, I want that. If there were a house for sale on that street I would find a way to fork over a large chunk of cash to buy it. I want my return address to say Bacon Tree on it.

When I cough, stuff comes out. I am like a 50-year-old woman with a smoking problem. Only I don’t smoke. I am just dying. For real. I am.

My husband takes our boys to the La Jolla Shores to surf. “You should come,” he says sarcastically. “Don’t you want to live life to the fullest before your death?” He has a point but I feel like I should be cleaning. I imagine guests will be filtering in and out of our house with casseroles for my motherless children and they will murmur under their breath that I was a slob. A pig. A person deserving death by swine flu. Instead I do laundry and watch “So You Think You Can Dance.” There is something soothing about Nigel Lythgoe’s British accent.

My friend Nicole calls and reminds me of the picnic she is planning.

“Are you coming?” she asks.

“I have the swine.”

She laughs. I don’t think it’s funny.

“We are meeting at two o’clock.” I can tell she thinks I am overreacting. I am not overacting—this time.

I blow my nose and my head aches. I Google the swine flu and press the image button. There is a picture of a hundred pigs stacked on top of one another, all dead. When I was a kid I collected pigs. I had two shelves in my bedroom dedicated to them. I have ceramic ones, plastic ones, ones that were dressed in people clothes, plush ones, piggy banks, and one that was the size of a toddler. It seems fitting that my life should end this way—by a disease named after my childhood obsession.

Next I check the symptoms. I have all of them.

On Monday morning I make an appointment. My voice is urgent. The receptionist reluctantly schedules me at the end of the day. “I guess we can squeeze you in,” she sighs. She thinks I am neurotic.

The doctor is a tiny Asian woman. She takes one look at my large Starbucks cup and clucks her tongue. “It’s green tea, not coffee.” I reassure her. Still she shakes her head. Already things are not going well. She asks me a series of questions. I list off my ailments. I wait for her to gasp and call the biohazard team or at the very least produce one of those masks from the pocket of her white doctor’s coat. Instead, she’s calm, menacingly so. She might be mocking me. She leaves the office. I wait. I feel like I am 13 again on the day Jessica Rocco told me that you can get AIDS by sitting on a toilet seat in a seedy bathroom. I am consumed with fear.

The doctor returns with a prescription pad. “You have bronchitis,” she tells me. I heave a sigh of relief and shuffle out of the office.

I realize that I may be the worst kind of hypochondriac. I don’t take precautions in regards to my health but when I get sick I think I am going to die. I don’t carry antibacterial lotion in my purse. I would never wear one of those crazy masks. I fear death from normal things, not just sicknesses. I am scared to swim in the ocean. Clearly I should be living in Indiana on a farm in the middle of nowhere. Yet I married a man who gets paid to scuba dive he spends all of his free time in the Pacific.

Every time I go into the water I think I am going to die. I like fish from a distance behind glass at an aquarium, on “Animal Planet,” or seasoned with lemon and thyme—not near my feet. If I spend too much time alone in the deep end of a pool I start to think that I will be eaten alive by the only great white shark in existence that can live in chlorination.

We spend our weekends at the beach. My eight-year-old and 10-year-old are grommies. They see sea lions and dolphins frolicking in the ocean while they wait for their perfect wave. They have no fear. They snorkel and kayak and do all sorts of fun ocean activities. I dip my feet in the water and have an asthma attack when seaweed wraps around my leg. It must be an angry eel shooting deadly venom into my veins.

I broke down and went surfing last summer. Not because I wanted to, but because I am highly competitive. We were camping on the beach with two other families when all the ladies decided to go surfing. I didn’t want to look like a chicken so I did it. I paddled out while consumed with so much fear that it was an adrenaline rush.

Two weeks later my cousin visited from Kansas. She went on and on about how cool all the girl surfers were. “I surf,” I told her as if it were something I did with my free time. “Will you take me?” she begged.

I had to take her; my dignity was on the line. When we paddled out there were all sorts of fish jumping. I thought if I closed my eyes it would be okay but Emily was looking for instruction. I tried to calmly explain how to pop up on a wave and when to start paddling. I was clutching my board so tightly that she knew something was up.

“Do you think they have teeth?” I asked her.


“The fish, do you think they bite?”

I couldn’t take it. I had to swim back to shore. It was humiliating.

For our anniversary my husband and I decided that each of us would spend one day doing something that the other person really loves. Mine was simple: A day at the art museum in Balboa Park followed by dinner at the Prado, and later local music at Bar Pink. On my husband Aaron’s day he decided to torture me. He took me to Sports Chalet to buy a wetsuit followed by a trip to La Jolla Cove for some snorkeling.

As soon as we set foot on the beach I started to panic. I managed to get all my gear on without a meltdown. Aaron led me to the water where I nervously sat down and got accustomed to the freezing temperature. Slowly I edged myself in and stuck my face in the Pacific. It was the first time I had purposely looked at what was lurking in the ocean.

My reaction was so terrible you would think that there was a dead corpse in the water. Very loudly, in front of a snorkeling class of foreigners, I announced that I could not swim around with fish because they were the cockroaches of the sea. After nearly hyperventilating and insisting that we forget about the whole crazy snorkeling plan, a little girl approached me.

She serenely explained that she used to be afraid too but it’s not so bad, and actually really pretty once you get used it. Due to the humiliation from getting a pep talk from a 10-year-old, and the somewhat sad, amused and patient look on Aaron's face, I gave in.

I managed to pull myself together enough to swim around with the sea roaches. Strangely, after about 15 minutes I became so relaxed that it was almost meditative. It was really beautiful. I was starting to think that maybe I could get used to the ocean after all.

“I just swam with a seal,” a fellow snorkeler excitedly told us. I gripped onto Aaron tightly. I looked to my right and saw three blubbery mammals on rocks, one yelping loudly. I once heard that they have tempers like pitbulls, and they bite. I saw one slither into the water. I swam quickly back to shore. I narrowly escaped death by seal.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


In junior high me and my bff Jessica used to get together every Wednesday night to watch 90210. I vividly remember watching the episode where Dylan's dad is blown up via car bomb while Dylan hysterically screams his perfect face off. I sobbed the gross sob that involved snot and choking. Jessica cried too and it was the first time I thought that maybe she might have a soul despite her icy exterior.

90210 was my thing. I grew up watching it. I hated Kelly Taylor for stealing Dylan from Brenda. It went against the sacred girlhood code that we all know: never steal a friends' dude! I loved the psycho Emily Valentine and Brandon Walsh story line. To this day I vividly recall the episode where David Silver's nerdy friend shot himself. I still reference the hilarious episode where Donna Martin wears slutty lingerie in the hopes of losing her virginity to David Silver. Seriously 90210 was the bomb!

I was excited when I learned they were doing a remake. Come to find out that it sucks--bad. The casting is way off. I am assuming that the red head is supposed to be the Brenda character. Only Annie is annoying and over animated and cannot act. Also they have this boring dude named Ethan who is supposed to be a combo of Dylan/Brandon type only he lacks personality and that smoldering sex appeal. It just sucks, plain old sucks. They don't even have a dorky David Silver or innocent Donna. And if that weren't terrible enough check out what they wear:

Monday, June 8, 2009

my flowers

In an attempt to make the concrete slab we call a yard more beautiful I planted some flowers in window boxes and in hanging planters. I haven't killed them yet but I assure you I will! So far our grape vine is really flourishing as is our lime tree. It's aamzing what a little tlc will do. My goal is to buy some nice leisurely outdoor furniture that I can lounge around on reading amongst our prety flowers. I like to be surround by beauty.

swimsuit season

In pursuit of the best swim suit for my body type I bought two new suits with plans on returning the one that looks the stupidest. I love retro 1950's looking suits so I am hoping at least on of these will work. The all over black one is from lands end and is supposed to take 10lbs off, I severly doubt that though. The black one with teal accents is from urban outfitters. The cover up is from lands end as well.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The middle midget

On the way to soccer practice Jacob and I had this conversation:

Jacob: "Mom I didn't tell you, I lost my tooth yesterday."

Me: "You did, why didn't you tell me? Where is it?"

Jacob: "Under my pillow."

Me : "Oh.."

Jacob: "There's no money. You know what that means?'

Me: "UM.."

Jacob: "Your the tooth fairy! I knew it! I had to test it out to see for sure!"

Me: "Well I never believed in the tooth fairy when I was a kid. I mean come on did you really think a tiny fairy came into your room to collect teeth of all things? And the easter bunny what kind of muntant bunny would be able to carry huge baskets from house to house. Whoever came up with that one had zero common sense/creativity. Santa on the other hand, he's the real deal."

Jacob: "I don't believe in Santa!"

ME: "Oh."

Not 1st but 2nd

The reader paid me for another story! Sweet! I won 2nd place in their community blog competition. Here it is: The Burbs

I think everyone with a computer in San Diego should create a reader blog and enter. They pay $500 for the first place story.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Holy she-ot!

Holy crap why did meg Ryan butcher her face and Brittany Murphy used to be so cute!

Monday, June 1, 2009


On Thursday, when I leave for Charleston to visit my sister I am orange, the by-product of a really bad spray tan. I have a seven hour flight and I pray that it will magically fade before I reach the Atlantic.

The guy sitting next to me on the plane smells gamey, like he has been camping for weeks and covered him self in animal pellets to stay warm. He shuffles around in his seat a lot and keeps bumping into my knees. I am reading the New Moon, a hand-me down book from my friend Shannon who finds a way to squeeze vampire Edward and Bella into nearly every conversation we have. I don't want other people to see that I am reading the twilight series so I keep the cover neatly folded underneath its pages. The smelly dude next to me is reading over my shoulder. It is annoying. I slant the book sideways so I don't have to feel his hot breath on my face. He sighs.

When Michelle fetches me at the airport the first words out of her mouth are "Holy mother you are tan."

"Orange, actually." I tell her. "Just get me out in the sun tomorrow and you'll see!"

When we arrive at her brand new suburban home with wood floors and a collection of antiques, her husband Brian says "You are tan!"

Michelle and I cannot stop laughing. For the rest of the weekend when her friends or coworkers say "You two are sisters!?" I have to explain that I am also butt white despite my orange Native American looking skin. My sister asks if I am going to have fake boobs next time I visit. "Fake tan today, fake boobs tomorrow!" she laughs. I am not amused.

I get a tour of Michelle's new home. Everything is freshly painted. They have leather couches and a big fury cat. Brian tells me about the popcorn ceiling that he painstakingly removed and how the dining room is painted to match their Lenox china.

My sister drives a pale blue Audi with leather interior. We meet her friends for dinner. They have expensive purses and talk about the recent pay freeze at their companies and who recently passed their CPA exam. My sister no longer binge drinks and passes out at the bar like usual. She has morphed into a responsible grown up who pays her water bill on time. This is all new.

Her coworkers tell me how serious she is at work and how shocked they are when she retells stories of hitch hiking to Grateful Dead shows and getting kicked out of the prom for bringing a flask in. They can't picture it.

"She was a hippie, nonconformist, cheerleader with a 4.5 grade point average" I tell them "she has always been a contradiction"

On Saturday night Michelle invites her friends over for a barbeque. We drink firefly vodka with crystal light and talk about kids, marriage, home improvement projects, and work, always work. Everyone is so Southern. They wear pastel and have good manners. They are funny and down to earth. Mostly I can't believe how far my sister and I have come. I know she sees it too when she visits me in San Diego. We are no longer basket cases. Who would've thought?

Early Sunday morning at around 1 a.m., we watch her wedding video, the one my brother made. It is funny. The whole family is in it. He has footage of prewedding activities, the ceremony, and the reception. I watch my dad in his pale linen pants walking my sister down the aisle and it knocks the breath right out of me. I want to reach inside the T.V and touch his face. There is footage of him playing the flute. It takes all of my will power to hold the tears back. I feel a sudden rage so quick and sharp that I have to look away. He should still be here I think to myself. Michelle's voice is even and steady. She laughs remembering how dad refused to wear seersucker pants and how he jokingly told Brian at the alter, "I changed my mind, you can not marry my daughter." She goes on, happily recounting other funny moments from her wedding weekend. She looks into my face briefly and smiles, the way she always does, the only person in the world capable of understanding just how heavy my sadness is. She turns it around, soon I am laughing too over our dad's wayward eyebrows and the crazy way his hair grew back from the chemo. I love my sister.

At the end of the weekend, riding to the airport I ask her if she ever thinks of dad's illness as a gift. "What do you mean?" she asks. "I don't know," I shrug "I just feel like part of his sickness was blessing. We loved him so completely and appreciated him more then we would of otherwise. We are all so much closer because of it. It's kind of like Stockholm Syndrome or something, only cancer syndrome where we are crazily tight knit now. It was a backwards gift that all of us hated but when we looked at it from a distance there was something remarakable about it."

"I think your right." she says.

I know I am.