Monday, December 27, 2010


Right now I am at The San Diego Children's Hospital waiting for Andrew to get out of surgery. He is getting an ear tumor removed. The medical name for the growth is long and contains a g or maybe a c and is hard to pronounce. However, the technical name sounds far less dismal than tumor.

It's benign and essentially no big deal other than the idea that it is getting in the way of his hearing. So here we are on a cloudy Monday afternoon waiting for the news that the little guy is okay.

In the waiting room, four seats down a man is holding a copy of the Reader story I wrote about TJ. IT makes me feel a little uncomfortable. I have never been in the presence of a stranger reading from a magazine with my face on it. My photo is plastered just underneath his left thumb. I can't help staring at him wondering what he thinks and if he is reading my article or the help wanted ads?

A couple of hours ago Andrew and I were in a small room, he was reading a thick novel I just bought him for Christmas and I was watching the Rachel Zoe project. The anesthesiologist came in to discuss the procedure with us. He had a mole on his left eyelid. It made him look gentle like a guy with make-up on or someone unashamed to wear a kilt. While he explained what would happen during the surgery I stared at his small round freckle.

Ten minutes later a nurse in zebra print clogs walked Andrew down a long hallway. Half of his back was exposed from the hospital pajamas he was wearing that featured sleeping tigers. Andrew looked back and waved quickly before disappearing down the corridor.

Now I wait, anxious to see him. No matter how routine the surgery is I am still worried and won’t feel comfortable until I see his face.

Family Photos

I am vehemently against studio portraits. I think they’re dripping with cheesiness. However, that very well maybe due to the fact that my parents had a framed photo of the three of us kids (Michelle, Roger, and I) hanging in their bedroom. At first glance it was adorable. My sister and I are both wearing puffy dresses and Roger was sporting a nice stripped polo. On further inspection you will notice that my hand is planted firmly inside my diaper. The photo was source of perpetual embarrassment. Oddly I never mentioned how offensive I found it until was in my late teens at which point my mom explained that I had a diaper rash or bladder infection or some similar aliment. “Every shot they took, your hand was inside your diaper. Other than the placement of your hand the photo was cute.” I would disagree with that statement.

This year instead of opting for a JcPenny Picture Studio photo with a blue or forest themed backdrop my friend Nicole and I took turns taking pictures of each other’s families. I am really happy with the results. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Shoot em Up

When the boys were toddlers I had a strict anti-gun toy rule in my home. They were not allowed in my house ever! Aaron’s brothers have never believed in this rule and without fail always ended up buying them some wildly inappropriate plastic toy gun for birthdays or as Christmas gifts. I would always throw them away.

Andrew and Jacob used to chew their sandwiches into the shapes of guns and run around pretending to shoot each other. They would fashion just about anything into a gun. It appeared my ban on toy guns was futile.

When Andrew was 5 we moved to a new home. There were so many kids in our neighborhood that it was like a 24 hour amusement park. Many of the kids had toy guns. I eventually gave in about the guns. Now I don’t care so much, also they are old enough  that the allure of playing with such things is pretty much gone.

Last Sunday we had Conrad and Jesse over to celebrate Jake’s birthday. We ate cake, and sang Happy Birthday, and then Jake opened his gifts. Conrad bought him Call of Duty, a game in which you shoot people.  Jesse bought him a bb gun.

Can you believe that!?

Forget about my toy gun rule now my kid has a real one!

Aaron tried to pull the same stunt with Andrew on his tenth birthday. He called me from the store to alert me that he was purchasing our kid a bb gun. I told him that if he came home with such a thing he might as well get used to the idea of sleeping on the couch for the rest of his life. He didn’t buy it. However the following year he did. Andrew opened up his gift and looked at in with a mixture of fear and sheer panic.

“Bring it back,” He told Aaron “I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

It was returned the following day. Aaron told me that I was a brainwasher. I’m okay with that.

Jake didn’t have the same reaction. He was so excited and an outing to shot bottles in the wilderness has already been scheduled. I told Jesse that when and if one of my children loses an eyeball from a bb I will kill him. He didn’t seem to care.

The Brauns are annoying.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's not a Braun Thanksgiving Unless you Blow Something Up

We spent Thanksgiving in Mexico this year.

The highlight of the trip was the day after Thanksgiving. Aaron and his dad came up with the genius idea of blowing up the leftover turkey carcass with fireworks on the beach.

It’s never dull when you hang out with Brauns. Here are some photos:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Change is good

I am over my blonde hair.  I'm thinking of going brownish red or a strawberry color.  Here are few shades I'm thinking of.  Feel free to weigh in.

Bela the Great

It’s 5pm on a Tuesday evening and I am trapped in a 9ft by 10ft office lacking windows with my dog’s veterinarian. Amelia is balancing on my lap while holding a pink plush stuffed animal nearly half her size. Jake is sitting Indian style on the floor, our dog’s head resting in his lap. My dog smells funny. She is emulating a scent of wrank breath and farts. It’s not pleasant. Everything the vet says is in a whisper as if she thinks the volume of her voice will not reach my children’s ears, even though they are sitting just as close to her as I am.

She thinks my dog will die, I can tell. She doesn’t say it. I think mostly for the sake of the kids, but it is implied by her demeanor and the way she solemnly pats Bela on the head, and places a handwritten phone number to a 24 hour vet clinic in my hand saying, “Just in case” before ushering us out.

That night I cannot sleep. I go downstairs and cuddle up next to Bela who is more annoyed by my presence than anything else. She still isn’t eating.

In less than a week the two year anniversary of my dad’s death will be upon me. It seems too familiar—the shallowness of Bela’s breathing, the lack of eating, the knowing fear that I will wake up and she will be gone.

Over the phone earlier that day I told Aaron that I didn’t think there was an ounce of fairness in the idea I could lose my dog so close to the anniversary of my dad’s death. He doesn’t know what to say, he never does. He has work to do, he tells me, so he hangs up.

Aaron bought Bela for me the first Christmas we spent together. I was just nineteen at the time. I was pregnant with Andrew. Bela was our “pretend baby”. She has been the quiet and not so quiet, presence in our lives for all the big things—the births of our kids, the blossoming of mine and Aaron’s relationship, the fights, the tears, the moments of pure and utter happiness, our cross country move to San Diego.

After my dad died I felt like Aaron was too emotionally distant to be there for me. He tried in his own fumbling way but I resented him for his lack of sensitivity. In fact, I felt like there wasn’t a single person apart from my mom and my sister who understood how sad I was. Bela was the only one I cried in front of.  It was Bela who would quietly sit by me when I was at my saddest. It was almost as if she knew how heartbroken I was. She would make her way towards me and reast her head in my lap--the dog version of offering a tissue.  It’s odd to say but I felt more bonded to my dog then anyone else in those days.

Now Bela is sick and it breaks my heart.

This morning I made Aaron go down stairs before me to check on her, just in case. I didn’t want to be the one to find her. “She’s okay” he shouted up to me.

She was. Despite the very dismal report from our vet, today she appears to be doing much better. She was even drinking from her water bowl and polished off a little bit of her food. After dropping the kids off at school she barked letting me know it was time for her walk, something she hasn’t had the effort to do in three days. I’m thinking she might make a full recovery.

Right now I am thinking that I hate my vet for putting me through some serious emotional terrorism. More than anything I am just thankful that my dog is going ot be okay.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our Mini Britney

The flu has wreaked havoc on our house this week. I was the first to come down with it. Mine set in on Saturday. It rained all day and the kids were cooped up inside half of the weekend. We promised them that we would go bowling as a family to make up for a craptastic weekend. Against my better judgment I joined them despite my 101 temperature. I am an easily agitated person. When I am sick my tendency towards rage is elevated to a degree that is frightening.

Since Aaron is a government employee we have the awesome perk of being able to go on the local military base. We can use their awesome bowling alley complete with a free arcade and free movie theatre.

Due to the rain every single military family in San Diego was at the bowling alley that day. After about a half an hour I wanted to roll up into a ball and hide underneath a table. Instead I found a cozy corner near the door away from the numerous sticky faced screaming children.

While my kids played video games with Aaron, I watched Coyote Ugly via closed captioning, since it was too loud in there to hear much of anything. At the table next to me was a thickly accented family that said things like ya’ll and dog-on. They appeared to be eating every single fried item on the bowling alley menu. I was already nauseous and feverish—they didn’t help matters. They all lacked basic table manners. It was kind of like watching a group of coyotes on the nature channel. I half expected to hear a narrator explain the events. I couldn’t help but stare at them with a mixture of disgust and wonder. Their toddler was sucking on the remnants of someone else’s chewed up Buffalo wings while slurping on a soda. It was appalling.

Normally I am a lovely person but when I am battling the flu and surrounded by people who are eating with their mouths opened I get highly disgruntled.

Finally after an hour and a half of waiting we finally secured a bowling lane. My boys either love or hate each other. With them there is rarely a middle ground. Bowling tends to bring out the worst in them. They are highly competitive and it kills them when the other is bowling better. I was certain they were on the brink of a fist fight. Luckily Amelia saved the day by distracting them.

Amelia has an affinity for really terrible pop music. The bowling alley was blasting it. At first Amelia was merely bobbing her head along to the music. When Katie Perry’s California girls Came on she started rolling around on the bowling alley floor. Her dance moves resembled a Madonna video from the 80’s.  One of the ones where she is rolling around with a microphone and pearls in a highly sensual yet creepy way.

Half way into the song Amelia really got into it and started throwing her hands up in the air along with the rolling.  The boys took one look at Amelia and died laughing. They couldn’t stop. Aaron looked on horrified. I wondered if the family of fried food enthusiasts was judging us for our mini Britney Spears kinda of like I judged their soda loving toddler.

“She is so going to be that girl at the party!” I told Aaron.   He was not amused. 

Lesson for the day:  Don't judge people for their nasty eating habits because they may judge you for allowing your daughter to act like a music video extra. 

Cover Story

My cover story is out over at the San Diego Reader for this week. It's not my favorite. In fact, I don't think it's very good. I just read it over again and I found it a little cringe worthy. That being said, I got a paycheck for it so I should stop being critical of myself. Next time I will do better.

On a sidenote, my arms look super fat in that picture.  Also, it stresses me out that my face will be on Reader's all over San Diego. 

Here is the link : Your Dad has Lost his Mind

I am waiting for the scathing comments to start rolling in.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Best Quotes Ever

I really need to start writing down the funny stuff my kids say. I'm going to attempt to write a weekly blog post entirely on funny kid quotes


Tonight while helping Andrew prepare for a History test I asked him "What did the Inca emperor expect out of his citizens?" To which Andrew replied "That they all get circumcised?"

Wow! I'm afraid to ask where he came up with that answer. Luckily for the Incas they were not all expected to be circumcised.


"Mommy, if you ever are having a dream you don't like you can just control it. That's what I do. If my dreams are boring or scary I change them to whatever I want."

It must be nice to wield that much power


"Mom can you buy those butt wipe things that aren't for babies. I think they're for old people. It's like old people toilet paper. They're awesome. You can even flush them.

Spoken like a true Braun.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Mom has a Facebook Page

My mom has a facebook page.  In the beginning this concept didn't bode well with me.  Even at my age I still worry that my behavior will somehow offend my mother.  I'm sure it does however, I have gotten over it and have long given up on censoring what I say for her benefit.  Also, I like the photos she posts.  Here are some old ones that I stole from her facebook page.
This is a photo of my mom and my aunt Anna. Everyone insists that my sister looks just like my mom and that I carry, prodominately, the Feely gene.  I think this is photographic proof that my mom and I have nearly identical features. I do, in fact, have more than just the Mahon temper in me.   Can you guess which one my mom is? 

This is a photo of my dad's family.  My dad is the only blonde in the group.  He's the little guy in all white.  Can you believe how many siblings he had?  My mom came from a big clan as well.  There were seven kids in her family.  Gotta love those Catholics.  I think it would be fun to have that many siblings around.  I love how this photo appears to have been taken hundreds of year ago instead of in the 50's.  I think the Irish were vastly behind the times.

 One of my uncles, pictured in this photo, I had no idea he even existed until I was in my late teens.  This photo was framed on a corner table in my childhood home. I waked past it on a daily basis.  It never occured to me that there was an extra person in the photo.   I never askd who the mysterious 8th kid was.  My mystery uncle is the older kid in the back with the white shirt on and black blazer.  There is much secrecy surrounding him. He doesn't speak to anyone in the family and I have yet to recieve a suitable answer as to way that is. My mom swears this sort of thing is normal Irish behavior.  Maybe. I guess the Irish are an avoidant bunch.  It's a goal of mine to one day meet him.  I wonder what he's like?  No one has a clue where he is.  My grandmother tried ot find him before she died but had no luck.  Supposedly he's in England somewhere. 

This is my Uncle Arthur and his wife Ruth.  Arthur was my Grandmother Feely's brother.  I spent many a spring Break visiting them in Florida.  When Arthur was working as a prision guard  he guarded Al Capone's cell.  Cool, huh? 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

I just want to watch shitty TV and eat bon bons.

I am having a hard time keeping up with everything. My house is a total tornado. Well, I admit it, it always is but lately it's really bad. I should be cleaning it right now but I'm not because I don't even know where to start.

School is starting to stress me out. I'm doing decent. As of right now I have straight B's. They should be A's. If I worked just a little bit harder I would be doing better. On top of that I am sucking it over at Zelda lily. My articles have been half assed and just plain lazily written.

Work has finally started up at BK and I'm feeling pressure to live up to their expectations. This week I've been working on some of their advertising and marketing stuff which has been a really great learning experience. This website is their dream and I want to do my very best. I'm so prone to typos that I am nervous wreck. I am spending an insane amount of time combing through everything I submit to make sure it's error free. I'm going to end up with an ulcer.

Most importantly, lately, I feel like I am becoming a really terrible mother. I don't have the same amount of time to spend with my kids that I once had. It feels like I am always yelling and frantic. I don't want to be that person. My goal is try my very hardest to get all of my stuff done before they get home. I need to pretend like I have office hours. That way I can relax and enjoy the amazing little people that make my world such a happy place to live in. I don't want to look back and regret anything.

I think I need to give something up. I have way too much on my plate. It's obvious what that needs to be. I'm a little sad about it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Halloween is one of my very favorite days of the year.   Here are this year's photos:

Peter Popper Pan

I have been trying to come up with something great for my next publishable article. I'm in love with the idea of basing a story around a local San Diego eccentric. I like the idea of writing about someone with a unique view of life.

I've always enjoyed the obscure. I love local characters and anything kitschy. When I was a kid we had only a few neighborhood eccentrics that stuck out amongst the everday station wagon driving citizens. We had Phil beep-beep, which was by far the most insensitive name that the kids of my small town taunted him with. Phil suffered, I think, from brain damage after being hit by a car, at least that was the rumor. He was in his 40's and lived with his parents in an old Victorian home near the train tracks. He cruised around town on a vintage bike and always wore tattered suits. Sometimes the meanest kids would scream Beep Beep at him. He would lose it completely and almost always fly into a rage. He nearly kicked the ass of an 8-year-old boy one day.

We also had Julie, a chain smoking older woman who always wore a scarf over her cropped curly brown hair. She attended my family’s catholic church. She always arrived to mass late reeking like a pack of cigarettes. I prayed each Sunday that she wouldn't sit next to me. Her unpredictability and wide range of emotions plus her habit of talking to herself scared the shit out of me. To my utter terror sometimes she would squeeze into our pew. She was prone to inappropriate outbursts and would occasionally grab onto the hand of whoever sat near her. She once scratched me with her unusually sharp finger nails.

Lastly, we had Valerie boom boom. She lived across the street from my junior high school best friend. She was in her mid-twenties and would wear stilettoes and bikinis to water her plants, and mow the grass. She had brassy blonde hair and enormous boobs. She was unlike the local moms that always wore knee length skirts, buns, and pearls. She was married to an older man--in his late 50's or early 60's. We taunted her mercilessly. Anytime she came outside we would scream boom boom. We were assholes. I wish i could teleport back in time to apologize to Valerie Boom Boom who I am certain was not only taunted by the kids but by the moms as well.

San Diego has a few eccentrics. When we lived in El Cajon there were tons of unique individuals. Tierrasanta is limited. There is an elderly man that walks his poodle around our neighborhood dressed in Jimmy Stewart style clothing, and another guy that walks around town with a belly length beard. He wears suspenders. Boring. I know. My community is lacking a soul. Maybe it has something to do with the cookie cutter quality of our homes?

However, near my kid’s school I frequently come across a car that is completely covered in miniature angels. Atop the car sits elaborate castles and Christmas lights. Behind it, is towed a wooden boat purely for decorative purposes. I have been dying to meet the owner of this car. A mom at school told me that he lives across the street from a nearby park. Nearly everyday for a week I drove down that street in hopes of running into him. No luck.

Two days ago I stopped at CVS to use a gift card I received. Lo and behold there was the van in all its glory. I pulled up next to it and waited. Within the time span of ten minutes 4 people had either posed in front of it for a photo, or gotten out of their cars to get a closer look.

Finally across the parking lot I spotted the owner. I knew beyond a doubt that it was him. He was pushing a shopping cart that a large green parrot was perched upon. To make the story even better, he was dressed in pirate garb. I just about passed out from excitement.

When he got closer I noticed that his long hair was unkempt and that his clothes were covered in dirt and bird poop. Also he was speaking to his parrot as if it were a person. I wasn't sure if I should approach him. I did anyway.

I'm glad I did because Jerry, or as he likes to be called, Peter Popper Pan, is pretty amazing. He is an optimist which is rare to find ina man living out of his car. I'm certain that his story is worth telling and I cannot wait to get started!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Viva La Mexico

Bright and early Wednesday morning I picked up Howie for our Mexico adventure.  Both of us had listened to the NPR story that had ran on the radio early that morning about the murder of a jet skiing American tourist in a Texas/Mexico border city.  We agreed not to see it as an omen.  I was far more apprehensive over the idea that I had left it up to Conrad to fetch us at a McDonalds in T.J to worry about a murdered tourist.  Howie was blissfully oblivious to the risks involved when dealing with my father-in-law.
David, Eunice's youngest son

Luckily the pick-up went smoothly.  The idea was to head into San Antonio, where Conrad lives, to capture photos.  Conrad had other plans.  He took us into the heart of T.J so that Eunice could do some shopping.  We ended up in a fabric store for over an hour.   Afterward, Eunice drove us through T.J, driving past Zona Norte, where young prostitutes lined the streets. Some were in provocative outfits, others dressed up like school girls in pleated skirts and knee socks, and others dressed casually in jeans and sweaters.  The most striking thing about each of these women is that all of them carried themselves in the same sorrowful defeated way, each with the same look of desperation.  It made me feel powerless and angry all at once. 

We drove past Eunice's old place of employment. She beckoned an old friend out of the store and I was suprised to see a tall transgendered lady introduced to us as Christy walk over to the car. Eunice excitedly introduced Howie, telling Christy that he was here to take pictures for an American magazine.  Shortly after we stopped at a tortilla market, and next a key cutter so that Conrad could have a new house key made.


Nearly 2 1/2 hours after our arrival, we finally made it to Conrad's home. The photos that Howie was there to take were snapped.   Eunice gave Howie a tour, showing him all her sewing projects, the machines, fabric, and completed projects that filled the garage.  She showed us drawings of elegant dresses she had created on her computer and the digital photos of gowns she had handmade.  By this time it was well past noon.  I politely mentioned to Conrad that maybe it was time for us to leave.  Apparently we had one last adventure to go on.

The process

Before dropping us off at the border, we headed into Rosarito so that Stephanie, Eunice's oldest daughter, could be dropped off at school. From the freeway I viewed uxorious high-rises in which no one lived, half built roads left abandoned materials and all, a trash filled field in which two horses roamed free in, and shacks, upon shacks. We drove past the bridge that two headless bodies were hung from a week earlier (rumored to have been murdered by members of T.J’s drug cartel).

Cute shoeless kid in Rosarito

By the time we made it to the border it was nearly 3 o'clock and the line going into the U.S stretched for blocks and blocks. The great thing about Howie is that he is bursting with interesting stories. While we waited I heard about past Reader cover photo shoots, the story of how he ended up in San Diego, his plans for the following day that involved a weather balloon, a camera, and fishing wire, and the time he stayed on a strawberry farm. Howie is the kind of person that you don't mind waiting in a long line with. He is anything but boring. He's the kind of guy you want at dinner party.

My Mexico adventure has made me eager to write something else, something better. I'm not sure what just yet. Meeting Howie and hearing all the terrific stories and adventures his job takes him on has motivated me to push myself to do more of what I love.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Humble Pie

Lately I have been really lucky to have scored a number of freelance writing gigs. I think it started to go to my head a little. I started wondering if I really needed to suffer through all of those pointless classes I have been taking lately. I began stupidly thinking that maybe I could give up the whole school thing and find work without having to get a silly piece of paper to prove my credentials.

Last night I had dinner at the home of my new employers. The whole staff from BK was there. When things deviated past work, Rafael, the videographer asked me where I went to college.

I am certain my face turned the shade of a stop sign. The fact that I do not have a college degree has always been a profound source of shame for me. I blurted out “I don’t have a degree.” and didn’t bother to mention that I’m working on it. I just wanted to get the attention off of me.

I started out the night super confident in my abilities as writer for the project they have hired me for but the end of the night I sort of felt like white trash.

This morning in my e-mail inbox I received a description of a San Marcos college winter intercession creative writing workshop for my old journalism Professor. It proved the point once again that I need to get all this silly general ed stuff behind me and continue on with the hopes of soon enrolling at San Marcos.

I like the idea that when I start getting overly confident something mortifying happens to ground me. I think humbleness is a quality I will never grow tired of even if at times I am humbly shamed.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Amelia Birthday Letter #6

Dear Amelia,

I hate to admit this but at 6-years-old you are a far superior child then I was at your age.

Things you excel at:

1. Hula hooping- I have always wanted the ability to walk and hula hoop at the same time. I am 31 and still haven’t perfected the fine art of the hoop. However, you have. You can walk, talk, and perhaps even run all while balancing your fluorescent pink hula hoop effortless on your hips. It never ceases to amaze me.

2. Your bike riding skills- you learned how to ride at two-wheeler at the tender age four. The difference between the childhood me and you is that you are persistent. The day we taught you how to ride your bike was a day full of angry bursts of emotion and lots of tears but you insisted on learning and would not give up. This is embarrassing but I might as well admit it now, I did not learn how to ride a bike until I was seven; seven stinking years old. As you may have realized by now I am not a fan of exerting too much effort into things. Needless to say I really envy your ambitious spirit!

3. You love to learn. You want to know about everything. You are constantly asking me questions about the stars, the moon, clouds, why it rains, where the coldest place in the world is, and on and on. Lots of times I don't know the answer to these questions. When that happens you insist that I find out. I love that about it.

4. You like everyone. If someone is mean to you at school you insist that they were having a bad day and that tomorrow will be different. I find this aspect of your personality deeply wonderful. 

For your Birthday we went Apple picking in Julian. We had big plans to take you to Disneyland. Grandma was going to fly in from Florida for the occasion but then Great Grandpa died. Despite plans being changed you didn’t complain once. You were so mature about the whole thing. I’m proud of you for that.

Our Julian Apple picking day was so much fun because as always you were so very excited about the adventure. You loved having your own little white baggie to fill up and the overabundance of apples to choose from. You skipped up and down the tidy rows of apples looking for the best looking pieces of fruit.

Unfortunately at the end of our visit Grandpa Braun had the genius idea of shoving a wasp riden apple in your face. I am still unclear of the reasoning behind this but as always your Grandpa remains a mystery.  You were stung right in the middle of the forehead. You left the orchard in tears but made a quick recovery once someone mentioned that we would stop for some apple pie on the way home.

Things in your little world have changed a lot this year. You have moved on to the ever so grown up world of having a full day at school. You love it. You adore the idea of having homework and the round table you share with four other kids, you like the way the crayons are arranged according to color and the way Mrs. Krug allows you to be class leader once a month. When I told you that I spend a large chunk of my day missing you, in a very matter fact tone you told me “I don’t miss you while I’m at school.” This broke my heart a tiny bit and you must have noticed because you explained “Just because I don’t miss you doesn’t mean I don’t love you.” You are an old soul.

Sometimes I forget how little you are. You remind me with the cute things you do. For instance, while at the beach you often tell me how much you love “sea enemies,” when you mean sea anemones, or when you open the car door and shout “open Stephanie!” as opposed to open sesame, or my favorite, they way you still say crapping instead of clapping.

Little Miss Amelia, I am proud to be your mom and have loved watching you grow and evolve in to the little lady that I look forward to seeing every morning. I adore you more than you could ever fathom!


Your Mom

A Day Spent with "The Rad"

My Reader photo shoot with Conrad was on Tuesday. They requested he wear a Hawaiian shirt and he refused stating that they are "too middle aged for him." Also he was 30 minutes late. I arrived five minutes before twelve. I called Conrad to find out about his whereabouts. He was at a mall 15 minutes away looking for his keys that he had misplaced somewhere, he wasn’t sure where. I kind of wanted to kill him.

Luckily his tardiness ended up being a good thing because I was able to get to know Howie, the photographer and Reader operations director, better. He is a pretty cool guy. Although he did ask me a million and one questions, which always makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. When asked about the origins of my name I explained that it was Gaelic and that as a result kids in school called me the gay licker. There was a long drawn out awkward pause after that. Perhaps I overshared? I was trying too hard to win him over with my personality, kind of like the kids in high school who tried to wow the other students into voting for them for something silly like student council or homecoming court. Let’s face it I’m a bit of an awkward person.

When I told Howie that Conrad has not yet read the story, it was suggested that I don't allow it until after we finish taking all the photos for the article. I guess maybe it is a bit brutal. Now I am paranoid that I am a mean heartless jerk.

When Conrad finally showed up the photographer was overjoyed by the fact that, although he had  not worn a hawaiian shirt, Conrad had managed to sport a necklace with a pendent the size of an infant. 

I took Conrad out to lunch afterwards because I was starting to feel like a shitty daughter-in-law.  We went to this ridiculously overpriced Italian restaurant and sat way too close to two overdressed women. So close in fact that if I extended my elbow a little it would graze against their table. They kept giving Conrad the evil eye every time he would laugh loudly or exhibit his terrible table manners. He finished his meal in about a minute flat and when I had leftovers asked if he could have them. It was pretty comical.

It was nice to spend the afternoon with Conrad. I don’t think the two of us have ever hung out alone before. I am going to make an effort to spend more time with the old guy. After my dad passed away I had a hard time being around Conrad. He had this expectation that with my dad gone he was supposed to act as my fatherly figure. While it was sweet that he tried to step into my dad’s role, I hated it. I had this idea that my dad was a far better human being than Conrad and that he could never come close to being the kind of person my dad was. Isn’t that a terrible thing to think? The truth is that the two of them are just very different. They are both remarkable men. For a long time I had some serious misdirected anger aimed toward Conrad. It was silliness and I’m over it now.

A few hours after I got home from our lunch Conrad called. He didn't even say hello, all he said when I answered the phone was "How are your bowels, mine aren’t doing so good?" He always keeps it classy. Apparently the Italian food did him wrong.

On Tuesday I will be going to Mexico with Howie to capture photos of Conrad, Eunice, and the kids for the article. I’m super excited. I think it’s going to be a really fun little adventure. It’s not every day that I get to Mexico in the middle of the week. Maybe I’ll buy a poncho.

Our family picture from our last Mexico Visit.  

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Today was a Good Day

Today was one of those days where the very idea of being indoors, even for one minute, drove me crazy. I barely managed to hold it together during our hour long church service this morning. Jacob was scheduled to sing along with all the kids from his school in grades 1st through 4th.

While up in front of the congregation crammed with perfumed and khaki wearing parents, bored elderly folk, and the innocent eyes of the ever so pure Lutherans, my son proceeded to persistently poke the ribs of the petite boy standing in front of him. For some odd reason he believed that the rest of the church would not notice what he was doing. My kids never cease to embarrass me. Much to Jake's dismay, I made him not only apologize to the kid, but his parents as well.

But all of this is off topic, what I really wanted to talk about is how beautiful San Diego has been lately.

We've had rain. Not the fake California ran where it drizzles a tiny bit and people go crazy, frantically pulling out umbrellas and rain boots from their attic storages because they fear a tiny drop of water will melt them. The rain we had last week was a down pour. We had thunder and even more impressively--lighting! This was the first time I had seen lighting in my 12 years living here. It was awesome.

Our week of rain ended triumphantly with the most stunning rainbow I have ever seen. It appeared at dusk and the lady across the alley politely knocked on my door to alert me to the beauty I was missing out on.  My neighbors and I gathered outside and stared up at the sky as if tiny white winged angels were circling above. Rain, lightening, and rainbows are miraculous for S.D.

Quickly following all that rain everything turned green. Nearby Mission Trails with its desert like terrain is almost as vivid as Ireland.

Today was a sunshine day. I was super antsy around the house. Aaron took Jake to La Jolla for an intense swim at 6am this morning. As a result they were wiped out afterward. Aaron was lounging around the house lazily watching TV and dozing off on the living room coach. I took the littles out for a bike ride around the hood and finally convinced Aaron to take a beach trip with us. Grudgingly he gave in.  We headed to my favorite spot, Ocean Beach. The following are the pictures from today:

I like how Jake basically melts into the rocks. 

Random adorable red-headed couple who I thought matched the sunset so I took their photo

Thursday, October 7, 2010