Saturday, January 30, 2010


Just last week while at dinner with friends we discussed doppelgangers. I told my friend Shelby that her husband looks like Joaquin Phoenix minus the cleft lip, while my hubby looks like River. We laughed stupidly over the hilariority that our husbands are celebrity brothers. Who knows maybe there is money in it? Maybe we can force them to attend parties or enter look alike contests for cash.

Aaron gets the "You look like River Phoenix!" all the time. He loves it and wallows in it pridefully. We used to frequent this Italian restaurant in our neighborhood (until a cockroach scuttled across the table) where the waitress was obsessed with him. I think she probably had River Phoenix posters plastered in her bedroom at some point in her life. Whenever I would get up to use the bathroom, or refill my drink she would hover over our table and laugh that tilted head annoying laugh that women do when they are trying to look cute but instead it just looks needy. It annoyed the crap out of me. "You do realize that River phoenix wasn't even remotely attractive." I tell Aaron after the fawning waitress leaves. "How old do you think she is?" Aaron thinks it's funny when I get territorial.

Anyway, back to doppelgangers, on facebook some of my friends have changed their profile pictures to their celebrity look alikes. It's interesting to see who people think they look like. Truth be told there is only one celebrity I have been told I resemble more than once and it is Naomi Watts. Naomi watts cleans up well but she is kind of haggard looking in real life. I think I kind of do resemble the hagarded non-glam Naomi watts. We are both butt ass white and have long faces and should probably always wear make-up.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Hell that is my Spanish Class

My Spanish professor always wears red; red shirts or red sweaters, red shoes, or bright red lipstick. She calls me Sue-bon. I am usually pretty cool about all the mispronunciations of my name but she is a foreign language teacher! Come on, say it correctly! Also, half my class speaks fluent Spanish. Did I mention it's a 101 class?

For the last two days we have been randomly paired up with other students. Each time I have been partnered up with a fluent speaker. Each time they have chuckled under their breath over my terrible pronunciation of Spanish words. Yesterday my partner was Israel, an 18 year old who didn't learn how to speak English until he was 7. While we were supposed to be working on telling time in Espanol he was texting his friends. However he did teach me the proper pronunciation of most of our vocab words. Also, he had the whitest teeth I have ever seen.

I sit in the third row from the door, five seats back. In front of me is a pregnant girl; behind me is another pregnant girl. I feel like they think I am a wise old lady there for the sole purpose of dispensing my parenting knowledge. Maybe they think I will offer them tiny nuggets of parental wisdom. They ask me questions about the kids, how old they are, did I have three kids so I could get a girl, do they fight, is it true that some women poop while in labor, did I breastfeed, where were they born, how long have I been married? They are fascinated. It makes me feel a little weird and really old. I think they are sweet though. I feel like I should adopt them and do their laundry and help them decorate their nurseries.

I wonder if they realize what they are in for; if they get just how drastically their lives will change. Do they know that soon their friends will be going to parties without them, heading out on Vegas trips, dating random guys, and that slowly their old group of friends will dwindle down to only the most loyal ones. That's what happened to me when I was their age. At the time I felt a bitter lonliness that was wrapped up in the most intense love of my life. Motherhood made me realize who my friends were. I'd like to see it as a gift instead of a sad loss of friendship. I have held on tightly to the ones that saw me through those early years of motherhood. It's always been hard for me to let people go so when my friends started letting me go it was really tough. I am thankful to the friends who stuck it out.

I feel like I should fill the pregnant girls in, let them know what it is like being a young mother. Maybe I should tell them how older women will stop you in the grocery store and correct the way you are holding your own child, how people assume you have no idea what you are doing, the countless strangers that will stop you on the street and tell you how proud they are of you for choosing life instead of abortion, and the people who will ask in a tone of utter shock "is that really your kid?! How old are you!?". Maybe I should let them in on the heavy lonliness that is combined with such great all encompassing love. I wonder if they have any clue at all what they are in for. I think maybe I shouldn't bother them with the raw truth. They will work it out. I did.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A bunch of nerds

The kids have spirit week at school Monday-Thursday in celebration of the school's basketball teams.  Today was nerd day, tomorrow is hippie/disco day, followed by wacky day, and lastly school spirit day.  My kids get super into it which I find adorable.

P.S. I started school today.  My courses are dismal!  Spanish and Algebra, blech!

Way to keep it classy Conan!

For the record I am a Letterman Fan.  However, I do think Conan O'Brien is pretty hilarious.  This is the speech Conan gave his last night of hosting the tonight show. I am amazed over just how classy he is!

  “There’s been a lot of speculation in the press about what I legally can and can’t say about NBC. And– this isn’t a joke– to set the record straight–and this is true– tonight, I’m allowed to say anything I want…

And what I want to say is this: between my time at Saturday Night Live, the Late Night show, and my brief run here on The Tonight Show, I’ve worked with NBC for over 20 years.

Yes, we have our differences right now. Yes, we’re going our separate ways. But this company has been my home for most of my adult life. I am enourmously proud of the work we’ve done together and I want to thank NBC for making it all possible. I really do.

A lot of people have been asking me about my state of mind, and to be honest with you, walking away from The Tonight Show is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

Making this choice has been enourmously difficult. This is the best job in the world. I absolutely love doing it. And I have the best staff and crew in the history of the medium. And I will fight anybody who says I don’t… but no one would.

But despite this sense of loss, I really feel this should be a happy moment. Every comedian dreams of hosting The Tonight Show. And for 7 months, I got to do it. And, I did it my way, with people I love; I do not regret one second of anything we’ve done.

I encounter people when I walk on the street now who just… give me sort of a sad look. I have had more good fortune than anybody I know. And if our next gig is doing a show in a 7-11 parking lot, we will find a way to make it fun. We really will.

Finally, I have something to say to our fans.

This massive outpouring of support and passion from so many people has been overwhelming for me. The rallies, the signs, all this goofy, outrageous creativity on the internet…The fact that people have travelled long distances and camped out all night in the pouring rain… to be in our audience…

Here’s what all of you have done: you’ve made a sad situation joyous and inspirational.

So to all the people watching, I can never, ever thank you enough for the kindness you’ve shown to me. I’ll think about it for the rest of my life.

All I ask is one thing– and I’m asking this particularly of the young people who watch: Please do not be cynical. For the record, I hate cynicism. It’s my least favorite quality. It doesn’t lead anywhere.

Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.

I’m telling you… Amazing things will happen.”

Sunday, January 24, 2010

31 things

Today I am thirty-one. Here is a list of 31 useless, and self involved facts about me.

1. I recently lightened my hair and it looks really stupid

2. I also just got my hair cut and made the mistake of asking for bangs..they also look stupid.

3. My favorite pair of jeans where purchased at the thrift store for $12. I looked them up online and they retail for over $150. That is why I love thrifiting!

4. We spent my birthday eating at Islands, looking at real estate, eating spaghetti and cupcakes, and drinking almond champagne.

5. I really want to be a 1st grade teacher. I love kids way more than adults.

6. I really want a book deal.

7. I am going to Chicago in one month and cannot wait to see all the people I love madly. Sometimes I wish I still lived there.

8. I think Aaron is the greatest thing that ever happened to my life.

9. My boys are starting to get B.O and it really grosses me out.

10. In my opinion raising a girl is much harder then raising boys.

11. I always had low self-esteem so I try really hard to make sure Amelia thinks she is completely terrific and in the process i may have created a monster.

12. Sometimes I worry that other people think I am a terrible mother.

13. I'm really happy with the way my life turned out.

14. I miss my dad every single day and wonder if people think that I talk about him too much. You know how when people die everyone acts as if they were the most amazing person ever...well my dad really was amazing. He was the most beautiful person I have ever come across. He always managed to see the good in other people. I wish I was more like him

15. I can be extremely mean

16. If people talk badly about my family or friends I tend to cut them out of my lives. I am fiercely loyal to the people I love. I should probably chill out a little. I'm like a mafia member

17. I get really upset if anyone touches my knees. Weird I know.

18. I haven't been inside a haunted house since the third grade and do not plan on ever stepping foot in one again.

19. I am still a little afraid of the dark.

20. I hate that I am such a slob and wish I could more Martha Stewart like.

21. When I am depressed I shop. It can be a problem..

22. I think If I hadn't of had kids at such a young age my life would have ended up a complete disaster.

23. I am huge attention whore and really want to change that about myself.

24. My mom is the strongest woman I have ever met. I have so much respect for her.

25. I love living in Southern California.

26. My favorite Beatle is Ringo Starr

27. My least favorite Beatle is Paul McCarthy; despite not knowing him personally he may be my least favorite person to ever walk the earth.

28. I hate the word moist and think it should never be used unless describing yeast infections.

29. The only sport I play with the slightest bit of skill is tennis.

30. I am athletically inept

31. I am okay with getting older.
Kelly, Me,Shelby, and Molly out on the town celebrating our Birthdays(we all have January B-days except Molly)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My house

My childhood home has been on the market for nearly a year. Just yesterday my mom called to let me know that a nice family has offered to buy it. My parents bought it when I was 6 months old. Before that we lived in the Southside of Chicago in an area called Scottsdale.

I like to imagine the moment my mom and dad first stepped foot into the home that they would later raise all three of us kids in. I can picture the pro and con list they may have made.

Pro: great neighborhood, terrific schools, cute house.

Con: Freeway nearby, small backyard, ugly carpeting.

I think that maybe it reminded them a little bit of Ireland, what with the sweeping green front yard, the small creek nearby, and the quiet softness of the suburbs. I'd like to think they loved it immediately and knew it was the one.

It's situated on a quiet cul-de-sac. Across the street and through our neighbor's back yard Flag Creek baubles amongst weeping willows and sturdy maple trees. It was there, sitting on the rocks near flag creek that Philip Grant gave me my first kiss. He tilted his head and kissed my 5th grade lips. Years later, when I was just 19, Sitting in nearly the same location, Aaron asked if I would like to spend the rest of my life with him.

As kids my sister, brother, and I spent most of our time down at Flag Creek. It was our turf. In the winter we would find branches to use as sticks and frozen pinecones as a puck to play hockey on its surface. In the summer my brother and I would "borrow" The Bailise's canoe and set sail down the creek to spring rock park on it.

All of my happiest childhood memories involve our modest brick house on Fair Elms Ave. On hot summer days my brother would organize epic games of cops and robbers on our dead end street. He would invite the dorky neighbors that we rarely played with (the oldest boy, in his teen years, started making homemade bombs and placing them in local mail boxes, I'm not sure what ended up happening to him but it wasn’t good) The Alexis's that lived on Woodland, the McLaughlin’s down on Central, my sister's best friend Cathy, Mark from one block over, and David (who had tourettes and always made me cry) from around the corner. We were quite the crew on our bikes riding up and down the street shouting and laughing. Nosey neighbors would peer out the window and shake their heads. Oh, but did we ever have fun!

After my dad died I flew home for a memorial service. The house felt weary and with every creak  I imagined my dads legs walking on the wooden floor boards. The house was thick with memories and sadness. It’s too big for my mom what with it just being her living it now. I know that. I cannot imagine what it is like for her to sleep in the very same room she shared with my dad. I am sure that every room in that house is thick with history. With every turn of the corner she is bombarded with memories of dad. It can’t be easy.

A part of me wishes that we could buy it, that Aaron and I could uproot our lives and take the kids back to Chicago. Amelia could sit in the same kindergarten room that I did and the boys could make that leisurely walk down fair elms to forest hills elementary school. The same route my sister and I took together as kids. Back then when we reached 53rd and Fair Elms there were always bullies. Big Italian boys for the catholic school would call us names and chase us. Michelle would panic and sometimes sit down on the curb near our school and refuse to walk home out of fear. Sometimes a grown-up would come out and call our mom to pick us up. I was always fiercely protective of my siblings. I would lash out if anyone called them a name or made them cry. That’s how I dealt with the bullies. I would put my fists out and shout after the boys refusing to let them scare my sister. I knew their dads would spank them if they touched a girl. After awhile they got bored with us and we were able to walk home without being bothered.

In February I will fly home to Western Springs one last time. I will help my mom pack up the house. My sister will be there too. By then she will be 6 months pregnant. I think it's fitting that we celebrate a brand new life with the end to our old one.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Golden Globes

You know how some people have a thing for porn, like they go nuts for the stuff; well award shows are kind of like my porn only not in a creepy way. I love them. I love the red carpet arrivals, the awkward interviews, the needlessly shallow questions, I love the scripted lines that some actors deliver in a robotic manner. I love the humor that no one laughs at, I love the jokes and jabs and the general cheesiness of the whole entire spectacle. Above all, I love watching the moment that someone’s artistic dreams come true. Whether it is a writer, a musician, or a fresh new actor, or someone who has won countless awards, I love seeing art being rewarded.

Aaron doesn’t get it. He had the nerve to place his computer on his lap and browse the web during the Golden Globes. It's moments like these where I think we need to reevaluate our relationship.

While he was googling local real estate I paused the live recording when Cameron Diaz walked on stage. I turned to him and said "Babe, that's the dress!"

"Huh?" he mumbled not even bothering to look up.

"It’s my favorite of the evening."

He glanced up and noded.

"it's red." He offered

Luckily Amelia loves the gowns almost as much as I do. It’s just all the talking she does during the show that irks me. I have faith that soon she will be old enough to become an award show junkie like me. One day she will watch in silent wonder only to speak when someone has a really amazing dress.

During award shows I like to offer tips for her future like "Amelia, strapless gowns only work if you have impeccable posture and a Peter Pan like figure. "Keep that in mind for prom." From the couch I can hear Aaron stifle a laugh.

“what!?” I say “she’s never too young to learn what not to wear!”

The following is my favorite golden globe moment:

Meryl Streep is so classy

My favortie dresses:

I love that Julia roberts wore something non traditonal like this short dress and chunky necklace.  I love how effortlessly chic it is.

I am not a huge fan of the fishtail effect but apart from that this dress is so pretty

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My best friend's baby

On Friday evening Griffin Daniel  leisurely made his way into the world. He had been brewing inside his mom's womb for a week and half past his due date! The nerve of that baby!

Nicole called me at 8ish that morning and asked casually "What are you doing?"

I knew she was in labor due to two facts:

1. She would never call my house that early under any other circumstance.
2. I could hear pure happiness in her voice.

All day long I waited in a stunted state of suspense. I called her like five times. I am annoying and should've probably left her alone considering that she was IN LABOR! I couldn't help myself. I am not a patient person. I even called our friend Kelly and demanded that she call Nicole to see if the baby had been born yet. At like 6 o'clock I finally got a text that said "It's a boy!" I relayed the news to my family who were comfortably seated next to me in the corner booth of our local pizza joint.

"Yay!" the boys shouted.

I got to hold the little peanut on Saturday afternoon. He is the cutest, sweetest, little baby of all time. You know how most newborns are creepy and alien like (okay maybe most people don't think that but I do. Newborns are creepy looking!), well Griffin isn't. He has a prefect round head and adorable little heart shaped lips, and tiny pretty eyelashes. I totally love him and cannot wait to watch him grow up and form his own unique little personality.

Welcome to the world Griffin!
(stolen picture from the little guys grandma)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I heart public Radio

I listened to this story a few weeks back and thought it was so well done and interesting.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The people of Haiti

six ways to help people in Haiti

Around the corner fudge is made

I nicknamed the family I carpool with the perfects after our first week of driving one another's children to and from school. They are a nice family, a really nice family, one could even say a close to perfect family. I adore them and especially love their three kids. But, they are the kind of family that could put any other family to shame. Sometimes after a really terrible day when my children have behaved like animals, the perfect children and their perfect manners will make me feel like a worthless waste of parenting space. Especially when their daughter whips out her assignment notebook and proceeds to get a jump start on her homework in MY CAR on the WAY HOME FROM SCHOOL. What kind of child does that?

The Perfects were guests at Amelia's 5th Birthday Party. When my soon to be sister-in-law decided to bring two bottles of wine to the party and drink most of them on her own (again, who does that!), what parent do you think she decided to carry on a slurred conversation with? Mrs. Perfect of course! Talk about humilating!

The perfects have a 7 year old son who loves Jacob. He thinks Jacob is the coolest kid that has ever walked the earth. He wants to look like him, dress like him, and basically be the younger version of Jake. Since there are no other boys in Jake's grade to play with, him and perfect boy child have become really close this year. They adore each other. It's really sweet.

Lately I have noticed that perfect boy child has been acting a little less than perfect. Oh he puts it on thick for his mom, but around Jacob he is a crazy child. Yesterday on the car ride home he discussed the color and consistency of his poop for nearly a half an hour.  The day before that, he shouted "you know what I like to do with knives, besides killing things" to which I had to interrupt him and ask if his mom would approve of him talking about killing things with knives. "Probably not he told me."

"Then perhaps you shouldn't talk that way in my car." I told him

Today while dropping the boys off I was approached by Mrs. Perfect. Whenever she approaches me with an overly eunthusistic smile I know that my children have done something.

"It seems Jacob has taught my son a song." she tells me

"Oh," I say quickly thinking of all the off color songs Jake knows and wondering which one it could be. I panic remembering the song Aaron's buddy Frank took upon himself to teach my boys on a recent surf trip. Frank has the mentality of a 10 year old and my kids adore him.

"Every boy six and up needs to know it!" Frank argued

The worst part is that I had sung the very same song as a kid and thought it was madly hysterically. The gross lyrics are as followed, which believe me are much worse once you add the hand gestures that go along with it:

"Milk,Milk,Lemon-aid, around the corner fudge is made, stick your finger up the hole out comes tootsie roll." The singer points to various private parts of the body. It is disgusting. The boys smiled a toothy smile while singing it for me. I made it known that they were to never sing that song again.

While Mrs.Perfect is standing in front of me arms folded I consider what I should say to her about the song. Do I tell her that a grown man taught it to the boys and  that it has been around for generations. that I, myself, as a little person, once sang the same song through fits of giggles?

"Can you tell me what the song says?" I ask."

On key perfect boy belts out,

"I hate you, you hate me
Let's get together and kill Barney
Shot him with a sniper
now he's dead
Aren't you glad that Barney's dead."

I stifle a Chuckle while realizing how immature I am.  While perfect boy sings he is smiling as if for the first time in his life he is free. Clearly the Barney song will be resung over and over out of ear shot from his mom.

His mom interrupts him when he continues to belt out more lyrics. She is disgusted. It's at that moment that I realize how huge of a bullet I have just dodged. Can you imagine what she would of thought about the other song? There would have been a meeting with the principal, a school psychologists called, it would not have been good. It's moments like these that I think my kids are corrupting her kids in the worst way and then I think that maybe it is good for them , maybe it's good for both of our families. Maybe in some weird way we need each other to balance the other out, the perfects an the imperfects learning from each other.

When I tell perfect mom that all the kids at school know that song she is even more outraged. The truth is that song is a childhood classic. At the kids old school I would hear sticky faced little people belt it out on the playground. Even now at their tiny little school I have heard a group of girls singing it through tears of joy.

"Who is teaching this to them!?" she wants to know. I have a feeling names will be written down and handed over to the school's principal.

I shrug. "Jake learned it from Andrew, who learned it from a kid, who learned it form another kid. It's a popular song for their age range. He'll outgrow it."  I tell her. I promise to discuss the situation with Jake and assure her that no other songs will be shared. She thinks I am being flippant, I can tell by the way her lips are pursed.  She doesn't seems satisfied.

"I thought Jake taught him a song that is much worse then that." I tell her.

She raises an eyebrow. I shouldn't have said that. Who knows maybe she'll put an end to this whole carpool thing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Have I mentioned how cool My brother is?

I'll punch your face.

Last week I dreamt that Jennifer Lopez was mad at me. This week I was violent in my sleep. On two separate occasions Aaron has punched me while dead asleep. Once hard in the shoulder while he dreamt he was boxing his youngest brother and another time in the head that he could give no excuse for. Each time he felt terrible. When I was a teenager I watched a 20/20 episode about men who would do crazy things like strangle their wives while sleeping. Afterward I was always afraid that I might marry someone like that, so to be punched in the middle of the night, however lightly, however innocently, really freaked me out.

It could be worse I suppose. When we first moved to San Diego Aaron's friend Bob visited us. In the middle of the night I found him sitting next to me in our bed. At first I thought he was Aaron but then I realized it was Bob in our room just sitting there starring at the wall. I woke up Aaron who ushered confused Bob back onto our couch.

In the morning I told him about it and he was mortified. He told us that a few months back he had woken up on his neighbors Porch. "They think I am some sort of crazy stalker now." he said. "I have always been a sleep walker."

"Next time he's staying at a hotel." I told Aaron when he left.

So back to last night, I punched Aaron hard in the face. I woke up as my hand was making contact with his head. I couldn't believe it. I don't even know what prompted it. I can't recall if I was having a violent dream or what. I think maybe he turned his head and it was too close to my face so instinctively I punched him.
The funny thing is that he didn't even wake up. He mumbled and rolled over. In the morning I checked him for a bruise but there was nothing.

"You know I punched you last night." I told him

"You did?" He asked

"Not on least not consciously."

So I guess Aaron and I could both be on a future 20/20 episode about violent sleepers.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Our Weekend in pictures

Friday afternoon Amelia and I ate at Bay Park Fish Market because it is sooo good. Amelia ordered a lemon-aid almost as big as her torso along with cheese quesadillas (boring) while I opted for an eel roll. The bathroom at this place is amazing. I should've taken a photo.

Saturday we all went on a 14 mile bike ride like the one I wrote about here, only it wasn't as terrible as I remembered it being back then.  I must've been disgustingly lazy in my early twenties.
Afterward we ate our weight in poorly put together pizza from luigis (my family thinks it's good but they did not grow up in chicago therefore they are clueless as to what good pizza really is)
On Sunday (today)we drove around looking at the four bedroom homes that are in our price range followed by a family trip to Costco where for once in his life Aaron did not buy anything insane in bulk size.  We lazily spent the rest of the day at home drving each other insane. The end! 

Good ole Costco

 Today at Costco while deliberating between the box of 84 Tampax pearls or the 96 count box of Playtex easyglides, Jacob spotted the second grade teacher from his school. "Hey Mrs. Mangini!" He yelled. Before I had time to drop the humongous box of tampons that was bigger than my face she and her husband rounded the corner of my aisle. All I could do was wave while balancing a package of easy glides in my other hand.

Normally, I am sure her and her adorable husband would've stopped to chat for a second but they gave me a look as if to say, "how humiliating for you." and politely continued on with their cart.

"Is this the moment you are going to think of every time you see me from now ON," I jokingly shouted after them.

 "Uh-huh," she laughed "but I promise not to tell the other parents."

I wanted to say "at least you know who to borrow a tampon from if you ever need one!" But thought that might be a little too much. After all, she is Lutheran and she did grow up in the Midwest.

Of all the teachers at our kid’s school I'm glad it was Mrs. Manigi who spotted me with a mega pack of tampax. If it had been anyone else it would have been way more humiliating.

P.S. In case your wondering I went with the tampax pearls
P.S.S.  I do realize that this is my third blog written soley about tampons

Friday, January 8, 2010

From the mouths of babes

Every single day Amelia is filled with the most amazing and hilarious life observations. Here are just a few from today:

“Mom, listen to my shoes. They sound just like moroccas!” She tells me while clicking the heels of her glittery pink dress shoes together

“Why are oranges called oranges? A fruit shouldn’t be called a color! Bananas aren’t yellows!” she asks

When I say, “Who do you think first had the job of naming all those fruits and veggies anyway? What a cool job!”

She uses the tone she takes when she thinks I am being stupid, “Jesus named all the fruit. I think he named the orange last. He was tired of thinking up fruit names. “

Later today, When stopped at a red light she says “I see Aliens!”

“Aliens?” I ask.

“They are right there in the white car!” She points out our sticker smeared truck window.

“You mean those people in the car?”

“No mom not them, the ALIENS! Not mean aliens, the good aliens that help people. “

“You know Aliens aren’t real Amelia. There is no such thing.”

By now she is frustrated and says in an exasperated tone “Mom, remember when you said you heard aliens, well they are right there in that white car.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about.”  I say,  starting to worry that my daughter might be slightly crazy

“Mom!" Aliens are REALLLLL!” she insists

“Oh….do you mean ambulance?” I ask noticing one two lanes over

“That’s what I said ...aliens.”

“No, it's am-bu-lance.” I repeat annunciating this time.

“I know! A-LI-ENS! The good kinds not the ones in space.” By now she is really annoyed with me.

I drop it because I know an explanation will undoubtly cause tears. I'm not in the mood.  Hopefully by the time 1st grade rolls around she will get that ambulance and aliens are two very different words. I really don't want her teachers thinking that I hear aleins! 
This is the face she makes when she is disgruntled (which happens kind of a lot).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Last night

I had a dream last night that Jennifer Lopez contacted me and asked if I would mind removing the photos I have of her on my blog.  "I shouldn't have worn that unitard," she told me "It made my ass look huge."

I feel like I should be dreaming about more profound things.

I can be really annoying

In the morning I found him sleeping on the coach, legs dangling haphazardly off the cushions, his toes nearly touching the carpet, his breath bouncing off the patterned throw pillow I had sewn and stuffed myself last fall. I could see a pool of saliva, white and crusty, on its surface. I’m going to have to wash that pillow, I thought to myself. He was wrapped in our down blanket. It was 4am. I had woken up freezing with just a sheet covering my knees.

“Jerk!” I said under my breath.

I considered stealing the blanket back but he looked too peaceful. Instead I turned the heat on and lazily made my way back upstairs.

We had gotten into a fight. It all started last night while we were laying in bed.

“You know.” He told me “the starting salary for a nurse it 60,000 dollars and the program is only three years.”

“I don’t want to be nurse.” I told him “have you forgotten the time Andrew needed stitches. Do you remember how I could barely keep it together? I couldn’t even look at my own helpless little child due to all that blood. No thanks. Not my cup of tea.”

“I’m just saying, it’s a lot of money.”

“Why do we need to have a lot of money?” I asked him “Nursing is not my dream job, it’s not even on my top 50, my top 1,000, it’s nowhere on there. I have an idea, why don’t you become doctor.”

“I would love to be a doctor.” He smiles

“You’re lying. You love your job. Don’t you want me to love my job?”

“Well, stop pestering me about buying a house!” He told me

“You have got to be kidding me, I am not pestering you. I don’t even care about buying a house. Home ownership is overrated. We would have to move to East County again.” I say

“Not if you were a nurse. We could buy a house by the ocean”

“I want to t punch you!” I told him while rolling over so that he would get the message that I was done talking about this.

Just last week we had made a spread sheet. A spread sheet for god’s sake! That’s something I never do. I’m not big on making plans because I never seem to stick to them. This time it’s different I really want to see this plan through. It lists all the classes I need to complete at Mesa before transferring to the University of San Diego San Marcos. I am so close to finishing.

My dream is to teach first grade. Actually, my dream is to write for a living, a sitcom preferably, but I am realistic in realizing that I have slim chance in reaching that goal, so teaching sounds great, terrific even. I love the 6-7 ages where kids are first discovering who they are. They learn how to read and write and are so excited about their new skill. It’s such a magical time in childhood.

I figure I can write on the side and submit articles here and there. It’s perfect. I am really excited over my future; for once I can see it clearly. I like what I see for my future.

So when Aaron tells me that I should become a nurse I am livid. We have been married forever now, doesn’t he realize how huge it is that me, a person like me, has decided on a career. Now he wants me to change things up. It’s infuriating.

I know what this is really about. It’s about the house we looked at in El Cajon over Christmas break. It was near the home we rented when our boys were toddlers, before our daughter was even part of our lives. It was a tidy little neighborhood at the base of Fletcher Hills. Back then we told ourselves that one day we would buy a home in the same neighborhood.

So when Aaron found a 2100 square foot, four bedroom, three bath, house in Fletcher Hills in our price range, we called our local realtor to have a look. The night before Aaron did the math and told me that our mortgage would be the same as we are paying now coupled with our kid’s school tuition. If we took them out of private school and sent them to public school we could swing it.

The next morning we pulled up to the house. I love it immediately. The landscaping is pretty. It is nuzzled on a hill. The view is great. The homes on the street are well manicured and the next door neighbors have a pool.

“We will befriend them first.” I whispered to Aaron about the pool neighbors. I pictured myself wearing my gingham apron knocking on their door while balancing a plate of brownies effortless in one hand. We would all become instant friends I thought to myself. Our kids would ride thier bikes together to the local park, we would have barbeques and go on summer camping trips together.

When the realtor unlocked the doors to the home and ushered us in I was nearly knocked down by the odor. It smelled like the 1970’s. The scent can best be described as stale bong water and mold. Not cute.

The d├ęcor matched the scent. The carpets were dingy, the walls cracked, It appeared nothing had been updated in over 30 years. The kitchen had particle board cabinets and Formica counter tops. There was something growing on the wall in the upstairs bathroom.

Despite everything I forced myself to see its potential. I still loved it. The upstairs master bedroom had a huge porch that looked out over the yard and across the city. I imagined sitting on that porch first thing every morning, drinking coffee and reading bright early while the house was still quiet. There was a huge closet with a sitting area. I pictured my clothes neatly lined up and organized in the closet with a special section devoted solely to my shoe collection. The fireplace in the living room was so old that it actually had a trendy mod vibe to it. I saw all 5 of us sitting on the floor in front of a warm fire playing monopoly with our oldest son acting as the banker as usual.

The backyard was amazing. It was like a forest. I could picture the kids back there building tree houses and pretending to be Tom Sawyer, Huck Fin, and Rebecca Thatcher. This could be our home I thought. For moment I wanted it to be ours so badly that I didn’t care about the 2 inches of mold growing on the wall of the master bathroom. When we got back into the car I professed my love for it.

“We need to put an offer on it before someone snatches it up” I told Aaron.

He looked at me as if I were crazy.

He laughed, “You're kidding, right? That place is a nightmare; there were cracks in the ceiling. I doubt it would pass a home inspection plus it stinks in there.”

“It just needs some paint and new flooring, a new kitchen countertop, and appliances. It’s amazing! It’s my dream house.”

“That’s your dream house, really? If we moved into that place we wouldn’t be able to afford to fix it up. We would have to live in it like that, with the mold and gross carpets and everything.”

And so began a thirty minute fight that lasted until we finally arrived home. I knew I was being an ass. It was just that the idea of that home was such a dream for me, the neighborhood, the yard, the blue house with a pretty view. I was in love and couldn’t get over the idea of Aaron being so sensible.

“We can look at other houses. There are so many places in our price range right now. Better ones even” He told me

“No, I don’t want to look at houses anymore. It’s too heartbreaking.”

I can hear the words coming out of my mouth, the annoying, obnoxious, dramatic whining words leaping off my tongue and forcing their way into the air before I could stop them. Aaron is getting annoyed with me. I am annoyed with myself. Despite myself, I keep on ranting.

“You're afraid to buy a house; it’s too much of a risk for you. You can’t do it. You never will.”

I am ass. I need to shut up but I see the dream of the backyard tree house and swimming in the neighbor's pool start to vanish. It’s too much for me and I cannot shut up about it.

"This is just like that time I took you car shoping and you were almost sobbing because I didn't buy that one Toyota piece of crap used car you wanted so badly. Do you remember we ended up getting the station wagon, the car that could properly fit our kids and dog!" by now he's yelling. "you should just trust me!"

He's right I know he is. I always fall in love too quickly.

Luckily, both Aaron and I have short attention spans and never stick to anger for much longer then we need to. Within the hour we are laughing about whether or not bong scent can be marketed and bottled. “Who wants to live all the way out in El Cajon anyway, the kids will start buying four wheelers and we will have to purchase one of those trailers and spend our weekends at the desert like the rest of the east county population does.” Aaron says trying to cheer me up. I know he’s right. I’m just not ready to admit that the house was all wrong for us.

Nearly a month later the blue house incident is still haunting us. I still haven’t apologized. I should. Now, weeks later Aaron has become preoccupied with the idea of my future career. I know he really isn’t. Instead, he is trying to put pressure on me so I know how it feels. He’s getting back at me for saying that he is afraid to buy a home.

At 6 am the alarm goes off. Our bedroom radio blares a San Diego morning talk show. They are discussing Schwenggar's promise to not make any education budget cuts in 2010. I roll over and hit snooze. I am still freezing. I decide to go downstairs. I snuggle up with Aaron on the coach.
“Sorry.” I tell him


“I’m sorry about that stupid blue house we looked at over Christmas. You were right it needs too much work. I was being a brat. You were being sensible and smart. I know we will find the perfect house but for now I love where we live.”

“I know” He whispers “but just think what we can buy when you’re a nurse.”

I elbow him in the ribs and we both laugh.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day number three

Three days after being pummeled in the face by an enormous wave, my husband still looks like this:

Sexy!  Supposedly it will be fixed by Friday.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Nothing really

A couple of things

1.  I gained three pounds in December, and lost 2 so far in January.  All I really want to do is eat an enormous bar of chocolate right now.   Instead I am chugging green tea. The two are not even close to being comparable

2.I have about three weeks of freedom before school starts up for me again.  My plan is to write a ton before being weighed down with a spanish and Math class.  I am on track to transfer by next year to San Marcos. 
3.   For my 31st birthday I want to spend the afternoon at the tidepools with my family followed by a dinner party with friends here: Venetian and drinks at my new favorite bar here: Small Bar

4.  I watched Julie and Julia last night and really loved  it but Couldn't help feeling an intense jealousy for Julie Powell.  I want a popular Blog, a book deal, and Amy Adams to play me in a movie!

5. I really love this photo I took of Amelia this weekend:

The end

2009 in words

2009 started out with my mom and me taking a road trip from San Diego to Chicago. Something I haven’t done with her since I was a kid. Thirty minutes into it, just out of El Cajon, we got pulled over. Apparently dear old mom was doing 80 in a 70. She cried on cue. “My Husband just died, my daughter and I are driving back to Chicago to pack up all of his belongings. I am just really upset!” She told him. How could any self respecting cop issue a ticket after those water works. He issued her a warning. When he walked back to his squad car Mom and I exchanged looks and could not stop laughing. “You’re going to hell!’ I told her.
That night we rung in the New Year at a truck stop in Arizona situated between two men with massive beer bellies, if that’s not living I don’t know what is.

I have to say that spending the first of the year on the open road is really the way to do it. There is nothing like a trip across desolate pieces of the United States to put your life in perspective. The whoosh of the road is so very Zen like. The opportunity for quiet calmness is rare in my life what with a 1200 square foot home packed with my husband, three kids, and our dog. So I embraced this trip. It was the first three days of my life since become a mother that I didn’t have a little person tugging on my legs for a snack or entertainment. I am so very thankfully that I was able to take this trip with my mom.

IN January of 09 I turned thirty without any major breakdowns, Botox procedures, or the purchase of a cherry red convertible. I reserved a table of ten at the lei lounge in University Heights for my dearest and nearest friends to help me celebrate. Later we headed to J.P’s, a local tierrasanta bar, where after my 5th birthday shot I recognized my son’s basketball coach singing karaoke. I am quite certain that there is nothing more humiliating then carrying on a 15 minute slurred conversation with my child’s coach that I could barely remember the next day. My husband reassured me that it wasn’t that bad. He is too kind.

I am just happy that now when people say “You have three kids! How old are you?!” I can honestly answer “I’m in my thirties!”

In May I flew out to Charleston to visit my sister. It was a birthday gift from her to me. I spent the weekend in her brand new home. It was the first weekend the two of us have spent together as real adults. The last weekend trip I took to see her consisted of bar crawling and vomit.  This time was more low key. We attended a comedy show, we went on a buggy ride, and she had a barbeque at her home with her friends. We talked about politics, mortgages, and pay freezes. Perhaps it was in 2009 that I finally decided I am officially an adult.

In June there was another trip this time with 8 of my closet high school girlfriends. After much debate we decided to meet up in Vegas. Upon arriving at our overpriced hotel room I was greeted by Judith and Jenell both of whom were strapped up to breast pumps. We spent the first night in town discussing our husbands, kids, careers, or lack thereof. We didn’t party nearly enough and I was happy with that. We have come a long way from sharing joints in the girl’s 2nd floor bathroom at out high school. After all these years I still love them just as much as I did back then.

August brought on the much discussed family reunion that my aunts and uncles had voted on at my dad’s funeral. My sister was in uproar about it. “Who plans a trip at a funeral!” she pouted. “They don’t even care that dad is dead.” I knew it wasn’t that though. In their own messed up way they were giving us something to look forward. It was there way of saying sorry about your dad but we can take a fun trip that will take your mind of things. They were doing it for us. After my brother and I stuffed the ballot box, San Diego won as our destination beating out Hawaii and New York. They knew we rigged the vote. We took advantage of their pity.

When August rolled around everyone pulled out of the trip thanks to our failing economy. The only ones coming would be me and my family, my sister and her husband, my mom, and some cousins I hadn’t met hat lived in LA.

The trip itself was a nightmare. My aunt booked 5 rooms. So we had 2 extra rooms to fill. We invited our good friends Steve and Nicole along with their two children. My husband invited his dad. My sister was not at all excited about the extra guests. Instead of referring to Steve and Nicole by their names she called them “Your Friends.” As in “oh, you’re going to the pool with your friends, I guess we’ll catch up with you later then.”

Things went downhill quickly. I felt like I was ten years old again stuck in the back of my mom’s station wagon on one of our many road trips. My brother and sister where always at war and I was stuck in the middle. I constantly had to choose sides. Only this time my brother had opted out of the trip so my sister decided to hate my husband and friends because Rog wasn’t there to target her angst on.

Every day I felt like I had to decide between hanging out with my sister or hanging out with my husband.  One morning Michelle and I headed out to play some tennis. When Aaron showed up a little later she stormed off the court. “Why don’t you guys just play.” She said.

By day 4 I was seething. After Michelle’s 100th temper tantrum. I lost it and did something I have never done before, I told off my sister in length. I called her spoiled, ridicuoulous, and gasp, a BITCH. It is something I had wanted to do since age 5. Here I was at thirty finally getting things off my chest. I morphed into High school me, the one with the braces and bad skin.  All those terrible kid moments where she had hurt my feelings or let me down came hurtling back to mind. I remembered the family trips from hell where if I dared to spend more time with my brother she would torture me with meanness.

Everything came spilling out. I could hear the sharp words tumbling off my tongue and didn’t bother shoving them back in. Michelle, stood there arms crossed mouth gaping open. At the time it felt good to tell her how miserable she was but afterward I knew I had crossed a line. I was the mean one now, the one capable of throwing an adult sized tantrum. It was not my proudest moment. In fact I think it ranks right up there with the very worst behavior of my life.

We didn’t speak for three months. She called in October and I let the answering machine pick up. I wasn’t ready to forgive her or to acknowledge how out line I had been. In November I finally spoke to her again. Turns out that the October call was to tell me she was pregnant. I missed out in sharing the most exciting moment of my sister’s life because I am an asshole. We are speaking again but I don’t think things will ever be the same.

So 2009 put a major dent in the closeness I once shared with my older sister. It’s something to work on for 2010.

The other highlights of the year consisted of the lengthy sex talk we had to give Andrew after he snickered over the initials B.J., my father in law getting engaged to a woman who doesn’t speak any English, Aaron becoming a Lego league coach at the kid’s school, Jake catching the biggest wave of his 9 year old life while on a recent surf trip, Amelia developing the coolest and greatest little imagination of any 5 year-old I know, and me finally getting some articles published.

I am happy to leave 2009 behind and start fresh with a new year.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sunset Cliffs

Don't you wish your husband was as hot as mine?

Aaron took the boys surfing this morning.  I spent the early hours of my day leisurely sipping coffee, surfing the web, folding clothes, having a princess themed tea party with Amelia, and watching reruns of cold case.  It was awesome. 

Then the boys came home. From my bedrom I could hear them clattering excitedly up the stairs.  Andrew and Jacob busted into my bedroom and shouted "Dad lost a tooth."  They were giggling hysterically and awaiting my reaction.  I sighed and asked if it was a front tooth.  Of course it was.

 "He looks like a hillbilly." Andrew told me. 

I went downstairs to have a look for myself.  Sure enough, Andrew was right.  My husband looks like a banjo player for a Ketucky blue grass band. 

"If you don't get that fixed, we're over." I told him

He just laughed.  Apparently he doesn't believe me. 

Friday, January 1, 2010

This made me throw up a little

Last night we were supposed to go see a movie just the five us, Aaron, Amelia, Jake, Andrew, and I.  Some how plans got changed.  Aaron ended up inviting over a house full of people, half of whom I did not know.  It was weird but not as weird as Jennifer Lopez's nasty unitard she wore to perform during the Time Square New Year's Eve celebration.  It reminded me of a ice skating outifit gone completely wrong.   

I watched her performance from the comfort of my red coach in my crowded livingroom.  I didn't want to watch but the site of J. Lo in a unitard was fascinating and disturbing.  I could not tear my eyes from the T.V.  I wanted to but instead I sat mouth gaping open, nose wrinkled, horrified and mesmerized all at once. 

My final thoughts for 2009 were: J.Lo needs to fire her stylist.

2009 in photos