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!