Saturday, December 31, 2011

Whale Watching in San Diego

My childhood BFF came out from Chicago for a visit this week. On Thursday we went whale watching. Our boat was surrounded by a pod of dolphins. It was possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. We were also able to see two whales swimming side by side. It's moments like those when I really love my city.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Google It

Here are my favorite phrases that people have googled in order to stumble across my blog:

1. How do snakes pee and poo?
2. Meg Ryan Hot photos
3. Why should I get plastic surgery?
4. Sheep stuffed animals
5. NHL Wrestling masks


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Best Christmas Present Ever

My kids have lice. Not all three of them, basically just Amelia. However I did find eggs in Jake and Andrew's hair. So gross. We received an e-mail from our principal a few days ago stating that lice was circulating around the school. I didn't freak out. I should've.

Today I spotted a big one crawling around in Amelia's hair. I immediately set out for the drug store to buy some lice shampoo. I have spent the day shampooing the kid’s hair, combing out little eggs from their scalps, washing sheets, pillows, sofa covers, and vacuuming and shampooing the holy shit out of our carpets.

While I was combing the little nits out of Amelia's hair she was screaming her head off as if I were attempting to murder her. That girl has a severe bug phobia. I don’t blame her. It's disgusting.

It's just one thing after another around here.

When Bees Attack

Last year, my friend Nicole and I came up with the genius idea of taking each others family Chirstmas photos. We got all dressed up and went to the train park in Poway. Our pictures turned out amazing. This year we decided to do the same. I suggested Mission Trails. It didn't go so well.

It all started innocently enough—Andrew in an itchy sweater, Amelia in something frilly, and Jake in blue to highlight his eyes. The three of them suffered through a round of fake smiles and awkward poses in an effort to take the perfect family photo. In the end we rewarded them by allowing them to climb under a bridge in Mission Trails to run wild through the tall grass. Things ended badly.

Within minutes we heard a shriek. Andrew and Amelia emerged from under the bridge followed by a swarm of irate bees. Andrew had stepped on a hive. I have never seen him in such a state of terror. As Andrew and Amelia sprinted towards us, I could see bees ping-ponging off their heads.

The bees chased Andrew all the way across the bridge, down the trail, and to our truck. It was kind of like being in a really intense Indiana Jones scene. It was surreal. There we were, in a beautiful setting all dressed up and being attacked by insects. I feel like if we had a recorded the events it would have been YouTube gold.

Afterward, Aaron and I spent a good thirty minutes picking stingers out of Andrew’s chin, neck, back, and scalp. He had dozens of bee stings. It took a couple of hours for him to relax because he was so shaken up. After some Motrin and Benadryl he was fine. Somehow Amelia and Jake escaped without a single sting.

In the end Andrew has a really awesome cautionary tale to one day share with his own children. I have a feeling that next year, the mere mention of family photos will send him into a panic attack!

Last year (way better)
This year

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When I Can't Sleep, I Write Lists

It is 1am and I absolutely cannot fall asleep. So here is a list of pointless info.

1. Tonight I submitted an article to my editor that I am afraid he will hate
2. I told him in the e-mail that I sent him that I was afraid he would hate it.
3. I shouldn't have said that.
4. I tend to say lots of stuff I regret later.
5. I don't know how to follow the rule of little said = little mended.
6. We are spending Christmas in Mexico this year.
7. We are going to the church in Rosarito that was just built using the windows that were the originals in our house when we moved in.
8. I think it's pretty cool that our old windows got put to use.
9. My father-in-law and his kind of, sort of, wife are adopting a baby that is to be born any day now.
10. They are going to name her Esther.
11. My father-in-law annoys me every time I see him, mostly when he is eating because he has really bad table manners.
12. I am trying to be a nicer a person.
13. Tonight the kids and I served and ate dinner with homeless people at the El Cajon rec center. One of the homeless guys kept calling Andrew a gentle giant. Maybe because he was wearing green?
14. My best friend is flying in from Chicago in 6 days.
15. This year my mother-in-law sent me a gift addressed to Shiobhan. I am wondering if that means she hates me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Year's Eve

Aaron and I have yet to land any amazing invites to posh New Year's Eve parties but it will happen. I refuse to sit home and listen to aaron snore at 10pm sharp. I'm going to buy an amazing dress and we WILL do something fun. If worse comes to worse I will force people to get dressed up and come to my house. Here's what I have in mind dress wise:

Sunday, December 18, 2011


The Other Man

On Saturday, I met my friend’s brother for dinner at Claim Jumpers to go over an article I’m writing about him. Afterward we shared a cigarette in the parking lot (Just to clarify, I am merely a social smoker). I was leaning against his car and he was standing next to me. He was in the middle of telling me a story about how he injured his lip playing football with some other Marines when one of the moms from Jake’s Boy Scout pack walked past us. I locked eyes with her for a second. I almost waved but she gave me a funny look. For a minute I thought it was because I was smoking but then I realized it was the cigarette coupled with the idea that it appeared as if I were sharing a romantic moment with a man other than my husband. How embarrassing.

I didn’t say a word. She got in her car and drove away.

“You just made me look like a whore.” I told my friend.

I have a feeling that the moms at Jake’s next pack meeting will be feeling very sorry for my poor husband. Oh well.

I told Aaron when I got home to which he responded, "I think I should milk this and act very depressed at the next scouting event."


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Reader Christmas Party

On Wednesday night I went to the San Diego Reader Christmas party. It was pretty amazing to be surrounded by such creative and talented people.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Least Expected Turn of Events

Yesterday I saw a dead person at Lake Murray. Eighteen days ago I was trapped in a Laundromat while police pointed their guns at two scary looking criminals. Now this. Who knew that moving to La Mesa would be filled with so much drama?

I met my friend Kaley at 10am for a walk around Lake Murray. We were on our way back down the trail when it happened. Kaley had just finished telling me about an argument her and her husband had gotten into over her negative attitude towards their new puppy. We were both laughing hard the moment I saw him.

He was lying face down on the ground; a woman was attempting to roll him over onto his back. I grabbed Kaley's arm. She was still laughing. She hadn't seen him yet. "Stop," I whispered. I motioned towards the man. The two of us paused for a second, unsure of what to do. We walked towards them. There was blood coming out of his head. A thick pool of it ran down the path and puddled into the grass. His face was bloody too.

A petite gray haired woman with a white button-down shirt was attempting to resuscitate him. She was rhythmically pushing on his chest the way they do in movies. Every now and then a loud frightening gargling sound would come from his throat.

"Is he alive?" she kept asking. I was afraid to get too close. There was so much blood. A woman in a track suit stepped in it. She left a bloody shoe print. I couldn;t stop starring at it.

"I can't get a pulse. Can anyone feel a pulse?" She asked calmly. Another woman took his pulse "I think he's dead." she said. The gray hair lady kept pushing. "Hello, are you there." she kept saying to the man as if she were speaking into a telephone with a bad connection.

There were other people with us, maybe 5 or 6 standing around trying to be helpful.

He had dead eyes. His skin was blue. Definitely dead.

"He was walking in front of us and just stumbled. He fell down hard straight on his face, just like that." A woman told a man in spandex that had stopped to help.

Kaley and I called 911. The operator told me to calm down and give her the facts. I didn't really know the facts, and I thought I was being calm.

It took the paramedics 15 minutes to get there. He was long dead at that point. The petite woman in the white shirt never stopped thumping on his chest. Her dedication at attempting to save him was eerily beautiful.

Afterward Kaley and I walked in silence back to our cars. After about 5 minutes she started to giggle. I did too. We were cracking up--doubled over laughing.

"I don't think it's funny, none if this is funny." she said choking back a chuckle.

"Me either. It is so sad and terrible. I'm an inappropriate laugher. I can't help it" I laughed

"I feel so weird and uncomfortable that laughing is my only coping mechanism." her laughter was loud and nervous sounding.

"There is something wrong with us." I said.

"I know." She agreed

We pulled it together and managed to act civilized. People kept stopping us to ask what was going on. Why were there so many police cars and ambulances, they wanted to know. We had to tell the story over and over until Kaley decided to just start saying: "There is a dead guy over there." That answer was oddly the easiest to give and required the less information and retelling of the events. "You have zero bedside manners." I told her. She went into a giggle fit again and apologized for being such a mess. "I have never seen a dead body before." she said.

We decided that next time we will meet for coffee and avoid hiking trails.

Kaley has decided that she will never go to Lake Murray again because according to her, if she fell she would die because the paramedics are far too slow to respond. I don't know about me. I think I'll be back, eventually.

Meanwhile, I can't stop thinking about the dead guy. What was his name, I wonder. How did his family take the news? I wonder if he had been sick or if his death was a freak accident. I am saddened that their Christmas will be filled with tragedy. I have been saying prayers for his family all day long.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Balancing out the Hate Mail

Someone sent in a nice letter to the editor about my recent SD Reader cover. It was published a few weeks ago in the letters section. I'm wondering if it is an aunt or friend of mine using a fake name. Is Caren Jaeger a real person? Who knows but lets hope so.

Here's what they had to say:

Heading For A Book

Re Siobhan Braun. Who is this writer? She is insightful and expresses herself in a most hilarious style (“For My Birthday, My Husband Bought Me a House,” Cover Story, November 17). Keep writing, Siobhan, there is a book in you! (And I’d like to be advised of the publication date ASAP!!)

Caren Jaeger
via email

The Unexpected

On November 30th I planned to go to mass at 12pm. I didn't want my day to pass without recognizing that three years ago my dad passed away. I thought attending a Catholic service would be a good way of honoring him. Life got in the way of my plan.

My washing machine broke the week before. I had been ignoring the piles of laundry that had accumulated in our closets. A part to fix it, a small black hose, was supposed to be delivered by the end of the week. I was going to wait it out and deal with the laundry when the part arrived. However, the kids rooms, especially Jake's, started to smell like stinky boy B.O. My mom was flying in that night from Chicago to celebrate Jake's birthday. I felt like I had to do laundry or else mom would think I was a slob. I figured if I went early enough to the Laundromat I would still have time for mass. I was wrong but I think my excuse for missing it was valid.

I trekked up to superlaundry in La Mesa. I had three full baskets to do. After dumping them in the machines and feeding my quarters in the dispenser I heard persistent barking from outside. I peered out and saw two men with tattoos holding German shepherds. I was confused. Were the dogs fighting? Had there been a dog attack on the sidewalk in front of the Laundromat? What was going on?

That's when I saw the guns. The men with the dogs were cops. Nearby there were five, maybe six, police officers with their weapons pulled. It seemed pretend. Maybe there were camera crews and a TV show was being filmed. The weapons looked like my boys B.B guns. I couldn't imagine they had capability of blowing heads off.

A woman stood next to me holding a dirty pillow case to her chest as she watched the scene outside. The young twenty-something employee of the Laundromat stopped what he was doing. We all instinctively walked towards the window to get a closer look.

"Look at the parking lot!" the Laundromat worker said. "It's crawling with cops!"

Outside, which seemed so quiet a minute ago, was lined with police cars and undercover cops. Men in bullet proof vests and others in suits and ties stood, looking very official, outside.

"Where did they all come from?" the woman asked

An officer was taping off the area with that yellow crime scene tape. We were inside the tape.

A man with a mustache and a tie came inside

"Get away from the windows" he yelled.

The three of us stepped back. The Laundromat worker jumped on top of one of the bigger machines to get a bird’s eye view. The woman with the pillow case stood next to me. She nervously grabbed onto my wrist.

Meanwhile the laundry employee was taking pictures with his iPhone. He started giving us a play by play:

"The guns are pointed at a parked car. There are two guys in the car. Wait, no, one of them is a woman. They're just sitting there. They're not getting out. Wait... there are kids in the car too, three of them, I see a baby."

The suit and tie officer comes in again, "Stay in here," he warns, "Don't leave."

After some time the two people get out of their car. The officers put their guns down. The two are handcuffed.

"Geez--look at him," the woman whose hand is still on my wrist says, "He even looks like a criminal! Will you look at those pants! Those are the kind of pants criminals always wear."

His jeans were baggy and their waist low. I want to say something condescending to the woman but I don't.

We watch as police officers remove the children from the car. A cop picks up an infant carrier with a baby inside.

"What am I supposed to do with this?" he asks the officer next to him. Shrug. He places the infant in its seat down on the sidewalk. The two other kids are escorted inside the Laundromat where there is a plastic play structure.

"Is it okay for them to be here?" the officer asks the employee.

"Sure." he says

The boys are left unsupervised to run wild in the Laundromat. My first instinct is to hug them. I expect them to be terrified or crying but they aren't. They run towards the plastic play structure. The oldest one is laughing. The little one follows him.

"Let's play!" he tells the other one. “Climb up the slide!"

"I guess they're used to this kind of thing." The wrist grabber says to me while making a sour looking face at the boys.

I'm annoyed by her. I ask the boys if they would like to pick out something from the vending machine. They do. They run over to me.

The boys pick out mini Oreos. They do not say thank you. They ask me for more money. I expect them to be thanking me while at the same time crying. My expectations are ridiculous I realize. I am being silly. Kids are kids, they just want to play and eat snacks and look for the good in a terrible situation. They appear completely unphased that their parents just had guns pulled on them.

A pillow explodes in a nearby drier, the wrist grabber opens up the door and fluffy white feathers shoot up into the air. It looks beautiful. It makes everything seem even more surreal, the guns,the kids, the feathers, the police, all of it seems like a dream. Mozart should be playing. Is this my father's way of saying hello, I wondered?

I place two quarters in a video game machine. I play it with one of the little boys who tells me he is ten. When I say "really!" in disbelief, he says, "Okay, I am 8." I'm still not buying it. "Okay I'm really seven." he admits.

"Were those your parents in the car?" I ask.

He shrugs. I don't know if that means yes or no.

"Are you okay," I ask. "Are you scared?" He doesn't answer.

A police officer outside has finally picked up the baby from its infant seat out on the sidewalk. He walks into the Laundromat.

"Is this your sister? Where is her diaper bag?" He addresses the seven year old.

"We don't have one," the boy says.

"Well how are we supposed to change her diaper? Don't you think you should have a diaper bag for her." his tone is gruff.

The little boy looks down.

The officer walks out with the baby. I want to take the infant from him. I want to take all three kids to my house and make them lunch and let them sleep in Jake's bunk beds.

Soon the parking lot that was once thick with law enforcement is empty. the yellow crime tape is gone. As quickly as the cops appeared they have disappeared. But the kids are still there. My laundry is finished. I can't bring myself to leave.

"Is someone coming for them?" I ask the guy that works there. The Laundromat guy points outside. There is a car parked where the other car with the criminals had been.

"That lady in the car is with them." he says

I wait until she comes in before I get ready to leave.

While standing in the laudromat doorway, she asks the younger boy who might be four, "Why are you playing video games!?"

He is holding two quarter in his tiny fist. He points to me. She grabs the change from his hand.

"Get out to the car now!" she shrieks at the boys. They follow her outside and get in the car.

I go back to my laundry. I neatly place my clothes in their baskets. Before walking out I see a man on the other side of the Laundromat. He is with a skinny older woman that has bleach blonde hair. She is tan and wrinkly. A red scrunchy is holding up her stringy hair in a thick ponytail.

The man has a scar running the length of his skull. It starts on the left side under his earlobe and runs up his scalp. He is bald. I stare at him. He stares back. It looks like the scar my dad had after his first surgery. I suddenly picture my dad in the pink chair in the living room of my childhood house. It's right after he has come home from the hospital after having surgery to remove his tumor. He is watching wheel of fortune. His face is puffy and his scar is still new to me. I hate looking at it. It makes me angry. It makes me wish that I had the scar instead of him. I'm nineteen and convinced that I am terrible person deserving of brain tumors. I wish my dad would wear a hat. I am ashamed that I feel that way.

My eyes are glued on the bald man in the Laundromat. Where did he come from, I wonder? Was the man with the scar in the Laundromat the entire time? Was he there during the guns and the arrest? Again I feel like I am dreaming. The leathery lady with him looks at me. She looks tired. She is used to him being gawked at. I wonder if she wishes he would wear a hat. I have an urge to sit with them and help them fold their laundry. Instead, I leave.

I walk past the car with the kids whose parents have just been arrested. The woman in charge of them is on her cell phone. She looks haggard. I wave at the boys. They wave back

When I get to my car I can't help wonder if all of the strange situations in the Laundromat meant something and if so what? Was I supposed to learn something? Was my dad talking to me in some odd symbolic language or was I just looking for it to mean something? Was the man with the scar an odd coincidence?

I drove home without going to mass because it was already 1:13pm. Once again November 30th wasn't what I expected but it was much like years past where I had expected it to go one way but instead turned out so completely different and oddly perfect. In the end I think I did honor my dad.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Birthday Letter Number Eleven


Today you are 11. Last night before you went to bed I gave you a hug and told you that I wished you would just stay ten. You smiled up at me in that cute dimpled face way of yours.

I meant it. I think that there should be a pill that mothers can use on their children so their kids can stay one age for a very long time. I wanted you to be ten for at least another decade. It's too late now because you woke up this morning as an eleven-year-old.

I am worried that you are going to start losing your sweetness. Some of it is wearing off already. You have started taking a grumpy teenaged tone with me. You get frustrated easily and sign loudly. It's part of growing up. I know it won't last forever. You are figuring out who you are and when your done I am certain you are going to be an amazing man.

For now I'm happy that you still wake up in a good mood. The rest of us are horrendous in the a.m. You make our thirty minute drive to school each moring a little more tolerable.

This year you are a 5th grader. After three consecutive years of being the only boy in your class, finally you have another male student. Micah moved here over the summer from Alaska. Unfortunatley the two of you have a love/hate realtionship. We are hoping with time you and Micah will grow to appreciate each other more.

In the beginning of the school year, you were moved up to 6th grade math because you are a math whiz. You are a sponge. Everything facinates you. Your brain is filled with obscure information. I envy that in you. You have inheriated that trait from your dad.

You have started taking guitar lessons. Every Tuesday for a half in hour you learn white Stripes and Nirvana songs. This last month you've gotten pretty good.

Your doing boy scouts with our neighbor kid. You love all the fun adventures from that and have made lots of new friends.

This year you have also developed your first serious crush on our 14-year-old-neighbor. You and her take walks down to sprouts to buy candy and bake cookies togetether. she makes you play Just Dance with her which is pretty funny to witness. Basically you will do anything she tells you to do. She adores you and loves the undivided attention you give her. It's pretty adorable.

I love you so very much.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Photo Sneak Peak

We have a crazy story to go along with this years holiday pictures.
More to come once I get my Holiday cards in the mail and have more time.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holiday Hair

1. Use a large-barrel curling iron to create loose curls all around your head, from the ears down.
2. Part your hair in the middle, and use your fingers to loosen and separate the curls.
3. Starting halfway down the part, begin spritzing your roots with hairspray. Continue to the crown.
4. To create height and volume, tease the sprayed hair with a fine-tooth comb.
5. Use a brush to gently smooth the teased hair, and gather the sides up into a half ponytail.
6. Secure the sides with pins, then use your fingers to gently shape the curls into place.
7. End with shine spray. Try John Frieda Frizz-Ease 100% Shine Glossing Mist, at drugstores.
8. Voila! A hairdo worthy of Brigitte Bardot

Snagged from here:

Amelia in November

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

Things that happened during this year's Thanksgiving:

1. Jesse, my brother-in-law, informed us that he will be getting married to his new girlfriend, the one we all thought was a rebound fling. The wedding will take place in Korea this summer. I am excited to take an exotic vacation.

2. I forgot to make cranberries which are mine and Andrew's favorite side dish; also I neglected to make my Grandmother's apple pie.

3. Today, my father-in-law gifted Jacob with a case of Mexican Coca-Cola for his 11th birthday which is on next Friday. He always buys people food products for their birthdays. I think it is strange. Jacob was super into it though.

4. Before our meal I forced people to hula hoop. There is nothing more hysterical than watching grown people attempt to hula hoop.

5. The best thing I ate today was stuffing. I love stuffing. If I were stuck on an island I would be okay with only eating stuffing for the rest of my life.

6. At 10pm this evening Aaron got up from the coach, walked two feet and fell right on his face. This happens to him from time to time because his legs fall asleep and buckle when he attempts to walk. I laughed for ten consecutive minutes. So did my friend Nicole and her brother Danny.

7. This year I made Thanksgiving jars for everyone that came over for dinner. We wrote down our favorite things about each guest and placed them in the jar. We read them during dinner. It was fun. I think I will make it a tradition.

8. It is currently 11:24 and we are watching a film about a drug addicted writer played by Bradley Copper. It's not so good.

Thankful jars

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I wish I had this

I have become increasingly addicted to pinterest. My friend/hairdresser turned me on to it a few weeks ago. I found this amazing poster there the other day. I am love with it and want it for my entryway:

Thank You Rebecca Kiperts

I was starting to feel out of sorts when my Reader article didn’t accumulate any hate mail. Luckily, someone wrote a scathing letter to the editor. It is in this week’s letter section of the San Diego Reader. This is what they had to say:

Career Counselor

I believe Siobhan Braun needs a reality check (“For My Birthday, My Husband Bought Me a House,” Cover Story, November 17). You should be on your knees every night thanking God for a husband who loves you and three healthy (I assume, since you hardly mentioned them) children, as well as your house. If you got off your tush and got a job, you might realize how hard it is to earn a dollar these days, rather than whining that employers only want to look at your body. Go take a couple of classes at a community college so you can use their counseling office to see what you might be interested in learning to become good at: something besides housework and picking up dog poop. I’m not belittling those activities, they can be very rewarding and a blessing to your family, but once kids are in school, they don’t need you quite as much. Marriage is a partnership, and your husband is asking for your help (in a sort of roundabout, male way) — renegotiate! Have you saved for your retirement? Your children’s college education? Made a living trust in case, God forbid, he gets hit by a truck? Do you have enough life insurance? All these things cost money, just like those windows he researched so carefully, so as not to waste money. Sure, it’s easy to criticize when you’re not earning those dollars.

You write quite well; perhaps you could be an editor — maybe the Reader could use your skills — be a school bus driver — they’ll teach you how to discipline all kinds of kids — be a nurse (although you sound a bit too selfish for that), be a dog trainer (who doesn’t like golden retrievers?), just do something! It will be a good example to your kids that Mom worked hard to find a job. And your husband will be so grateful he might pick up his socks or learn to do laundry himself — do your kids do chores? Their future spouses will be grateful if they have skills as well!

Rebecca Kiperts
Mission Village

I read it to Aaron and he got a big huge chuckle. I think I will print it out and affix it to the fridge, that way any time I am feeling too pleased with myself I can read it and be reminded that I am seen as a poop picker-upper and as an individual far too selfish for nursing. Love it!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Growing Up

Last night Andrew went to his first girl/boy party. When he got back I asked him if he kissed a girl. He was not amused. Not at all.

Pictures from his recent etiquette dinner at school:

Wishlist for my Kids

Coat-Anthropologie kids, Shirt-Crew cuts, Other shirt-Etsy