Sunday, December 25, 2005

I Checked This List Twice

Merry Christmas!

It was a wonderful day. Rigel and I are flat broke, our house is a mess and the girls' teeth are falling out from too much candy, but we had a good Christmas.

Here is Kiyomi's Wish List. Between her and Kira they received items 1, 3, 4, 7. 8, 9, 13, and 19 from various family members. their lovely parents and SANTA.

Item #14 was so vague, Rigel and I just bought some CDs for ourselves.

We buried #18, and now we can't find it.

But item #11! How could we have overlooked this??!!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Everyone Is Getting A Lump Of Coal For Christmas

Oh dear.

I just did this again.

Only this time it was worse, because it took me two hours to realize it, and only then because I saw myself in the mirror.

I had put them on to take the girls to school this morning (so no one would recognize me. Because I hadn't brushed my hair. Or my teeth. Or changed out of my pajama top.) After I got home things got kind of chaotic as I attempted to eat breakfast while at the same time doing a flyer for a school fundraiser and answering the phone which seemed to ring every .01 seconds. I had to hurry because in a couple of hours I had to run out and buy enough food to feed seventy-five people at a banquet that I'm helping out with tomorrow.

Did I mention I'm taking the girls to a holiday show that my nephew is performing in tonight? Oh, and there's the school fundraiser tomorrow night, the school holiday show on Thursday (two separate performances for Kira, since she's in orchestra), two classroom parties on Friday, ice skating Friday afternoon and the girls friends' are coming over Friday night!

And a party to go to on Saturday, for which we have no sitter yet!

Did I also mention I have bought only two Christmas presents?

What was I talking about? Oh yes! The Sunglasses!

Is this the least of my worries? Do I sound panicked?

Hey! It's dark in here! Who turned the lights off?!

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Conversations From Hell

When attempting to purchase a Gameboy at Target:

Me: What color is it?

Target Lady: There's a sample (pointing to silver display model.)

Me: Great. I'll take it.

Me (just before handing over my credit card, JUST TO BE SURE): This is silver, right?

TL: No, it's grey.

Me: I thought you said it was silver, like the display.

TL: We're out of the silver. We only have grey and blue.

Me (head spinning): Uh, okay. What does the blue look like?

TL: It's JUST BLUE. Oh, and we have grey.

Me (hoping that Ashton Kutcher will jump out to tell me I've been Punk'd): Do you have a sample of the blue?

TL (Absolutely convinced that she is being helpful): I bought one for my sister, so I know what it looks like.

Me: Oh, then give me your sister's number. Then, have her upload a JPEG of it to my cell phone. Lastly, explain to me when you got your degree in ROCKET SCIENCE.

Ordering Chinese food:

Me: I'd like the Orange Chicken, but not spicy.

Takeout Guy: You want it mild?

Me: Yes, mild. It's for my kids.

TG (getting agitated): What does mild mean? People call, they ask for mild, not so spicy! This doesn't make sense! What does MILD mean? Not SO spicy? Not spicy? This is confusing to me!!

Me (afraid ): Uh, mild to me means NOT SPICY. I guess if I wanted it not SO spicy, I would just ask for Just A Little Bit Spicy.

TG (practically SPITTING now): So what are you trying to tell me? Mild? Not So Spicy? People use these words all the time! It makes no sense!

Me: (hoping that Ashton Kutcher will jump out to tell me I've been Punk'd): I would like my Orange Chicken NOT SPICY.

TG: You mean No Hot?

Me: Yes! Yes! That's it - NO HOT!

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Rigel and I have this routine, where once we take the final steps out of the girls' rooms after putting them to bed we collapse on the couch heaving big sighs of exhaustion and exasperation. You would think we had just done an triathalon, until you saw my thighs. Then we proceed to turn on the tv and channel surf for the next half hour or so, thinking this is just the thing to give us the inspiration to get up and get to other more constructive things like blogging or reading People magazine.

The other night as we clicked through an unsually dire selection of cable offerings we came upon a movie titled 'Man and Boy.' Surprisingly, this was not a Michael Jackson biopic but a western-themed movie from the 70's starring Bill Cosby. I was just about to change the channel during a particularly painful scene between a very serious Bill Cosby and a woman in bad Indian garb when Rigel remarked that he recognized the actress:

Rigel: She looks familiar. I think it's that woman from 'Will and Grace.'

Me (astounded, not only for the reason that he barely tolerates my late-night viewings of 'Will and Grace'): That's not...Omigod! It IS her. You recognized her? This is shocking. You are usually so bad with faces.

R: Excuse me? I'm good with faces.

M: No, you are SO bad with faces! That's your thing! In fact, you should change your name to 'Bad With Faces.'

R: Sheeeit. Aren't you the one who THINKS she's always seeing celebrities at Target?

M: But I do! Because I'm GOOD WITH FACES. You, on the other hand, never recognize ANYBODY, even if you've met them a gazillion times.

R: That just means I'm Bad With Names.

M: No, that makes you Bad With Faces. AND names.

R: Good god, woman. I'm going to bed.

M: Yes, that's right, run, run away, 'BAD WITH FACES!'

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Monday, December 05, 2005

'Thanksgiving, Part 2' or 'Wake Me Up Before You Go Go'

I just realized I never wrote, 'Thanksgiving, Part 2' because I'm so tired.

It's the post where I was going to talk about things other than the trailer-park grub, my psychotic behavior and that whore, Martha Stewart. It's the one where I would talk lovingly and not sarcastically about my family and how grateful I am for them and even though we see way way too much of each other I still look forward to our get-togethers and how awesome it is that Kira and Kiyomi are growing up surrounded by such a big, loving extended family.

I would go on and on about how proud I am of my nieces and nephews and how they are growing up to be amazing people and all seem to have an obnoxious, sarcastic sense of humor that runs in both Rigel and my families. I would get all teary-eyed when I recount how the older kids all take such good care of the younger ones and I would start to cry real tears of joy when I think of all the free babysitting coming our way. If I wasn't so tired I would post a picture of my two nieces, Allie and Beth, who were flower girls at our wedding and who are now beautiful college girls who spend alot of time at these family gatherings bemoaning the absence of any boyfriends and how, at 21, THEY JUST KNOW they are destined to die alone in an apartment filled with cat poop.

I would be embarrassed to admit it but I would confess how we all still crack each other up with moronic jokes and truly think that taking photos of each other sleeping and drooling is high comedy. If I weren't so sleep-deprived I might be able to recount word for word the conversation that took place between my two brothers that sounded like something out of a Woddy Allen movie, about being a cheapskate and buying things that originally cost $50 but are marked down to $30 and not ponying up the extra $20 for our gift exchange and how IT'S NOT IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT TO BE SO CHEAP, and ended with my brother exclaiming IT IS NOT THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS!!!

If I could stay awake long enough I would go into detail about my brother's future in-laws who are all wonderful people but I think are a little freaked out by my family and all the trash-talking and bathroom humor. I would definitely want to tell the story about me and two of my sister-in-laws and how we were joking, rather convincingly I now see, about drinking LOTS OF WINE and then pretending to drink right out of the bottles, you know, to WASH THE CRACK DOWN, and laughing kind of maniacally and how one of the future in-laws said to me, rather worriedly, later on, "I see you like to drink LOTS OF WINE." I guess I would try to convey how guilty I feel about possibly making my brother's future in-laws think that their daughter is marrying into a family of alcoholics, drug addicts and low-brows and how they may be right about at least two of those.

Really, I wish I could write about these things but I have to go take a nap.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

'Thanksgiving, Part 1' or 'I Did The Defrost
And Now I'm Chill'

Thanksgiving was a big success. Preparation for a party of 35 was stressful, but I managed to get through the whole shebang without having a stroke or lashing-out at loved ones excessively. Some have even gone so far as to say it was the 'Best Thanksgiving Ever' and I'm inclined to go along with that, seeing as I heard the distinction comes with a trophy of some sort and a small cash award.

One of my secrets to sanity this year was promising myself that I would not cook anything. For Thanksgiving, my mom always insists on cooking the turkey, and usually I volunteer myself for mashed potatoes and a couple of other things. (My reputation for the Bringer Of The Potatoes is a little tarnished, though, ever since the Thanksgiving at my brother's when I showed up 2-1/2 hours late. Mainly because Martha Stewart had instructed women everywhere that in order to make an authentic Mashed Potato concoction one must use a food mill. Yes, a FOOD MILL! It's A Good Thing! And so I did! And it took me three hours just to get all those potatoes through that stinkin contraption that she behooved me to buy. That whore.)

This year I decided to pick up a Honeybaked Ham and do a couple of appetizers. The ham cost me $65, which is pretty pricey for a hunk of meat encrusted in sugar. When the Honeybaked man offered to 'slice the ham around the bone' for me I cracked that for $65 he should really come to our house and serve it while naked . Then the police came and everything is a blur.

For past get-togethers I have attempted to flex my culinary muscles and got all high-brow by making things like this. And this. Oh and then there were these. But then they were met with the following comments, respectively:

"What IS that? Is that white stuff EGG?"

"Sort of like salsa. But definitely not salsa. I LIKE SALSA."

"Hey, this crap really tastes awful!" (Nobody really said this, but I know they were thinking it.)

Memories of my beautifully plated canapés being trampled by various family members in their rush to chow down the last of the cocktail wienies made me decide to dig way down deep and pull out my inner trailer park. Picking up these beauties at Costco made me want to rush home and give my man a mullet:

These were accompanied by a box of Trader Joes crackers and a tray of packaged, pre-washed veggies. My piece de resistance was a platter of frozen cooked shrimp and jarred cocktail sauce which brought on many compliments and praising of my deft defrosting skills. I came up with the brilliant idea of adding a dollop of horseradish to the sauce and all of those around me were certain they were in the presence of culinary genius.

Honestly, I really liked the no-cooking rule and plan to implement it more in the future. To be able to sanely greet my guests without buckets of grease dripping off my face because I just sauteéd three hundred chicken tenders - well that was nice! And Rigel commented how much calmer I was at this gathering and expressed gratitude for the absence of my customary pre-party mania that usually starts off with a psychotic blitzkrieg of home-improvement and ends with me trying to castrate him with a pair of ice tongs.

The Best Thanksgiving Ever? Yes, I would have to agree.

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Monday, November 21, 2005


I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year. This means that in two days our home will be descended upon by 35 people, all here for one purpose: to take note of my poor homemaking skills.

Rigel tried to trick me by telling me that we're getting together to celebrate a day of giving thanks with family and close friends, but I know deep down that what will be on everyone's mind is what in Satan's hell is that odor coming from my fridge. Or geez what is that stain on the cabinet over there. And over there. And let's not forget their judging as they wander into our master bathroom and wonder aloud how in heavens name anybody would ever want to take a shower in there.

Due to my neurotic urges I am compelled to actually point out these shortcomings, bringing attention to some things not even visible to the naked eye. For instance, If someone says, "Nice studio!" I will very likely follow that up with, "Don't look in that corner, over there behind the desk. I haven't vacuumed back there in years." Much like those pharmaceutical ads that show a happy, smiling lady on a bicycle but then warn of serious side effects such as constipation, dementia, toenail fungus, exploding bowels or buttocks rashes, I like to warn people what they are getting when they walk through my door.

Many first time visitors to my house are subjected to what I call my 'Disclaimer Tour.' This is where I show people around, and point out various things that we have neglected to fix or things that are just plain ugly, and then come up with a 'Disclaimer' for it so as not to appear to be a total loser. For example, our bathroom still has spackle patches on the walls from when we first moved in and had our wiring re-done. This was THREE YEARS AGO. After I show them my bathroom, I will point to those patches and say, "We are in the process of re-modeling this bathroom." They will be none the wiser, until of course they come back in a few months and they ask why those patches are still there. At that point I will tell them we are "remodeling the remodel" or "Get out of my house." Either way my secret will be safe.

So if you are one of the lucky ones to be coming to our house this Thursday, skip the 'Happy Thanksgivings' and cut to the chase. Go ahead and ask me what that smell is.

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Sadly, I Have Two Posts Today

Kira has this new thing she's doing lately, where when asked a question she will occasionally preface her answer with "Sadly..." As in:

What is your homework tonight?
Sadly, I have math and science.

This amuses us, mainly because she is so deadpanned and serious about it. And as with most things that are funny in small doses, Rigel and I feel the need to run with it and beat it into the ground. So we have taken to using it too.

How is your shoulder feeling?
Sadly, it feels like it's being sawed off with a dull pocket knife.

What's for dinner tonight?
Sadly, spaghetti and meatballs, and a lovely salad.

What time should we get there?
Sadly, the movie starts at eight, but we should get there early so we don't miss the previews!

After twelve years of marriage, is this the kind of crap that just CRACKS US UP?
Sadly, yes it is.

Archive File: Married

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'My Weekend, In Detail' or 'Why People Hate Blogs'

Really, isn't reading someone's blog post about what they did over the weekend just so tortuous, so mind-numbingly boring as to make you want to drive nails into your skull just to escape the suffering?

Okay, then, let us proceed.

What is so remarkable about this past weekend wasn't so much the number of things we did (lots) but the mere fact that we did anything at all, besides lay around the house in our pajamas eating bacon.

It started off on Friday, with a trip to Universal Studios. Rigel and I have managed to avoid this place all these years; we are just not 'theme park people.' We often wonder what in tarnations kind of 'people' we are. Suggestions everyone!

This trip was for the birthday of a classmate of Kira's, and his parents were generous enough to invite our entire family along, paying for three admissions and food for the entire day. In all there were eighteen of us - nine kids and nine adults, which added up to a hefty bill I'm sure, and made me feel guilty for my plans for Kira's next party when I intend to take her and her friends to Costco and let them fill up on free samples.

I don't photograph well before I've had my coffee.

The biggest adventure of the day was lunch. Trying to find room for eighteen people to sit and fetching food for nine kids was a challenge. Rigel and another dad scouted out a sweet spot upstairs away from the thronging crowds while the rest of the parents hustled into line to retrieve all manner of fatty, trans-fat-laden foodstuffs. At one point I counted eight parents in line, and came to the realization that Rigel was upstairs, alone with all nine kids. Twenty minutes later when we arrived with all the rations we found him slumped in a chair weeping while all the kids were in a corner fighting over a crack pipe. He threatened to give himself a vasectomy on the spot.

It is my policy to never post other people's children on my website, so here I give you the feet of the entire posse.

The top half of the photo shows them all picking their noses and eating their boogers, so BE HAPPY WITH THE PHOTO OF THE FEET.

The day ended with a visit from Curious George, or as I like to call him, 'Da Curious G!'

One of the kids in our party kept poking him and pulling his tail, so at one point Curious G grabbed him in a bear hug and wouldn't let go and rubbed his head while the kid screamed. We were all laughing and happy he got what he deserved. Until we found out it was Michael Jackson in the monkey suit. That was creepy.

We left the park at around 6:30 and took the girls straight to our friends' house and Rigel and I headed out for our Friday Night Out. I don't have any photos of this but there was lots of food. Oh and some wine. And oh look more wine.

Saturday morning we got up bright and early and went to the Staples Center to see the Women's Tennis Championships. This is a ritual we've been doing with our friends and their two daughters for the past three years. The main reason we go is to let the girls dance around holding up signs so they can get on the jumbo tron. So far we are three for three. Whenever we knew the 'crowd cam' was rolling we would yell at the girls to "Dance and smile! More! More," sort of like a bunch of drunken conventioneers urging on a pole dancer.

Here is a picture of Her Hotness, Maria Sharapova, serving.

While she was playing I was truly impressed with all the jokes the men came up with revolving around the words 'balls' and 'forehand.'

Here are a couple of pictures Kiyomi took. She took the self-portrait with my cell phone.

I think she may have a future as a photographer! You know, should the pole-dancing thing fall through.

We left after five exhausting hours of tennis, and headed straight for a dinner party in another city. Here is a picture of my friend R. with her daughter Z.

Once again with the creative cropping but for some reason all requests to post pix of my friends on this website are met with a resounding, "Hellz no."

That was our weekend! Please hold your applause, internet.

Archive File: Married | Offspring | Family

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

When They Ask Me What Sex Is, I Hope To Be In A Movie Theater

Kiyomi lost another tooth at school yesterday. Either that or the lure of the cash monies left under her pillow by the Tooth Fairy is leading her to pull them out herself, I'm not sure. For all I know, she could be yanking out her permanent teeth and I wouldn't even know, since staring into her cavernous maw is not something I do very often. Let's just say that if you see her, toothless, gumming a piece of pizza and her Hello Kitty purse is stuffed with suspicious amounts of cash you'll figure it out.

In anticipation of the Tooth Fairy's arrival last night she wrapped her tooth in a piece of Kleenex and put it in her Tooth Fairy pillow (after removing it from yet another adorable mini treasure chest bestowed upon her by our lovely school nurses.) Then she started her musings aloud about the forthcoming bounty: "I wonder how much I'll get? Three dollars? Four dollars? Five dollars? How much do I need to get a Nintendo SP? I wonder if I'll see her tonight? What time does she usually leave the money? Why does she always leave dollar bills and never coins? MOMMY, ARE YOU THE TOOTH FAIRY?

This last question stopped me in my tracks. My hand froze above the bowl of Cheetos and my half-caf-dry-cappuccino began to grow cold as the weight of her question hung in the air and time stood very, very still. "Uhhhh, now, the deal with the Tooth Fairy is the same as with Santa, and remember what we told you about him. As long as YOU BELIEVE, THEY EXIST." This priceless gem of an explanation seemed to get us through last year's Santa inquest so I figured it would do the trick now. Wrong.

"Well, I KIND of think you're the tooth fairy. And, you wouldn't LIE to me, would you?"

I would like to say that I came clean and taught my child a valuable lesson that day about truth, honor and the crass commercialism that is the Tooth Fairy. I would like to say that my honesty in this situation led to a deep meaningful dialogue between us that opened the door to a richer, fuller mother-daughter relationship, one not built on the illicit trading of teeth for cash. But, uh, no.

I sat there, the wheels in my small rodent brain spinning wildly out of control as I struggled to come up with an appropriate answer to save my pathetic, lying ass. Then, at that precise moment a particular song came on the radio, one that is sung by a boy-singer that the girls particularly dislike and causes them to squeal in disgust and begin chanting a variation of his name that they made up and are particularly proud of. And so the day was saved, and my parental integrity left shockingly intact by the cries of:


Thank you, thank you, Radio Disney.

Archive File: Offspring

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Only Forty More Shopping Days Until Christmas

I don't know about you, but I'll be asking my man for Brisket By Calvin Klein.

Can't wait to see the looks on their faces when you reach between your legs and offer them some beer!

Hey, I'm not CHEAP. I'm CRAFTY.


Archive File: Random

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Lightening Strikes Twice

I received this in the mail last Tuesday, barely one week after the day I spent in the bloated bowels of our judicial system:

When I did my mandatory check-in by phone today, this is what I got:

Recording: Press '1' to find out whether you need to report for Jury Service. Press '2' if you are requesting an excuse or transfer. Press '3' if you WILL KICK SOME SERIOUS JUDICIAL ASS IF YOU HAVE TO TELL YOUR STORY ONE MORE TIME TO A JUDGE.

Jury 'Agent': What is the reason for the excuse you are requesting?

Me: I appeared for jury service less than two weeks ago, then I was excused by the judge.

Agent: You mean you were granted a postponement.

Me: No, I was excused, for childcare issues, by an ornery old coot, and I also have a Certification Of Jury Service that says I served on November 2, 2005.

Agent: Okay, well, what I'm trying to get at is, were you excused, or did you get excused to be put on another trial or were you granted a postponement and can you explain it again 'cause I'm SLOW AS SHIT.

Me: What I'M TRYING TO GET AT IS, I ALREADY SERVED two weeks ago. I have a piece of paper, in my hand that is CURLING INTO A FIST, that says I was 'Summoned by the court and performed jury service on 11-02-05' which means I can't be called again for a whole year and it's signed by a Jury Supervisor and has a VERY official looking seal on it depicting a woman holding up the Scales Of Justice and don't make me come down there and show you 'cause you will have one angry, over-summoned bitch on your hands.

Agent: Oh, I see. You've ALREADY. SERVED. Just send in a copy of that certificate with your Jury summons.

Me: (Muffled scream, and then the sound of breaking glass.)

Archive File: This Life

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Monday, November 07, 2005


True: When Kira was two and just learning to talk, she pointed to a Starbucks logo and said, "Mama."

True: A friend once refused to order me my grande-half-caf-double-low-fat-dry-cappuccino because he didn't want anyone thinking that he was was one of 'those people.'

True: First this made me laugh, then it made me very, very afraid.

Archive File: Random | This Life

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Friday, November 04, 2005

Jury Doodie

Let me introduce myself. I am Juror #16543.

I like sunsets, puppies and walks on the beach. I also like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. Last but not least I like being treated like a five-year old while sitting on my fat ass for eight hours in a wood-paneled room waiting for my name to be called.

Oh, and I'M BITTER.

I didn't always have this bad attitude about performing my civic duty. Back in my twenties, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I used to send back the jury summons with exclamations like, "Available anytime! I mean it! Call me!" and decorated with hearts and smiley faces. Of course, I fully expected to show up in court wearing a my leather miniskirt and fishnets and make some unsuspecting lawyer my husband, but that's beside the point. I was young, idealistic and had time on my hands.

Fast forward to present day. Would I be able to serve my government, my community, by serving on a panel of twelve upstanding men and women who decide the fate of an individual accused of a crime? No, not when I have two young children who I need to pick up from school at 2:30, help with their homework and feed snacks to. Not to mention other important duties including attending PTA meetings, delivering forgotten homework and cutting out construction paper circles on 'Craft Day.' And that's what I told the nice man on the phone when I followed the instructions on the jury summons that said, 'You must register as a juror by phone, regardless of your ability to serve or any lame excuses you may be cooking up in that small head of yours." And his answer to me was, "Get a babysitter for Wednesday, November 2nd, and be prepared to tell your excuse to a judge."

There was still the chance I wouldn't actually have to show up. I was instructed to phone the Jury Hot Line on the Tuesday night before my appointed time and get my 'Jury Instructions' for the following day. This was all starting to sound kind of exciting now, sort of Mission Impossibile-ish, and I fantasized about a man with an undetermined accent instructing me to show up the next morning naked under a trenchcoat, proceed to the snack bar and look for the unmarked manila envelope hidden underneath the nachos machine. Instead what I got was a robotic voice telling me to report for duty the next morning at 7:30am.

(I panicked as I did the math: in order to be downtown by 7:30 I would have to leave by 6:30, which meant I would have to wake up by 5:45, and this was if I were to forego any make-up and merely run the brush over the top layer of my hair, which was fine since my plan was to look as unappealing as possible so as to single myself out as unprofessional, unkempt or merely insane and therefore not a good jury candidate.)

One of the first things they did when they got us assembled in the Jury Room was to ask if there was anyone trying to weasel their way out of service by fabricating an excuse fraught with lies and deceit. My arm shot up as I squealed, "Me, Me!" and was sent with the other lying liars to the Hall Of Records, located 2 blocks away, to tell our sob story to an 'Agent.' This made me slightly uneasy, as I pictured being lashed to a post by a man in a black leather hood and being told "You VILL put the cheeldren in the child care!" as his one-armed assistant came at me with an electric prod. No such luck, as no sooner had I gotten into the Agent's office than he informed me that he couldn't help me, as my children were not under the age of five, and I would have to talk to a judge. "But, couldn't the mindless drones in the Jury Room have TOLD me that before I hauled my ass all the way over here?" I asked innocently. "Sorry, no" he replied. "We're all basically evil, sadistic people who enjoy seeing you dash frantically back and forth between two buildings. Now run along."

I proceeded back to the courthouse and waited for another SIX HOURS before we were actually called into a courtroom and allowed to plead our case. (I'm going to leave out the pathetic part where I spent most of my hour-and-a-half lunch break, on a beautiful sunny day, sitting in my car, recharging my cell phone that had died, because, well, it's just so PATHETIC.) Once we were assembled and the judge explained the case that we were being considered for and the fact that it would be lasting a minimum of SEVENTEEN DAYS, he started the process of singling out those that were looking to be excused. He first asked if there were any people who had planned and paid for vacations they couldn't re-schedule and practically every hand in the room went up and were followed by incredible stories of cruises to Tahiti and treks across the Himalayas.

I sat there feeling very smug, as I knew when my turn came, I was the only one who had a REAL excuse. The judge would be so moved by my plight, and the fact that I had honored my summons and appeared there today, and he would be even kind of apologetic, actually, and offer to reimburse me for my time and we would crack a few jokes together and have real RAPPORT, people, and he would call the Jury Drones downstairs and scold them for wasting my time and to let me go home immediately and to give me a stapler or whatever other office supplies they had lying around on their desk, just as you know, a token of how sorry they were.

So imagine my SURPRISE when it went more like this:

Judge: Does anyone here have childcare issues that would prevent you from serving on this jury?

Me: Ooooh! Me! Me! I have issues! And ones concerning childcare, too!

Judge: Yes ma'am. You there with the crazy eyes and the shitty hairdo. What say ye?

Me: Well, your honor, I have two children, seven and nine, who I need to pick up from school everyday at 2:30.

Judge (with an incredulous tone): Ma'am, what made you think you could serve on a jury with those hours?

Me (feeling rather defensive): Wellll, I DIDN'T think I could serve, which is what I told the man on the phone and the other fifteen people who work here, but they still said I had to present my case to you. Your Honor.

Judge: First of all, why does your school get out so early? And second of all, doesn't your school have after-hours care?

Me (getting MAD now, and imagining how I was going to SO call Gloria Allred when I got home to plead my case about forced childcare, and my choice to be a stay-at-home mom) Uhhhm, MOST schools in this city get out at 2:15, YOUR HONOR, and regarding after-school care, I choose NOT to leave my YOUNG CHILDREN, out on the playground after school. YOUR HONOR. SIR.

Judge: And, how is it that you were able to make it here today? It's already after 2:15.

Me (feeling giddily homicidal) Well, you see, YOUR, UH, HONOR? my husband, WHO HAS A JOB, is leaving that job, driving the 40 minutes over the hill to pick up our children and driving another 40 minutes back to his office where he is watching them now, at his office, where he works, AT HIS JOB. HONOR. YOUR'E SO HONOR.

Judge: And...that wouldn't be possible to do while you were serving on a jury?

Me (contemplating how I was going to reach into his throat and pull out his spleen): Well, no, not on a daily basis, YOUR FUCKING HONOR.

Judge: Very well. Have a seat.

One can see where the seeds of my bitterness and bad attitude were planted.

After another forty five minutes of excuse taking, he informed me and the other woman there who had young children that we were excused from serving. I will spare you the loud cursing and hand gestures that ensued after we had gone downstairs, checked in with the clerk and were told that we STILL HAD TO STAY UNTIL THE END OF THE DAY, even though the judge had excused us.

I am Juror #16543 and this is my story.

Archive File: This Life

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Monday, October 31, 2005

I'm Drooling Just Thinking About It

Here are the items I will be covertly removing from the girls' halloween bags tonight and storing in my pillowcase for secret consumption:

- Whoppers
- Baby Ruth bars
- $10,000 bars
- Hershey's kisses, caramel only
- Wax lips
- Starbucks cards
- Money, bills only. (I let them keep the change 'cause I'm such a nice momma!)
- Meat products
- Tequila lollipops

Archive File: This Life

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

People, People Who Need People

So yesterday we had our monthly PTA meeting at the girls' school. But this time, instead of spending the entire hour begging for money, thinking of ways to raise money or imagining all the money we would be rolling in if we were all supermodels instead of mothers of grade-school children, we had a presentation by our school nurses. We managed to find time in our agenda for them between 'Groveling For Dollars' and 'Shameless Pleas For Cash' and that felt good.

We see alot of each other, these two nurses and I. Because of a strange architectural anomaly that exists in the entrance of our school, it is sometimes necessary to walk through their office in order to enter the campus. With all the time I spend there this amounts to many intrusions on their personal space, clumsily banging through with my loud shoes and oversized purse and generally making a nuisance of myself. They are always so good natured about these trespassings, cheerily greeting me and everyone who walks through - I almost feel that they would offer you a seat, a pot of tea and a wafer if they didn't have to tend to that pale kid in the chair heaving up big chunks of his breakfast. I have no doubt that if I were faced with the same constant interruption of bodies swaggering through my workspace I would be a raving lunatic, threatening everybody with a syringe filled with horse tranquilizer.

The presentation they gave was required by the district detailing the school's emergency plans and procedures. In light of all the natural disasters occurring almost weekly, I feel good knowing that my children are in a place where people actually take the words 'Earthquake Kit' and 'Preparedness' seriously, since you can bet if the Big One hits while we're at home, Rigel, the girls and I will all be scratching each other's eyes out for that lone piece of beef jerky and the can of root beer we have tucked away 'just in case.' I was duly impressed with their inventory of emergency supplies (enough food and water for everyone for THREE DAYS), and by the time they got to the part about the 'Bathroom In A Box' I was begging them to let my family and all our relatives move in.

Our babysitter picked up the girls from school yesterday and when I got home, Kiyomi couldn't wait to tell me her 'surprise': her loose tooth (or as she now pronounces it, "toof") had finally fallen out. She told me that her teacher had sent her to the nurses' office, and then she showed me this sticker they gave her along with this teeny tiny little treasure box to hold her tooth. It struck me what a simple, loving gesture this was and how I felt very lucky that these women are there looking out for my girls, since THEIR OWN MOTHER usually just unceremoniously wraps it in a square of toilet paper before propping it up next to their pillow.

If this doesn't just make you cry, well, your heart is a cold, small stone.

Archive File: Offspring | This Life

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Monday, October 24, 2005

I'm Getting My Period In Around Three Days YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?

Okay, she is really starting to get on my nerves.

Seriously, somebody stop these two.

For the love of God, don't let this happen.

Jeez, people, can we forget the bird flu for one second and stop this from spreading?

Just whip him, whip him good.

Oh crap, wasn't she the former head of the Arabian Horse Association?

Hey you, touch my steak, and DIE.

Thank you. That's all for now.

Archive File: Cranky

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Me And Halloween Are All
Reunited And It Feels So Good

I totally reverse my previous views on Halloween.

Because now I've found the perfect costume.

(Thanks, Kim)

Archive File: This Life.

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Gives New Meaning To The Phrase, "I'll Fry Yer Ass"

If you're wondering what to get me for Christmas, look no further:

It's a Stove! It's a Chair! It's a Totally Unsanitary Idea!

(via BoingBoing)

Archive File: Random

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

But I Like The Mini Babe Ruth Bars

I don't like Halloween.

It's not from a lack of trying. I've bought the Halloween flag and gone to to the pumpkin patch to haul back pounds and pounds of pumpkins which we then carved into astonishing works of art, Pumpkin Picassos if you will! (Seriously. If I showed you pictures you would have total SQUASH ENVY.) I've flung fake spider webs hither and yon across trees and shrubs and scoured the aisles of Target for the perfect scary-but-cute door hanger! And I've passed out candy - lots of candy and not the cheap kind but the kinds with brand names - and taken my girls trick-or-treating faithfully every year! But I confess I find it extremely difficult to hide my apathy for this 'holiday.'

Witness a recent conversation:

Mommy, what are you going to be for Halloween?
A Mommy.
That is so boring.
Okay, what about toxic mold?

I don't remember being particularly fond of Halloween as a child, either. I can't really explain why, although I'm sure a detailed psychological profile would reveal a latent fear of orange or perhaps an aversion to my neighborhood being invaded by tiny superheroes and wee princesses. I recall that when Rigel and I first started dating he suggested we go to an 'industry' (read: lots of geeks that do the same thing you do) Halloween party. I agreed, and then started stressing over a costume, because when you first start dating someone it's all about the sexy clothes! And the hair! And I wasn't about to go to a party and mingle amongst my peers (no matter how geeky) dressed as a Viking or a penguin (those two come to mind because for some reason I remember them from the party. Along with a Woody Allen and his Soon Yi, and a guy with his parasitic twin. Creative people are such cut ups!) Rigel came up with the idea of Morticia and Gomez from the Addams Family. This was in my early artist days when my wardrobe consisted of all things black, so I didn't have to do much in terms of preparation. At the party, someone commented "Great costume!" as I mused to myself, "Sucka! This is what I wore to work today." That was one of the last times I remember dressing up for Halloween.

Becoming a parent increased the stress tenfold, what with the frantic rush in the first days of October as your child decides what to be and then you go about attempting to make it from scratch. Because you know, if you don't make your child's fairy costume from an old car cover, some homemade paste and a toilet paper roll your child will NEVER GET INTO COLLEGE and you will be tormented by taunts of BAD MOMMY whilst she slithers through the Halloween parade in her store-bought travesty. The last costume I actually made was around four years ago. Kira wanted to be Pocahontas, so I found a dress at the thrift store and set about sewing on trim (actual SEWING, people - real mommies DON'T USE GLUE GUNS), making her 'Indian' jewelry and even making some moccasins out of brown felt that slipped on over her shoes. Here it is:

This little costume, this getup that she wore for exactly two hours, took me around three hundred hours to make and probably cost as much as if I flew to the Smithsonian and bought a authenticated and hermetically sealed Pocohantas garment. Rigel put the kibosh on any further Halloween do-it-yourself projects after he witnessed my manic all-night sewing session and the morning after when I was spewing real flames from my nostrils.

Now, I whip out the Party City catalog, have the girls circle their desired costumes and go wait in line with all the sane parents, sipping our cappuccinos and wondering what to do with all our spare time while our counterparts are at home, hunched over sewing machines fastening on the last of the five-thousand hand-woven tassels on little Apple's cabaret ensemble. Sadly, I don't know if my girls will ever don a homemade costume again, unless they want to be something that's easy to make like, say, a toll-booth operator or a walking trash bag, and you know then I'll be all about the glue gun.

Archive File: Offspring | This Life

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Desperate Housewife

Fridays are special. This is the day the girls have their ice skating lessons which they have been looking forward to all week. I also look forward to it because they go to these lessons with their very best friends, Sophia and Samantha, and for a whole hour I get to sit and drink coffee with one of their parents and have interaction with another human who isn't asking me to get them a snack or begging for Pokémon cards. Friday nights are also special because for two of these a month Sophia and Samantha's parents, our friends Lisé and Bruce, take all four girls back to their house while Rigel and I get the evening to ourselves. We just started this trading-off of babysitting duties a few weeks ago but so far it's working out great, since even when it's our turn to have all of them at our place Kira and Kiyomi are fully engrossed and occupied with their friends, saving Rigel and I from having to provide enriching activities for our children like the making of math flash cards or elaborate macramé projects which is what we've always meant to do but actually have never done.

This past Friday was our turn to venture out, and we decided to do something creative and cultural instead of staying home and drinking pre-mixed margaritas right out of the bottle while we watched TV, which is something else we've always meant to do but actually have never done. We decided to go see Sandra Tsing Loh's one-woman play, 'Mother On Fire' which, while being an excellent title for a play also seems to sum up my perpetual state of being.

The evening didn't get off to a great start, since I neglected to look up the address of the theater and instead of being in Santa Monica it was actually closer to downtown L.A. This resulted in a frenzied drive across town with me at the wheel of our van cursing frequently and making liberal use of my upturned, middle finger while Rigel, his knuckles white and the color drained from his face, kept repeating the mantra, "It's just a play. Don't let me die." We made it in time though, and the evening got better when a friendly lady at the door motioned to a counter and uttered the two words I most wanted to hear at that moment, "Complimentary wine."

The performance was amazing and funny and insightful and championed a cause close to my heart, public schools, and captured the whole stressed L.A.-school parent dilemma perfectly. By the end of the show Sandra Tsing Loh was my new role model, surpassing Oprah (but not Will Smith) on my list of people Most Worthy Of Stalking. She's smart! And witty! And pretty! Maybe even prettier than Will Smith, in a less-coiffed kind of way.

As we were walking through the small lobby bemoaning our dull and insignificant lives, Rigel motioned towards the door and whispered, "It's her." I remember squealing like a chimp, realizing that I was within speaking distance of Ms. Loh, and proceeded to knock over an elderly theater patron or two in order to gain an audience with my new idol. At this point Rigel made up some excuse like having to go to the bathroom or having to wash his car, which was obviously just so that he didn't have to stand there and watch his wife LOSE HER SHIT.

And oh, the shit I lost! How I fawned! And drooled! In between dropping to my knees to clean her toenails and brushing her hair with my fingers I managed to spew out gems like "I've read all of your books!" and "I am the PTA president!" It's all a blur, but I have the vague memory of offering her all the contents of my purse and perhaps suggesting our families vacation together - why, I have two girls, too! Yours like malls and hotel rooms? Why, so do mine! She was so gracious, and respectfully refrained from groaning when I asked her to sign my program. She chatted with us for a few minutes (Rigel re-emerged when I agreed to release her from my bear hug) until some other pushy, way-less-interesting-than-us groupies barged into our private party to talk about things with little artistic or cultural merit. Philistines!

I did manage to leave one, last pathetic impression on her though, by slipping her my blog-card. I'm sure it was a coincidence that after this transaction the theater doors immediately closed shut and a large bolt could be heard sliding into place while a cadre of security guards personally escorted Rigel and I back to our van. Sandra, if you're reading this, I was SO joking about the Loh Shrine I'm going to build out of our ticket stubs and the strands of your hair I ripped out. Really!

Archive File: This Life

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Big Scary Things

As a parent, I've always wondered when the moment would arrive that my children would discover that I am, in fact, a mere mortal and not the myth-like figure they've propped me up to be, infallible, brave and able to leap tall ottomans in a single bound.

Unfortunately, that moment came on Tuesday night.

I was coming back into the house after feeding our cat, when a huge moth decided to follow me in and wreak havoc on my peaceful domicile. Let me stop here and type the word HUGE in BIG CAPITAL LETTERS to emphasize that this sucker was major, bigger than a breadbox and with a head the size of a cabbage. And oh the mighty wind caused by the flapping of its wings! I tried to keep it out but it wedged one of its big muscular legs in the door and pushed me aside. An appropriate analogy would be, 'I was Tokyo, and he was Mothra.'

I began my usual lunatic-like screaming and mad windmill-like flailing of the arms, which I feel is the appropriate response when ones life is being threatened by an enormous, winged creature. Rigel wasn't home to come to my aid (although even if he was home, by the time he arrived on the scene the monster would be enjoying its after-diinner cigarette, having already feasted on my limbs) so I grabbed a coat hanger to ward off the impending beast (because the coat hanger, it is an effective weapon against the flying enemy! Take that! And then hang up your parka, you nasty varmint!)

Of course, all this screaming by their mother, their protector and symbol of security, brought Kira and Kiyomi running out of their rooms to my aid. Upon seeing the object of my terror, Kiyomi, looking annoyed, grabbed a fly-swatter and began chasing the flying offender, while Kira attempted to calm me down by giving me vodka in a sippy cup. This was followed by both of them remarking how small it was, and how they couldn't believe how much I was screaming, followed by me shutting them up when I wondered out loud what it felt like if Santa skipped your house. Kiyomi finally swatted the thing dead after it landed on a cabinet to catch its breath and sharpen its fangs. Thus I was saved from a certain death by my own children, effectively flushing years of authoritative parenting down the toilet. You just try telling a couple of seven and nine-year-olds to clean their room after they've had to kill a bug for you.

At least we think she got it. We couldn't find the body and I never got a good look at where it fell - it's hard to see when you're huddled in a corner covering your eyes.

Archive File: Offspring | This Life

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I Can't Wait To Put THIS On My Next Invitation

Tonight Kira had a sheet of homework that consisted of a list of abbreviations that she had to write out the meaning for. A few of them she figured out herself (st., bldg., misc., etc.) and for the ones she didn't know I suggested she look them up on

Kira: Hmmm. 'R.S.V.P.' I've seen this before. I'm going to look it up.

Me: Did you find it?

Kira (writing): Yes.

Me: Tell me what it means.

Kira: Revolutionary Surrealist Vandal Party.

Archive File: Offspring

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Going Postal

One of the casualties of our recent home improvement flurry (more on that later, MORE MORE MORE until your head explodes) is the elimination of our mail slot. When we bought our house we had two, one in the door and one permanently imbedded in the entryway, but with the installation of our new door and the poorly-planned plastering-over of our other mail slot we are left with none.

Then there is the issue of Rigel and I not being able to find a mailbox that is aesthetically happening while still being adequately functional, meaning can it look hip while shielding our bills and letters from the elements while still enabling us to receive our mail without having to step too far out of our house so as to be seen by other humans or other intelligent lifeforms? How we struggle, us modern creative types! (Oh, here's a joke I just made up: How long does it take two designers to put up a mailbox? Fifteen years and five minutes. Fifteen years to pick one out and five minutes to drive the nail in! Hahahahah!!) Bottom line: Our house is, sadly, bereft of an official repository for my People and Oprah magazines.

This has gotten our mail carrier's panties all tied up in a knot. Not to mention the fact that he is our substitute mail carrier, who are usually malcontents to begin with, burdened with having to take on another comrades load while that slacker is off at some Club Med Postmaster's Retreat soaking up the sun and showing some unsuspecting mailbag hottie his discreetly and intimately positioned 'Do Not Bend' tattoo.

A few days ago there was a knock at the door, which is unsettling enough, what with having to stop my game of Tetris and put on some pants. I was greeted by a visibly irritated mailman, holding a bundle of our mail in one hand and glowering at me. "Do you HAVE a mailbox?" he sneered. I started to regale him with my redecorating woes and the demise of said mail slot, offering him a chair and a nice glass of chardonnay, but he just thrust the bundle into my hands and mumbled, "GET A MAILBOX" while he walked away, shaking his head.

He repeated this charming routine again the next day, only instead of shaking his head he did one of those sucking-air-through-your-teeth kind of whistles followed by an impressive rolling-of-the-eyes as he walked away. I considered for a moment giving him a hard kick in his wide khaki-clad ass as he walked down the steps but thought of my children who would miss me so as I wasted away in solitary for assaulting a government employee.

The next day he pounded on the door and once again inquired, "Have you gotten a mailbox, YET?" Seeing as it had been a WHOLE FREAKIN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS since he had last appeared on my doorstep to point out my mail receptacle shortcomings, I started to apologize profusely, explaining that we were waiting for the plans from Frank Gehry to arrive, and then it would be another two weeks before our rare imported wood from the Netherlands came into port after which we would have to wait an additional three days for our illegal underage Thai workers to clear customs and then another five weeks for them to build the thing and oh, did I tell you about the hand-polished inlaid abalone shells and NO WE DON'T HAVE A FUCKING MAILBOX YET CAN YOU JUST LEAVE THE MAIL ON THE DOORSTEP AND LEAVE ME ALONE?

Here is what I've made for him today:

Sigh. I hope he likes it.

Archive File: Cranky | This Life

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

He Be Funny Sometime

Rigel, upon seeing me, uncharacteristically, up and around at 9:30 in the morning, dressed and on my way out the door to meet a friend for breakfast:

"Are you a phantom?"

Archive File: Married

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Don't You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me

This morning I was awakened by the sound of my alarm. I promptly got out of bed, refreshed from my nine hours of sleep, and hopped into the shower where I proceeded to wash and condition my hair while scrubbing my body clean with a loofah and an herbal body wash. I blow-dried my hair into a pleasing style, applied my makeup and then went to awaken my sleeping children. While they got dressed I made them a healthy, well-balanced breakfast and brewed a pot of aromatic coffee. Rigel commented how smart and sexy I looked in my tight skirt, tailored shirt and high heels.

We left the house at exactly 7:45, which gave us plenty of time to get to school and walk across the yard at a leisurely pace. This gave me the opportunity to cheerily greet other parents on the way, addressing all their questions and concerns that they voiced to me, their PTA president. After I walked the girls to their classrooms I had a meeting with the principal, where I pressed him for a pay raise for the teachers and a four-day school week. After our constructive chat I went home, energized and eager to face the rest of my day.

Oh, wait. it goes more like this:

I overslept, as usual. I rolled out of bed, threw on a t-shirt over my sweatpants/pajama bottoms/workout pants and frantically raced out to the kitchen where Rigel was already serving up cereal and bagels to the girls, because thank God someone actually hears the alarm in the morning. We had exactly twelve minutes to finish getting ready and get to school, so I began my hysterical 'we're SO laaaaate!' routine, where I attempt to brush hair, stuff backpacks and tie shoes all at the same time while mumbling a reminder to myself to brush my teeth. I'm still so sleepy that I can't remember if I've told the girls to use the bathroom or if I've only imagined it. Rigel points out that I have, in fact, made the bathroom request five times.

I put on my sunglasses, not only to partially obscure my pillow-creased face, but also to avoid making eye contact with other human beings that may attempt to speak to me and require me to elicit an intelligible response. We arrive at school at 7:54, giving us one minute to fly across the playground and avoid being late for the fourth day in a row. I realize I forgot not only to brush my teeth, but also my hair and pull my sweatshirt hood tight around my head which adds to my attractive, troll-like appearance. I see another mom approaching but I give her the 'talk to the hand' symbol and when Kiyomi's teacher starts to ask me a question I elude her, aware of the fact that my breath could probably singe her eyebrows off.

Although still half asleep, I manage to make it home where I promptly kick off my pants and crawl back into bed. A short time later I'm vaguely aware of Rigel kissing me goodbye. He heads off for another hard day at work to support his family while I continue to work hard at snoring and drooling on my pillow for another hour or so. When I finally manage to drag my lazy ass out of bed, I wander into the kitchen and pour myself the first of five cups of coffee, the brewing of which has become Rigel's job ever since the day when I, in a morning coma, neglected to put a filter in the coffee maker and produced a pot of coffee that resembled grainy, runny poop. It is an hour before I am fully awake, and I have yet to put on any pants as I take a phone call from a client. As I stood in the kitchen speaking authoritatively about printing deadlines and paper stock in my panties, Paul Frank monkey t-shirt and a knot in my hair the size of a basketball, I thought to myself, I AM ONE RIGHTEOUS BABE.

Archive File: Married | This Life

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I Wish I Thought Of This

This is amazing. The description says "Make sure you are stoned or high on something before viewing." All I had was a slice of banana bread and a mug of French roast but afterwards I felt like becoming a better, more creative person and loving the world fully and completely.

(Try to move your cursor around and click on as many things as possible.)

Go with the F L O W.

Archive File: Random

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Imagine How Funny He Is When He ISN'T In Pain.

Rigel's left shoulder has been bothering him for awhile now because of an inflamed rotator cuff or a weakened fan belt or something that sounded like it had to do with a car, but didn't. ANYHOO, it's been hard for him to sleep at night since he's used to sleeping on his stomach and in this position his arm gets scrunched up under him and he wakes up all knotted. (Stop me if all this technical medical lingo gets to be too much.)

The other night he came up with the idea of switching sides in bed with me, so that when he's on his stomach his left arm could hang off the side of the bed. He even rigged up an elaborate rest for his arm fashioned from one of our dining room chairs and a pillow. (In case this is starting to sound a bit un-romantic, let me add that while we were setting all this up I was wearing my French maid nightie and the entire room was lit by scented candles.)

As I was settling into his side of the bed, I couldn't resist commenting how I finally knew what it felt like to be him:

Me: Wow. Your side of the bed IS better! No wonder you're so relaxed. I will now fall asleep in the blink of an eye. As if I don't have a care in the world.

Him: Oh REALLY? Your side is making me feel suddenly restless and manic. Even though it's past midnight I have the sudden urge to clean the bathroom. Or maybe I'll be BLOGGING.

Me: I wish I could hear you, but I'm ALREADY ASLEEP.

Him: I'm asleep, too. And I'll continue to sleep so deeply and soundly as if to defy logic, through the alarm, all loud noises, earthquakes...

Me: Hmmm. I am overcome with GRUMPINESS. I feel like I hate everyone.

Him: Oh! I see you've changed back into yourself!

Archive File: Married

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

To Prove It Hasn't Gone To My Head, You Don't Have To Call Me Madame President

As a result of the absence of any other interested parties, voter indifference and the fact that I was cleaning my fingernails with a pen when the secretary queried, "Any objections from the nominee?" I have been elected PTA president.

I'm honored to be bestowed with such a title. I plan to run our monthly meetings with an iron fist, commanding respect from the crowd of tens of people. Other parents will stand and take notice at how smoothly our annual candy sale will run, and our decorations for the kindergarten graduation will put us on the map. Just to keep with protocol I've instructed the girls to call me 'Ma'am' instead of mommy, and Rigel - well he can continue to call me Your Highness but I've ordered him to take that sneer out of his voice.

I imagine Oprah will want me on her show soon. She'll introduce me, and I'll sashay in wearing a hip outfit while she yells out "It's not your momma's PTA!" We'll laugh and hug and the audience will be riveted with my exciting bake-sale stories and I'll have them in stitches with my blooper reel from Back-To-School night. Later in the interview we'll have a serious moment, where I cry as I muse on how far I've come and how, if only big-assed Pamela Walker from the third grade could see me now she'd be so sorry she poured milk on my shoes and called me a raggedy bitch.

Then, because of the exposure, I'll have all the morning shows calling me, and I'll have to choose between Regis and Kelly or Katie and Matt. I choose the Today show because deep down, I think Matt Lauer is kind of hot, even with that weird GI Joe haircut. The show goes well, and when I get back to my hotel room there is an offer to head up FEMA. I dance around and order champagne, all the while grateful for the opportunities the PTA has given this raggedy bitch from the inner city.

Let the inauguration begin!

Archive File: Offspring | This Life

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

When They're Teenagers And Telling Me They Hate Me, I'll Pull This Out

Here it is! It took three cameras, a frantic cell phone call and around ten years off my life, but I got the picture!

Notice the menacing arms of the Disney security thugs visible on either side of the frame. They are ready for action in case my girls, with their superhero powers, attempt to mind-meld with Aly & AJ.

It's been so long since I've actually gotten FILM developed. I was very nervous, knowing that the fate of these precious photos, and of my girls' sanity, lay in the hands of a mere human. A mere human trained to mix up a soup of toxic chemicals, toss my disposable camera into it, spin around twice while reciting an ancient Mayan blessing and then magically pull some photos out of it with a pair of rubber tongs. I asked the clerk to make sure the technician laid off the crack that day, but then he pretended to smash my camera with his foot so I backed off.

I should get some SERIOUS mommy-karma points for this one.

Archive File: Offspring | This Life

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Not Right, On So Many Levels

When your 84-year old mother goes to see 'Wedding Crashers' before you do. With the LADIES FROM CHURCH. AND LOVED IT.

If she starts telling me she thinks Vince Vaughn is hot I am SO NOT LISTENING.

Archive File: Random | This Life

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Promise You'll Write Me

A few days ago I took the girls with me to run some errands. We returned around 6pm, and as I was putting away groceries in the kitchen I noticed it seemed kind of dark. I started firing up for my usual Cursing Of The Lightbulbs, where I damn them to hell for burning out when I need them most. Usually, if Rigel is home I do this out loud, which serves as a sort of call-to-arms; he dutifully forays out to the garage to bring back a working lightbulb. To reward his gallantry I lay down in his lair and let him have his way with me while I praise his manliness. I'm joking - we don't really call it a lair.

But on this day, as I looked up, I noticed that all of the bulbs were working. Figuring it was some sort of freakish dimming thing going on (notice my fine knowledge of things technical!) I started turning on more lights, because this is the twenty-first century after all and we aren't Amish and I need me some light to shuck my wheat! It was around thirty minutes later, and only after I had turned on practically all the lights in the house, that I noticed I STILL HAD MY SUNGLASSES ON.

Okay, aside from the obvious nutjob aspect of this story, the troubling thing is, MY DAUGHTERS DIDN'T SAY A THING, THE ENTIRE TIME. Like they're used to my teetering on the brink of dementia. It's as if they were thinking, "Oh, look. Mommy's wearing her sunglasses in the house and turning on all the lights and muttering to herself. Sort of like when she wears her pajamas all day and then insists they're her workout clothes. Won't be long now before she shows up at our school wearing a nightie and waving a bottle of gin around. It's best we just start ignoring her now."

Later when Rigel came home and I was relaying the sunglass incident to him, he looked at me worried and said, "Hon, that story - let's keep it between you and me."

Do they let you blog from the asylum?

Archive File: Married | Offspring | This Life

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I Haven't Watched Cartoon Network For Forty Eight Hours

The girls started school yesterday. As usual in the ying-yang universe that is Kira and Kiyomi, one loooves their teacher and one hates theirs with an uncharacteristic intensity. Guess which is which? More on that later.

I am embracing my new freedom with the voracity of a feral chihuahua being liberated from Paris Hilton's purse. SIX WHOLE HOURS, PEOPLE. ALONE. IN MY HOUSE. I've compiled a list of things that I can do now, that I haven't been able to do for the last three months:

Go to the bathroom without someone barging in and asking for gum. Or beer. Oh wait, that wasn't the girls.

Go grocery shopping without Flamin' Hot Cheetos, gummy worms or Disney Adventures magazine mysteriously appearing in my cart.

Take a shower before noon.

Take a shower before noon that lasts more than three minutes.

Take a shower before noon that lasts more than three minutes and isn't interrupted by someone barging in and asking for gum.

Go for hours without hearing the words 'snack,' 'help,' or ''wake up.'

Exercise. (I said 'can' do, as in 'in the realm of possibility.')

Being able to talk on the phone without first having to give the 'Please Do Not Interrupt Me Unless You're Bleeding From A Severed Limb' speech.

Miss them.

Archive File: Offspring

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Million Pieces

We have been glued to the TV watching coverage of the devastating conditions in the aftermath of Katrina. Every story breaks my heart into a million pieces. The scope of the tragedy is difficult to fully grasp, and I feel helpless at not being able to physically reach out and help the victims whose suffering I'm bearing witness to. I'm sure there are many of you who are feeling the same way I am; filled with the somewhat irrational desire to fill up your cars with water, food and diapers and drive the distance to bring some small measure of relief to even one person.

We've donated to the Red Cross and hope that everyone will. You can easily do so here.

As each day passes it's getting more difficult to not feel complete outrage at the ineffectiveness of our government and at the perceptible indifference of our 'commander in chief.' His misguided, glib comment about rebuilding Trent Lott's house and "looking forward to sitting on the porch" while bodies floated in the streets made me cringe.

This just about says it all: An open letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush and I cheered when I heard this interview: Mayor to feds: 'Get off your asses'

Maggie and Michael, we are sending our prayers for Michael's family and hope that his uncle is found safe.

Charlene, as promised I am posting the name of your friend and hope that someone can provide some information on her:
Gwen Sagona
4900 Dreux Ave, New Orleans

Archive File: This Life

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Monkeys - The Other White Meat

My day today, it was more fun than a barrel full of monkeys.

Not really, but it was a cheap excuse to post this link.

Archive File: Random

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Girls Who Scream, Part 1

We had an adventure this weekend!

First, the backstory:

A few years ago:
Two sisters come to Hollywood where, via the powerful Disney machine, they are transformed into pop stars worshipped by legions of little girls. Mothers everywhere are subjected to shrieks everytime the duo are sighted on the Disney Channel (approx. every 2.25 minutes) and fathers feign indifference while at the same time getting closer to the TV for a better look.

August 15, 2005:
Kira is anxious and unable to sleep because she's worried we won't be able to get wristbands for the Aly & AJ concert/cd signing taking place at Tower Records. To get a wristband you have to buy their new CD, which is being released the next day. Rigel has agreed to take part in this bit of manipulative marketing and to take her and Kiyomi to The Event. I suspect he's looking at it as prime record-shopping time, while his children are busy being hypnotized by their musical idols.

I sulk the rest of the night, whining about my lack of 'me' time since I'm the one who'll have to take them to acquire said CDs and wristbands. I anticipate massive crowds and the real possibility that I may have to do some kung-fu on a few of the other moms in order to get my hands on these 'golden tickets.' I decide to bring my mace along.

August 16, 2005
The girls wake up at 7am to prepare for the Sacred Wristband Crusade 2005. As a mother, I put the needs of my children before my own. I agree to get out of bed before noon.

On the way to the record store the girls convince me to come to the concert, too. I think they're secretly afraid that Rigel will leave them alone to fend for themselves if a Led Zeppelin 2-for-1 sale should suddenly break out.

We arrive at Tower Records at 11am and the girls are ecstatic when the clerk tells us they still have wristbands left. I'm just relieved I won't have to take anyone down and I tell her so. She laughs nervously and motions security over just in case. As the girls squeal and dance around, I shell out the bucks for four cds. (Disney Fleecing Tip: Small children cannot take themselves to a concert.) The clerk reads my mind as I concoct my plan to return two of the cds to another store, and informs me that only opened cds are being sold for the The Event and they are non-returnable. For a moment I consider her a deserving candidate for my mace but resist, and we leave happy, four cds and four wristbands tucked safely inside my purse.

Girls Who Scream, Part 2
August 20, 2005:
The girls awaken at dawn to prepare for the big day. Here they are, waiting outside, ready to leave. I think this was taken at around 10am:

The concert starts at 5pm and we arrive at 3:45. When we walk through the doors of the record store, we are met with the voices of Aly & AJ, and panic ensues. Kira is certain we're missing the concert and takes off running (she CAN move quickly! WHO KNEW?) towards the stage. We discover that they're doing their sound check, and the girls get to watch for a few minutes, clutching cds to their chests and doing a little pogo dance while they mouth the words. It was too cute.

Here's a picture Kira took:

After this, the beefy security guards hustle us outside to stand in line and we discover there's quite a few people in front of us. I bemoan the fact that we didn't get there earlier, while Rigel's eyes dart around nervously, afraid someone he knows will see him standing in line for a Disney band's autograph. We're in front of a window where Kira and Kiyomi can see the them practicing, and soon they're joined by a few others.

Here they are. We overheard them plotting to kill their parents and go on tour with the band.

My camera is acting strange, and then I get the 'Battery Exhausted' signal. Panicking, since life doesn't exist unless it's on film, I hustle Rigel off to buy a disposable camera and he returns a few minutes later, triumphant. I bow down and lick his feet.

Finally, at exactly 5pm we're ushered inside to stand around the small stage. Kira and Kiyomi have made friends with a little seven-year-old girl who seems to have the concert savvy of an eighteen year old. She takes a drag off her joint and urges my girls to follow her to the area in front of the stage, where some of the small children are sitting on the floor. I hear her tell them (I'm not making this up) "I've done this before. My dad's in the business." They follow their new messiah, defiantly walking right up into the front row. I keep a close eye on them, making sure Kiyomi doesn't try and offer the 12-year old roadies a six-pack of Molson to get her backstage.

And the show was -gulp- good. They played four songs, and I was impressed that they actually played their own guitars and didn't lip synch. Aside from the unfortunate incident where an insane dad got into an argument with another dad and said, 'Yeah, I'm talking to you motherfucker" within earshot of a room full of impressionable children, the crowd was pretty orderly.

After the announcement was made that in order to get your cd signed you had to exit the store and get back in line, we hurried out but ended up towards the very end. A few minutes into the wait a woman with a headset, appearing to 'case' the crowd, plucked the very last person out of line and took them inside the store. Wow! This brought back memories of my early concert-going days, when my friends and I would attempt to charm the weasley ushers at The Forum so we could move on down to the good seats, all the better to hear Earth Wind & Fire sing 'Reasons' just to us.

Rigel and I were fading and in need of salvation, so he offered to run to Starbucks for heavily caffeinated fluids. As soon as he left, I couldn't find our new disposable camera and called him on his cell phone. He had it and offered to run back with it, but I figured we would be in line for at least another half hour. Ha ha!

The Caser returned shortly thereafter, and I discreetly told Kira and Kiyomi to stand in plain view and look as pathetic and bored as possible, which they did brilliantly. She scanned the crowd briefly, and then marched right up to us and asked us if we'd like to come to the front of the line! We eagerly said yes, and began following her, all to the envious stares of the hundred or so people still in line. It felt not unlike being picked first for softball in seventh grade. NOT THAT I WOULD KNOW WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE.

This prompted a frantic call to Rigel. "We're going in! Get back here NOW!" I begged. I got my cell phone camera ready as we neared the front of the line.

Their big moment arrived! The girls got their cds signed and got to chat for a millisecond with their Hot Pop Goddess crushes, who seemed very sweet. The moment was ruined by the neanderthal guards who were getting their panties in a knot about picture taking, so I took a quick one with my camera phone. Rigel appeared at that moment with the other camera, but it was too late.

But we had made it out alive! We sat down to drink our coffees, glad that the whole ordeal was over, and I began the self-flagellating over the fact that we had gone through the trouble of buying another camera but weren't able to use it for THE MOMENT. Well, at least I got one with my trusty camera phone! Right! Right?

This is when, if you were there, you would have seen me banging my head on the concrete since I neglected to hit the 'SAVE' button on my phone. This is also when you would have heard the collective moan of two little girls whose shining moment was not recorded for future generations, followed by the incredulous voice of Rigel above us all saying, "We went through all of this, and all you can talk about is THE PICTURES WE DON'T HAVE?"

Let me pause here and reiterate: THREE CAMERAS. ZERO PICTURES OF BIG MOMENT.

Just then Rigel pointed out that we all still had our wristbands on, where everyone else's had been cut off entering the autograph line. On a mission now, we ran back to the line, which had shrunk considerably, and got back in it. A security guard pointed to me and said, "I recognize you" but he kept quiet after I shoved his ass into a rack of 80's compilations. Finally their (second) big moment arrived, and the girls met their idols once again. With the telling of the long story of my camera woes the entire store was lulled into a deep sleep and I was able to get a shot of all them; Kira & Kiyomi, Aly & AJ, together at last.

Sadly, I can't post this picture yet because it's on 35mm film, locked inside my camera until I take it to get developed. That is, UNLESS I LOSE IT FIRST.

Archive File: Offspring | Family | This Life

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Peace, Love And A Spare.

Last Friday Rigel's office had a bowling party that was funnnnn. If I was twenty years younger I would even go as far as to say IT ROCKED. HARD. He works with a bunch of great people and I really like all of them, but not in a creepy, stalker kind of way. That said, I don't think that my suggestion of a slumber party for their next office get-together was that out of line.

I'm a terrible bowler, but coming off the alley even I got high-fives and a soul-shake or two. (Which, by the way, I am not young/hip enough to totally get. When someone's fist is coming at me I am inclined to give a swift kick to the nether regions.) I did get a spare, though, and I say it still counts even when you haul down the alley and knock those muthas down with your purse. Ah, bowling! There is something primal about the annihilation of an innocent grouping of stationery objects by a heavy, human-propelled projectile that seems to bring people together. And when you're belting out Pat Benatar's 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' at the top of your lungs with a group of women, including the boss' wife, I'd say that all is right with the universe.

Then Green Day's 'Time Of Your Life' came on and made us all cry and everyone there joined hands and swayed back and forth and then hugged mightily in a non-threatening, heterosexual way. Why, if Oprah were there she would have been saying, "Yeah!" and shaking her fist in support of all the camaraderie and lovin' swirling about. At the end of the night I ordered a tonic water and the waitress asked me if I wanted a lime with it. When I said "Lemon, please!" and she said "Sure thing!" I thought, "It doesn't get any better than this."

But it did!

They had one of those instant photo booths and it was calling our names. We crammed into it with our friends Jon and Alex and here is the chilling aftermath:

I won't post the one where Alex said, "Make a funny face!" and then she was the only one that did. Cause that night, it was all about peace, love and understanding.

Archive File: Married | This Life

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Friday, August 12, 2005

I Used To Be Left Out Of The Conversation At Starbucks, But No More.

Here are some entries from

To clown car it
When more people than there are seatbelts are shoved into a car. When people have to sit on the floor or on each other.

Kelly was driving, Becky had shotgun, Ashley, Kelsey and Mandee were in back with the other Ashley sitting on Mandee and Jay sitting on Kelsey. I had to sit on Becky. We were so clown car-ing it.

Grill Check
1.When you ask a friend to make sure there is nothing in your teeth (or grill) after a meal or snack.

2.The act of checking the teeth or yourself or others for food bits.

"Katie! Grill Check!"

Person A:"That spinich pizza was great"
Person B:"Agreed! GRILL CHECK!"

A word that would come before no,as though the said phrase is completley obvious that the answer would be in the negative.

"Hey man do you like me?" "Prrrrfffff no!"

Archive File: Random

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Tired Of Being A Ho

Here's my pimp name:

Sugartastic Marsha Shmoove

Write it down.

You can get your own, here.

Archive File: Random

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Totally Wicked Good Journalism

Two phrases we actually heard Ted Koppel utter last night during a special Nightline tribute to Peter Jennings:

"...catnip for the ladies."

"...cute as a button."


Archive File: Random | TV Drone

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Let's Do This Again Never.

I saw a friend last week who told me he had broken up with his girlfriend. I gave my condolences and then immediately high-fived him and began rolling on the ground in joyous rapture. I had never warmed to her, and my friend confessed that the relationship had been an extremely stressful one. It brought back memories of a recent outing with them, after which Rigel and I came home, curled into the fetal position and sobbed and prayed we would never see her again.

We had attended an event together, the four of us. I had to sit next to her, bookended by our Men. I think they do this on purpose, The Men, to teach The Women a lesson, that it is not such a good idea to go out in couples, that they are best left to their manly outings. So that, if things don't go well with the other Woman, you will say to him, "Oh, let's not go out with other couples! You should just go out with the guys, and do manly things." This is what I think.

That night, in review:

Her: Oh hello. I will set the tone for the evening by insulting you within the first five minutes of our greeting. Now hear my insensitive comment about you which displays my ignorance. Snort! I will laugh at my own cleverness, and will ignore your piercing stare.

Me: You are truly boorish and immature. I intensely dislike you with all the force of my being. I will use my body language to convey this. See my crossed arms and how I lean away from you! As if you are covered in raw sewage.

Her: I am too self-absorbed to interpret body language! I will now show how insecure I am by dropping names and monopolizing the conversation. In between I will berate my boyfriend because I truly feel superior to him and need to demonstrate this.

Me: I am imagining a band of wild monkeys jumping on you and eating your head. Guffaw!

Her: I mistake your laughter for amusement at my meaningless banter. I will continue to talk incessantly.

Me: I am no longer listening. I am staring past you at the man with the martini. How I desire to be numbed against your offensive behavior by the warm arms of gin.

Her: Your vacant stare signals to me intense interest. My one-sided conversation will continue unabated. My boyfriend is attempting to speak so I must interrupt him and make him feel as if he has no penis.

Me: I will attempt to speak to your boyfriend in order to form an alliance against you. Hello! Please talk to me! Be not afraid!

Her: Do not speak to my boyfriend! He has not secured the proper permission to speak! I am the interesting one here! Me! Me! Me!

Me: I am wondering if I reach into your throat and remove your voice box with my bare hands, will you cease talking? I think not. Sigh.

Her: Your sigh signals to me compassion! I like you! I will order my boyfriend to arrange another meeting between us.

Me: The evening is ending and my joy is unbounded. Escape from your clutches is imminent now, and I will eagerly return home to my children who are half as needy and twice as cute.

Her: I must hug you goodbye. We will get together again soon!

Me: Not in a million fucking years.

Archive File: Cranky | Married | This Life

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Monday, August 08, 2005

And To Think I Told Kira That Cheerleaders Were Evil.

I feel a new Steven Bochco series coming on.

Archive File: Random

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Sunday, August 07, 2005

For The Price Of Three Lattes. Or Two CinnaBons And A Coffee. Or One Twelve Piece Bucket Of Original Recipe.

My friend Maggie sent this to me. Seeing as she once stopped me from leaving for a date wearing stirrup pants tucked into my pumps, I listen to her sometimes:

As you may be aware, the US Postal Service recently released its new "Fund the Cure" stamp to help fund breast cancer research. The stamp was designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland. It is important that we take a stand against this disease that affects so many of our mothers, sisters and friends.

Instead of the routine 37 cents for a stamp, this one cost 40 cents. The additional 3 cents will go to breast cancer research. A "normal" book costs $7.40. This one is only $9.00. It takes a few minutes in line at the Post Office and means so much. If all stamps are sold, it will raise an additional $35,000,000 for this vital research.

Just as important as the money is our support. What a statement it would make if the stamp outsold the lottery this week. What a statement it would make that we care. I would urge you to do two things TODAY:

1. Go out and purchase some of these stamps.

2. E-mail your friends to do the same. We all know women and their families whose lives are turned upside-down by breast cancer. It takes so little to do so much in this drive. I think we can all afford the additional 60 cents the new book costs.
Please help and pass this on!

And it's purty too! You can even buy them online here.

Archive File: Random

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Friday, August 05, 2005

My Day

"What are we having for lunch?"

"Tuna sandwiches."

"Awww. Can we go to McDonalds?"

"No, we've been there too much. The drive-thru lady knows my name."

"We don't feel like tuna sandwiches. What else is there?"

"This isn't a restaurant. WE ARE HAVING TUNA SANDWICHES."

"Mommy, why are you still wearing your pajamas?"

I retreat to a corner and weep as they order pizza from the other room.

Archive File: Offspring

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I Am Paranoid

I don't think I'll be able to get away with not writing about Kiyomi's ice skating birthday party this past Sunday. Because knowing Kiyomi, this will be the scene fifteen years from now:

There she'll lay on the couch, head resting on a stack of her unemployment checks, dragging on her third cigarette of the morning while nursing a scotch in her other hand. Her numerous tattoos will be visible beneath her tank top and her belly ring will glisten brightly, as if to mock me. She's waiting for her boyfriend to show up, but, being on the lam, he'll be late again since travel usually involves some form of public transportation and a ride from one of his ex-wives. While she waits, we talk, and this surprising revelation comes to light.

"You know, it's all your fault." She stubs her Marlboro out on my new Ikea Hällskär rug. She really knows how to push my buttons.

"What's my fault? Don't blame me for that infected navel piercing. I told you not to let your father do it."

"No, all this. My life. My angst. Good God! Are you blind, woman? The snub? My seventh birthday? My ice skating party that you were too busy to write about in your blog, when Kira's freakin slumber party got all that ink? I mean, five whole entries about her goody-two-shoes sleepover, and you couldn't write one sentence, ONE DAMN SENTENCE about my special day? That was the beginning of the end for me, I tell ya. I never got over it. Never. Now if you'll excuse me I've got someone outside waiting for me that really cares. Don't wait up - Willy Bob's takin me to meet his parents. And they have real furniture, from Wickes. None of this cheap Swedish crap."


So, the ice skating party! This was the third of Kiyomi's birthday celebrations. By now most of you are familiar with this family's penchant for over-celebrating every event, be it a birthday or a new coat of paint on the garage. It started with a small celebration with her classmates before school let out, followed by a dinner for seven on the actual day of her birthday. Next up will be our family party, where she will celebrate with Rigel's and my families and be showered with yet more gifts and cash monies.

Rigel and I thanked the righteous birthday gods that Kiyomi had given up the idea of a slumber party in favor of some icy merriment. Of course, while not having the party at our house saved us from all the laborious planning and clean up duties, it did involve the passing of numerous large bags of money and one of my kidneys to the ice skating party committee. (Although I have trashed a mom before for revealing to me the cost per child of her daughter's bowling party, I must say now I feel your pain, sister!) On top of the basic fees they charged for the party room, cake, and skate rentals, they begged us for more money for pizzas, a veggie platter and skating lessons and we obliged, because they guaranteed Kiyomi would hate us if we didn't spring for the total party experience. (Because really, people, what's an ice skating party without a veggie platter? A colder, darker hell I cannot imagine.) It's a blur now, but I think the total came to around $8500. We've decided that next year, to save money we will take Kiyomi and all her friends to the Ritz Carlton for a weekend of catered room service meals and a private in-room performance by Cirque du Soleil. I will buy each child a pony as a party favor.

But there I go, being such a party pooper! And my God, don't we sound cheap! Because really, the party was a huge success and none of her friends wanted to leave, they were having so much fun. We got to hang out with a few of our friends who stayed to watch their kids skate, and we had fun, too, despite the absence of an open bar. And when all was said and done, Kiyomi told us it was the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER. Please tell her that you read all about it here, August 5, 2005.

Kiyomi and her peeps taking an ice skating lesson

Archive File: Offspring | Family

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