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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