Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cheese Is The Key To Life!

Taking a page from what will soon be known as the "Sweatpantsmom who?" files, I give you another one of Kiyomi's brilliant journal entries. (Really, I don't mind being upstaged by a seven-year old, although the phone calls from her agent late at night are really starting to get on my nerves.)

Cheese is the ultimate key to life. It has [style.] It has fame and even more. It is very healthy for you so [eat] it a lot! There are so many wonderful versions...except for the evil [cheddar] and american cheese! *evil music plays*

They have shallow holes that lead to the bottom of it. The cheese is a wonderful experience and gives you ideas about art. It makes you think about a [bologna] and cheese (not [cheddar] or american) sandwich and some [delicious] [Cheeze-its] And most of all it's...delishish! Thats the whole point of why I'm telling you this! This is why cheese is the key to life!

(And for you skeptics who think that I could even make this up, here are the pages from her journal.)

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Monday, April 24, 2006

It's Time To Rumble!

A few days ago I ran into one of Kira's classmates and her mother at the supermarket. I've written about this woman before - I had helped her out often, providing transportation, childcare, work contacts, but I distanced myself when it began to feel like I was being taken advantage of. Last summer I had to politely decline when she asked me to not only take her daughter with us to swimming lessons but also to watch her for three hours after each session. It seems this mom was busy, busy with her part-time job and vigorous workout schedule. You see, she works out three hours a day, every day, and parenting her child was getting in the way of her quest for killer abs and a taut ass.

Not long after that incident I heard, through Kira, no less, that she was accusing me of 'announcing' at a dinner party that she was getting a divorce. I confronted her immediately, and after blasting her for involving our children, told her that not only was I unaware of her marital status, but that we had better things to talk about at our dinner party, things like the garishness of her clothes and her striking resemblance to the main character in 'Corpse Bride.'

She apologized profusely, and suddenly 'remembered' that she hadn't told me about her divorce after all. She said that she regretted possibly 'mentioning' her suspicions in front of her daughter, and to please try and understand because she was going through a hard time - she hadn't been able to fit in a full hour of lunges every day and it was starting to take its toll. I told her all was forgiven and that in lieu of flowers, a nice spa certificate or handmade soaps would go far in soothing my wrath.

I hadn't seen her since then, so when I saw her last week I assumed a fair amount of groveling on her part would be in order. Apparently not.

Me: Oh, hi there! It's been a long time.

Her: Hello! You've gained some weight!

In a perfect world, the homeless man who I'd seen lingering outside the store would have chosen that moment to stumble in and take a nice long pee on her size-0 tracksuit while simultaneously coughing up phlegm onto her fake designer purse.

But instead, I showed her! I managed to eek out, "Hmmmm! Hmmmm! Well! Thank you. I think."

I congratulated myself on my fine wit, and after laying down my jacket for her to walk on, I handed over all my credit cards and jewelry and headed out the door.

I've spent some time thinking of things I could have said that day. Everything from, "I'm sorry, did you say something? I was too busy counting your wrinkles" to Rigel's contribution, "I see you've managed to stay thin, chasing after all those old men in their Mercedes." Problem is, all the great lines seem to come after the fact, long after the moment has passed.

So what I've decided I need is some sort of official system for coming up with the perfect comeback at the right time. Perhaps some conditioning exercises to prepare me for the unsolicited attack - I could have Rigel hurl insults at me while I practice replying with pre-scripted responses while timed. Maybe it's a 'one size fits all' retort, such as, "Bite me, skank whore." I could try a cheat-sheet approach, where I have several juicy lines written on index cards that I keep in my purse. That way, once insulted, I'd be ready with, "Oh yeah? You're gonna regret this in around thirty seconds or so. Just you wait till I get my notes out, buddy."

I'm going to work hard on this. My attackers will be reduced to a quivering, pathetic lump by the sheer genius of my cutting wit. I'll become a master of the well-crafted rebuttal. In fact, people will come from great distances just to insult me, so that they may bear witness to my legendary comeback gems.

And as for my future encounters with workout-mom? Game on, gym-hag.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Seriously, I Don't Know What You People Were Thinking.

Maybe you remember a story I told a few months back, about how at the beginning of the school year I was inexplicably elected PTA President. Even I can see what a woefully inept candidate I was, and the smart choice would have been to politely decline when the secretary asked, "Do you accept the position?" But I remember the situation a little more clearly now, and I think that the reason I was vigorously nodding my head in agreement to the question is that I mistakenly thought that I was being asked if I felt we should have an open bar at the next parents meeting.

Well, lo and behold it's happened again! I've been bestowed with an honor of which I feel rather undeserving of - I've been chosen as Member Of The Week over at CHBM. Obviously they haven't been clued in to my suspect PTA Bake Sale receipts or the smackdown I got into with that kindergarten mom who started those impeachment proceedings.

Aside from the fact that it doesn't require me to put on makeup and clean clothes on the third Monday evening of each month, this honor is different. I was chosen by those of you who enjoy my work, and choose to stick around to read a page or two between sips of coffee or while hiding from your boss. So, thank you.

You can read my rambling interview here. Thanks again to everyone who voted for me. And to those that didn't, I'll see you at the next PTA meeting.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

The "You Might Cross The Street When You See Me Now" Meme.

This is my first meme. I've been tagged before, but unfortunately have failed to carry out my meme-ing duties in a timely fashion. Please don't take it personally. I have a problem - I am one seriously lame-ass meme-er. Part of the reason? I'm hopelessly bad at lists. For instance, my grocery list? It goes something like this:

bread (w)
w = ??

See what I mean? But today I'm going to give this meme-ing thing a try. Be gentle. No heckling. No flash photography. Save your applause for the end. And don't say you'll call if you don't mean it.

'The Six Weird/Interesting Things You Don't Know About Me' meme (tagged by Elizabeth , Mom-101, and Reluctant Housewife.)

1. I am a hardcore carnivore. I love steak with an unnatural zeal. And bacon. And pork chops. Oh, and pork chops wrapped in bacon. Truth be told, I'd probably eat a panda if it were grilled and served with a nice garlic butter.

2. I sleep like a dead person. 'Heavily' and 'soundly' are putting it mildly. When our girls come into our room in the middle of the night, they ask for Daddy, not Mommy. If the curtains were on fire and they waited for Mommy to wake up, the entire city would be engulfed in flames before Mommy had even begun to wipe the drool from her mouth.

3. I started my own business when I was 22. I was working as a freelance designer at NBC. I heard their news department was looking for help producing some ads, so I grabbed my portfolio and headed over on my lunch break. When I got there, it was apparent that they were looking for an ad agency, not a lone designer dressed in Doc Martens and a vinyl mini. After a brief meeting with the creative director, he told me to come back the next day to pick up a week's worth of ads. It was my first account. Three weeks later I had my own studio and two employees. I've been on my own ever since.

4. Johnny Depp gives me the creeps. Seriously makes my skin crawl. I know I'm alone on this one - I bring it up at dinner parties and all the women fall silent. It appears that most of the female population have him on their 'Must Do' list but really, what I'd like to 'do' is slap him, give him a shower and tell him to stop dressing like a color-blind gypsy. I would definitely turn him away at the door. Unless of course he came bearing a platter of steaks.

5. I have amazing parking karma. All I know is, if I'm in the car, you're getting a spot right up front. People always doubt me, but only until that space opens up three feet away from the door. I'm not sure what I've done to deserve this, but it may have to do with the time I let the PopeMobile cut in front of me in the Krispy Kreme parking lot.

6. I've been hit in the head with a polo ball. A vendor offered a co-worker and I free tickets to opening night of the polo season. Although neither of us knew a thing about polo, we were enticed by the promise of two free drinks and unlimited hot dogs. Turns out our 'free seats' were actually in an executive box, and we quickly made friends with the lovely, rich, people around us. Halfway through the match I looked up from my fifth kraut-dog to see the ball coming directly towards me. It hit me in the forehead, and as the entire stadium went quiet and every head turned towards me I remember thinking , "I hope I die so I don't have to face any of these people again." The paramedics checked me out, the game resumed and the nice people next to us (who, it turned out, were the head of the polo association and his wife) felt so guilty that they invited us to the gala afterwards. I guess you could say I'm lucky.

So, there you have it. Go ahead and laugh, judge, ridicule. I can take it. Just remember - I can get you a good parking spot.

(By the way, I'm tagging Jen, Jess, Mary, Wendy, Contrary and Tracey.)

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Nano, No Nano?

We are celebrating Kira's 10th birthday this week. It's hard to believe that a whole decade ago my oldest child came into this world, her ten-pound self necessitating an emergency C-section and rendering our stockpile of newborn-size diapers completely obsolete. TEN YEARS. Three more years until she's a teenager. Six years away from Sweet Sixteen. Almost halfway to drinking age. (Hear that? It was the sound of doors being bolted and the liquor cabinet being locked up.) Oh, and I forgot to mention - only twenty more years until the age we've decided she can begin to date.

While us adults have been tossing around warm fuzzy memories about birthdays past and musing on milestones to come, Kira has been hard at work, putting into words the essence of this important day: her birthday gift list, detailing not only those items she desires but also where they may be found ("Naruto GameBoy Advance cartridge [order from Naruto store, located at Or call my mom.]") I agreed to use the list to discreetly provide ideas to inquiring friends and relatives, but I put my foot down at her idea of having the fifty page tome collated and bound at Kinkos and delivered to everyone via UPS.

The first item on the list, and the thing she has been requesting for the past two years is an iPod. Rigel and I have been thinking about getting her one, but every conversation starts with, "When I was her age..." As in, "When I was her age, I got a piece of old leather for my birthday" or "When I was her age, I was hard at work in a Malaysian rug factory to earn the money for my 8-track." Lies, all of them, but I guess it was a way to help us sort out the feelings of guilt we were having in maybe overindulging her, and feeling like we had fallen prey to the electronics frenzy that has overtaken our lives. Should we get her something more practical? More socially responsible? Rigel had some ideas, but I told him I didn't want to be in the room when she opened that composting kit.

When the girls were small I tried my best to take the sensitive, low-tech approach to parenting. Talking Elmo? Bah! Come take a look at this fine Amish wooden doll! Remote controlled pony? But why bother with that when I've set up your play town made out of recycled pegboard and corn cob people! It didn't take long for the cold hard truth to dawn on me - boring, PC toys were no match for anything that lit up, spun around and spewed soap bubbles out of a spinning princess hat. Soon I was buying electronic toys by the cartload and cleaning out entire inventories of AA batteries at Target. To our credit we did hold off for three years in getting them Gameboys, but only because they were starting to wise up to the 'BoyGame' I had fashioned out of a sardine can and a transistor radio and tried to pass off as 'the newest thing in electronic handhelds!"

So, we've decided to give in, to fly our materialistic freak flag and get our oldest child an iPod Nano to mark her first decade on this earth. To show that even though we live green we can still effectively contribute to the global landfill. To say to the world, 'you don't always have to earn your children's love, sometimes you can buy it.' Call us shallow, call us overindulgent, call us jelly-spined pushovers buckling to peer-pressure, but I can't wait to see the look on her face when she peels back that wrapping paper and sees the Apple logo peeking out. And I'll bet all the money in the world that at that moment we'll be happy we didn't buy her those mutual funds.

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Monday, April 10, 2006

I Like To Move It, Move It.

Every few years or so I get this crazy, cockamamie idea that perhaps exercise might be a good thing for my body. There I'll be, all set to schedule my tapeworm-implant surgery, and a little voice inside my head will say, "What about a walk around the block instead?" This epiphany is usually followed by the purchase of a pair of overpriced running shoes and the pillaging of the Lycra section of my local Target. The last time this happened I had Kira and Kiyomi with me, the three of us crammed into one of their shoebox-sized dressing rooms, and I had to put up with all their snide comments. "You're buying exercise clothes? What for?" and "Tell us again why you need a tracksuit to watch Oprah."

This need to 'accessorize up' for any type of physical endeavor is not new to me. Before we were married Rigel and I spent a lot of time bike riding and once signed up for a three-day ride that would take us from Flagstaff, Arizona to the Grand Canyon. Besides the fact that we left Los Angeles at 2am and drove all night to get to Flagstaff for a 7am ride, Rigel's favorite part of the story is how I plunked down $500 for a brand new bike the night before we left. This was in those heady days before house payments and kids, and I felt for certain that a new bike was essential to my enjoyment of the trip, regardless of the expense. We awoke to find a huge snowstorm raging outside (this really is a story for another post) and I never got to take my new wheels for the ninety mile journey. I really liked how my new bike looked sitting up on that bike rack though, and, set off against a background of new fallen snow - it would have almost been a shame to spoil it by taking it down for a ride.

Last summer I vowed to take advantage of the beautiful park that is located only a block and half away from us - it has a jogging/biking path that meanders through trees and soccer fields, and I calculated that a couple of times around the thing would be enough to work off at least one of the slices of bacon from my breakfast. So, off I went to the store to purchase the essentials: One-strapped mini backpack to carry my keys, I.D. and water, sporty windbreaker to appear fashionable while staying warm, and new lighter headphones for my cd player. It only took me four hours to prepare for my walk, and I have to say the whole exercise thing was starting to seem like a really good idea.

Once I got home, though, I was thinking that I should have taken along a book for my midpoint break, and a granola bar would have helped - I sure worked up an appetite trying to hook up my new headphones and thread the cord through the special 'media clip' in my new backpack. Rigel said he had a great idea for my next power-walk, and went to the other room to fetch our rolling suitcase and ice-chest on wheels.

We celebrated Rigel's birthday this weekend, which I think is the main reason for my (and his) latest exercise crisis. Between Friday, when we gathered friends for martinis and appetizers, and Saturday when we met other friends for a huge meal, I estimate that the amount of food the two of us consumed would be enough to solve the food shortage in several of our local homeless shelters. Add to that the fact that we spent all day yesterday patting our stomachs and making loud barnyard noises and it all points to us needing to devise a serious exercise plan, stat. I'm off to the mall to prepare - I'll be the one in Foot Locker, buying some swanky new Nikes and scarfing down a churro.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Why I Like Links.

The thing that I love about writing online is being able to use links. It's exciting to see those underlined or bolded words that lead you to other places. (Those weren't links, by the way. Pay attention.) Sometimes, by clicking on these links I feel like they can take me to exotic lands, like an adventure!

Everybody uses links in different ways. Some people use them to educate, some merely to entertain. You can even use them to make new friends! As you can see, I really love links!

They are often used, narcissistically, to refer back to one of your own old posts. Some use them subversively, which I would never do. Most importantly, I like to use them because they are a great way to say to the world, "I am creative!"

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Monday, April 03, 2006


We took the girls to Cirque du Soleil yesterday and I'm happy to say it was a big success. Rigel and I had seen it years ago by ourselves, so this time it was nice to go with them to experience it and see their reaction. Besides, our attempt at cultural rehabilitation a couple of weeks ago was only half successful and we were determined to give the appearance that we are able to pull ourselves away from our computers and TV screens, if only for an afternoon.

I say 'big success' but there was a moment when I thought the entire performance would be ruined for me. We had just taken our seats when I was crushed to discover my nemesis sitting right in front of me once again. Perhaps you know her, perhaps she has sat in front of you, too. She goes by the name of Big Headed Woman.

Big Headed Woman or BHW as I like to call her, follows me everywhere. The movies? BHW is there, using her large noggin to block my view of all the action on the lower third of the screen. Daughter's violin recital? There she is again, her over-coiffed hairdo positioned just so, making it impossible for me to fully appreciate Kira's scratchy rendition of Ode To Joy. I imagine she has some sort of special GPS device for tracking my activities - as soon as she hears I'm about to attend an event, there she is snapping on her giant prosthetic head and rushing out to find me in order to position herself right between my eyes and the stage.

A BHW can be a man, too, as witnessed at one of my latest movie theater experiences. I had walked into an empty theater and taken a seat when BHW walked in, looked around at the thousands of empty seats and chose the one seat, two rows in front of me, that was directly in my line of sight. I was tempted to throw my Coke at him, but with only two of us in the theater I felt there was a good chance he would figure out who it was. This is how it always is with me and BHW - I am forced to suffer in silence and change my seat, while she sits triumphant with not a thought of remorse existing in that cavernous dome atop her shoulders.

Here at the circus BHW was out to prove how deftly skilled she was at maximum view obstructing. In a row with several other normal head sized people, hers looked like a freakishly large pumpkin, lined up on a shelf with a row of apples. (Again, let me reiterate: Sitting in front of every other person in our row: Normal head. In front of me: Not so normal head.) Her gargantuan silhouette completely obscured my view of the entire stage and most of the lighting - if I sat still I had the troubling sensation of experiencing the show as a blind person would. I tried to express the gravity of the situation to Rigel:

Me: She has a big head.
Rigel: You say everyone has a big head.

Obviously he was too busy enjoying the show to sympathize. Me, I had to keep darting my head from side to side in order to see anything on either side of her enormous noggin, which gave the appearance that I was constantly trying to dodge a fastball being thrown at me. Finally after a few minutes Rigel insisted I switch seats with him - he said it was starting to look like I had some sort of extreme nervous twitch. When he was seated behind BHW he finally conceded, "You're right this time. She's got a big one." If the shadow from her behemoth cranium wasn't casting a dark shadow on our entire row I'm sure I would have seen a look of contrition on his face.

I was able to enjoy the show fully from then on out, despite the throbbing in my neck muscles. (Although I was in constant fear that BHW would look back, realize that she wasn't in any way diminishing the circus-viewing experience of my six-foot-one husband, and immediately change seats with her neighbor in front of me.) Kira and Kiyomi had only good things to say about the show, although as soon as the lights went on for intermission Kiyomi inquired, "Were those guys naked?" We explained that they were wearing very tight body suits but she seemed unconvinced and had a look of genuine fear on her face. Kira tried to comfort her with, "I know it's kind of freaky, but some people actually like looking at naked people." I was just about to high-five her with an "Amen" when the Big Headed Woman stood up and suddenly all went dark.

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