Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thankful

Thanksgiving Day began with an overpriced thanksgiving morning breakfast next to a drafty window. Hmph.
Then we went to the front desk, to clear up our registration issues.

In the process of discovering that they had no idea what room we were in - I don't know why they didn't just consult the LEGAL PAD) they also offered me bracelets for bleacher seats in the viewing stands for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. We walked outside, and were met with barricades and a wall of people. There was no way we were going to be able to get to the stands without detouring several blocks - and it was cold. And we were worried that we would get over there, and then not be able to get out again if we needed to. So we ditched the bracelets.

We watched the parade for a little while, so the kids could see how big the balloons were, and the floats. But we were so far away, it was hard to tell ! After about an hour, we decided to go back to the hotel, watch the parade on TV, and get dressed for our Thanksgiving.

Back in the room, chaos reigned. I was trying to pack, the kids were running around like lunatics, we had the parade on full blast in addition to hearing it outside in the street, and the sleeper sofa was still pulled out, so we were edging around the room while I tried to iron our dress clothes. I had to have another drink. Or three.

Finally, we headed downstairs, only to be confronted by another mob scene at the front desk. We literally could not get to the front desk to check out, and I was not going to stand in line for an hour, so we just bailed on the whole thing and I figured I would call the hotel in a little while and check out over the phone. I had already called for the car to brought out of the garage, and when we got downstairs, we were told that they wouldn't give us our car until we had checked out. Fuck.

So I went back upstairs and did one of the rudest things ever. I walked right past the long line, pushed my way through the crowd, and got the attention of one of the desk clerks. I told her that the car was already downstairs, and our kids, my husband, and the valet were all standing down there. She got the picture, stamped the ticket, and I ran down to the waiting car, which the valet had unlocked and allowed the kids to get into in the meantime.

I pulled a u-turn in front of the hotel, and drove the wrong way down a one-way street. The parade had just ended, and there was just a wall of humanity moving slowly away from the parade route. I had my NY driving ability in gear, so I just charged through, and hopped on the highway, getting out of town in record time. We were heading for Westport, and a restaurant called the Red Barn, to have Thanksgiving dinner with my family.

It turns out the Red Barn is a restaurant that is very popular with the senior citizens of Fairfield County. Every table had a crowd of blue hairs, all hunched over these plates that were just PILED with food - hence the popularity, I guess. The doggie bags would feed a family of four. It was outrageous, the amount of food they were putting on those plates. And while I was sitting there, getting all worked up about how much food was going to waste, and how no one should ever eat that much food in one sitting, my aunt looked over my shoulder and said "Is that man throwing up?"

Why yes, yes he certainly was. Right outside the window. Not 5 feet away. And he was facing me and puking into the landscaping, so i had a front row seat to the Greatest Show on Earth. Awesome.

While the old man was retching into the shrubs, a firetruck, ambulance and police car all pulled up with their lights flashing. Oh good, I thought, this nice old man is going to get some medical attention. But no. They were there for some other old guy who was having a medical emergency in a different part of the restaurant.

The whole situation was so bizarre that really, the only thing I could do was laugh.

Once everyone was done puking, and CPR-ing, and eating, we got back in the car and headed for Boston, to have Thanksgiving meal number 3 - this time with Sami's family. We arrived, we sat, we chatted, and then drove to another aunt's house to sleep. And it was good. The end.

More later.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Working Backwards

Due to unforeseen circumstances - REALLY unforeseen - I have been without internet since Wednesday. I am sure the twitch I developed as a result will go away eventually, but in the meantime I have a lot of catching up to do.



And I will.



Here Goes.



So, Wednesday, we drove from Virginia to New York City. We were warned about the traffic, and how long it was going to take, and how awful it would be - it was totally fine. Not bad at all. Nothing worth mentioning. The drama began only after we got to NYC.



We get to NYC, and frankly, it is taking me a while to get my driving moxie back. People are cutting me off, and I am feeling very intimidated and unsure of myself. Which is totally not like me at all - I can drive any cabbie right off the road if need be - and Sami finally asked me what was wrong the last time someone pulled out in front of me. "Honey, just keep going, you know how to deal with these people - don't be nice, just go." Considering where this advice was coming from, I decided to take it with a grain of salt. Because let's just be honest for a moment - who was the licensed driver here ? Right, that would be me. Ahem.



I drove to the hotel. Actually, I drove past the hotel, then had to take an extra 10 minutes to circle around the block and actually stop in front. We get out, hand our keys to the valet, grab our bags, and head to the lobby. Where we were met by a disgruntled crowd, both in front of the desk, and behind it. Everyone had a drink in hand (I told you this was my kind of place....) but the line was definitely not moving. Eventually, word trickled down. The computer system was down. They were registering everyone manually - and what I mean by "manually" was, writing everyone's name down on a legal pad. I am not kidding.



So after a while, we get a room. We have to be escorted upstairs, because they cannot program any room keys. So the bellman takes us up to the room we have been assigned. We go up 12 floors, we twist and wind and turn through these long dark hallways, and I realize I will NEVER find my way back to the elevator. Finally, we reach our destintion. I have no idea how it is possible to walk that far and still be in the same building. The bellman swings open the door - and someone is in there.



Awesome.



So we all turn around, and head back to the lobby. I am not lookng forward to getting back in that line. The bellman suggests that maybe we should go get dinner, and check in later. He offered to store our bags, and we decided that would probably be the best plan of action.



So I knelled down in the middle of the hallway outside the hotel bar, and start opening our suitcases, looking for warm clothes. I basically unpack and repack 3 suitcases, with a huge audience of totally harried and pretty drunk hotel guests, who are all stuck in the lobby.



We hand off our bags and go to dinner. THAT was awesome.

Blue Ribbon Restaurants



Then we went to FAO Schwarz, but they were closing. Fuckers. So we went and spent some money at the Disney Store. We were going to go watch them inflate the balloons for the parade, but it is (in case you were not aware) really FUCKING COLD in New York at the end of November. And windy. So we went back to the hotel. I stopped at a liquor store on the way, so that I would be prepared for whatever might be waiting for us in that lobby.



And when we got there, sure enough, there was still no computer. No room keys. Just the trusty old legal pad. So after explaining that actually, someone ELSE had been in room 1251, the woman at the desk bustled into the back office. She came out 10 minutes later with a smile. "I found you another room !"



She went over to Ye Olde Legal Pad to record our new room number. And surprisingly, it turns out someone was already in that room, too.



So then she just looked at the list, picked a room that didn't have a name next to us, gave us a serious room category upgrade, and sent us on our way - me clutching the paper bag from the liquor store, Sami carrying a suitcase's worth of winter clothes that we had discarded in the heat of the lobby.



Once in our room, with our bags, I tried to get online. Nothing doing. I called downstairs, and was told that because the registration computer was down, I would not be able to accessx the hotel's internet, because I was not technically a registered guest yet. By this time, they had the computers at the front desk up and running, but there was a serious backlog. They told me to give them 15 minutes.



I took a shower, and tried again. Nothing. An hour later, still nothing.
I finally just sat down with my bottle and a plastic cup out of the bathroom, and decided to just forget the whole thing. After all, it was the night before Thanksgiving. And I was on vacation.

More in the next post......

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sometimes it is hard to be thankful....

This is my next list - of things that could have been worse. I am thankful - and maybe a teeny bit pissed off.



1. I am thankful that Sami did not get pulled over with his EXPIRED DRIVERS LICENSE when he was driving, before the unfortunate discovery at Enterprise the other day.



2. I am thankful that Sami stopped Max from getting into the strangers car by accident at the truck stop. Long story, but it was just a random, weird thing......



3. I am thankful that we didn't get carjacked when I took a wrong turn and ended up in a very sketchy area of the Bronx. And I know sketchy areas, so trust me when I say this was SKETCHY.



4. I am thankful that while I was trying to explain to Sami how to work the iPod, I looked up in time to avoid a rear end collision



5. I am thankful that the only thing I left in the Cincinnati Airport was a bottle of Vitamin Water. Unless I just haven't discovered the missing items yet.........

Monday, November 24, 2008

The saga of Sami and his drivers license.

To properly explain this, I have to tell the story backwards.

A few years ago, we were going on a trip to the mainland. Sami informed me, a few days before we were leaving, that he had lost his drivers license. Crap. I told him to go to the DMV and get another one. He went, and tried, and came back with a state ID, but didn't have a new license for a reason I cannot recall now.

So we went on our trip. And he didn't have his drivers license, so I had to rent and drive the car all by myself. I was pissed.

And then, finally, I asked him to drive the car one day, because I was really tired, and wanted a break. He explained that actually he couldn't drive, because he had lost his license.
My reply was "Whatever, give them your name if you get pulled over - they can look it up."
He got quiet.
"What, jesus, I just want a break from driving !"
"Well....see."
"WHAT, dude, just drive the car. Christ !"
"Well, I lost my driver's license for speeding. Actually."

(long pause)

"WHAT?!?!?!"

"Um, yeah, I got a speeding ticket and I lost my license."

"OK, listen here. I have two things to say to you. First, you did not "lose" your license. Someone fucking took it away from you. Second, you do NOT lose your license for ONE FUCKING TICKET. You just don't."

"Well, I was going pretty fast."

So needless to say, it did not bode well for the rest of the vacation.

Fast forward to THIS trip. We get to the East Coast. All is good. Flights on time. Weather is fine. We go to the correct car rental agency (something that does not always happen). I go to the counter with our driver's licenses.

And the lovely woman tells me that actually, she cannot put Sami on as a driver.
Because his license is expired.

I turned around and gave him the finger out the window. He looked at me like "What ? What did I do ?"

Then we got in the car, and I drove for 6 hours straight, jetlagged and really REALLY pissed off. Every so often, he would offer to drive, like when I was nodding off on I-95. And every time, I would look over my shoulder and glare at him with a look that would peel the hair off a monkey.


You would think I would be used to this. Sami has had his driver's license taken away many a time (at least 3 times that I can remember). Because he drives very fast. You know, he's from Massachusetts, and they have a special name for Massachusetts drivers for a reason.

Yes indeedy, my husband is an honest to goodness, dyed in the wool Masshole.

So ANYWAY. When I met this man, he had no job (he was laid off) and no driver's license (lost it for multiple speeding violations). Hot, right ? Yeah, I thought so too. Married him RIGHT AWAY before someone else snapped him up !

So needless to say - I knew what I was getting myself into, so I should not be surprised - or angry.

Right ?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Reasons why I love Leigh

This weekend, we have been staying with my friend Leigh. Leigh has known me since "my other life" as a teenager, and newlywed, in Vermont during my first marriage. it was not a great time in my life, and by far, Leigh is truly the best thing to come out of a very tumultuous year. We have stayed in touch for almost 15 years, through breakups and babies and marriages and moves.....and today I am sitting in her kitchen, listening to our daughters, born just 11 days apart, playing downstairs.

So I decided, in my quest to be actively THANKFUL this year, that I am going to try to make lists - yesterday it was all of the wonderful things we did (and memories we will have) of this trip to Seattle. Today, I am compiling a list of reasons why I love Leigh.

1. She set up my shower with Bumble and Bumble and Origins bath products. Oh, Leigh, how I love you.

2. She set up TWO queen sized beds to accommodate me and the fam, in our own space downstairs, with our own bathroom and access to a washer and dryer.

3. She insisted on picking us up at the airport at 11 pm in the freezing cold, so that we didn't need to rent a car.

4. She took me to both Target AND Trader Joes

5. She arranged for a car to take us to the airport in the morning.

6. She made reservations at my favorite restaurant for breakfast today.

7. She has humored my interest in strange and exotic foods.

8. Her house is freaking immaculate. She told me to ignore the mess, and I have no idea what mess she is talking about. I feel nothing but shame when I think about the condition of my house right now.

9. She has been gracious and considerate and understanding of over-tired kids with runny noses and jet lag. She has gone out of her way to make sure our stay is comfortable, and that we are entertained and fed and content. Including arranging to borrow a WII for Max.

10. She has married a lovely man (isn't it AWFUL when friends marry someone who is NOT lovely ? I am so thrilled that she has married this nice guy who welcomes people who are virtually strangers into his home, and keeps up a conversation, and even (BONUS !) plays WII with Max.

So, to sum up. Leigh is awesome, her children are beautiful and sweet, and her husband is a gem. Don't you wish you had a Leigh ? I am so glad I do. Love you !!!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Eating out

Officially psyched - the past two days have been a gastronomic extravaganza, and I am currently staring at an entire salmon that we just picked up in downtown Seattle. I also have bags of apples that are actually crisp, an enormous authentic Starbucks, fresh cheeses, a baguette from this amazing bakery in the Pike Place market.....oh what the hell.



With links, our Seattle experience thus far......



http://www.fallsbrew.com/

http://www.snoqualmiefalls.com/

http://www.tuttabella.com/

http://www.campagnerestaurant.com/

http://www.traderjoes.com/

http://www.pacificsciencecenter.org/

http://www.purefoodfish.com/

http://www.rogue.com/

http://www.lepanier.com/

http://www.beechershandmadecheese.com/

http://www.salumicuredmeats.com/

Friday, November 21, 2008

Aloha !

Aloha means hello AND goodbye (and about 100 other things) - so it is a good word to use today. We left Maui yesterday afternoon, and woke up in Seattle this morning.

MAY I just say, it is SO FUCKING COLD HERE. And it's not even that cold, I know. But I am freezing my tail off. It made such a huge difference to be met at the airport - we were cold and tired and disoriented, and then suddenly, through the clouds of breath, I saw headlights flash, and then Leigh jumped out. We had bags loaded, carseats buckled, and we were headed for the exit in 10 minutes. SO much easier then lugging all of our suitcases and sleepy children on to the rental car shuttle, then waiting in line to register, etc, and then driving through the dark trying to read street signs and exit numbers.

Today was a big day - we went to a waterfall, then to a brewery, then Target, then the Science Center, then out for pizza. Tomorrow will be equally exciting. I can't wait. It's just so nice to be here with friends....we miss home, but at the same time we are so excited to be seeing Leigh and her family.......

So this is the beginning of our very big adventure. I will try to post every day, but no promises !

xo
dc

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sunshine and Roses

I would like to make an announcement.

Today, of his own volition, with nary a peep from me, my husband took all of our library books with him when he left for work this morning, and presumably has returned them to the library for me.

The fact that he missed a few that were next to my bed, or that he may have returned some books that actually belong to the SCHOOL library and not the public library....well, those are just pesky little details. They do not take away from the initiative shown.

Huzzah, old man.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Miss Pissy Pants

This post could be about me or my daughter, so I shall talk about us both. And I shall use the F word and probably the A word and the S word. I can almost guarantee I won't use the C word because I don't like that word. You've been warned.

Let's start with my daughter. My darling baby girl HATES to travel. She hates change. She hates the unfamiliar. It's a good thing she lives on a very small island in the middle of a verybig ocean. We don't go anywhere too often. Which suits her Just Fine. She likes to be at home, in her jammies, with her toys, and maybe a friend over to play. Doesn't like to leave the house under any circumstances, really. So you can imagine that having suitcases piled all over, and lots of conversations like "Where are we going to sleep the night we get to Boston" and "How many nights will we be there ? 2 ? or 3?" have pushed her completely over the edge.

Tonight a neighbor came over to discuss picking up our mail, and the dates we would be gone, and Sami told her the HE would only be gone a few days, and that we (the kids and I) would be back much later. And when Lucy heard that, well, it was kind of like that movie Exorcist, where the little girl was shrieking and her head was spinning around and an exorcism was clearly necessary. Apparently, Lucy was not aware that Daddy was coming home before us. Which means, of course, that he will be HOME with HER STUFF and HER FRIENDS (and in her mind having what amounts to a non-stop tea party with brief intermissions to jump on the bouncy castle). So, needless to say, she's pissed.

Really Pissed.

I am just tired. And when I get tired, I get pissed easily. And hooo boy did I get pissed tonight. I decided to lay down for 30 mnutes before my second shift - Sami was home, and Lucy was in bed with me watching a movie, and then suddenly, Lucy was crying (Still ? Again ? I've lost track at this point.) and I came out to the living room and Sami was just SITTING THERE like he didn't know how to deal with a crazy toddler. It was 5:30. There were no lights on in the house. He had not started anything for dinner. Lucy clearly needed to be in bed, like, an hour ago, and he was dicking around and I got really mad and basically told him to buck up and get on board, because I was not in the mood for sweet simple Sami. I needed Sami the renaissance man to kick into gear and come to my rescue because FUCK, you know ? Just.....FUCK. I am tired, and stressed. I am working what feels like 24-7 but is really only, say, 20/7. I am not sleeping. I am eating crap food and not drinking water. I am not exercising or going outside. I am overwhelmed with the things I need to get done before we leave (not the least of which is eating all of the food in the refrigerator and cupboards. Today, it was PBJ on crackers because I ran out of bread yesterday and damned if I was going to buy another loaf when I had those PERFECTLY GOOD SALTINES.)

But there is a spark to the explosion Sami experienced tonight. Last night I went to a movie with a girlfriend. Before the movie, in one hour, I went to the bank, the post office, the party supply store, the YMCA to cancel our membership, the restaurant to pick up his flip flops I had left there by accident (long story). I also went to 2 pharmacies. I busted my ass, then took my girlfriend to the movies for her birthday. I came home, and the ONE THING I had asked him to do was not done. Never mind all the things I didn't specifically request, but just need to happen. Like, emptying the dishwasher, sweeping, running laundry so Max has a clean uniform, etc. etc. etc.

And all of that culminated in me just losing my shit when today he was still not getting with the program.

I get this way. I like to do things myself, and Sami knows that, and so he just assumes that I never need or want help with the things I usually take care of. As a result, he rarely asks if there is anything he can do. Or offers to do anything.....Tonight I reminded him (loudly) that we are leaving for a very long trip, and I have a lot to do, and the nice and considerate thing to do would be to call, maybe, once during the day, and see if there is something you can do on your way home. Like bring home a fucking PIZZA or something since I have to run back to work the minute you get home and don't really have time to cook the usual 3 course fucking dinner I usually do. Or get gas in the car. Or pick up party invitations for Max's birthday. Or any one of the 25 other things on my to-do list, none of which I had time for today, because I was at work beginning at 7:30am.

So today was not my best day. I was not at my best. I have been better.

Tomorrow, on the other hand, is going to be awesome. Or at least, better then today. Unless something really shitty happens, and then you will be hearing all about THAT let me tell you.

But I am sure everything is gong to go just great tomorrow, and we will click along right on time, and everything will be fabulous. It fucking better be. Fuck.

Pulling my head out of my ass to post

Ok, listen. I am exhausted. The house is a mess. We are out of food. We are leaving tomorrow. I am working - and remarkably, the quiet season pre-holiday has apparently already begun. So i get sent home early, which is OK, but not really great for making money for our trip !

I am heading back to the restaurant shortly for the dinner shift - my last shift for THREE WEEKS. I am freaking out a little....... More later.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day two of Eggnog Fest 2008

I should start by telling you I'm drunk. Drunk posting is never advisable, but it can't be helped.

I am making a good start at emptying the fridge, refrigerated item by refrigerated item. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it, and it might as well be someone who already doesn't fit into any of their pants, right ?

My first target is the 1/2 gallon of eggnog that I am working my way through.

Eggnog and dark rum is good. I thought it wouldn't be, but it turns out I was very , very wrong indeed. HOWEVER, mid-afternoon I began eating a very sharp Irish cheddar type cheese, and switched to a dark porter-style beer.
Coconut Porter

I am now quite drunk, and moving on to the Chicken Parmesan I made using the fresh mozzarella and open jar of tomato sauce that was also in my fridge. Later, I am going to scope out our veggies but for now I need to heat up a Tupperware of leftover pasta.

You know, I could really get into this whole "cleaning out the fridge" thing. But I may be maxxed out for the day.....I think I might need to go to bed, actually.

More later.

Lame

Sorry, my recent posts have been just nothing but lame. You are so kind to return and give me another chance.

I was going to post yesterday, but instead I packed 6 suitcases full of winter clothes - all that I have left to add is underwear. Yesterday was traumatic, in that it was the first time I have tried on my winter clothes in a Very Long Time. I know on the mainland, there was always the dreaded moment when you had to try on your summer clothes, after 8 months of hiatus, and see just what a winter full of Ben and Jerrys and Starbucks had done to your ass. This was kind of like that.

I have tried and tried to come up with a different, less offensive phrase then camel toe, but man, that's really the gold standard description for what I saw when I put on my winter pants.

Oh. My. God. I had to drink two eggnogs loaded with Meyers Dark before I could move forward.

First, my ass is much bigger then it used to be, apparently. So everything gets all bunched up above my ass, instead of sitting nicely on my hips (while my ass is large, it is also PERKY, which is nice, I guess.....but it totally fucks up where my clothes sit.)

I also, apparently, have developed a pooch. Again, it's a perky pooch, located immediately below my waist, leaving the impression that I may or may not be several months pregnant. I am SO NOT PREGNANT, and that is not a look I wish to cultivate or promote.

So with everything straining at the buttons, and bunched up around my waist, the natural result is that it is also pulled way up my ass crack, and um, in front - if you know what I mean. Painful to look at, painful to experience, let me tell you.

So I have come up with 2 skirts and 2 pairs of jeans that seem to fit OK - all of my beloved wool pants have officially shit the bit. Ebay here I come.

On to long sleeve shirts. I own 3. Three shirts with long sleeves. Total. Last night, after much huffing and digging through baskets, I came up with a fourth. That should hold me for 3 weeks. Thank goodness I have PLENTY of sweaters. So that is all good.

All that is left to do now is my customary packing, unpacking, repacking ritual, to make sure I have remembered everything. As my mother keeps reminding me, they have EVERYTHING there, so if I forget something it is really no big deal....but still. That is not the point.

The point is, I am leaving on a 3 week vacation in 3 days, and my head might explode before then. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Manly man

My husband packed up the truck today, by himself, and went camping with "the guys".

None of those guys had better have a vagina. I'm just sayin'.

So I am home, with 5 empty suitcases, bags of winter clothes to sort and wash, and my mind racing.....I have so much to do, and really very little time in which to do it.

I have a lot of work. Which is great, but stressful. That is a whole list in and of itself - I'll get to that in a minute......
I have packing.
I have cleaning.
I need to deal with the bills so that we are all paid up before we leave.
I need to figure out childcare while I work next week.
I need to figure out a ride to the airport.
I have to go to the bank and the pharmacy.

Work stuff:
Getting everyone up and out of the house by 7am on Monday.
Max to school, Lucy to nursery school, me to cafe by 7:30.
Breakfast shift at the cafe.
Phone conference to discuss an article and press release I am going to write (hopefully - fingers crossed !)
Babysitting in the afternooon.

Tuesday - Packing.
Column is due.
Wrapping up travel inquiries for clients before I leave.
Working on press release (hopefully).

Wednesday - repeat of Monday morning.
Only I have to go BACK to the cafe for the dinner shift (vacation money is a sweet siren)
Afternoon - packing, cleaning

Thursday - Day Of Departure (or day of reckoning - we shall see)
Last minute packing. Friend coming over with kids to help me keep kids occupied while I run around getting ready to leave.
We have to be at the airport around 2pm.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Because I regret being pissy

Um, so, the editor emailed me. He's running the column, and paying me for it. Now I feel like an asshole.


But hey. Shakespeare got to get paid. Know what I'm saying ?



www.marriedtothesea.com

Because I am feeling pissy about it

I wrote this column, about 10 days ago. Submitted it as requested.

Nothing. No feedback, no response of any kind. No publication.

And now, of course, this is feeding into all of my insecurities. They don't like it, they don't like me, they aren't running the column any more, on and on and on my mind races.

So you know what ? Fuck it. If they aren't going to run it then it's MINE and I am posting it HERE. Dammit. It's out of date now, but whatever.

Don’t forget to give thanks.

I was in town this past weekend, and was overwhelmed by the competing holiday merchandise.

First up to grab our attention - we have Halloween (which as anyone who has been on Maui for Halloween knows, is an incredibly intense holiday here). There are all manner of illuminated, animated, inflated and colorful decorations – from window clings to lawn ornaments. Even infants are rocking colorful Mohawks and temporary tattoos in honor of this very special day. Children come home from school clutching grocery bags full of candy and toys and treats, unless the school closed for the holiday – because people really do take it THAT seriously. The stores this weekend were still filled with aisles and aisles of everything needed to celebrate the holiday in excess – now deeply discounted. My kids spent half an hour in one aisle, pushing buttons to make ghouls eyes light up, and spooky noises come forth. Hiding amongst the now-tattered and motley collection of costumes marked to 50% off, my daughter poked her face out and asked if we could go trick or treating again. Not a chance, kiddo. My son tossed a Star Wars toy in the cart that was apparently an accessory to the costume he wore last week. Now that it was on sale, the laser-type thingy was actually in his price rage, and he was thrilled. He has had the costume on almost non-stop since Thursday, and this really brought the whole thing together, apparently. The piece de resistance, if you will.

As we rounded the corner and I breathed a sigh of relief to be moving away from the clutter of gory d├ęcor, I discovered that the Christmas decorations are out. I say Christmas because I didn’t personally see any Hanukah or Kwanzaa items – that doesn’t mean they weren't there, I just couldn't see anything beyond the fake trees and signs and wreaths and stockings and fake snow and ornaments and gift wrap. There is already Christmas candy, crowding out the orange wrapped goodies left over from October. Santas are dancing in the aisle, and my son almost cleared an entire shelf of what looked to be incredibly delicate ornaments, with a swing of his discounted Star Wars weapon. It was quite the contrast – Peace, love, snow, Santa, and a ray gun. Such is my life, in a nutshell.

I hustled everyone out of the store, fed up with the commercialism, the noise, the marketing and merchandising so carefully designed to reel in my little kids and everyone else, and I realized that in all of that excess and bedlam, something had been missing.

Where was Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, hands down, if only because of the name. It is so important to stop, and give thanks for what you DO have, even if there is much you are doing without, or cutting back on these days.

So I am on a mission to bring Thanksgiving to the forefront. I am hosting a pre-Thanksgiving dinner, to get everyone in the spirit. I think this year, of all recent years, we have a need to reflect, and remember what we have to be grateful for. So before you start buying holiday decorations, and panicking about your budget and how much gift wrap you need, and whether you should really get up at 4am to hit the stores the morning after Thanksgiving…..stop.

Breathe.

Put down the animated Carolers and the flashing snowflakes. We live in Hawaii for crying out loud – you don’t need snowflake decorations here. Look around. Watch the waves roll in, take a walk, feel the warm sand on your toes.

Be thankful to be surrounded by warmth and beauty.

Don’t forget Thanksgiving. It may not have the same marketing machine behind it as Halloween and Christmas, and you may have an issue with the Pilgrims, or our government…..but you can still give thanks for what is in your own life, and in your own heart. If not everyday, then at least, on this particular day – it is set aside just for the purpose of remembering, and showing gratitude – to a friend, to your family, to your guiding spirit, perhaps even to yourself. Haven’t you been awfully hard on yourself lately? I think so. Let’s take care of each other, this day and every day.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Brief - but worth every second




I just got this in an email from my sister in law and brother.....I totally do not have their permission to post this - but it is midnight at their house, so I don't want to wake them up to ask if it's OK.




So Mel, if this isn't OK - call me !




Otherwise, enjoy the latest photo from their home to yours. It makes me smile - but it also warms my heart in a way I cannot describe. I am so proud of them, and excited for them !!! 2 weeks and counting......... come out come out where ever you are !

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gush Gush Gush

First, my husband. Now that he's 40 (ha ha ha !!!!!!!!! Dude !)
He is teaching me what it is to be a rock star's wife.

Girls screaming out of car windows in darkened parking lots (he never looked up), guitar pics in the dryer, black clothes everywhere, late nights and loud practices on Sunday afternoons.

It's quite a life.

Second my trip back to the mainland. I am in a frenzy of excitement. Reservations, travel plans, events, gatherings, parties...all exciting. But the most exciting ? The arrival of my niece. Oh. My. God. I seriously am about to jump out of my skin.

I was so impatient for my own pregnancy to be over, so I could meet Max, that I forgot to sit back and enjoy it. There is not a belly photo to be found, and we did make some video, but Sami taped over it (and yes, he still gets grief about it all the time.) Of course, there was not a lot of pampering going on, and the extended prodromal labor really sucked the big one. And I had gained 80 pounds, so there's that.... Then when we were waiting for Lucy's arrival, and I wasn't sure when she would be born, where she would be born, if she was a she or a he, and there was a good chance the adoption would fall through anyway...well, let's just say I was popping Xanax like M&Ms that last weekend. I was at a birthday party, and I sat at their kitchen counter, clutching my cellphone, practically catatonic. Then I cleaned their bathroom. I am not even kidding. I have witnesses.

I was completely out of my mind.

So while this is not exactly like those previous experiences (no Xanax required) I am still pretty damn excited. I love babies, and I love my brother and his wife, and I know they are going to be great parents, which makes the whole thing so damn cool I can barely stand it. I have to physically restrain myself from buying things for the baby at this point. Hopefully she will arrive before I have to leave New England and fly home, because I think I would be crushed to not get to meet her and snuggle her up before I left.

So that's what's in my head today - rock stars and babies.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Family Politico, version 5.0

(note - this post has been edited, oh, about 5 times. Writing about extended family is hard, because reading what someone has written does not allow for backstory, intonation, and reassurances that I am not referring to one person or incident in particular. So if you are a relative, and you are paranoid - FEAR NOT. I definitely didn't mean you. Or maybe I did, but really, only the nice bits.)

It may sound strange, but we moved from New England to Hawaii to preserve the last vestiges of familial affection. I'm not going to get into details (Please note the glossing over of details in the rest of this post) because really, what good would it do ? It wouldn't change anything - it will only serve to piss me off all over again. The point is, we moved to Hawaii knowing full well that it would mean only seeing some of our relatives once or twice a year - at most.

We were OK with that.

My brothers were young and doing their thang - and I didn't see them too often anyway. Love them dearly, but until recenty our lives were very different, and we were not particularly close. Moving wasn't going to affect our relationship with them at the time. My mother was in a new relationship that was going swimmingly (they recently married) and Sami's family? Well, Sami has a large, extended family that could carry on in our absence. (gloss) So we ditched. My mom was NOT pleased. At first she thought we were bullshitting. And then she couldn't believe we would actually be able to pull it off. And then she was upset at the thought of not seeing her grandson grow up. But I counted the number of times we had seen each other - actually calculated the hours spent together in the year since his birth, and realized it added up to a one week vacation. No problem. It wouldn't be little bits of time all spread out, but Quality Time, a week at a time, and then long breaks between. Who's to say which is better - but it seemed do-able. They visit us, we visit them, everyone spends Quality Time together. Sami can talk about his famly's reaction to our move, and the time we spent together before and after the move, and how that has evolved on his own time, and in his own words, but suffice to say I had a nasty email accidentally sent to me that was clearly intended for someone else's inbox (which I never showed to Sami or told him about).......gloss gloss gloss.

For the most part, the distance has been good. Away from family our marriage has strengthened, because we had only ourselves to lean on. A marriage that did not have such a strong foundation might not have survived the move, the isolation, the microscope that is island living. But ours flourished. We made lots of wonderful friends (many of whom are also living far from their blood relatives) and we soldiered on. Added another kid, a new house, different jobs, cars, interests and routines. The only thing that remained constant was our distance from our relatives.

Every so often, in the past few years, things have happened that drew me back home - our daughter's arrival, my brother's wedding, my mother's wedding - and now a niece who will be born ANY DAY NOW (right Hazel ?) We are on our way back home, for Thanksgiving and to meet the new baby. And I can't wait. And at times like these, I start to fantasize about moving back.

But.

At the same time, it has already begun. The calls and emails, asking when we are going to be where. How long we are staying. Why we are celebrating Thanksgiving with one family over the other. Conflicts, problems, requests, a lot of sighing and "well, I guess we'll just have to make do."

And then it all comes rushing back to me. Oh yes, I remember it well. THIS is why we moved away. Because we cannot please everyone all of the time - and the stress of trying to do so causes untold grief and stress. It will never be enough. We will always be too far away. The year that Max was 1, we spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in the car, driving from one family (and one state) to the other. Hours and hours were spent driving and sitting in traffic. We were tired and grouchy, but trying - really trying - to make everyone happy. And we failed - miserably. When we arrived, we were late. When we tried to leave, we hadn't stayed long enough. We missed one of the cousins. We missed dessert. They were *waiting for us*. The cellphone rang while we drove down icy roads, through blinding snow - "Where ARE you?"

And this year, it is already shaping up to be Just Like That.
I sent an email out, inviting everyone to meet for dinner, the night after Thanksgiving.
It took a few days, but eventually a few responses trickled in.
"That won't work for us"
"Come to our house, we are already inviting this side of the family over here, so they won't come to see you either."
"Come to the other dinner."
"Come early."
"Come later."
"Come as soon as you can."

Nevermind that we will have driven 4 hours in the middle of Thanksgiving afternoon to get to their area in the first place, ditching one set of relatives in order to see the next group. Nevermind that we have flown 7,000 miles already. Nevermind that we have only 36 hours in one place, and it would be far easier to try to get everyone to pick one central meeting place that doesn't involve yet another long wintery drive.

And here is where the family politics come into play. If only we had a team of pundits, to keep up a running commentary ("Ouch. That had to hurt." "Didn't see that one coming, Mike!" "And here we see them bandying for position." "That one is out of bounds.") We are once again pulled into this bizarre dance, this competitive tit for tat,where our time is scrutinized, and measured, and weighed - we have to make sure we spend even amounts of time with each family. That everyone gets their fair share of time with the kids. But mixed in there is the true purpose of our trip. It is not to bicker with relatives about facetime, and race from one huge family dinner to another. It is about the little things. The small memories that will stay with my kids forever. A family dinner is a family dinner is a family dinner. I vaguely remember countless family dinners - and not one stands out in memory......but going to the aquarium and watching the "killer whale" jumping out of the water? Hell yeah. I remember that like it was yesterday. It is a very delicate balancing act, and I am always afraid to offend, to short-change someone in some way, to inconvenience, or to have plans changed to accommodate us and our limited timeframe. I think the date of my brother's wedding might actually have been changed based on tickets we had already purchased to travel home. And I am forever grateful, because being there meant so much. And yet, the guilt eats at me.

So we have our priorities. And if family fits in with that, all the better - but not if they have to rearrange their plans to match ours.
So far, here's the list:
To meet our newest family member. (OK I lied, these plans HAVE to line up. My extremely accommodating sister in law, the one who may or may not have adjusted her wedding date to fit my travel plans, has had multiple conversations with my unborn niece about the timeframe for delivery - which is basically anytime between NOW and December 10th. Come on baby !)
To see snow. (A first for the kids - hope mother nature is as accommodating as my sister in law.)
To visit museums and the cider mill. (Things we just don't have here in Hawaii).
To watch the marine show at the aquarium and get splashed by the dolphins. (Because it's cool, that's why.)
To be on the sidewalk in NYC for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. (Barring unforeseen circumstances - Done.)
To go on a sleigh ride. (We're working on this - but I can't guarantee it.)

And there is so much more......all of it can include family, but if they are unavailable for whatever reason, we can keep ourselves busy. And our priorities will remain in full effect throughout our visit.

Because while this trip is to see family, it is also to see the world - the world Sami and I grew up in.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why all parents should also be MDs, RNs or similar

Up to the minute updates here at Adventures in Paradise !

After my last post, Lucy woke up at about 3pm, and was all sorts of perky. I was so relieved ! She ate an entire grilled cheese with a level of enthusiasm never before shown to this classic sandwich. She ran, she danced, she picked out a movie at the grocery store, she watched the movie, she chilled on the sofa, and then, suddenly, without warning, at about 6pm, she started to cry. It was an exact repeat of what happened this morning. We went from okey-dokee to sobbing-hysterical-mess in about 5 minutes.

So we gave her Tylenol again. And she cried, and cried, and then fell asleep in my arms in the middle of the living room. about half an hour later she woke up, minus the tears, but still burning up. She went to watch some TV, and about 10 minutes later fell apart again. Her belly hurt, she kept saying. The fever was high - but since my damn thermometer was broken, I wasn't sure HOW high. She had a headache. She wouldn't eat, or sip on water. She kept saying she had to pee - but nothing came out. Her breath smelled awful (and babies do not have bad breath, as a rule). She was crying and crying and I finally looked at Sami and said "That's it - I'm taking her to the clinic."

We bundled her up, Sami stayed home with Max, I grabbed the laptop and the new movie rental, and bombed back down the hill for the second time that day. She cried the whole way down that her tummy hurt, and then as we approached the clinic, started sobbing that she had to pee. I screamed into the parking lot and came to an abrupt stop in the middle of two spots, and she was already out of her seat and reaching for the door. She hopped ou, dropped her pants in the parking lot, and squatted.

Nothing came out. She was crying again, in frustration, exhaustion, pain - I don't know......

There was a long wait, and her fever was not going down, though her mood was improving. I wasn't sure what to do. Do we stay, do we leave, is she fine, is she sick, is there something wrong with ME that I have taken her to the doctor twice in 2 weeks ? This is probably just a virus, and I am being an idiot. But what if it isn't ? I cannot imagine the guilt I would feel if we left and something WAS wrong....so we stay.

Finally called to the back, she is measured and notated, and then they send us to the lab - where I find out they need a pee sample - and blood.

Oh mother of god.

She was a trooper. I didn't give her the whole story until they were literally holding the needle against her skin, just held her tight and told her to squeeze her eyes shut and make a wish - and then, just as they were about to do the deed, I said "there is just going to be a teeny pinch and it will be over".

It was almost the truth. They were extremely skilled, very fast and efficient and careful and really couldn't have done a better job in the lab. But Lucy was PISSED.

So, we went back to the examining room, and fired up the DVD again. She cuddled in my lap with her night night wrapped around her new booboo. I called Sami, and told him he totally owed me one. Then the doctor came in, and I reassured her he was NOT going to pinch her in any way, or hurt her, he just wanted to look, and maybe touch, her belly, ears, throat, eyes, etc.

He did those things - then pulled her pants down to see if there was something "down there" that would be causing pain when she peed, or making her feel like she had to go more often. She looked at me - panicked. I told her it was OK, he was a doctor, and i was there, and it was OK for him to look there, because I was with her and he was a doctor - I just kept repeating it over and over, and she held my hand and stared right at me - trusting, wary, calm, scared....And then it was over, and she was back in my lap and the movie was on again and I was talking to the doctor.

And then, he made a liar of me.

He whipped out a swab, told her to say ahh, and took a throat culture to test for strep.

She screamed and cried hysterically. I was pissed. We got over it. The doctor gave me all the test results. She refused to look at him, or answer him, then suddenly she was interrupting our conversation and asking questions, and announcing (when he told me that he could tell from the test results that she wasn't eating) that she DID eat today - she had a grilled cheese !

We beat a hasty retreat. I felt like an over-reacting moron. She was looking for a milkshake. We went to Walmart to get a new thermometer and some Motrin, then headed home.

It's 10:30pm. I am tired. My throat hurts. I need some sleep, but first I need a shower and something to eat. And a medical degree because DAMMIT I am sick of dragging my kids to the doctor to err on the side of caution. I need an ear thingy so I can check for ear infections, and a tongue depressor so I can look for strep, and some cups to take pee smaples to test for UTIs, and I will be all set ! Huzzah !

Poor little peanut

After a weekend that left us all feeling a bit under the weather, this morning Lucy woke up bright and chipper. "Good morning Mama, I am so glad you are awake !" were the first words she said to me as I dragged my bleary self out of bed.

After some cuddles and love, we drove towards town - our destination was the aquarium, but I was badly in need of some caffeine first.

So, as we make our way down the mountain, Lucy says her legs hurt. She is whimpering a bit. We get to the aquarium, and she says she wants to ride in the carriage. My first sign that something night actually be wrong, is when she gets in her carriage, and then does not get out again. Usually she is up and down, in and out, hopping onto the ground with no notice and getting banged in the ankles by the forward-moving stroller. But not today. She was quiet and still. Then, she began to cry. Said her head hurt. No fever, so I held her and offered water. And within minutes, the furnace kicked on, and she was raging hot to the touch. It literally happened in 5 minutes. She was fine, and then she was NOT FINE AT ALL.

So we bustled out of the aquarium, and got to the car, where in the light of day she was white as a sheet - verging on gray. Still burning to the touch. No sweat - just this incredible radiating heat.

As soon as the car began to move, she started to cry anew. Her eyes hurt. Her head hurts. Her legs hurt. I pulled out of the parking lot and headed towards the drugstore. Motrin, thermometer, cool pack, what else......

And then, suddenly, she was asleep. I moved over two lanes and changed direction - heading towards home and hoping she would be OK when we got there.

There is something to be said for mother's instincts. You are connected to your children in a very real, extremely primal way. You know their body temperature, their personality, their smell, their appearance. And if anything is the slightest bit off, it hits you in your gut. And when I looked in the rearview mirror, my heart was in my throat. She was so pale. So hot and dry. Her eyes were glassy, her hair and breath smelled different. Her reactions were off and her behavior was, well, odd. Our friend, who was with us (and also checked her temperature before and after the fever hit) said she looked over at us and saw that Lucy "just wasn't there". Sick kids - especially with a fever - get a very vacant look. They cry for seemingly no reason at all - and you can see the hot tears, rolling down hotter cheeks, evaporating before they reach their chin.

My reaction to fevers is to put cool damp towels on their foreheads and necks, give them sips of cool water, and let them sleep it off. I gave her some Tylenol because the fever was so high, but if she pukes it up I am not going to be surprised. She won't eat - but she had a big bowl of Cheerios at 8am, when she was feeling fine and dandy, so I know she has something in her belly.

And of course, my digital thermometer is flashing an error message which I cannot translate because I lost the manual about 7 years ago. So i think Sami will have to get a new thermometer on his way home. And something for dinner, because our trip to the grocery was completely derailed.

Just another day in the life.........

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Big Birthday Weekend

Day 4 of celebrating Sami's birthday, and folks, I am exhausted. Clearly, I am much too old for this shit.

I am currently hunched over my kitchen counter, sipping tea and eating leftover chocolate frosting right out of the Tupperware. It has been a very long weekend.

A brief summary of food and alcohol intake (large) and actual sleep achieved (minimal):

Thursday night, we had the Italiano birthday extravaganza. (Massive amounts of meatballs and muscat wine left me comatose.) 7 hours of frequently interrupted sleep because Lucy is still struggling with a bladder infection and pees All Day On The Hour (at least).

Friday I worked breakfast and lunch, then took a 30 minute nap. We got rid of the kids (temporarily) and had a romantical dinner where I gorged myself on Thai food, then Sami gigged in Kihei. (Large amounts of Guinness and onion rings were consumed during the show). 5 hours of sleep - I woke up a few times because I was cold, so I was totally exhausted in the morning. But there were no kids around to be entertained, so I could vegetate on the couch between bursts of cleaning and scrubbing. I was awake at 5am, took a nap for about an hour in the afternoon, not enough, but better then nothing.

Saturday, 20 people and a passle of kids were here for a belated birthday/early Thanksgiving celebration (a 16 pound turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, greens, salad, cheesy potato casserole, rolls, gravy and creamed onions - and a lot of wine) followed by dessert at Moana (espresso cheesecake, chocolate bread pudding, carrot cake and key lime pie), and another gig - this time at Charley's in Paia (rum and cokes, then Guinness - a big mistake after all of the wine I drank). Then I slept for about 6 hours - but Lucy was in bed with me, and I was honestly awake for 60% of that time - either recovering from a blow to the face that she sent my way in her sleep, or trying to keep some covers over me.

Sunday - today - I woke up exhausted and cold and hung over, climbed back into bed for an hour of dozing, cleaned the house, got 4 kids up and dressed and teeth brushed and down to the restaurant for breakfast, where I drank a bloody mary and ate a seared ahi benedict that kicked my ass. We dragged through town running errands, but after 2 stops decided we were too exhausted to carry on, and went home to bed. That didn't actually work out so well, because we have KIDS and our kids do not sleep, or rest, during the day. So we basically lay on the sofa wanting to cry from sheer exhaustion (and my gnarly hangover). Sami had a side job, so he hit Starbucks with one of his fancy giftcards en route to making some money :) and I went back to bed. There was no alternative, I had to get some sleep. 2 hours later, I dragged my very sorry self out of bed, and entertained the kids until our neighbor came over with her daughter and I could have more caffeine and mommy time (though I remained in my jammies and still have them on - conveniently it is bedtime so I won't have to change my clothes. Not that I would have.)

All of this is to say that 10 years ago, I would have rocked this weekend. I would have slept in my car, done the walk of shame at least twice, and consumed far more coffee, alcohol, and illegal substances, and far less food or water. So I am growing up, while I am also growing old. I am feeling every one of my none-of-your-damn-business years today. I have circles under my eyes, and wrinkles that appear to be recent arrivals, and my legs are sore and my throat kind of hurts and my eyes are burning and my nose is stuffy and my neck hurts. I am not looking or feeling so hot.

But I managed to rock the hooker heels and the tight dresses and the low cleavage and the big earrings - if just for a weekend. I partied like it was 1999. But it totally wasn't.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My apologies

To anyone who came to my house, and was operating under the assumption that it was even vaguely clean, I owe you an apology.

I have spent the past 2 hours cleaning my children's rooms and Oh. My. God. I didn't even go under the beds (just sort of around the edges underneath) and the PILES OF CRAP are astounding. It got to the point where I just started sweeping entire piles of garbage out of their rooms into the hall. Empty toilet paper rolls and old comics and snips of cardboard were seen in Max's room, and Lucy's room had feathers, jewels, and plain old dirt. She is a DIRTY princess. I was going to take a picture of the piles, but then I got too embarrassed and quickly threw everything out and ran the vacuum.

There is still much to do before our dinner party tonight. The kitchen floor that I scrubbed last week (including toothbrushing the grout between the tiles) doesn't look so hot, all of the windows and screens are in terrible shape, we need to finish painting the trimwork.......... and I hope someone is planning on cleaning the shower. Someone who is not me.

Oh who am I fooling. I'll just go clean the shower now.

The good news ? The house is really MUCH cleaner then it was (though I am suspecting that there are still hidden pockets of dust here and there). The turkey appears to have thawed, and we are ready to celebrate Thanksgiving tonight, 3 weeks ahead of schedule, since we will be on the mainland for the blessed event. I have the bread cubed, and we are heading over to the store for veggie broth, then I should have everything I need for turkey, stuffing, and creamed onions. Everything else is arriving with our guests - later. MUCH later. We have a whole day of peace and quiet stretching out before us.

Oh, the quiet.

The kids are with Becky and Johnny, and though I miss them terribly I am really enjoying the guilt-free relaxation and lack of arguments. Ahhhhhh. This marks the first time in 8 years that Sami and I have been at home, alone, without our kid(s) overnight. And may I say, it's AWESOME. I am definitely going to take a nap.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Getting my hair done

Lucy is doing my hair right now, using her "equipments" - which is a set of wooden chopsticks and some seriously sticky fingers. She says she is going to make my hair long and beautiful.

Good Luck with that.

Her littel body is wedged behind me on the stool, and she is keeping up a running commentary about her excellent work, and how beautiful my hair looks, just like Aurora. Every so often, she will announce "I have to go potty" and run to the bathroom. Then she chants to herself (if you can chant at the top of your lungs) "FRONT TO BACK" and then come racing back to return to her very difficult task of making my hair "booty-full, like Auwoahwah".

Man, I wish I really could be beautiful like Aurora, kid - but I don't sleep, which is what Sleeping Beauty does best. So I am going to go for something a little more attainable - like haggard evil witch.

Lucy has also begun worrying about her appearance. The other day she said something about getting fat, whcih I found so alarming and unsettling that I immediately started peppering her with questions about where she had heard about being fat. Certainly not here, because honestly I may curse like a sailor, but rarely use the word "fat" - which I consider the true F-word.

I have never worried about my weight - which may be why I gained 80 pounds when I was pregnant. I have never discussed my children's weight, or told them they shouldn't eat something because it might make them "fat". I won't let them eat something because it will make them totally hyper and obnoxious - but that is the extent of it.

I am off to a night on the town, and I am going to squeeze myself into something totally inappropriate for a woman of my age, and accompany my husband to a gig at a local bar. I think I will even wear some makeup, which is just unheard of........

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My old man


That's Mr. Old Man to you. Because today, my husband (who I would like to note is waaaaaayyyyy older then me) is turning 40.


Cradle Robber.


You know, even when I am really pissed off - even when I am really pissed off at HIM - when I think of my husband, I smile. He is one of those genuine, nice guys. And though he can, at times, be obtuse, maybe a touch passive aggressive, a bit naive, and terrible with washing clothes - he is a good man. A good husband. A GREAT father. And older. Then me. Much older.


Sorry. Have I already mentioned that ?


The good news is, he is in good health and good spirits. The bad news is, he is just so old.

Well, he is.


Today, in honor of the great day of his birth, lo and many years ago, I am making meatballs.

This should make you very very jealous.

My meatballs kick ass.


I really have to go get everything ready for his homecoming after a long day on top of the mountain, slaving away. But I just wanted to make sure you knew what an important and momentous day this was, for my much older husband. The old guy.

Thankfully, if you would like to have a picture similar to the one above, it does not take much time at all.
www.yearbookyourself.com is the perfect way to create a living hell for your loved ones. Merry Christmas from me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And there you have it.

I was going to title this post "Yes We Can" but then I imagined about 8 billion other blog posts with the same title and thought - no. You deserve better then that.

It is 3am. I am wide awake. My stomach is doing flips. It may be the election, or the celebratory drinks, or the deep fried chicken wings, or maybe the Mongolian Beef. Whatever. I'm up, and I'm thinking.

This is about us - not the election. Don't get me wrong, the election was a big part of our lives. But recently, issues at home took precedence over whatever was going on politically in this country.

As it should have.

I am a big believer in taking care of family first, which may be the biggest reason why I could not ever consider supporting the McCain ticket, no matter my political beliefs. I believe that if you have things going on at home (like the Palins do right now with their oldest daughter and youngest son in particular, and all of their children by extension) that you need to stop, and focus all of your attention on your family. Because ultimately, if all is not well at home, everything else WILL be affected.

After things got bad (really, really, profoundly bad) around our house, 2 days ago there was a confrontation, some tears, and ultimately, communication. We reached across the aisle, so to speak, and worked some shit out. Said our piece. Heard what the other had to say. Apologies were made and accepted on both sides. Love was proclaimed. Faith was indeed renewed. My life began to heal, my marriage to come back together, coincidentally at the same time as our nation was doing the same. Maybe we were inspired by the efforts of those around us, by the positive thoughts people were putting out there into the universe. Emotions were running very very high here at home, and thank god we saw the same positive outcome in our relationship as we saw in the polls.

"Yes We Can" today has a lot more meaning for me then just a political catch phrase. it is now intrinsically tied to the success and strength of my marriage. because we proved that we can weather the greatest of storms - political AND personal. We really, really can.

As we listened first to McCain (and you know, I think it was one of the best and most inspiring speeches of his career) and then to our President-elect, I was just so damn glad we were all together, the four of us, on our little loveseat, watching history. OK, well, Lucy wasn't. She was on the floor squealing, wrapped in a blanket, trying desperately to get our attention. But I digress....Nothing was going to take away from that moment. I was proud to be American, and to share the moment with my kids - whether they were mesmerized by Obama (Max) or being totally obnoxious (Lucy), I hope they will remember tonight. As I sat there, I remembered past elections, and knew that this time, this night, was the best of my life as a citizen and as a voter.

During the 2000 debacle of an election, I spent a lot of time in labor and delivery, in the very last stages of a difficult pregnancy. I was admitted to the hospital twice between the first of November and Max's eventual arrival 6 weeks later. The first time was on the day after the actual vote. I watched people holding ballots up in the air and squinting, with an oxygen mask strapped to my face, and a fetal monitor stretched around my belly. I was having some serious doubts about bringing my child into a world where the United States of America was still having trouble COUNTING. The mask allowed me to curse loudly and freely, without anyone really understanding what I was saying. The nurses would come in periodically where I lay prone, eyes glazed over, huffing through contractions, watching CNN. They would check the electoral map, look at my blood pressure, read the printout from the fetal monitor, and suggest that I switch the channel to something a little less intense. Fat Fucking Chance. It was a long 6 weeks, both for our family, and for the country.

During the 2004 election I was hopped up on fertility drugs, and simultaneously going through (undiagnosed - that came much later) menopause. Picture how much fun THAT must have been. So for the second time, I watched a totally fucked up election while I was trying to bring a child into the world, bloated and miserable, stuck with needles on a near-daily basis.

The irony is not lost on me.

My sister in law will be giving birth to my little niece in the next few weeks, and I am so glad that she is bringing a baby into a world that can finally hold what appears to be a valid election, no matter who was elected. And into a world where our President-elect truly did have a MANDATE. And yes, I am glad she will live in a time where a black man can be elected president, where a woman can be so close to the vice-presidency, and that neither of those demographic, sociological facts were really a huge issue for most voters.

I hope to god that Obama walks the walk he talked so well. He has the whole world in his hands today, and for the next four years. He will need to be gentle and firm. His parenting skills will be put to the test - extended to all of us - he will have to parent this nation through a very difficult period of time. Like Junior High. But with more fighting and sex and drugs and negotiations.

I hope his new puppy doesn't crap all over the White House.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

the real deal

And it all comes down to now.....

This is going to be brief.

Things have come to head here in our house. I am sure much of it is built upon the pre-election angst that has my tummy in knots and my mind spinning. But there is quite a bit that is not election-related, and it is all coming to a tense crescendo. Now.

I have been hanging on for a while, going through the motions, isolating myself, not answering my phone, not returning my voicemails, not replying to emails.....I haven't mailed my family pics of the kids in months. Literally months. I went out on Halloween without my camera. Which is unheard of - I carry a camera in my purse 24-7. And I did not take a single photo of my own sweet darlings in their halloween costumes, because...because..... well. I don't know. Another symptom of what is going on in my life, in my head.

So basically, to summarize. Do. Not. Panic. Things are fine. No one is ill. I am not needing new meds. But I am needing to make some priorities, and see them through. I am needing to get a grip. To verbalize what I feel in my heart, and know in my head.

Sometimes, everything is not as it appears. In a campaign, in a family, in any given situation. Even the very sweetest person you know can be a real asshole at times. It is almost impossible to know the whole story. So I am not even going to try to tell it.

Do me and everyone else a huge favor, and vote tomorrow. It is the one thing you have complete control over. Enjoy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Running on Empty

I am not sleeping well, and feeling that my life is just slightly out of my control. Not a pretty feeling. I keep hoping that a good night's sleep, or maybe a nice nap, will help to clear my head - but that hasn't been happening either.

Last night was a perfect example of things being out of my control.
Sami had practice, so in an effort to preserve my children's hearing, we left the house and went to town. I had no plan, no destination, still managed to kill $100 at Walmart - mostly on training pants and some on party favors for Max's birthday and his class goodie bags - both of which will be needed the week we get back from the mainland, so clearly I needed to get those prepared NOW rather then right when I get home, the few days before Christmas when I am broke and jet-lagged.

So we are driving home, and it's dinner time, and I bought sausages and brussels sprouts, and I am thinking about dinner in my head, and the phone rigns. Sami wants to know if we want to go to a BBQ at the lead singers house. Right now. We had discussed it earlier, and decided that the kids were realy tired and could do with a quiet night at home. So the question kind of threw me. I figured he was asking because he really wanted to go......so I said OK.

Dinner was hamburgers, hotdogs and sausages YUM ! I was starving !).....and it took almost 2 hours and a trip to our house for the propane tank in order to get the grill fired up and the food cooked. By now, it's almost 8:30, and the kids are a MESS. So I wanted to leave, told Sami we needed to leave, gave everyone in my little family the news that we were leaving.......But short of screaming hysterically and carrying people out of there, no one was going to go. And I was pissed.

So a day that had gone fairly well turned into a shit storm, because Sami and I were apparently not communicating well. By communicating well, I mean doing exactly what I say as soon as I say it, which I think is a COMPLETELY reasonable expectation. Expecially considering the circumstances. Our leaving was really the only thing to do, in order for everyone else to enjoy their evening.....but Sami has a problem leaving places. It takes forever. He stops to have a bunch of conversations instead of just hollering "GOODBYE" and peeling out of the driveway, What matters is that we are home. And I feel a certainly amount of control again, and the kids are happy, and the laundry is washed, and the bed is changed, and I have something in mind for dinner.....

Really, it doesn't take much to make me a happy girl.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

It's over

OK, so open mike night did NOT pan out.

I had good intentions. A few bloody marys to loosen up, grab the mike, sing some songs, and then collapse in nervous shock and have to be fed dessert by my husband while shuddering and hating myself for putting myself out there for some serious public humiliation.

So part one went great. I drank puh-LENTY of bloody marys. And then Iwas kind of too drunk to perform. SO we waited for a while to see if I would sober up. And then the restauran got VERY crowded, and I freaked out.

Because not only am I not a fan of performing in public, I am also not a fan of crowds. Especially crowds in Paia. Especially on Halloween. On a REGULAR day Paia has a lot of freaks, many dressed in something that sure looks like a costume - except it's just their regular clothes.
Case in point:
I worked during the day yesterday, wearing a Mad Max wife-beater, army pants, a skull bandanna on my head, and a large amount of 1980-era blue eye makeup. And a side pony tail. A customer actually called me over to settle a disagreement at the table - was I in costume ? Several people didn't think so.

I will have to get my hands on the photos from yesterday and last night, because I Am Sure there are some good ones. I'll post them ASAP. In the meantime, all of our friends who sat around waiting for me to perform last night have vowed to return for each and every open mike night until I actually get up there. One even volunteered to stand next to me and hold my hand. THAT is a true friend.