Friday, December 30, 2005

Angels in the Toilet

Mid linoleum knock out, phase II, the guest bathroom started flooding. We couldn't figure it out. I opened the shower to find soap bubbling everywhere, presumably from the 10th load of laundry I did today. All eyes turned to our precocious toddler. Papa: "Nick, did you put anything in the toilet?" Nick: "Nooooo!" Mama: "Niiiiick. No one is going to be mad at you. Now tell us, did you put anything in the toilet?" Nick: "An angel!" Papa: "A what?" Nick: "A Christmas angel!"

See what I mean about 1 step forward (putting decorations away) 10 steps back (the tile project put on hold while James pumps up water and I mop the floor)

The positive news: James was able to plunge the main line and, unlike my cyberfriend Toni's train in the toilet story, we were spared a $300.00 plumber.

I guess this toilet angel's cloud had a silver lining. (Though I wish I could say the same for Lizzy's luck getting tickets... Thanks to everyone for your smart ass comments...)

Rosebowl Tickets Anyone?

Texas Lizzy is in town and looking to buy Rosebowl Tickets. If anyone out there has some, please email me. She's willing to pay up to 500 bucks/ticket. Thanks!

Parking It

Had a nice few days off with James. We started some house improvements, most significantly, our kitchen floor. After going back and forth on tile, linoleum, pergo, do it ourselves or have it contracted, the big decision was made last night when James took a big shovel and ripped it to shreads in less than an hour. Turns out there were four layers of floor underneath. Like my plan to organize my freelance career, I was reminded that there are many levels to get through to find my place in the world, but if I can stick it out through the yuck and goo, I will eventually have a beautiful floor to write on. As I made dinner admist the chopping, we laughed at our chaotic life. Nick was watching Dora, Sophie was throwing blocks, and friends were due over for a walk at any time. During the madness, we decided that I would repaint the kitchen once the baseboards were ripped out and James would lay the tile. Lucky for us, we already found a pattern we agree on (a beautiful brown square and cream that will be set in a diner checkerboard pattern). Now it's just a matter of calling up the tile guy and ordering - in this case, that would be Zarko the Great. No joke, his business card says "Zarko the Great". After attempting to get four estimates from various contractors, who all canceled or just didn't show, I will give Zarko the Great much kudos for his followthrough and earned namesake. He's a big Greek guy with five kids who not only is going to show James how to lay the floor, but tossles the rug rats hair and calls them Sir and Madam. Sold.

Side note: At the park the other day, a little girl was singing "Happy Birthday" to her sand cake. She had sticks for candles. I was thinking how sweet it is that techology hasn't ruined creativity. This all changed when she got to the end. "Happy Birthday to Elda, Happy Birthday to you..." "And dinosaurs... on 64... And a big fat lady... on channel 80"... Wow. You can't stop the power of cable.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Saint Nick

James started his first day of work today, which marks the official end of our holiday celebration. An hour into his day, he received this email from me:

"In the past hour I have caught Nick:

- Pants down on the couch, peeing on Sophie
- Pants on, riding her like a bull on the linoleum
- Spitting apple juice in her hair

On his way to his room, he asked for a lollipop.

I am beyond pissed."

Glad to be back to the post Christmas normalcy.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

In liue of songs, as I'm about to collapse from cooking, cleaning, wrapping and general Xmas preparation-ness (is that a word?) I'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy Xmas. I'm about to spend it at Stella's mobile home. I am sure to have loads of stories, so I expect some from you.

I wish everyone joy, love, peace, happiness, and of course, a maid.

And though I know I joke about being a waffling Catholic, I'm actually going to say it: God bless you. We all have so much to be grateful for. And if you don't think you do, then stop being so self defeating and do something about it: write a book, read a book, join a group, join a gym, join AA, start drinking, buy a house, sell a house, rent your house, rent a houseboat, take a class.

Or just at home and feel sorry for yourselves. But come on people, it's a new year. Who the hell knows why we're all here, but I have to think it's to be good to everyone and make our mark the best way we can.

Okay, I was supposed to stop at God bless you. Too bad.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Jingle Smells, Jingle Smells

This holiday season, my son has discovered the joys of farting. I was talking to Texas Lizzy, and apparently this is nothing new in the toddler arena. In her household (a beautiful ranch erected just to irritate overpriced LA box dwellers like me) farting is known as 'tooting' and consistently causes Toddler J to erupt in giggles.

Last night, after Nick could not stop cracking up (pun intended) at his "smelly butt noises" we had the official talk.

Me: Can we fart loudly at home?

Nick: Yeeessssss.

Me: What about at school?

Nick: Yeeeeeeeees.

Me: Nooooooooooo. We save our farts for home only.

Nick: Ooooh, Mama lets me fart from my butt?

Me: Yes. That's it.

Nick: Papa lets me fart from my butt, too.

Me: That's right. Papa can be very juvenile, and nothing makes him laugh harder than a good ripper.

Nick: Yes, a ripper! I can rip for Papa! And Mama! But not for church. Jesus doesn't like farts.

Me: That's right. No farting for Jesus.

Nick: It's Jesus birthday at Xmas!

Me: Yes! Very good! It's his birthday. (I am thrilled for the spiritual segway)

Nick: Even though it's Jesus birthday, I get the gifts.

Me: That's right. Jesus is a good man. He shares.

Silence, then....

Nick: I like Jesus. He shares his presents. And after I open them, I can fart. Cause I open them at home and I can fart at home!

I give up.

On that note, let's sing along to Jingle Bells, shall we?


Jingle smells
Jingle smells
Nick's discovered farts
For loads of fun just pull his thumb
And warm his little heart (Tooot!)

Jingle smells
Jingle smells
Toddlers love the noise
Forget tv and coloring
It's farts for girls and boys


Last night after our prayers
When everything was calm
I thought at first he made
A tiny little yawn

But then I heard a laugh
And something like a bell
It turned out to be gas gas gas
And how he loved the smell, Oh!


Jingle smell
Jingle smell
Stinkies all the way
Yes this song is juvenile
My son likes it that way (Hey!)

Big Finish

Jingle Smell
Jingle Smell
Tooting all the way
Let's hope Santa brings our son
Some Beano on his sleigh

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Come On, Gimme Some Credit

Inspired by my last rendition of Rudolph, I will be rewording one Christmas song per day to get me through the holiday madness. Think of them like Mama P's little Advent calendar - emphasis on the vent. Call me Weird Al Yank a Bitch... As in I could have yanked this bitch right off the register at Old Navy today and thrown her straight into their signature car and pushed it into the LA river.

After buying 215.00 worth of Old Navy clothes last week, including a fateful sweater set and pants for Nick, it turns out that after one wash the 2T cable knit, like my career, came unraveled at the seams. Then Nick's grey sweats developed a hole in the crotch. I haven't seen this much material openings in inappropriate places since Chrisitina Aguilera's last video. And since these threads aren't making me millions, I figured I would return them.

Okay, I admit, I had no receipt. But lucky Patron Saint of Shopping... the cashier said she could credit the card I bought them on. Perfect! Nick and Sophie were in the car with Grandma, I hadn't waited in line... what a lovely ending to a day of errands with the munchins. Insert game show buzzer: IRRRRRRNNNN! After telling me I would be credited 107.00, they said the register wouldn't validate the card because it says I didn't use it at that store. Bull! I don't ever use my credit cards, so I knew for a fact this was the only one (my Atm card got sat on one too many times, so I was using credit simply as a means of funding until the new one arrived.)

After holding up the line and enduring one too many incriminating looks by other shoppers (and I can't blame them... this was taking waay too long) I finally agreed to take a store credit, but not without telling the manager (a pretty Asian version of Madonna resplete with punk hair, headset and attitude) that "I'll take it your store credit, but your store sells crap. You hear me, Old Navy crap crap crap! Your commercials make everyone feel bad for not looking like a robot and your clothes are, let me remind you again, CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP!"

I got home and immediately checked my MBNA statement. Guess what? 215.00 cleared well over a week ago. On my MBNA. The same card that never was used at Old Navy. Hmmm.

I am so angry.

But my mom made a good point. She said cancel the transaction with MBNA so they don't pay Old Navy. Hmmmm. What if I got my 107.00 credit in the mail still? Then everything would be paid for! But that's not very Christian, is it. But technically, I'm a waffling Catholic, so maybe until I get my Vatican papers, it's okay. Or perhaps I will just go to confession and pay off a saint?

Who knows. Let's all turn to happier thoughts, like verse.

Everyone! Sing along to "Santa Clause is Coming to Town"!


Mama P's making a list
She's checking it twice
And now her warm heart is turning to ice
(Cause) Oooool Navy Suuuucks... cow balls

The sweatpants had rips
The sweaters were crap
And the 12 long jeans sent too much air in her crack
(Yep) Ooooold Navy Suucks... cow balls


She's sick of all their dumb ads
Of anorexic freaks
Who look great in their lame clothing
But they're way too scared to eat, SO!

Final Chorus

You better watch out
Go ahead - cry
Mama P's looking you straight in the eye
Ooooold Naaavy Sucks... Cowballs

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Rudolf the Zoloft Reindeer

Okay, everybody, sing along to the "Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer" theme music.

Cue horns...

Mama P the Dead Beat Blogger
Thought that she could do it all
But all of that changed last Sunday
When she finally hit the mall

She couldn't find no parking
And when she finally did
The lines forming round Old Navy
Left reindeer tears on her lids


Then she got back to her house
With Xmas cards left to write
Both kids puked over the couch
And she and James had a fight - HEY!

Big Finish

Now there's four days til Xmas
With shopping and gifts to wrap
And if she sees dear old Santa
Mama P is gonna kick his asssssssssssssssssssssssssss!

* Pictured: Nick being particularly helpful by dumping a bottle of baby powder all over my already vomit stained cushions "To clean up the pee pee!" he informed me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Lucky #7

Okay, so this little ditty was taken from Toni's blog. I thought I'd throw it out there in case any of you want to add your two cents. (And thank you to WGA L, Mrs. V and a few more who posted! You're alive!)

Okay, here they are...

Seven things to do before I die:

1. Write a musical
2. Write a series of books similar to Armistead Maupins Tales of the City called 'The Valley Gal Chronicles'
3. Be published in a nationwide magazine
4. Get back into TV and do shows I love
5. Not be so anxious about traveling. (I went to London once for 5 days and spent 3 in a hotel. That's just dumb)
6. Be more current about news and perhaps a bit more poltical
7. Start a program for stressed out moms
8. Make a living from home (either Ebay or writing)
9. Take up piano again
10. Be very physically fit
11. Do more things that scare me(okay, so I have more than 7... I'll stop here)

Seven things I can (or will) not do:

1. Be mean to someone on purpose. It's just not in my nature. I can't say I haven't hurt people due to my honest and large mouth, but it was never to intentionally hurt them.
2. Go through childbirth without an epidural (Since we're not having any more kids, this isn't an issue. Unless I get knocked up by Liam Neesons Love child in a re-enactment from "Rob Roy"'s opening scene, but that won't happen either due to #3, inspired by Toni
3. Cheat on James. He can be a pain in the ass, but he's so damn loyal and good and true. I adore him.
4. Dance on my toes. I'm 6'1. I am a 38 DD. It's just not in the cards.
5. Jump out of a plane.
6. Have certain kinds of sex in certain kinds of places, body or otherwise... nuf said.
7. Walk naked in a nudist colony. Call it the Catholic conservative in me. I just don't need my hoo hoo in the wind. Nor my post child gumby boobs. Sounds very freeing, though. Until you sit on a lawn chair. Yuk.

Seven things that attract me to my spouse/partner/the opposite sex:

1. His beautiful face - like John Kennedy Junior - classic, rugged.
2. His voice - deep
3. His no nonsense, grounded attitude on life
4. His heart - amazing with kids and animals
5. His cleanliness - I can be messy, so it's a plus. When we first dated, he'd show up at my teeny apartment - that didn't have a dishwasher - and take my dishes to his condo on his lunch break). Then he'd take them home, run them through his dishwasher, and bring them back. I thought that was sweet. OF course later in life, it's this anal side that I could kick him in the head for. But while I'm kicking him in the head, I have clean plates.
6. I loved that he owned a condo and wore pants that weren't falling off his ass. A big plus compared to some winners I dated.
7. He puts up with me.

Seven things I say most often:

1. I love you.
2. Who loves you more than anyone in the whole world? And Nick screams "Mommy!"3. 1! 2! 3! Time out!
4. Hi, Doll
5. God Damnxxx! Need to work on that
6. Thank you
7. God, I really need to... fill in the blank

Seven books (or series) I love:

1. Tales of the City
2. Editorials in the LA Times Magazine
3. Harry Potter
4. Anything Ann Tyler
5. The Little House series when I was a kid.
6. The Writers Market (God, I really need to query... see?)
7. Any kind of home decorating or woman's magazine

Seven movies I watch over and over again (or would if I had the time):

1. Moonstruck
2. Life is Beautiful
3. Shrek
4. When Harry Met Sally
5. Evita or any musical for that matter.
6. The Incredibles
7. Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer (It's just so cozy with the snow and the music and the whole underdog theme. I am not fond of Santa's sexim toward Clarissa, but that aside, it's a classic)

Okay, anybody else, feel free.

The picture above is my husband in Germany. As you can see, he's totally exhausted. Can't you just see how much he misses me from his eyes? I really need to send him a care package.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Comments From the Penis Gallery

Okay, I meant "Peanut" gallery. Just trying to get everyone's attention. HELLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOO! I have had so little comments lately that I have a stock pile of reasons that ya'll better fit into. My opinon to follow. They are:

Reason 1. It's holiday season - I'm too busy (Hey, I have two kids and am neurotic and needy enough to post my life on the internet. At least validate my efforts with a "hey, whatevah idiot. bye." Cecelia... don't you dare post that. I know your type.

Reason 2. I don't have anything clever to say. (Fine. That just makes me feel better for being more clever than you. Given I am just avoiding dishes and putting Nick to bed, I don't need something witty. But you will get less harrassed if it's funny)

Reason 3. You don't want me to know who you are. (I will hunt you down, so come clean now)

WHERE IS EVERYONE!>????????????????????!

Cracking Myself Up

So I bought myself two pairs of jeans today. This is quite remarkable because A) I rarely buy for myself. B) Nick was with Crafty K at an indoor playgym (God bless that woman - she didn't even have her kids with her, but since she was hosting the mommy and me for her church, she wanted to take Nick as her guest... that woman is soooo getting the fancy highrise in heaven). C) Sophie slept - the WHOLE time.

It was a very odd experience to walk through Old Navy and just... look. And lo and behold, there were two pairs of size 12 long jeans that fit like a glove. This constitutes as remarkable # D because I don't know the last time I was a 12. And not to sound braggy, but I will, since it's my blog, I looked friggin goooood in them! I kept turning around to look at my ass and thought "either I'm on drugs, or these things make me pretty hot. I'm not talking J-Lo or MILF status (MILF - Mom I'd Love to Fuck) but I looked sexy for Mama P.

I was in such good spirits I bought 2 shirts, matching cable knits for the kids, and some pants/shirts for Nick. This goes down as Remarkable #E since I rarely buy new. But what the hell. My ass was doing the thinking, not my brain.

This became only too clear when I picked up Nick from Playsource. He was at the train table, and when I bent down to get him... pooooof. Air in the dairyair. (Yes, Mom, I know that's not how you spell butt in French, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now. And since my butt is the size it is due to lots of icecream, and I was feeling wind back there, dairy air works.) Honestly, there wasn't massive amounts of air, but to quote Dominic's favorite Thomas book, "There was a crack in the track!" To clarify: the pants didn't rip. The waist was just a tad too low. No major cheek cleavage, but enough to really bug me. I tried the whole "it's no big deal if I don't squat" defense. But as a mom of 2 toddlers, all I do is find myself on the floor, or hunched over a toilet. That just isn't going to work.

Then I got home and checked the VISA bill. Yikes. Buyers remorse started setting in big time. Sure, the kids would look adorable in their sweaters, but do they need them? And the shirt I got, it does look good with my bowling shoes, but so does KD Lange, and it's not the look I'm going for.

So, after some long soul searching, I am returning both jeans and the shirt I bought. I'm keeping the kids stuff. (I know that's a typical mom move, but hell, they friggin deserve some new digs for a change). As for me? I ordered one pair of 12 long WAIST jeans online and called it a day.

Kids are now sleeping. I'm cleaning my office, prepping dinner, and making mental plans to sell more Ebay stuff. Then I'm going to buy myself more clothes.

I swear.

No, really.

And shoes.


And when I post the picture of my angels in their red brand name cable knits, ya'll better post and tell me how friggin adorable they look! I will spare you the photo of my ass in the jeans. It ain't that kind of blog. But truthfully? I'm tempted to take one. Just as a reminder for what I look like next month when I'm back to my normal size 14 and then have to complain on this blog how I spent 30.00 on something I can't wear.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Soul Foods

I was at Whole Foods market on Thursday morning. I sometimes go there with Sophie after I drop of Nick at preschool. This particular location has a fun cross section of ethnicities and economics. There's the long haired organic attachment parenting hippy moms loading their boca burgers into their Mexican woven environmentally sound shopping bags. There's the Tommy Hilfiger clothed mommy and daddys toting their twins (by surrogate, hence mom's killer rack) in designer puffy stroller seat covers. They are usually on their cel phones calling out names of cities, which might lead you to believing their travel agents, until their kids respond to mom's shrieks, "Berlin, take your hand off of London's cheek RIGHT now or we will NOT be going for sushi". There's the twenty five year old Sarah Jessica Parker type clad in the DKNY business suit buying her premade lunches for the week, and equally as many red wines. Then, there's Marty.

As it turns out, Marty is a 85 year old wheelchair bound senior with no legs. Like me, he was sipping coffee in the cafe' area. I saw the headline "Williams Awaiting Death Penalty" and as it turns out, for the first time this month, I actually listened to NPR this morning. I had to know Marty's story, so I threw a quick comment his way about how many years William's has already spent in jail. I figured Marty would either start talking, grateful for company, or pretend not to hear me. Lucky for me, he started jabbering right away. At first, it was about the news. How terrible people act. Within minutes he had rolled himself over to my table. I detected an accent, which led to the info that he was a Jew. He was born in England and moved to Italy when he was 17. There he met a woman who "had a body that would not stop" and married her. She was the love of his life. He is still not over the fact that she died of cancer in 82. He stopped believing in God when his son died a year later. Five years later he married wife #2. He likes her, but... (now in a hushed tone as she was due to meet him soon) ..he's not in love with her. She's lost too much weight recently. And let's face it "I have a lot of women chasing me at the senior center. Not that I'd marry them, but I could have a nice relationship".

A quick interjection: This is a typical man. He's 85. He has no legs. He has on old clothes. But he claims women are chasing him. I almost added "Of course they're running after you... it's not like you can run after them" but I refrained. I would say he's arrogant, but I kind of believe him. This guy has a fabulous personality. He's engaging. And there's some women who can't live without a man, so perhaps it's true....

Anyway, before his wife came, and before Sophie passed him the 100th brochure from our table on "whole foods veggies" he slipped me his # on a check book cover. "I live in Room 26 at the Senior Center... come to the front desk if you ever want to have coffee. And bring the kids! I am not trying to push a friendship on you, but I like you. You're fun to talk to. And it gets lonely."
Then he wheeled away.

As I watched him converse with the woman he did not love (though he'd been with her for over 20 years) I was struck with how someone can spend a whole life adding memories to the vault, but without someone new to talk about them, they mean nothing.

I weighed the pros and cons of calling this guy one day. Cons: He's a total stranger. I have so many obligations already. He does more talking than listening. Pros: He can't exactly attack me - he's bound to a chair. It's good for the kids to see older people and not be scared. He's wicked smart, funny and full of story potential.

Guess which option will win out?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I Am Thankful

I awoke this morning to James eating Cheerios on the floor with the kids. He also had sent the following (posted below) to me. I don't know what's going on around here, but clearly the Xmas spirit is infesting even the curmugeony of scrooges. I also find it odd that the one other blog I follow (Travels with Toni, link a few posts below) features quite a few "gratitude" listings. Coincidence... Universal goodness being tapped into? I don't know. But it's nice to focus on the good things in life sometimes rather than the obvious sadnesses. Some of you might have lost family around this time of year (I did). Some of you might be low on money (been there). Some of you might not have a significant other (been there). Some of you might be fighting with your significant other (been there). But even with all this, there's always something lovely amiss. Let's turn our heads toward that and keep on truckin'. And if you can't see the rainbow in the rain, there's always the news.

From James.....

Live well, Laugh often, & Love with all of your heart!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

K Tagged

Before you read K's books, I have to comment that I always knew how smart she was. And introspective. But it's so interesting to do little exercizes like this, because I see a different side of her now. Not that I'm surprised, because she's as beutiful outside as she is inside. But she's still pretty whacked. She collects Asian salt shakers. Her husband dressed up as Mr. T. She had an engagement dinner at 7 Layers of Beef. She jokes that she's not uppercrust, but she's pretty much the cream in anybody's coffee, so don't let her disuade you. And K, if my comp hubby can send me love letters from work, you can believe in romance, too. Just forget about the glass slippers and stick to tivos.

K's choices:

1. C.S. Lewis-His overwhelming arrogance and confident conclusions changed my life. Read page 56 in The Case For Christianity.

2. Alison Weir-She gives voice to The Six Wives of Henry VIII. I love anything from that era. -such tales of castles, wealth, rising up through the ashes only to be cast away..and the sex! Those people were serious. Procreate or die. Good stuff.

3. I could die and wake up in Where the Wild Things Are. I get that kid. I want to be that kid. Wouldn't it be great to dress up in a white wolf suit, sail away and become king of a bunch of cooks, and come home to warm dinner. It just reminds me of seeing my mom. She'll love me no matter what.

4. Then there's Gatsby. I found that book bound in Blue leather decorating the bathroom in my parents house in high school. I read it 6 times since. I memorized the last lines when I was 16...I was an emotional mess back then, but that book haunted me through all my dramatic times. It's easy to get lost in.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further... And one fine morning - So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
5. I read a book called Thank You Mr. Falkner every year on the last day of school. It's really easy to have a hardened heart by June. You spend your entire year trying to help some kids through red tape and learning disabilities. I cry almost every time. It reminds me why I teach and how hard it is to be a kid.
6. Memoirs of Geisha-damn them for making it into a movie. I read it cover to cover on a plane trip to Manhattan. Oh just go see the movie.
7. I want to be Holly Go Lightly. I have her sunglasses. Does that count? Who doesn't want to have Breakfast at Tiffany's?
8. Judy Blume. Are you there God, It's Me Margaret and Wifey. I'm speechless. I learned so much.
9. I read Less Than Zero in college because I was fascinated with the characters. Then I read the strange sequels that followed. Bret Easton Ellis is dark and to tell you the truth really weird. I hadn't quite settled in my skin back then and those characters fascinated me. I loved being around my "cool" Hollywood friends but too much of a white bread bubble girl living in suburbia to do anything outside of the box, or is it bubble? Anyways, it was a good chapter in my life. I'm glad I didn't go out of the bubble box.
10. My copy of Cinderella is lost. It was original Disney with a torn pink cover and I would read it over and over and over in my bedroom. I studied the pages and outfits. Some day my prince would come. Who knew it would be a washed up baseball player accountant? Will his 4 Runner turn back into a pumpkin at midnight? It was nice to be a kid and believe in the fairy tale. If you truly know me, you know how I preach that "life is not an episode of friends". I don't really believe in romance anymore. It was nice to believe for a little while.
11. Cookbooks are my Prozac.
12. The Scarlet Letter was great long before Demi Moore tried to spice it up. I remember reading that and thinking how brilliant Hawthorne was. He knew what people wanted to read. That was my first taste of adultery and drama. The I met the ass that I dated for 6 years.
13. Pride and Prejudice is my other Cinderella. Long before I had no clue about life I thought I would fall in love with Darcy and run away. Just once I want a guy to write me a letter. The rest I can let go. God knows no matter how much elbow rubbing I do with the upper crust-I aint getting in.
14. Mormon books..I don't know what it is. Those people intrigue me soooo much. Try Leaving the Saints. The woman is so nuts even without her crazy religion. I didn't want to keep reading but I had to. There are a couple of good ones out there. No really.
15. Chalotte's Web It is the first time you realize you are growing up. Some teacher handed you a copy of this book with death, rebirth, and struggle in it and you're supposed to get it. It jsut made me start to see the world had some issues.

Tag, You're IT!

I was one of 3 people"tagged" by my online buddy Toni to list 15 things I like about books. Once I got started, I couldn't stop. I am posting my replies here since I'm too lazy to write a new post tonite and going to tag 3 of my own readership: Lucky winners are:

1. Cousin Kim
2. K
3. Kate

I'd have said Cecelia, but I'm going with the 3Ks. Though Cecelia, if you have time some day, please post your top 15. You're such a good reader of stuff - smart and political and I hope to learn about history through osmosis.

My response to Toni:

Right now I'm knee deep in poop and chicken cooking (not a great combo). Hence, this is a first course sampling of kid books and adults (not THAT kind of adult version you pervs)

1. For my son, I love reading this colorful condensed version of Heidi. You know the chick: blond, barefoot, digs goats and is nice to old people. It's so soothing to read at night. We cuddle in the bed and read about the hot cheese bread and warm milk Heidi shares with Grandpa overlooking a valley of flowers. But old Grandpa, speaking of pervs... he unnerves me a bit. I'd like to see a Broadway version of the real story behind Heidi and her grandpa.
2. Thomas Books - great for counting, coloring and getting your kid to eat (look... it's Thomas carrying green peas to your tunnel. Eat! Quick, let's put it on the turn table! Then you put it on a lazy susan, give it a quick spin, and while they're laughing, down the hatch!)
3. I don't like Dr. Seuss that much. I know I"m going to hell, but he's a bit too bizarre, with his dogs and his cars, like he's smoked too much pot, yes he rhymes quite a lot, but I'm sick of the fish and the hats and that's that...
4. I hope my kid reads the "Little House" series. I love the idea of traveling in a covered wagon with your family close by, fighting for survival but cozy campfires at night. Of course, in reality, my family would have intentionally forgotten me in the woods. I'm not a good traveler and most definitely would have gotten wagon sick. And I can't drive an SUV well let alone a huge object that requires horses, rope and a skill for Indian hunting. Starbuck hunting? I have an Eagle eye for that, my pioneer friends.
5. I adore anything with Ramona Quimby or Super Fudge. I hope my kids aren't too cool for school with those. (I never did the Nancy Drew mysteries. Sorry, Toni. But maybe I'll read them now?)
6. Shel Silverstein gave me my love for writing wacky poems. My highschool quote was "Teddy said it was a hat, so I put it on, now dad is saying where the heck's the toilet plunger gone?"
7. I will run from anything sci fi and fantasy. Except for Harry Potter. My husband and I read that out loud to each other during our honeymoon (ironically a week spent in the wilderness in a cabin)... I was so entranced, I swore if I had twin boys I'd name them George and Fred.
8. I adore Jane Eyre. I remember going through a rough time in college and reading it in the ladies' lounge outside the main quad with a cup of coffee in one hand, the rain coming down.
9. Armistead Maupin is my hero. If you haven't read Tales of the City, then get off your butt and buy it on Amazon tonite. I love his short chapters with characters so laugh out loud funny you want them over for dinner and red wine. Or a joint, as in his case. For me to want to smoke a joint with anyone (as I've never smoked pot in my life) must mean that he writes some "good shit, man"
10. I remember taking a day off of Catholic Girls' highschool to finish reading the Grapes of Wrath. I sat all day in my dad's recliner with the wind whipping outside. I felt safe and warm, and lucky I wasn't starving. Again, love outback spirit. But prefer the air conditioning of Outback Steakhouse.
11. I read this random book I found thrifting called "Playing Away" about a woman who has an affair. It was so funny, despite the subject matter, and touching... it was sort of a Helen Fielding meets the girls who wrote "The Nanny Diaries"... that's a good book, too. And it has a good ending
12. Oh, God... the BEST book I read this year "Hypocrite in a White Pouffy Dress". GET IT.
13. The most overrated book I read this year "Good in Bed". Too unrealistic... like I'm all for the fat chick getting a break, but this was the fat chick who wrote a character who wrote who had fantasies and weird coincidences happened that made these fantasies come true, despite stupid choices on her part. NOOOOOO.
14. Anything by Anne Tyler is a winner. She might have slow pacing, but it's like you're in a Philadelphia home. With people who's lives are so sedentary... until one minor thing comes into play and the ball of thread comes unraveled.
15. I did not like "Light on Snow" by Anita Shreve. I found it "Light on Plot" and too obvious in its emotional currents... "Ooooooh... a lost baby in the woods helps a dad and daughter bond after they lost their own wife/mother"... Still, it's a huge seller, so maybe I need to get off my ass and write something better if I'm so great.
Random Selections I adored
- White Oleander- ...Ya Ya Sisterhoood (what the hell was the first two words?)- Memoirs of a Geisha- Anything by Amy Tan- Great plays
Not a Shakespeare fan myself, but had a great class in college on it.
Wow, I didn't know I was so passionate about books. Thanks, Toni!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

You Ain't Nothin' But a Hound Dog...

... Cryin' all the time.

In homage to Toni's Xmas photo session (post below) I am uploading a shot of Sophie taken last Halloween. At that time, her hair was still pitch black, and she had side burns. It was a toss up between Snow White and a Flying Elvis. Guess which one I went with? She was very pleased.

Ah, Memories

I'd like to put a good word out to a mama who is raising 3 boys in Chicago. She's one of those wacka-dos like me who is trying to bring up healthy children while maintaining her passions - in her case photography and writing. Here's her blog. I am posting 3 pictures of her ill fated holiday photo session. I love any woman who has the good graces to take out her camera when life is going to crap.
I particularly ike how big brother is laughing at little brothers who are alternately crying and also laughing at each other. Fabulous!

Hooray, Hooray...

...It's Taco Tuesday! Ay yay yaaaaaaay.

Spent a very busy past few days doing a whole lot of mommying wifeying occasional andrea-ying stuff. Bought Nick a train table for Xmas and an art table for his birthday (my New Years boy!) Did a little Sunday school teaching (more details later - it's shocking I do this, but it's fun, and the kids like me... it really is a miracle from God!) I food shopped, I went to a jewelry show, I did 10 loads of laundry, cleaned floors, started repainting my hallway in conjunction with painting my mom's bathroom. I ebayed and thrifed and punched my pilot and... well, I'm not doing a very good job defending why I never get one thing done well with a life so packed in odds and ends. If I could be a Super hero, I'd be Octamom - In one hand is a toilet brush, in one a diaper, in one a lap top, in one a paintbrush. That leaves four for cooking, cleaning, ebaying and phone calls. Everything else is going to shit. Then I call on Anal Man - my superhero husband - whose xray vision is more like tunnel vision, but he focuses. And always saves the Day!

James really has been great lately. He's been making his stews, thanks to a 1975 pressure cooker from Stella. He's been putting Sophie to bed each night. We've been dating again (including a Saturday night visit to the Marmalade Cafe' where we people watched, strolled by Xmas trees, and of course, talked about his favorite subject, cars and computers. And to be honest, as long as my mouth is being stuffed with sour dough bread and Diet Coke, he can talk about an RX 7's rotary engine for hours without piston-ing me off). With all this soul providing (okay, so I like that Michael Bolton song "Soul Provider"... I also like country music, Disneyland and Walmart - Get over it) I have no business complaning. At least not until my next period, and then he can go to hell again.

I am downright chipper these days. Between my time off, Nick's reinstalled nap (making him his happy go lucky self again) and much time spent with James and my family/friends, I'm a regular little Xmas Elf. Well, a 6'1 Xmas Elf. Okay, I'm a Xmas Giant. But I don't have a huge head. That would really bug me. Especially the inevitable insults as I walked down Plummer: "Hey, getting ahead in the world?" or "Hey, you want some more head?" Or "Hey, heading this way?" Then again, people are so politically correct, maybe I'd get a writing job on a show under some WGA clause: "In addition to all the sexist men that write for Hollywood, we also need one female, preferably with an oversized head to fill our special needs quotes. " Then again, everyone in Tinsel Town has huge heads, so maybe my idea isn't so brilliant.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Top 20 Wrap Up

A rather rough week of parenting and domestic mishaps have just been added to ye old memory file. I have two choices: curl up in a fetal position and live off of a sippy cup and Gerber puffs, or remain focused on the good things. I am choosing the second, because by nature, I'm a "pick me up by my great thrift store find of the week 10.00 Bass boot straps" kind of girl. To quote one of my favorite sayings "There are two kinds of people in the world: positive and negative. Neither are right, but the positive is happier." In homage to this, here are my top 10 gratitudes of the week. In homage to the pissy four year old inside of the mature 35 year old, I am also posting the top 10 irritations. Re: my complaints: I am going to delude myself that the 10 negatives should be viewed as less "bitching" and more "connecting" to my massive online audience who will be thrilled to know they are going through simlar things as me. Of course, as Cecelia pointed out a few weeks back, my readership probably consists of 40 people if I'm lucky which, in her honor, goes down as the #3 complaint on my Top 10 list of complaints. The truth is she's probably right (her pragmatism is her best quality), but rather than face this probable truth, I shall simply up my delusion pill from 50 miligrams to a horse size tablet of happy serum and continue on.

Top 10 Positives This Week

1. My hallway is almost done
2. Nick just used the toilet on his own
3. My pilot is completed
4. I bought the Writers Market (new, no less! 30.00! I'm so crazy!)
5. I am going on my 3rd 6 hour Sunday
6. Sophie is talking in sentences now "Up, Mommy" or "Milk, peeez" and is seriously the cutest spunkiest girl in the world
7. I sold some items on Ebay, upping my fortune to an average of 50.00/week - woooooo!
8. James and I are spending loads of time together and laughing more than usual
9. I am looking forward to Maid installment #1 next week (Xmas gift from fabu hubby)
10. I am healthy and am reminded by Nick each day that I am loved.

Top 10 Pissy Items (Let's just do adendums to the list above, shall we?)

1. My hallway is almost done - but I see blue streaks all over from where the paint store didn't mix it properly, so I have to redo the WHOLE THING
2. Nick just used the toilet on his own (after having a few accidents each day this whole week)
3. My pilot is completed (but I need to punch it and cut one page out before giving it to power agent) Also, I can't rest on my laurels that I am an internet celebrity, because as Cecelia pointed out, I have 40 readers if I'm lucky. THANK YOU Cecelia.
4. I bought the Writers Market - new, no less! 30.00! I'm so crazy! (I now have to find time to query all magazines and brace myself for the inevitable 100s of rejections before an acceptance letter happens... I am less worried about failure as I am finding the time to write alluring letters. 5. I am going on my 3rd 6 hour Sunday (Hey, there's the six hours I'll need to use to write my query letters)
6. Sophie is talking in sentences now "Up, Mommy" or "Milk, peeez" and is seriously the cutest spunkiest girl in the world (As her cuteness rises, Nick's rebellion does, too. Yesterday, he threw all his blocks into the turtle tank and started sipping reptilian crap water from his Dora cup)
7. I sold some items on Ebay, upping my fortune to an average of 50.00/week - woooooo! (I also didn't sell alot, so with Ebay fees and money spent on inventory, I'm almost breaking even)
8. James and I are spending loads of time together and laughing more than usual (He's leaving for Germany for a week soon)
9. I am looking forward to Maid installment #1 next week Xmas gift from fabu hubby (I can't complain about this... I'm trying, but no dice)
10. I am healthy and am reminded by Nick each day that I am loved. (I worry that I'm not giving him what he needs or he wouldn't be wetting himself on purpose... )

Okay, I feel soooo much better now. Hey, at least I'm not poor Jessica Simpson, going through a divorce. I mean, it's such a rough decision to leave a man you know is a womanizing bastard. Then you have to fight over your fifty million dollar assets and your fifty million dollar ass that will be wearing fifty million dollar clothes to court that will land you fifty million more dollars in your free advertising and predictable Movie of the Week.

Mama P's crystal ball reading for Jessica?

-A few years boozing and sleeping around (probably with an ex of Paris Hiltons, which isn't hard, because that chick has fucked everyone)
- Then she'll turn 21, long for spirituatlity, and join the Kabala or Scientology.
- After a year of being best friends with Madonna or Katie Holmes, she will go back to her Christian roots, marry her father, and have a baby to "settle down" (in this case, she'll have her brother or sister)
- Then she'll go into obscurity for two years, seen only in organic coffes shops with the baby sling, being quoted as "I have no nanny" and other such blatant lies.
- Then she'll join Angela and Brad for a tour of a third world country and adopt an Ethiopian boy named Botox.
- Then she do a Barbara Walters Exclusive! Telling the world in exquisite detail about how she pissed in a dessert hole and had to live in a Holiday Inn for two weeks
- Then it's the inevitable "Return to Music" with an aimiable duet with Nick Lachey (who just finished an Oprah Winfrey Exclusive! on his sex addiction and genital warts condition.
- Then she will divorce her father, marry her fat 40 year old manager, and we won't see her for twenty years until the "Newleyweds Xmas Reunion" where she's bloated more than Cathy Bach.

Clearly, for all my complaints about having no time, when I do have time, I don't use it constructively.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Airing Dirty Laundry

Doing laundry, at any rate. Yes, today is Monday, and for the Mama P family, that means laundry day! I may spread the ten loads out over the whole week, but on a good day, like today, it gets done in one foul swoop. It's both clean smelling clothes and an arm work out as I haul my very tired laundry basket up and down the stairs at least 4 times. For Xmas I might ask Santa for a new basket. Or at least a big Pampers box. My wicker bucket finally hit the skids.

As you know by now, I'm a big believer in setting goals, even if when I don't always follow through 100%. If I get half accomplished, it's better than nothing. While I don't follow the 50's housekeeping guide to the side of my desk (so very Donna Reed with its designated hour/day of tidying to keep things pretty and pressed), certain daily routines have stuck. In fact, they have been so cemented in our lives that I dare say, as of this historic moment, they are being upgraded from weekly activity to traditions. Those items that made the cut (cue theme music now) are:

- Monday Laundry! My house might stink like an oinion, but my garage smells like a rose! (Or better stated, discount Albertson's soap. Note: For 9.99 you can get a spa size tub of laundry detergent that cleans as good, if not better, than Tide, and lasts 10 times as long. One of James better finds. Go Papa Bear!)

- Taco Tuesday! My longest tradition yet. Come any Tuesday unannounced, and you'll be treated to fine Mexican dining, Mama P style. I have 3 Fiesta Ware type dishes that hold exactly 9 toppings: cheese, oinions, tomatoes, guacamole, olives, taco shells, beans, salsa and meat. I sometimes do meat in advance so I don't have to cook that night, but even when that's not the case, I can get a meal out quicker than you can shout Taco Bell & bathroom emergency. I just added fried corn tortillas to the ensemble when I ran out of shells. Muy bien! Sophie and Nick love it so much, they pound their fists and sing "Hooray! Horray! It's Taco Tuesday!" Well, Sophie just screams "acos! acos!" and beats on table "Bueno!" or better said, "nay no!"

- Date night Saturday! We dine out, we drink Starbucks, no kids, James pays. 'Nuf said.

...and most exciting....

- 6 Hour Sunday! Okay, so this tradition (giving me much coveted alone time) has only been in place two weeks in a row, but I am already so attached, I am giving it a First Place Ribbon and its own reality series. Just try and take this away from me and I'll scratch your eyes right out.

I love the idea that there's a place for everything. Like a blanket, we have our little individual threads that make us unique, but when put together properly, we have something warm. An heirloom of memories so to speak. Of course, I can't knit. But I did pass by a group of ladies at Starbuck's once who called their group a "Stitch and Bitch". I love that. I wanted to join just for the bitch portion, but apparently you need to make something other than jokes, so I wasn't given membership.

Here is a shot of our Monday zoo visit. We had such a fabulous time, I hope to add Family Day to the list soon, as opposed to "Let's got off our ass and take the kids some place... we have no food anyway." It was a blast.

It's now 4PM. My goal: get dinner, floors and post office run done by 5. Like I said, it's the intention, not the completion, that gets me through the day.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Let Your Light Shine

Or if you have no inner energy, at least have fabulous lamps.

Check out this incredible find I got at my local thrift store. I won't give the price, because in case you come to my house, I am vain enough to have you believe it's reasonably expensive. I just think it's stunning... so much so that I am uploading 3 shots of it. It screams elegant, classy, but sassy enough in this shag carpet green to not give a crap. I WISH I had as much confidence as this diva. I love her. I will never get rid of her.

Unless someone in the Ebay community is willing to pay the Buy It Now price of 150.00.

Then it's good ridance, glass girl!

(But secretly, I priced it high with the hopes she'd have to stay put. She's like the stray white kitten I found when I was 14... so original and quirky... so perfect. I know I need her about as much as a Harry Potter bobble head, but she just makes me happy. And unlike a Harry Potter bobble head, she won't wind up on Maury Povich in ten years talking about how she was high during the entire third installment and made out with the headmaster. Who had to sit under makeup for "six hours a day! Can you believe it?" )

Is it too much for me to serenade this fixture to "You Light Up My Life?" Because after a long day of dishes and running around after kids, she really does "Give Me Hope... To Carry On..."

On a final note, I'd like to give James some credit for putting the skip back in my step. I had six hours off yesterday to putter around my favorite haunts. He took me to dinner tonite. He even paused his computer game to go with the kids and I to the zoo (on a Monday no less). And... he encouraged me to buy the year long pass so we can go back again. To prove this event took place, I even have photos. (Though I don't love them quite as much as this lamp, hence I'm not uploading them now.)

Something is amiss. I am getting time off, dinners out & family day trips to the zoo. I could say it's all because I stood up a few weeks ago and finally asked for what I need - an obvious "duh" thing, but so many women don't. I could say it's that James really loves me and wants to spoil me. I could say it's a combo of both.

But I think I'll credit the lamp.

The wonderful, retro-y, magical lamp.

Excuse me while I go lick the glass.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Don't Call ER But...



HOURS... 6....myself... me.... today.

In such coma relaxation from mumbled words are my.


Lunch out



Store thrift

Kids home to see happy me.

Drooling monitor over keyboard.

I happy me.


PS: I almost titled this blog "I'm Not Terry Schiavo But I'm Still In a Coma". Then I thought better of it.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I Feel Awful... All full, I Mean

Does anyone else eat so much on Thanksgiving that they might as well stick a string up your ass & add you to the parade in New York? Good LOOOOOOORD. Between my in-laws' fiesta at Stella's, as well as my mom's, I have eaten enough turkey, potatoes, greenbeans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, bread, pumpkin pie and various jello/fruit/yam concoction-thingy-ma-jingys to last me at least.... two days.

Highlite of Stella's? Coming home (not that her dinner wasn't a blast... it was) and driving Nick through the Calabasas Commons. Rich shopping centers have their share of pretentious Valley elitists, but they also have the most fabulous Xmas trees. It was like Disneyland - nothing out of place except my hair. Some people might balk at the over-the-topness of this consumer extravaganza, but it made Nick happier than a sale at Fred Siegal, so I just sucked it all up. Well, I sucked as much up as I had room for, after all the aforementioned food.

Highlite of my mom's? Leaving Nick for the night to crash with Grandma. I adore my son, but it was so wonderful to go home and just relax with James. Sophie crashed in the car, so we both ebayed side by side, the epitomy of modern romance. "I love you, but I will not touch you. If you want to communicate, even if I'm sitting next to you, shoot me an email for a quicker response. Or grunt. But email beeps are preferred.").

After an hour I reluctantly turned off my machine to turn on my husband. This entailed taking the very sexy tutorial of his favorite computer game. I really do deserve an Oprah nomination for "Most Devoted Wife" for doing this. It took all my willpower to read the words across the screen and ignore the online guide, a stoned looking accountant type in the upper left screen who, in between ordering directions, looked like some cult member who was about to ask me to shroud myself in purple and down cianide. After a half hour (29 minutes too long) I now know how to right click "Settlers", left click them to various spots on the map (based on turns left, indicated on the lower left boxy deal), build a hut, masonry or farm, create a scout (which makes all foreign lands friendly, as opposed to "we're going to kill you with our spears and angry bullls").

I figure if I can build a wonder, triple my population and conquer some heathen nation under my warrior name - Mama P (of course) - James can navigate his way through a Nordstroms sale with me one day. Though truthfully, I think the roaming savages of his game are more civilized than some of these princesses at Topanga Plaza. I mean, get your head cut off with a sickle or your eyes scratched out with acrylics? It's a tough call.

(Pictured: My kids... decked out in their finest holiday wear. I actually had a brown and orange vest for Nick, but nothing matching for Sophie. And given I now have seven - I kid you not - holiday dresses/outfits for the little diva hanging in her closet, I thought I'd have her display the first course early.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like...Materialism

It's not even December yet, and I already have enough catalogues to build a Habitat for Humanity house. Which would be ironic, because while the world really does need more shelter, I wonder how much these homes need a $150.00 bullfrog bookend? ... "We don't have enough money for food, but look at this fabulous $300.00 silver nut tray shaped like a horse's head... No, wait... that's Maria Shriver..." (Sidenote: I actually find Maria Shriver quite stunning. And classy. But she does have a little horsey quality to her... the hair perhaps? Or maybe it's because she's married to a man who rumors say is hung like one? The verdict is still out.)

Getting back to these catalogues, here is Mama P's official stance on Xmas: I love it. I mean, LOVE IT. The lights, the sounds, the smells, the glorious anticipation of family chats by the fireside, resplete with the dog licking off the remaining pumpkin pie and upchucking on the linoleum. I've been known to listen to Dean Martin's "Rudy the Red Nosed Reindeer" in the middle of July if I'm having a rough morning. I have my local radio station, 103.5, preset for 24 hour/day holiday classics. Bring on the Back Street Boys crooning "Silent Night". Send in the Spice Girls rendition of "Sleigh Ride". I hardly even listen to country music during this season, because while one of my other guilty pastimes is all honky tonk all the time, there is nothing worse than hearing an L.A born cowboy screeching "Santa Baby".

What I HATE is the pressure to buy. And honestly, I joke about being cheap, but in truth, I'm not. I like nice things as much as the next girl. Just look at my obsession with making my living room perfect. I don't want a house full of crap. I believe in selecting just the right product that reflects your inner soul. This philosophy extends to buying gifts for others. Example: I might salivate over an overpriced tee shirt that reads "I'm tired of being my wife's arm candy", but I'd never purchase that for James (not when there are so many Star Trek figurines on Ebay). Gifts are for marking special occasions, not getting what you like. Which also leads me to...

The most important things in life aren't gifts. It's time spent with those we love. It's remembering how lucky we are to have what we have. If James does nothing but give me time to myself to breathe (with a card that mentions he's crazy for me) I'm a pretty happy camper. Sure, I want the diamond earrings. But I also want my kids to go to college. I want happy memories of us baking cookies and laughing around the fire. And yeah, sometimes crap happens, and life isn't so rosy. Fantastic. But while my babes are young and innocent, I want to build traditions, not debt. Until they are old enough to get mad at me for picking them up at preschool in a shirt that reads "Embarrassing my Kids... Just One More Service I Offer", they are getting a homemade ornament with their apple cheeked grins on it for Xmas blackmails to come.

Second Side note of the night: To prove that I'm not against gifts, I am telling the world "Thank you, Kim, for that amazing gift card! So unnecessary, but so appreciated. Now stop buying me coffee and start your own blog because your writing is great."

Third Side note of the evening: I am going to stop complaining about a maid. First off, James is getting me one for Xmas. (See, time, not gifts, is the best). Second, I'm now paranoid that people will think I'm a cry baby and send me gift cards when really, sometimes I'm just having a bad day and want to crawl into the womb and not come out until my carpets smell like bad carwash Pine Tree Vanilla - hence I complain in my blog. I do know that I am the most lucky woman alive to live this life. I thank God each day for James - he's the string on my balloon. And of course, Nick and Sophie are the helium. I'm also the most neurotic person in the world, hence I'm the balloon flying all over the valley wondering "Am I flying to high? I love this bold shade I've picked out for myself, but will it force my kids into therapy early in life?"

Well, I'm off to relax with James. He took the day off and cooked dinner for me like the old days. As much as I love my Wednesday leftovers (one day it was turkey and egg sandwiches with corn), I'm looking forward to the stew.

And our talk.

And crashing on him before he gets two minutes in.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Room With a View...

...That I can live with.

Move over, Nake Berkus. Mama P has entered the building!

Going Crazy... For Chicken

So I inserted a small adendum to my last post which I will repost here. This diamond nugget advice is crucial to all moms, busy gals, vegetarians and all around cheapskates, of which, out of these 4 categories, I fit 3.

** El Pollo Loco has the BEST dollar menu on the planet. I highly recommend the cheese quesadilla. For a buck you get four grilled pieces of flour tortilla with generous helpings of cheese. These steamy numbers are a savior for moms and non-moms alike. There's also the drumsticks, beans rice & cheese burrito- known to Pollofytes everywhere as the 'BRC' - and even churros (which I have not yet sampled given my penchant for giving up one addiction for the next. Sadly to say, I have yet to say "I have given up McDonald cookies and replaced them with... water! Chilly, delicious and life giving, they are soooo much better than fried lard patties! Mmmm, call me Aqua Mama!" So, on that note, I give you...

*** McDonald sugar cookies --- I love them so much... how do I count the ways? The buttery goodness, the crisp outside, the mushy inside... the changing toppings from season to season: orange sprinkles for Halloween, red and green for xmas, red white and blue for The Fourth of July. It's a sad stretch of time for me August through September when there's only plain cookies with sugar crystals on. If you hit on a good day, you might be treated to a few 4th of July hanger onners, but these leftovers can usually double as sugar craving fixes or hockey pucks. Regardless of texture or color, these bad boys come three for a dollar. My motto: If you're gonna keep your fat prego ass, do it for cheap.

More later. I'm off to finish painting my living room while Nick reads to Sophia upstairs. (This will most likely result in a new blog this evening about how he stuffed her in the lower pj drawer, but fingers crossed both walk out unscathed.)

Monday, November 21, 2005


...from a long day of running around.

First we hit Toddler B's Sherman Oaks casa for a rousing run through the yard, scurrying through tents and the obligatory Thomas the Train. B's mama made lunch for the kids, I made her chicken salad from the steamed chicken I originally brought for Sophie, and she returned the favor with a tuna sandwich and baked chips. Despite more than a few time outs and one large pissing contest between Nick, Sophie & Toddler B. over a muddy plastic car, it was a relaxing afternoon. When two moms get together and split parenting, it conjures up images of kibutz living... one automatically chops while the other gently disciplines... one washes while the other dries... One changes a diaper while the other wordlessly pulls out wipie. Somehow information is exchanged, support is given, and plans are made for the next communal gathering - in our case, a trip to the zoo. (For any moms who are reading, I find the most interesting part of female caregiving is the ability to stretch a 15 word sentence over the course of an hour... "Do you have any -- Sophie get down off that table--- knives--- Nick, you hit Toddler B one more time we're leaving -- for the onion--Yes, Nick, that trains boiler is busted--which I'd like to put--SOPHIE MARE GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE CAT DISH! - - in this tuna.)

After a two hour pit stop at Casa di Mama P, where Sophie miraculously slept and Nick pretended to snooze (and I pretended not to notice so I could drink a cup of coffee in peace) we were off to my friend JK's for a mom's meeting. JK is more open than I am when it comes to having people over, despite the circumstances. In her case, she was knee deep in kitchen remodeling, yet she was able to prepare Thanksgiving handouts for the kids, lead a craft, set up food and sent me home with hand-me-downs. JK is one of my oldest friends (we met when we were 5 at a summer school class... we made aprons. She obviously got the hang of it, while that was the last time I ever wore one.) JK is the no nonsense, coupon cutting, craft queen of the Valley and I am blessed to have her in my life. In a show of appreciation, she wins the El Pollo loco quesadilla package tomorrow night so she doesn't have to set up a makeshift cook top in her garden (and believe me... this chick would). ** Note: El Pollo Loco has the BEST dollar menu on the planet. I highly recommend the cheese quesadilla. For a buck you get four grilled pieces of flour tortilla with generous helpings of cheese. A savior for moms and non-moms alike.

After prying Nick off of Toddler M's dollhouse, we met my sister, Hennie, and her kids, Barbie and Ken, at McDonalds. It was all fun and games until an oversized grade schooler blew his nose threw the open weave tubing, narrowly missing my left eye.

On the way home, out of nowhere, Nick proclaims "Talk about Xmas, Mommy! Talk about Xmas!" I put on my Sunday School hat and immediately talked about the baby Jesus who was born in a barn. How his mommy and daddy loved him so much. How he came to earth to save us from bad things. Which sounded great, until it turned into...And we celebrate this birth by buying Xmas trees, and keeping the fireplace clear for Santa to come stuff you silly with presents. And we drink egg nog and hang lights and go shopping and have to keep from saying that expression you're not allowed to say when the BMW nabs our parking spot because they obviously are more important than we are.

I gotta work on this talk obviously. When I was through, Nick thought Joseph was a reindeer and Mary was the elf that saved Jesus from the Grinch at the mall who took his parking spot. It's a work in progress.

Tonite, after baths... after I read Nick his turtle book from James' folks.. after we brushed teeth and he used the toilet for the last time... we lay in bed and said prayers. And then I sang to him one of my favorite songs from my youth "Longer than, there've been fishes in the ocean... I've been in love with you." And by the end, like a scene from Mary Poppins, that kid was snoring. I ran my fingers through his hair and thanked God for this little person that lights me up more than any holiday bulbs. And despite all the running around earliar, my brain took a breather, and it was peaceful. Love was tangible and goodness abounded. I made a note to myself to remind Nick that it's these feelings that Xmas should be about.

Then I went downstairs to Ebay and make some cash.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Let the Feast Begin!

You know the holidays are fast approaching when you get the detailed email from the kids’ great grandma, Stella, regarding what to bring, how to bring it, where to park and how to emotionally approach the event. I adore everything about this wacky lady, from her quotations around everything (to carve the “bird”…. K, bring a “Green”…) With so many quotations around everything, like cramming for a final, I take the safe approach and assume everything is important. But should I forget, "no problem". Stella has every dish, every plate and every utensil set three weeks in advance with sticky notes to remind her, and us, what is needed, where it is needed, and again, why it is needed. I fully expect a card near Sophia’s strap-on booster chair (which Stella graciously bought at Target last week for nine bucks – she’s a nifty thrifty like me) that reads “Paventi great granddaughter – Mangia!”

Between my four, James folks, his sister K. & hubby Mr. T., cousin M. and various neighbors in the mobile home park, this double wide will be rocking. Excuse me, after one martini from Stella, and the fact that everyone, but me, is Italian, it will be talking and rocking.

Did I mention Stella won first prize at her park’s Halloween party for her classy rendition of a pregnant ballerina? At 84, she’s online daily, drives everywhere, just got back from Maui with her young friend (Young friend meaning only fifty four), goes to parties with me and has hit on 30 year olds (I quote you… her arms were around a friend of mine, D, who at the time was 35… and she says “If I were only 30 years younger” at which I replied ‘You’d be 50” at which she replied “You’re a smart ass. Just like my family. You can stay.” Oh, and she now has a blog. This KILLS me. Link to come.

I don’t expect festivities to be quiet, but life is too short for silence, and as long as Stella’s throwing the party, I’m going to crash it. (I will also be crashing my SUV if I drink her martini, hence, it will be Thousand Oaks finest tap water on the rocks for me. Cecelia can attest to my martini handling skills)

Here’s the first email (of several I’m sure). Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Sidenote: I must add that I find it hysterical that while I am bringing a bottle of wine, and K. is bringing only a green dish, we get primo double wide parking spaces. Meanwhile, JV and Lottie are schlepping the turkey and stuffing and they get to “take a hike”. Ha! Ha! Ha! That tickles me to no end. Drag out the turkey feathers, I can’t stop laughing.

Stella’s email

Hey family ! Now hear this....... Our Thanksgiving dinner will be simple, but the get-together, fun...

Plan on being her for drinks at 4:00 (JV to carve the "bird" at 4:30 (cuz I need the oven for a half hour before dinner to warm foods..), and we'll have dinner at 5 PM.

I have made and in the freezer, a sweet-potato dish; a Ms Cubbison's stuffing dish, a potato casserole, and will have a green salad. I have dinner rolls, 3 bottles of wine, pie/cake, coffee and "enough" simple-type orderves and chips. I also have plenty of Vodka, Sprite and several beers, plus milk....and oh, also the whole cranberry sauce (canned, but good). All I need now is: from Lottie...the "bird", un-stuffed, with directions to cook so it'll be ready to carve by 4:30; " Lottie...the gravy (from Wms-Sanoma?... lots of it) " K. new ...a "green" (warm) veggie dish " Andrea...a simple bottle of wine ("1" inexpensive bottle is enough...I already have 3) and, of course, I will need your "appetites" and happy faces.... (Andrea - don't need a hi-chair, etc.)

The driveway will be open to park 2 cars (one for James and one for K., cause they will be carrying JV and Lottie "take a hike" (pun, natch!). I, too, will be taking a hike and will park my Toyota also in the guest parking below. I invited Michael who said he would like to join us but may have plans to use his place at the river over the long weekend; said he would let me know....would be nice to have him.

Any questions, email me. Otherwise, that's the plan...and don't need any help. It's all done...and pls, do not bring extras as it will only be going back home with you (I'm starting a "diet" the following week.....) You can stop laughing now...... luv my family! mom/gram/gr-gram

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A Comment from the Star Trek Gallery

James read my latest blog and remarked that his fabulous cd is NOT Age of Empires, but the newly released Civilization IV. Ooooh. I'll mark that on my my "What to Remember" list along with flu shots, Costco diapers and learning Farse.

Friday, November 18, 2005

No More Tears for Fears

Had a much better day today. It's amazing what good talk and a plan can do. Just the idea that I have six hours on Sunday to do what I want... be it write, paint, thrift, or simply sit in m SUV in front of the Canoga Park El Pollo Loco and people watch makes me as giddy as an Oprah Winfrey/Tom Cruise interview. I'm not about to jump on a sofa, but considering yesterday I was this close to landing on a therapist's couch, I'm pretty content.

Nick and Sophie were in great form today. They actually sat in the kitchen sink for over an hour while I took photos of my last remaining Ebay items. As much as I love the anniversary edition of "Star Trek Omnipedia: a voice-activated guide to the future", it's about to beam out of here.

Nick is now into Spanish, and he's into pretend play. I smiled as I watched him say to Sophie "Hola. This is an azul truck. Watch as it goes under the rojo bridge! Watch out for the ugly old troll! Never mind... that's just mama."

I took my brother to Social Security while my mother watched the kids. I do not lie when I say it was heaven. For those of you faithful viewers, you know that I grapple with religion. Which means sometimes I doubt if heaven really does exist. But today... being alone for 2 hours... I am seeing the light. It's as if God himself sat in my passenger seat and whispered, "Child... take this Diet Coke... ponder the trash on DeSoto...and be happy... for this is Heaven. But before you do, take a course at the DMV, because you drive like crap.") As Brother M. waited his turn on hard plastic government chairs, I ran errands... the tile store for an estimate on kitchen floors (I'm thinking brown and black ceramic diner tiles... as of YESTERDAY. James is thinking inexpensive linoleum, as of February... Decision T.B.A.. ) I hit McDonalds for a Diet Coke and 2.5 cookies (as opposed to 3... I'm whittling my way off them... I also lie like a mofo). My final destination? Predicatably the thrift store where I nabbed 150.00 bucks worth of kids clothes for nine dollars. I can't wait to send Nick off to Catholic preschool in his Harley Davidson black and orange sports shirt.

With the wind in my hair and my country music blasting, I almost forgot that this time yesterday I was crying my eyes out. Clearly I don't set the bar too high, or I am low maintenance, because by my smile, you'd have thought I was in a convertible Mercedes on Sunset. It felt that good. Botoxed blond in a botoxed Mercedes cut me off.... I flashed her my best grin. Teenager in a beat up bug gave me the finger... I just winked. The gardener in front of me could have dumped cow shit on my roof and I'd have been, "Ooooh, I guess I'll be gardening this weekend! Gracias, Senor!"

My kids are now sleeping (one on James). As I type to the background of James' Age of Empires computer cd, I might as well be an animated princess called,"The Queen of Thrifting who Captured Time in a Bottle"... My voice would boom in surround sound "Beware you crafty knights... I don't care how shiny your armor is... you take away my personal time and I'll slit your throats quicker than a bubbly goes down mine. But before you die, can you clean my toilets?"

Did I mention how much happier I am today? Wacky, fried, and still not in love with my living room paint, but happy. And I can't even credit the Zoloft. Sometimes, just when things seem unmanageable, life throws you a curve ball of joy. Be it some money, a good friend, or in my case, some time. It's true that the best things in life are free.

Except for maids.

They cost money.

And I'd sell James to have one still, but that's just me.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fireside Chats

Who issss this woman? Is she really that happy to make lists in her Landsend sweater and suburban track home? Is it just me that makes up their real stories? Like... I think her name is Brenda. She's 28 but looks 35 due to 3 kids and a bad dye job. She used to be a stripper, but then met Doug, a married exec stopping through Barstow on a business trip. She's since converted to Christianity and learned the wonders of cock... I mean... crock pot cooking. She freezes with ease and goes to Curves. As she sits on her Martha Stewart K-mart sofa, she wonders when Doug is going to call. Is he really out at Knights of Columbus or is he plugging the waitress from the Waffle Hut? Should she go back and get her dental hygenist degree or get knocked up one more time to stave off the boredom. She would like to paint her walls purple, but Doug doesn't like girly colors, so she sucks it up and plans Sara's fourth birthday party. Sara is really into princesses. Mikey's into Thomas the Train. Jeb is into breastfeeding. Brenda's into... well, not so much. She wonders what her best friend, Kelly, is doing these days. Is she still doing lap dances, or is a baby sitting on it instead?

Does anyone else ever do this?

Restoration Dorkware

I had the day from hell. Not only did I do something against my grain and spend $65.00 on two gallons of paint from Restoration Hardware (that I could get for $40.00 from Home Depot), but when I got home, the color I picked was the same as my original wall color... this ivory white... the very color of the tower I think James should be putting me on, but I digress...

To make matters worse, I poked a hole in one lid since I was too impatient to find the correct tool, so one of the cans was rendered unreturnable. Then I couldn't find the receipt. Luckily a salesclerk took pity on me, found my paperwork from earliar in the day and gave me 32.50 back on my Visa. Of course, prior to my Restoration Hardware return, I bought two gallons of paint from my local Catalina store - boring yellow beige (which I have yet to open and would not be the least surprised to find Booger Sage.) So not only am I in the hole 30.00, but I feel ridiculous for buying paint purely for the market affect of "oooh, you'll feel rich and elegant with your high-end mall paint". It's like all my decisions lately can be blamed on paint fume highs, but I haven't even finished the job.

And before the Catalina store? Breakdown from hell. I could not stop crying today. The dishes. The constant grind of the kids. The driving. The coupon cutting. As I sat boo hooing in the Target parking lot, I impulsively called James at work - from the emergency cell phone no less. When he asked "Do you need me to come home?" I did a very un-Andrea like thing and sobbed, "Yes."

Of course, before he came home and saved the day (which he did... hugs, dinner out, errand running with me) he emailed me a whole list of what I was doing as of late to "work harder, not smarter" and I countered him point for point. While he is right... I do too much... he also has no idea how hard it is to raise 2 kids on a budget. To do the best you can with limited time.. To focus on the positive always. I let him know that I saw his points, but that I needed what I needed, too. If he could go to lunch each day, I deserved a maid. If he got Saturdays, I deserved Sundays to myself. If he got computer nights out, I needed more week nights out. And... I didn't want him coming home telling me that I ruined his day. I know how hard he works, but damnit, so do I. I told the side of me that is always "doing it all" to shut the fxx up and told James that despite my independence, I'm a person. Better stated, a female on PMS who sometimes gets emotional. Who sometimes can't always shop alone. And go to kids' parties alone. And paint alone. And cook alone. While he's out traveling the world for business, I'm home with two kids. And once in a while it gets to me.

And it's Christmas. I used to love the holidays: the bright lights and the music and the food and the presents and the delicious anticipation of Xmas morning. But ever since my dad died two years ago Thanksgiving, I cringe. I think of all the wonderful times I had with him and my mom... waking up without a care in the world to presents and a great meal. Sure, I was a kid, and now I'm a responsible adult. It's different. But it doesn't make me miss my memories any less.

Topanga T promised that she and I would take a mall day together to take in the sites. We'd shop. We'd drink a glass of wine. We'd stick the kids on Santa's knee.

It's going to be so god damn festive I can't stand it.

Especially when my walls are done.

And while I didn't win the maid debate, guess who has 6 hours every Sunday to herself? Now if only Cecelia would post a comment, call me back, or email me, maybe we could make plans to do some damage. (Where the hell are you Cecelia?????)

Side note: Part of my frustraion, besides lack of time, is lack of feeling... stupid to say... but pretty. I lost my mojo somewhere between my episotomy and the rinse cycle. My last ten pounds are sticking to me as tight as the guilt I have from purchasing over-inflated chain store paint. I swear, I'd do anything to lose weight except diet and exercise. This subject came up with my ultra thin husband a few nights ago. As we lay there, him trying to sleep, me trying to annoy him, I was bemoaning the hard core truth that to get ultra shapely, I would have to give up my daily McDonalds cookies. I'd have to plunk down 40 bucks on a used double stroller and start walking to Arco again. I'd have to not count the peanut butter toast (eaten after 7PM) as protein for my growing soul. Nothing but tenacity and sweat was going to shed my zaftig curves.

James, who I assumed was zoning me out or dreaming of alien women, piped up "What does zafig mean? I told him it meant curvy, rubenesque. With a devil grin, he grabbed a belly roll and exclaimed"zaftig!" Then he'd grab my thigh and shout "zaftig!". Then my left cheek... "Zaftig!". After the 4th "Zaftig!" I grabbed him a bit on the lower extremity and exclaimed "soft dig!"

He laughed. His ability to chuckle at me is one of his sexier qualities. Not so sexy that he got laid, but sexy none the less.

I'm off to drop a can of paint, wake the babies, and stuff myself silly with carbs.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm a Flamer

As in Flaming June. Here she is above right in orange. The fabulous diva next to her is Woman in a Purple Coat by Matisse.

I've loved these prints long before I had kids, but now, they seem to resonate even more - a fantasy life, if you will, of laying in peace. No interruptions. Ready to be served. Of course, I have my own opinions about what each gal is thinking. June is more the princess type - the one who gets her nails done and shops for shoes at DSW (though she's not wearing them now since she kicked them off after a long night of dancing). She's into hair and decorating and while kind, is a bit self-centered. She doesn't think twice about that five dollar cappucino. She's worth it, no? She goes through men like Evian and sleeps in 200 thread count sheets, which someone washes for her. She's demanding and fairly self-serving, but she's so beutiful, you can't not hang out with her and drink her up.

The Woman in the Purple Coat... she's a bit more my style. She is wearing things her career bought for her... she's a fast talker, not one to rest. Even in sitting, she's got this "Move Out of My Way" quality to her. You either love her or hate her, and regardless of your opinion, admire her. (Of course, I have no career now, but this is my art fantasy, so I can inject any opinion I want onto these women. Who wants to see a painting of a tired mom in vomit stained sweats? "Post Pardum & Some Sticky Wipes".... Ooooh, can you see it hanging at ZGallery now?

To find your own inner art goddess, you can check out

Well, I'm off to spend the day with the martini goddess, Stella. If Picasso painted her, her mobile home would be in bright Italian reds and yellows. Her 1960's decor would have aqua and purple hues. The brush strokes would be hurried - like her talking talking talking. Stella is 84 and like a fine piece of art, priceless.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I'll Take the Black & Tan

As in accessories and wall color. Lord knows after my experience on Saturday, I shan't be drinking any time soon. Despite my affinity for all things merry and bright, I can't live with the pumpkin orange. Last night, as I looked at James, his face started blending into the drywall. It was as if I painted the wall caucasion pink. I can't take it. So, I turned off artistic voice, and turned on Cecelia practical (no offense, lovely Cecelia, but you really are practical. Which is why I need you around.) I whipped out the Pottery Barn catalog and chose a lovely shade of tan that has a hint of yellow in it. Yes, K, I am joining the ranks of boring T.O.. It shall be boring and simple but full of fancy accessories and art prints. Vibrant, bold art pieces... that I can't yet afford. But they're looking awesome in my head. Ya'll are my witness when I say that one day double matted Flaming June or Woman in a Purple Coat will hang boldly on my waspy, unoriginal, but fabulously painted, walls.

I am done with Act 1 and on to Act 2 of my pilot. I am hitting a stride, which makes me happy. Normally I wouldn't take this long to complete a project, but having kids is sort of like walking around with two bowling balls all day. It's possible, but it's heavy. Sometimes you need to put them down to get things accomplished. But what if your errand involves hills? The ball could roll down the hill and smash the old lady selling oranges on the corner. You have to be on guard. But it's worth it, because bowling is fun - especially bumper bowling where you're guaranteed to make a strike and everyone is happy. Especially the toddlers. Which, speaking of, leads me back to why this script is taking longer than usual.

My storage unit/office is almost ebayed off. I am concerned about one item that sold for sixty bucks. Personally, I wouldn't have paid 10 cents for it. Then again, I am also notoriously cheap. Except when it comes to my time - which I do give up pretty generously. Bottom line: I'm thinking any time now the buyers are going to demand a refund, but no word yet. Fingers crossed they like their brothel style/beads falling off/piece of ca ca lighting fixture.

Side note: Nick and Sophie are tearing out magazine pages as I type. I already scolded them once. Am I the worst mother on the planet if I just let it go and pretend I don't hear it? Nick is fully toilet trained. He is off the bottle. He sleeps through the night... isn't that enough for one day? Then again, cut to fifteen years later when we're talking through bars at Juvie Hall because I was too lax. Ah well. At least I'll have his room as an office.

What else...

I am not only a delinquent parent, but a delinquent citizen. I did not vote this past election. I did not vote for our past president. I did not vote for the WGA awards. I did not vote for our preschool auction. I have no excuse. I am not informed, aware, or at all poltically enlightened. I did take down some links Cecelia sent me, and I'm attempting to read up at least 10 minutes/day on local events. But the world at large, I'm ashamed to admit, like staring at my living room walls too long, is a big giant blur. I don't know the difference between the House of Representatives and the House of Pancakes. I have no right to complain if I don't vote or stay in touch.

So I will try.

Just like I will try to query magazines. And parent my kids. And get in shape. And go to church. And maintain a romance with my man.

I wonder sometimes if I come off self-depricating. Like, I'm really not as fat as I make it out. Or as lazy or unaware of the world. But I do have goals I want to set, and since I don't have the time to do everything I'd like, due to kid obligations, the ghosts that spur me on come out as howling neurosis on the web.

Lucky you.

But hey, if you don't like it, just delete me. Otherwise, you're a freak too, and glad to have you on board.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Punch Drunk Love

Perhaps the decision to paint my walls day glow tangerine is a result of the previous evening. James and I had 4 hours to ourselves. We sauntered up to the bar at the Olive Garden and, like Cheshire cats, ordered two martinis, giddy with our early arrival and long stretch of people watching ahead. All I know is that for six one, I am a lightweight. If you put me in the ring with Gary Coleman, I'd be knocked out before he took his first punch. By the time Cecelia and Slim arrived, I could barely make it through dinner. In fact, I didn't. I had to excuse myself and pass out in the car while James paid the bill.

I don't remember the drive home.

I do remember rushing past the babysitter, who was shocked we were home two hours early. I told her "I don't feel well, James will pay you."

And then I got under the covers and crashed, head spinning... ready to vomit... more sick than any of my two pregancies.

ONE martini, people. ONE.

I suck suck suck suck suck.

James and I have another five hour date planned for this Saturday (thanks to a babysitting birthday gift from my sister, L.) I'm already hearing cracks from him about,"Hey, where do you think we can go for 45 minutes before you pass out on the couch?"

I hate that I can't drink.

I hate my living room walls.

But I love my Ebay this week. Making some money! Ya'll might get two gifts from the Salvation Army this year.

Okay, off to finish bathing children and make my writing plan for the week. Did I mention I have one and a half weeks to finish this damn pilot? I may not blog as the deadline gets closer. In fact, I may not bathe or cook or change diapers. We all may stink like crap, but my script will smell like roses. And then it will sell. And then I can get a personal chef, maid and nanny to help us all smell glorious again.

...."Delusion" - the latest perfume from Mama P. Available at cul de sacs near you.

Afternoon Delight

The first upshot of my Sunday? I baked my first turkey and despite both smoke alarms going off, my fifteen pound winged buddy tastes delicioso (sorry to Cecelia, a vegetarian super stud). I'm seeing turkey salad, turkey soup and a lovely batch of turkey cookies in my future. And yes, a living creature might be head first in a pot in my refridgerator, but I have a whole week ahead of me of stress free dinners. Which means at 5pm I'm not going loco. Which means the only bird James comes home to at the end of his day is on his dinner plate.

The second upshot of my Sunday? While the turkey was making my house smell almost as enticing as a maid (but not quite) James watched the rugrats so I could paint my living room. In two and a half hours, I taped, patched holes, and painted two walls. This includes cleanup and pictures back on the wall. (A first for me, who is known to take three months to complete one wall, all the while leaving open paint cans and emergency room-inducing screws littering the floor, not to mention enough paint to give our 1950's wood floor the look of a mechanic's shop).

While the end result was a professional looking paint job, it looks like someone vomited an orange push up in my living room.

I'm trying to tell myself that this color is what I had anticipated: warm... rich... indicative of the vibrant life I lead (inside my head). When one walks in, they will have memories of fall... soothing smells of pumpkin pie and lazy summers by a lake. This hue whispers artist... funky enough to be original but mellow enough to shrug, "I didn't try that hard."

And then when I take off my Raybans the delusion party is over and the crowd is screaming "You tacky Walmart Valley Girl, you have no taste. Go back to K-mart and get some Martha Stewart mellow yellow."

I'm keeping it until Sunday when I have my painting date once again. I'm taking suggestions. And sure, put on your sunglasses first. Research says if you stare too long you might blur your vision.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Apple of My Eye

After a second visit to Kaiser today, and a scream session under ultraviolet lighting, the doctor pronounced Sophie's eye all healed. He also gave her a full bill of health for her lungs, informing me that he has not heard decibals hit that high in quite some time.

We entered the waiting room to have my mom inform me that Dominic played the whole time with the beads on the wall. He would make up stories with them. "Green ball, catch the red one. Blue ball, go to the castle." This was all fine and good until he started moving them one after the other and stating "God Damnit. God Damnit. God Damnit". He wasn't angry or anything, just making a statement.

I need to work on that.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My First Submission

Okay, so it's not a submission yet. It's an article that needs a query to certain magazines. And the cuss words have to be taken out (not mine, the authors) depending on what publication I submit it to, but it's done. It's been checked off my to-do list and sent to the author for editing. After a week of fighting a cold, scurrying Sophie to Kaiser for a ripped eye cornea, dealing with busted cars, rain and a surprise job orders (long story) , it's a blessing to have this off my mind. And I'm proud of it. I can now sleep in coughy, achy, sneezy peace. My remaining goal: The pilot. I didn't make this Friday's mark, but I'll hit the Thanksgiving draft mark, and then I can get my Girl Scout Badge. And stuff myself silly with turkey. And sleep like the dead. (Oh wait, I have kids. I'll be too busy feeding them turkey to eat it myself. And with my luck, those rugrats won't sleep, which mean I won't either. But I'll still be thankful, because that's how dorky I am.)

Please let me know if this article would make you consider reading this book. Or not. I'm open to suggestions (If you hate it, save it for Monday so I can finish my pilot in a delusional state of accomplishment. Grassy ass)

The article:

Marrit Ingman’s musical tastes range from The Telephone Company (popular among the toilet training crowd) to Nine Inch Nails. She’s an advocate of breast feeding and organic foods. She swills coffee and is a self-proclaimed pie junkie. She’s a devoted wife and mother. Yet when her son was 15 months, she considered driving her car off Highway 183 to get away from the pressures of family life.

Such is the duality of 33-year old author, Marrit Ingman. In her first book, Inconsolable, published by Seal Press, Ingman portrays a dark, disturbing, and real version of her experience with post pardum depression. If Brooke Shields is the Hollywood PPD cover girl, Ingman is the anti-Hollywood mug shot. Raw, raging, and always poignant, one isn’t sure to wash her mouth out with soap or hug her.

Academically educated and schooled by life, Ingman’s writing is at once intimidating and approachable. It’s intense and casual. Not many people can use the words ‘platitudinous’ and ‘bad-ass mama’ in the same sentence, but Ingman rocks it. If Ingman were a baker, her cakes would be fluffy, but the frosting would be black. It’s this darkness, and eventual journey into light, that makes Ingman’s book so compelling.

Inconsolable isn’t a book that sugar coats the post-pardum. There’s no black and white portrait of Ingman on the front cover, looking wistfully away from the camera in classic Herb Ritt’s contemplation. Instead, Ingman shines a glaring spotlight on her mental deterioration. Part Girl scout leader, part crime scene investigator, this author is a no nonsense mama when it comes to telling it like it is – detail by gory detail. Take page 4 as an example: “With PPD, you might feel as if you caused a person to exist and every moment of his or her life is misery. You have made life’s biggest and most irrevocable mistake. You need to get the fuck out of here, and you’ll do whatever you can-you’ll put a gun in your mouth, you’ll cut yourself – to stop the racing thoughts in your head… you are a piece of shit. Killing yourself would be a blessing to your child.”

While the faint of heart might initially cross Inconsolable off their book club list, they might also reconsider switching their coffee to whiskey and giving it another go. What Ingman’s book lack’s in platitudes it gains in reality. And like truth of any kind, this book is real, and one needn’t be afraid. Ingman would be the first to agree that if Woman #1 in the book club never had an ounce of post pardum depression, good for her. She can use this book as a “Thank God that was never me” example. But say Woman #2 had some thoughts about hating herself and her child, but all she had was Woman #1 to talk to? Inconsolable would do a fabulous job of making her not feel so alone.

Of all the insights Ingman has into womens’ many expectations of motherhood, it’s this theme of isolation that seems to rise again and again. In her chapter “The United States of Generica” she states, “I saw all these mothers walking around with their babies in Pope-globe hermetic strollers. I had no idea there were so many other people with children in my town. I’d flag them down, but there’s no place for us to stop and stand, to talk to one another… it concerns me that for so many post-pardum women walking around the mall with the baby is their way to ‘go out.’ Go out and what? Be isolated in public?”

On several occasions, Ingman delves into the concept that while mothers go to places where other mothers are, everyone works so hard to pretend that they aren’t mothers. When she first discovered she was pregnant, she admits she had unrealistic fantasies herself: the Ikea rocker, the baby sling, the cool haircut, and her baby in retro tee shirts. She’d be so cool, no one would even know she was a mom! But life changes, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad. And her message is loud and clear: It’s okay. She smirks, “I sure wish I could be sexy or political, though. I wish depressive mothers could have Usenet groups. I wish people would write graphic novels about depressive maternal superheroes who mange to get out of bed and floss and resist suicide.”

While much of Ingman’s novel focuses on dire facts of post pardum depression, it’s her personal anecdotes that keep the reader from feeling like they’re being preached at. There’s laugh out loud passages of play group drinking games. There’s the Leapfrog caterpillar her husband, Jim, programmed to say a certain F word. There’s three pages devoted to categorizing different kinds of mothers, from “The Sunday School Mom: Wears floral-print smock dress. Tends flock; likes ovine metaphors.” There’s the “Free-Market Mom: Wears Nikes and American flag t-shirts made in Pakistan by ‘terrorists’.” And of course, “The Crazy Mother: Wears stained maternity panties and the tiara from her kid’s toybox…My score: HIGH. ‘Nuff said.”

She goes on to conclude that all these categories are for crap. It’s this sectioning off of parents that make motherhood so hard. Instead of tearing each other down to make each other feel better, Ingman encourages women to support each other. Her message: If you want to wear your kid in a sling and eat Vegan, good for you. If you want to shop at Walmart and wear white Keds, go for it. Ingman, who admits she’s critical, is also first to admit that we need to stop being so judgemental and just get on with doing the best we can.

Once in a while, despite the darkness, and despite the rage, Ingman sneaks gentler feelings of motherhood into her memoir. She’s mentally healthy now, and in a passage of rare vulnerability, writes,“In spite of everything, I have fallen in love with my child. When he nurses, he runs his fingers along my other arm and threads them through mine. His hand feels spidery. I tell him, ‘Nose to nose,’ and he leans into my face and presses his nose to mine. We sit like that for several seconds.’

It’s these moments of softness that make Ingman such a forceful writer. Like that feral cat you just can’t trap, she’s wild and unpredictable. You’ll never catch her standing still. But then there’s the rare moments when she eat out of your hand. And you smile at the warmth of it all. But don’t get too close… she might bite ya.

Inconsolable can be found at major book stores, as well as It is distributed by Seal Press.