Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Work Has Begun

I'm SO excited! My contractor's wife sent me pictures of my house in Seattle today... besides all the SNOW on my house, the best thing to see was that work has begun (there are two huge construction containers in front of the house). I know they've been demo-ing the interior walls, and hopefully by my next visit the addition will be framed. Or at least the foundation will be poured. I'll be posting some of the pics she sent tomorrow. I am really looking forward to my trip in mid January b/c I'll get to SEE the work w/ my own eyes, pick out windows, doors, cabinets, etc. Besides, it'll just be good to be back in Seattle. Something about seatown just makes my heart sing. Yes, I'm just kinda crazy like that. *snort*

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Peace on Earth... Can it Be?

This is one of my most favorite holiday songs, sung by one of my favorite Rock G-ds and one of my parents favorite crooners. It seemed a nice sentiment for this Christmas Eve, especially since I've been thinking a lot lately about the impending END of Not-A-President Bush's 8 Year Reign of Stupid. I almost can't believe it's nearly over. That in less than a month, he & his minion will finally be gone. For me, that's something to celebrate!

I know the economy looks like crap. I know it's probably going to get worse before it gets better. But I feel a sense of hope tonight. A sense that a transition of grand & wonderful proportions is just around the corner.

Can it be? Indeed, I think it can.

Monday, December 22, 2008

With the Jingle Bells & The Toys...

I should be lighting the candles this week... but wouldn't ya know it? I can't find my menorah. I'm sure it's packed away in one of my many boxes o'stuff stacked in the garage, but for the life of me I can't find the energy to go dig it out. However, my lack of energy & organizational skills are another story for another day.

So, to get me (and all y'all) in the mood for The Festival of Lights, here's a song by one of my favorite bands, the Barenaked Ladies. Forgive the "video", it's all I could find on YouTube.

Happy Hanukkah!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Baby Turtle 2.5

Today my Little Turtle is 2.5 yrs old...

Hey Mom, I'm nappin' here!

But of course, I'm thinking of the day she was born...

Delivery

And the week she spent in the NICU...

Newborn Dex

But then, I finally got to bring her home. And she thrived...

Baby Birdie

Lawdy, how she thrived...

Upside Down

And all I can tell you is, that no matter how lousy I'm feeling on any given day (which happens more often than I care to admit), this little kids' smile pretty much makes it all okay in a flash...

SweetSmile

Everyone told me it would go fast, but you really don't know HOW fast until you're in it. And yeah, I know we moms say it's the hardest job we'll ever love ... but really? It's so totally true.

Dex & Me in W. Seattle - Nov 2008

So happy 2.5 little one. I love you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dexy Dress Up

Dress Up

Auntie Stephanie brought this back from South Korea. It's called a chima jeogori ... or Hanbok. Doesn't she look sweet?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Last Christmas in California

This is a very powerful video (see below) with a wonderful message. Regardless of your religious beliefs, affiliations, or lack thereof, it is also quite universal. What is Christmas (or "The Holidays" if you prefer) really about?

This will be the last Christmas I'll ever spend in my parents home, the home I grew up in & that we celebrated myriad holidays in, in one form or another, for over 40 years! How many of us have been blessed w/ a place to call home for four decades? A place that no matter where we went, or for how long, we knew it would always be there waiting for us when we came back home? Maybe that's not so important to some, but it has always meant the world to me!

I was blessed to have had that kind of childhood. I thank G-d that I had the kind of mother who felt it was important to provide a sense of place for her kids. All of the traditions, the rituals, the memories... She did that for us, for her family. And I want so much to do the same for my own daughter, b/c let's face it, if I don't... who will?

Do I want this last Christmas in CA to be a little extra special? Do I want to dig down deep & give from my heart (instead of just my wallet)? Yes! Most of all, I want our last Christmas here to honor the lifetime of memories in this house... and I want it to mark the beginning of our new life in Seattle as well. So, I get to create a host of beautiful new traditions and memories, and build them upon the ones my mother created for me, starting right now.

What is YOUR Christmas wish?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Twenty




This morning, my Life Coach & I made a list of TWENTY (20) activities I really enjoy doing. I have promised to do at least two of these activities each week - as a gift to myself. I also promised that I'd walk 2 days a week too. She didn't say how far I had to walk, or for how long, just that I should put on my Nike's and GO.

I can not say w/ the same level of confidence that I'll consider this damn walking business a gift to myself, though of course it absolutely is, but I'm going to do it anyway. Fake it til you make it right?

Anyway, I digress. The point is... I have made many changes in the past year or so. Some were prompted by my parents deaths, having my daughter, selling my home, buying another home, etc. and some by less "meaningful" things, like just needing to do something different (as what I've been doing the past 20+ years just really ain't working for me anymore).

My motto:

"If you want a different life, tell different story!"

This has particularly come to mean the following -- Learning how to assert myself better, to ask for what I want, that "No" is a complete sentence (and then actually putting that concept into practice), to stop & check my true motives before I speak (or act, or comment) on someone else's behavior, and most of all to find some joy/laughter in my life again (and yes, my daughter DOES bring me a lot of joy people!).

Dex's daddy made an observation this past holiday weekend that I was complaining a lot.... The worst part is that he was right! So, I give him big fat kudos for calling me on it. Frankly, I want authentic & loving people in my life. The kind who will call me on my BS. People whose energy & purpose is in alignment with mine. Not liars, users &/or greedy energy sucking vampires. This means putting the laws of attraction into practice. If I want quality people around me, I need to be a quality person. Duh!

Since I don't want to be Complaining Girl (b/c really, what do I have to complain about?), I'm gonna chalk that comment of his up to being an informative, teachable moment. I'm also going to let go of the shame & self-loathing I felt in reaction to it and just move the f*ck on.

So. Without further adieu. Here's my list. Enjoy! And if you feel like sharing in the comments, what are some of the things that would be on YOUR list?


My Happy Activities:

1) Reading
2) Movies
3) Music
4) Art
5) Birding (aka bird watching)
6) Hiking/Nature
7) Dancing
8) Animals
9) Gardening
10) Teh Interwebs (aka the internet)
11) Cooking
12) Yoga
13) Food/Wine - e.g. sharing a leisurely, wonderful meal w/ the people I love most
14) Photography
15) Lectures, Book & Poetry Readings
16) Inspired conversations (w/ rabbis, writers, professors, artists, musicians, etc.)
17) Architecture
18) Writing
19) Sleep/Meditation
20) Travel

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Buy Nothing Day - 2008

Something to think about... while we're stuffing our bellies today w/ turkey (& of course, counting our MANY blessings). Especially in this current economy & political climate. Really, what do I need that I don't already have?

So, I'm going to buy nothing tomorrow. How about you?

Buy Nothing Day 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sheila E. in the Making?

My friend Sarah threw a birthday party for her 3-yr old son over the weekend. Instead of the usual party games, cake, bouncy castles, etc. (i.e. extreme boredom for the grownups), she hired Free to Be Me Drum Circle. Everyone participated, even the Big Kids. My little drummer girl really LOVED it & I found myself wishing I still had my Conga drums. Hmmm... Xmas is coming. Maybe I'll get Dex some serious percussion instruments & mold her into a world class drummer. Then she can support me in my not-too-far-away Old Age. LOL. Anyway, I thought it was a fun idea! Even better, it went to a good cause.

Drummer Girl - Testing 1,2,3

Rocking a paper plate & upside down Maraca

Now She's Jammin'

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ouch.

I do not believe in random chance or coincidence. Sometimes, something happens & it's a benefit to me & my journey in this life. Sometimes, life's hiccups &/or missteps are for the benefit of another person(s).

I know this is all rather cryptic... Suffice to say, I'm feeling a little hurt today. Like I got stabbed in the heart. Or punched in the nose. Maybe I deserved it. Maybe it's "payback"... Or maybe they've forgotten who I am & what my character is. Maybe I've been too nonchalant or too unclear about what it is that I really want.

But I've said my truth out loud. Again. I don't know if they heard me or not. I have no control over what the results will be. So I just keep moving through my days & try not to let it sting too much - or for too long. At some point, I will just stop putting myself in a position to get punched in the first place.

Forgiveness is a powerful thing. Trust/Honesty is another. Love cannot exist without them.

I choose love today. Even if it means I get my nose punched once and awhile. It's worth the "risk"... b/c frankly the alternative is a life of sadness, despair, suspicion, anger, hurt, resentments, and even hate. That's not the life I want. And it's not the example I want to model for my daughter on a daily basis.

Crumbs are just NOT enough anymore. I want the whole kit and caboodle. I'm finally at a place in my life where I'm 110% willing to give the same in return. This is important. I don't want to f*ck the next 1/2 of my life up. Not for my kids sake. And not for mine.

'Nuff said. The End.

----------------

“What untold grief of heart might be relieved by words of cheer and forgiveness. Especially should this lesson be remembered in the training of children, for they so readily respond to the thought of others.” Ernest Holmes 1887 - 1960

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day 2008 - Poppies for Soldiers


To those who have served like my father (WWII - US Marine Corps, Okinawa Japan) and to those who serve currently... Thank you. Your personal sacrifice for our freedom has not gone unnoticed. Not today, or any other day. G-d bless you all!

May you come home safely & soon.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Quick Saturday Hello

Sorry to be so quiet lately. Closed escrow on the Seattle house & then it was a flurry of activity before my 1-week trip north with Dexy & my friend Esther. We just got back this afternoon. Will be unpacking & doing laundry for days I think... well, at least for most of tomorrow. I promise I do actually have new pics of the house & updates re: meeting w/ my architect, etc. coming your way in the next few days. There will be pics of our adventures in/around Seattle too. It wasn't all work and no play, ya know? So, hang tight. Meanwhile, g'night folks!

Monday, October 27, 2008

La La La... The Fat Lady has Officially Sung!

The Fat Lady Has Sung

My money has been wired. Escrow has closed. Title has recorded. My agent has the keys. I'm officially a Seattle homeowner! Now, who's gonna buy this fat & ├╝ber happy mama a drink (or three)?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Chewing Away... Nom Nom Nom

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. I am a nail biter. Or more specifically, I'm a cuticle chewer. I used to be a nail biter too, but I haven't attacked my actual nails since I was in my 20's. Don't ask me why, I've had this little annoying habit since I was a kid.

Ask any of my friends & family, they'll all tell you that if I'm not staring obsessively into the glowing screen of my iPhone, then I'll most likely have a hand stuffed in my mouth & am gnawing away furiously at my fingers. Sometimes, I even manage to do BOTH at the same time - no, not chewing on both hands you sickos, I mean one is being chewed on & the other is maneuvering my iPhone. Sheesh!

Anyway, I got some more tattoo work done last Wednesday (trying to link my Green Tara on my upper arm with the owls on my lower arm). I very rarely experience pain WHILE getting a tattoo. The endorphins kick in & the pain becomes almost pleasurable. Hell, I've even been known to take cat naps or read while sitting under the sting of the needle.

This new bit of tattooing is on my left elbow and the areas above, around & below it. On Thursday I thought I was going to die. Last night I considered leaving my child alone & asleep in her crib so I could slip off to the emergency room for a high dosage shot of antibiotics and pain killers. Today is Sunday & I'm still in a significant amount of pain. So much so, I'm definitely planning to see my doctor tomorrow just to make sure it's not infected (or worse). It is rather red, hot, ooooozy & swollen.

Mmmmm...

By now you're wondering what the heck does this have to do w/ nail biting (or cuticle chewing)?

Here's the dilemma my friends; I can't even bend my left arm b/c the pain is so excruciating, so my left hand and the nails/cuticles upon it have heretofore been saved from my nasty little habit. Yay for my left hand! But let me tell ya, it's driving me NUTS that I can't get to it. So, for now I'm chewing on my right hand, double time!

Just thought I'd share that with ya. The end.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Vote or Die?

obey_vote

Well, I don't know if anyone will truly die if they don't vote, but that's what all those tee-shirt wearing, wheat grass drinking, Hummer - oops, I mean Prius driving - rich as hell celebrities keep telling us. Right?

This year I am voting absentee b/c I'll be in Seattle on Election Day. Gotta love the efficiency of our LA County Registrar. It took them 2 internet requests, 1 phone call & 43 days to send my ballot. It arrived last Saturday. I didn't vote until this morning.

I wanted to take my time, especially on all of the ballot measures (CA loves it's ballot measures!). I have also been on the fence about WHO to choose for President. After almost 2 years of campaigning, negative ads, (c)overt racism, comedy sketches, late night monologues, discussions (err, arguments) w/ family & friends, and waiting for the VP choices to be made, etc. I have flip flopped many times over as to who might get my vote. But today the time had come to decide. So I did.

Let me just say one thing. I'm flippin' tired of people making assumptions about my political ideology! What the hell does anyone know about how I feel about one issue or another? And really, how is it any of their business?

My GOP family thinks I'm a liberal pinko commie. Yes, it's true. I was raised by a bunch of Republicans. Though at least my parents were Old School vs. the hijacked version of the GOP that reigns over our country today.

My Conservative Right-leaning friends assume that b/c I'm tattooed & like "alternative" music (among other reasons) that I'm a Left-leaning nut job who wants a National health care system & free social services for every poor bastard ever born (I don't btw).

Then when my Liberal friends find out that I am not a fervent supporter of Barack Obama, or that I don't believe in Bailouts or Illegal Immigration, that I believe Business Owners should be able to run their business however they see fit (I hate Politically Correct BS more than just about anything), they of course leap to the wrong assumption that I'm going to vote for John McCain & his dolled up hench(wo)man, err, I mean Sarah Palin.

Really? Am I that easy to peg? Is it possible that after all these years my friends & family really have no idea who I am? Or is it their lack of courage to cross party lines that's clouding their ability to see that there are many Americans unwilling to vote w/ their registered party.

My problem is that I feel like I have ZERO choices this time around. I was born/raised in CA, I've also lived in NY, PA, two foreign countries and I was an AZ resident for almost 12 years. I was a registered Democrat for many years, but left the party more than a decade ago. And no, I didn't register w/ the GOP.

There was a time when I really liked John McCain. Sometimes he STILL cracks me up, even though I do think he's lost his damn mind. Note too that during my time in AZ, I was a LOT more liberal than I am now. Admittedly, I've also always liked the Clintons, despite their many foibles over the years. Even so, I couldn't really see myself voting for Hillary even though I think she is far more qualified to be President than Obama is. There were other candidates earlier in the Running Game that I liked even better; Bill Richardson being one of them, but of course he didn't get very far in the race. Sigh. I could go on... but I think you get the idea.

So what to do? What to do? In the end "my friends" (to borrow a phrase from my old buddy McCain), I ain't telling. My vote has been cast. I don't want to talk about the election, or the candidates, anymore. I am really tired of all the mud slinging and pundits talking out of their necks about things that do not impact my daily life.

All you need to know is that I voted. Ultimately, no matter what you think about the candidates, or what you think you know about the political leanings of your friends & family, or strangers like me... YOU should really think about voting too. IMO, this election is far too important to sit out. If for no other reason than the fact that there are several thousand American women & men deployed overseas who are fighting for YOUR right to do so.

I hope you're registered. I hope your city/county is taking great care to make sure your vote gets counted fairly & accurately. I hope you'll take a moment and really THINK about which candidate best represents your beliefs & your dreams for the future of this country. I hope you'll not be swayed by all the lies & rhetoric. Please remember, a President can only do so much! I hope you'll also consider voting every single incumbent that is running for Congress OUT of office, regardless of their party affiliation.

Most of all? I hope to see the pendulum swing in a more SANE direction come January! And I believe it will, regardless of who actually "wins" the election on November 4th.

See y'all on the other side!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Fat Lady is About to Sing

My House in Seattle

So wow, the proverbial "Fat Lady" is about to sing her face off!

Above is a photo of the house I bought in West Seattle. There were a few hiccups in the get-along certainly (i.e. the owner of the house died 1/2 way through escrow - she was 93 & the original owner of the house). But this morning, I had my bank wire the funds to the Title company, so after the last documents are signed & FedEx'ed this afternoon, we should close escrow as early as Monday.

I'll be posting more pictures over at my Flickr account -- especially the Before, During & After shots of the remodel that will begin hopefully sometime in November or early December. Won't be moving to Seattle however until the bulk of all that is done b/c frankly, who wants to live in all that dust if ya don't have to? So, we'll stay here in CA until the new house is ready. And if my parents house sells beforehand? I'll worry about what to do next then, and only then.

Somehow though, I suspect that everything will fall into place just perfectly. ;-)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Message From the Great Pumpkin

Well, not really... but it seemed appropriate given the season & the fact that Dexy had a ball picking out some of the bright orange squash yesterday @ our local Pumpkin Patch.

See?

Reaching out for the pumpkiny goodness...

We city folk have to do something to simulate country living, right? Anyway, Dexy enjoyed it even more this year b/c well, duh!, she's walking, talking and just way more interested in other little kids now. Pa's Pumpkin Patch is like toddler heaven compared to the usual daily fare w/ her mom. Ha! I'm sure we'll go back several more times before the end of the month. Whatever it takes to keep 'em happy, right?

Meanwhile, in other news...

My baby brother turns 40 today! I don't know why that makes ME feel old, but it does. I called him earlier today to wish him a happy birthday but as usual, he didn't pick up. He's a stock broker & the past several weeks of bad news on Wall Street have just about given him a stroke, over and over again. Poor bastard. Otherwise, I'd have to give him a lot more crap for turning 40 & being officially "OLD" like me. So, here's to ya little brother! I sure hope your 40th year goes better for you than last year did.

My house deal in Seattle took an interesting turn last week. The owner of the home passed away at age 93. She's been ill for some time and had apparently taken two bad falls in the past week or so. Her niece and nephew are co-powers of attorney for her estate. I've been assured that nothing has really changed with our original contract &/or close date (end of October), but I'm not sure exactly what happens next. I am choosing to have faith that the little house on Trenton will be my house if it's MEANT to be. Other than that, until I hear from my realtor or the Title/Escrow company to the contrary, I'm going to keep acting "as if" it's my house. What else can I do?

I'll be going up to Seattle for a week in November w/ Dexy & my good friend Esther to meet w/ my contractor, get house keys, and just enjoy a week exploring West Seattle. I'm really looking forward to it. Have secured a vacation rental nearby through VRBO.com so we can have all the comforts of home (fridge, stove, washer, dryer, etc.). I love vacation rentals! When you've got little kids, it's the ONLY way to go.

Later this week, I'm also going out to Vegas w/ Dex to visit her daddy. We haven't been there since last January or February! It's not my most favorite place on the planet, not by a long shot, but I'm all for my kid getting more time w/ her dad, so off we go for about four days. I'm also hopeful that we'll discover some new sites/sounds that are toddler appropriate - sorry, but despite all the families that live/work there, Vegas is NOT a kid-friendly town. So, please G-d, let me find at least one or two that'll keep her busy & having fun for a few hours each day. LOL.

That's all for now. Turtle and I are off to Pancho's for dinner, the market for groceries, and then maybe a little playtime at the park afterward. It's been such a beautiful cool day today, a welcome break after the 95+ degree temps of last week. Hope y'all had a great weekend!

Cheery bye, C ~

Monday, October 6, 2008

Flying w/ Toddlers...

A quick heads up on a cool contest at one of my new favorite "Mommy Blogs" (I didn't coin that term, so don't shoot me)...

Travel Savvy Mom is giving away a CARES Aviation Safety Harness! I don't know about the rest of you well-traveled moms & dads, but I have flown w/ Dex a lot in her two short years on the planet & this seat harness thingy pretty looks like the cats meow - in comparison at least to hauling a car seat onto the plane w/ us.

As far as I'm concerned? SOLD!

CARES | Kids Fly Safe - CARES

Image "Skitched" from http://www.kidsflysafe.com/

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hello Seattle!

West Seattle Snapshot

I've bought a house in Seattle! Had the home inspection on Friday of last week and since I found no major issues that would cause me to cancel the deal, we should be closing escrow by the end of October. Wow!

Updates will follow as this new journey progresses.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Can YOU help?

My mother lost her 12 year battle w/ Alzheimer's in July of 2007. Can you help by simply voting for the Alzheimer's Early Detection Matters program on the '08 Members Project sponsored by American Express? All that's needed are VOTES - not money! Thank you.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Yo bitches! Raining on my parade ain't cool.

Photobucket

I've spent the last year or so dealing with a LOT of loss ... but this evening I had a rare moment of hope, excitement, promise, etc. for making an offer on a house that I can transform into something that is utterly mine.

So, in my excitement I foolishly emailed some images & the MLS listing to a few friends/family in the hopes they might share a little of my giddiness - even though I fully admitted that the house is a 1950's mess. At the very least, maybe they could say something supportive like, "Good luck Cher!"

But instead they just pissed all over it.

Thanks gang. I'll try to remember to rain on YOUR parade the next time you get stoked about something. Here's a tip; even if you think I'm the dumbest asshole on earth (or that my idea is 100% hair brained as hell), please just STFU for 5 minutes & let me be happy.

Okaythanksbye.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hmmm... Ummmm...

Sunday night. 10:32pm. I've been wanting to write for over a week, but just can't seem to find the time or the energy to come up w/ anything all that interesting or meaningful.

I did get an email today from an old friend & co-worker whom I haven't seen or talked to in something like 15 years. She's married now, with two GORGEOUS daughters ages 5 & 3. Wow! I'm hoping I'll get to see her at least once before I move to Seattle.

Oh, I went to two kiddo birthday parties this weekend. One was for my friend Amanda's son Finn (another gorgeous child). The shindig was at Griffith Park & it was a Cowboy theme with real live ponies & everything. So cool! Made me wish for a boy, but only for a nanosecond though. G-d bless the mamas of boys. They are cuckoo crazy! LOL. The other party was for my niece Hunter, who turned 7 a few weeks ago. How the heck did that happen? Yeah, I know they grow up fast... but dudes, seriously? This "growing up so fast" stuff only serves to make me feel old.

Anyway, another weekend has come to an end, I've a busy week ahead so I need to hit the hay. I'll leave you with this picture of Declan from yesterday's party. See ya on the flip side!

Stripes are cool!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Selling Corn Syrup By The Pound


I've been wanting to write about the High Fructose Corn Syrup-ing of America for a long time... HFCS and all the processed "convenience" foods our local grocery stores are hocking by the truckload, not to mention milk & meat that's laced w/ hormones & antibiotics, genetically engineered produce, the multi-billion dollar Diet Soda business, etc. but there always seems to be something else to write about, or some other lame reason why I don't get around to doing so (well, there is that whole mommy thing I have to do on a daily basis - not that I'm trying to make excuses or anything).

Anyway, until I get off my arse to climb up on my Soap Box to discuss this further, I'll just refer you to THIS over at Julie Clawson's One Hand Clapping instead. Plain old good writing & it's something we should ALL think about. Especially if you're feeding any of that crap to your kids. Just sayin'.

Comic strip by Natalie Dee

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quick Seattle Synopsis


Amazing sunset from my friends deck in West Seattle (Marine View), watching the Fauntleroy ferry crossing Puget Sound to Vashon. Their view totally rocks right?
- Sept 12 2008 -


My quickie trip to Seattle last weekend went well, all things considered. I saw a LOT of houses on Friday, I even made an offer on one of them!

I also met @mamikaze and several other friends on Friday night at Matador for dinner & drinks. We had a ball. I ate well, including lunch at an Alki restaurant called Cactus which was to DIE for.

I also didn't have to change a single diaper or attend to a picky/crabby toddler for almost 2 whole days & it re-energized me as a Mama. You think I'm kidding, but I'm NOT. I needed to recharge my Mama batteries so badly!

On Saturday, the sellers of the house countered my offer, but I chose to pass. And I'm totally okay with that b/c it turns out, I wasn't really all that excited about that particular house, not like I was when I bought my last house. And I should be excited I think. So, I'm back to square one in my house search, but I know it'll happen when it's meant to. Meanwhile, mom & dad's house is still for sale... so I still have a place to hang my hat, live my life, enjoy my daughter & the company of my friends.

That's all for now folks. I'll let ya know if anything new develops. Off to get the kiddo & then some groceries, etc. Her daddy is coming into town this weekend to visit her, so I need to stock the fridge. LOL.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Remember...

Seven years has gone by. A lot has changed since then. I remember, like most surely do, exactly where I was on the morning of Sept 11. It's my generations version of Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy Assassinations, or the Lunar landing.

I was getting ready for work at just after 7am. As always, the news was on in my bedroom - KTLA 5. I stood there transfixed, dumbfounded even & I didn't end up leaving the house until almost noon. None of us was even sure if we SHOULD leave our homes. That morning was filled w/ phone calls to friends & family in NY and elsewhere, including my ex-boyfriend of 8 years who was doing his Infectious Disease fellowship at Memorial Sloane Kettering in Manhattan. I couldn't get in touch with him, so I called his parents in Tucson. They'd been out walking & hadn't heard the news yet. We watched the news "together" over the phone. We saw the second plane hit.

"This is what war must feel like."

I still had my little 1940's house on Los Coyotes Diagonal. I wasn't in a relationship, but was going on lots of dates. I was working for Corning & liked my job. I had a brand new car. My mom's health hadn't gotten so bad yet that we couldn't still go to the movies, or talk about life for hours. My dogs were young and healthy. My niece was born on Sept 6th & I was over the moon about becoming an Auntie. My parents left for a month long trip to China on Sept 9th - Dad & I both knowing this would be their last "Big Adventure" abroad. Life was pretty damn good, all things considered.

Then Tuesday morning happened. I remember feeling SO many emotions. Rage, fear, sadness, anger at how Bush handled the situation, deep pride for all the unsung hero's that suited up & showed up in the hours, days, weeks that followed, grief & even hope at the immediate resolve from the entire world to say "No more!" to terrorism. Some of those feelings have dissipated while others have grown stronger or mutated into something else altogether.

Here we are, seven years later. So much has changed since that life marker called Sept 11th. My folks are both gone. My dogs are gone. My house is gone. The new car was replaced w/ a new SUV. Corning closed up shop here in CA & went back to Elmira NY so the great job is gone. My sweet baby niece is now in 2nd grade & I have another niece that turned just turned one. I even had a baby of my own!

I don't know what else to say, except that I hope you will take a moment today - just one moment - to stop and think about the 2,752 people that were lost on Sept 11, 2001 not to mention all the families whose lives were changed forever in less than 24 hours.

I will not applaud the political posturing that has gone on ad nauseum since that day. Nor will I entertain or endorse conspiracy theories. But to the men and women who went above & beyond; who rolled up their sleeves to sift through the toxic rubble, wrapped their arms around widows & little kids who'd lost their daddies, who rushed back into burning debris to save just one more life, who gave money to help families in need, etc. I thank you. I also promise to never forget.

What do YOU remember? Please feel free to share in the comments section!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This ain't no disco!

The GOP wants us (YOU) to believe that Community Organizers don't know sh*t about running anything; be it a grassroots effort to get funding for crumbling public schools or to clean up an oil spill on our local beaches, to change the Constitution so that blacks & women have the same rights as (white) men, etc. They most assuredly don't think a Community Organizer is fit to run the United States of America.

I beg to differ.

I've been on the fence a long time w/ regard to this upcoming election. I wasn't sure about Hilary (do we really need another Clinton, regardless of their gender?). There was also a time in my life when I actually liked John McCain as I was an AZ resident for over a decade & he did some good stuff for our state. I really thought Bill Richardson (NM) was the Bees Knees, and also that John Edwards was a pretty Cool Cat. But neither of them got very far now did they?

No, I'm not particularly over the moon for Senators Obama & Biden, but I will tell you one thing I do know... If McCain wins the White House in November, we are truly screwed. And my daughter? Her future is 100% f**ked.

Maybe you don't agree with me. Maybe you think Sarah Palin is the one actually running for President. G-d knows my Republican friends & family have gotten all fired up since she was nominated for VP. Maybe you get excited about the prospect of zillions of oil rigs off the coast of CA b/c who cares about us Crazy Hippy Commies out here in CA anyway right? Maybe you believe women shouldn't have a right to choose and that your G-d is better than my G-d, and that those things should trump everything else.

Or maybe you think I could be a little more enthusiastic for the Democratic ticket (I'm not a DEM & haven't been for almost 12 years - if you must know, I fall somewhere between Green & Libertarian depending on the issue). Maybe you think I've been indifferent to not have made up my mind until now about which candidate I plan to cast my vote for.

Maybe you have no opinion at all. You are able to fill your Hummer gas tanks without it affecting your wallet (or your family's dinner table) too terribly much. You have a job. You aren't struggling to pay your mortgage. You have two cars & a dog named Max.

Perhaps you don't feel the need to vote, you've never voted, or you'll decide at the last minute whether you're going to show up at the polls depending on the weather that day.

Whatever your beliefs, I implore you to do some real homework on both candidates. And don't believe what CNN or NBC, etc. tell you. Check out BBC, NPR, John Stewart, Mother Jones, etc.

Then I want y'all to go out and vote. Mmmmkay?

That is all. Enjoy the video.

Mission Lillies

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Be careful, little eyes are watching...

And little ears are listening!

I saw this video spot on Mommy Pie and it literally made me cry. Feel free to share it with YOUR friends & family, readers, etc. too. Peace out.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Memories of Mom

I woke up to the sound of Dexy crying "Mama, Mama, Mama" at 5:14am this morning.

This is not an unusual occurrence, but today I just didn't want to get up. I was in the middle of the most beautiful dream. I was in the entryway greeting our housekeeper and suddenly my mom was there too. Still an "old" woman, yes. But not as bad off as she'd been toward the end when Alzheimer's had stripped almost everything recognizable from her frame & face.

In my dream she was clear eyed, walking, alert and just totally "with it". She was wearing this blue & white seersucker robe, nylons, and white fuzzy slippers. Her hair was freshly washed & curled. She was smiling, but never said a word. I looked at Marta, and asked, "Do you see what I see?" I'm not sure if she answered, I was already scooping my mom into my arms. I wrapped them ALL the way around her, hugging her as tight as I could. I didn't want to let her go.

That's when I heard Declan calling for me.

I can't really explain to you how meaningful that dream was, except to say that generally when I dream about my mom, we are having an argument. This was sweet, it was palpable, it was so very much what I've been needing. A big warm loving hug from my mom. I also know that dream was a gift b/c I got to wake up feeling all that warm fuzzy hug stuff so that I could trudge bleary eyed down the hall, pick up my own daughter & pass it on to her, instead of just feeling irritated.

Unbelievably the one year anniversary of my mom's death came & went in July. Granted, I was dealing with my father's death right about the same time, so not surprising I sort of "missed" it.

I meant to post some kind of Ode To My Mom on her birthday but oops... it's been almost a month since that day came & went. Better late than never, right?

So, here are some things about my mom that I remember most/best:
  • Cody lipstick in gold tubes. She always wore the same shade & was never, ever without a fresh coat of lipstick (wish I could remember the color, even if Cody is long gone).
  • She always had a little smidge of lipstick on her front teeth, but she could also apply her lipstick picture perfectly without ever looking in a mirror. Of course, then she'd take a napkin to blot her lips which I never understood, since it pretty much took all the lipstick off. LOL.
  • Home perms (or permanent waves). She would always do them in the kitchen sink. I remember helping her w/ the back of her head more times than I can count, taking the little fuzzy rollers & crisp thin white paper, squirting the smelly solution all over each roller, then helping her rinse it all out later.
  • When she wasn't giving herself a home perm, mom got her hair "done"... every week, without fail, pretty much until a year or so before she died. She would go to a local salon and have her hair washed & set. Who does that anymore?
  • The way she smelled! Especially the saliva she would deposit onto a tissue or delicate cotton handkerchief to wipe my face off. It may sound gross to y'all, but I just loved the smell of her spit.
  • She had really narrow itty bitty feet for such a tall gal (AAA size 8).
  • She'd give me a sandwich baggie of coins (usually dimes) for my lunch money. Horribly embarrassing when you are 14 or 15. But, in hindsight how nice that my mom had lunch money to give me, regardless of its form.
  • She loved ice cream & she loved root beer, but root beer floats were her most favorite thing of all. Whenever she could make up an excuse (it didn't take much), she'd haul me off to the local A&W for a cool treat. Just the two of us.
  • She gave back to her community more any other mom I knew. Rick Rackers, Assistance League, Spinsters, PTA, The Wenches, Memorial Hospital Womens League, etc. I learned how to volunteer (& how to love it) from her.
  • My mom always dressed to the nines, even to get on a plane, or go to the doctor. Girlfriend never went anywhere without being put together. Hair & lipstick always just so. She loved the colors Navy blue, camel & beige, even though she was a "Winter" and really should have been wearing colors like fuchsia, violet blue or winter white.
  • Speaking of color, she would labor for YEARS over which color white to paint the house!
  • My mom had the MOST amazing blue eyes I've ever seen!
  • She was a great cook and she made a delicious full course sit down dinner almost every night (otherwise, we went out to eat as a family).
  • She loved cookbooks - she had several hundred of them - and loved trying new recipes, sharing recipes w/ her friends, or giving ME advice on how to cook something better. I learned how to cook many of her (and my grandmothers') recipes right at her knee, and those recipes are locked in my memory forever. I can cook them "by heart" even now.
  • She loved her own mother more than anything. Her dad died in 1944, her brother was off being a doctor in KS, so it was her and her mom against the world. She took care of her mom for 6+ years as she battled cancer (breast & lymphoma). She always swore that she would never "get over" her mother's death and I don't think she ever did.
  • Speaking of grandma. Mom told us wonderfully descriptive stories about "Pink" (as she was called), to the point that I felt as if I'd known her too. My favorite story was how she had always wanted a brown eyed child. Their family was all tall, blond & blue eyed. My Grandma died in July 1963, in the front bedroom of my mother's home. And in the fall of 1967, LA County Social Services sent me to my mom. I was brown eyed and my birthday was March 1st. Same day as my grandma. So I know I was sent to her, just as Dexy was sent to me.

That's all I've got for today folks! It's almost time to go get Dexy from school. Tomorrow is the Broker Tour (4 hour "open house" for real estate agents), so I have more cleaning & straightening up to do. Oh joy! Not. *snort*

What are some of the things about YOUR mom that are stuck in your memory banks forever?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Randomness

First off, I would like to direct your attention to a great post: Five Baby Sleep Tips (not to mention a really cool baby blankie giveaway) over at Ambajam.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

I really don't have anything exciting to share except to say that this past week was busy & productive and also very stressful! As I've mentioned previously, we have been cleaning out the garage & house of all my parents things. By "we" I mean ME & two professional organizers. My brother is nowhere to be found (as per usual), nor do I expect him to suddenly appear, roll up his sleeves & get to work. I'm also the one that is being inconvenienced from having to get out of the house at all hours of the day so that it can be shown to potential buyers, not to mention trying to keep it immaculately clean AND take care of my messy, rambunctious toddler. Yet of course, he'll get to benefit from the sale of the home. Please explain this to me. Oh wait, don't bother. It's not like it's gonna change anything & yes, I'm a teeny bit resentful.

Anyway, I fell HARD whilst raking up some leaves & sprained my foot, but we still made substantial progress on the seemingly endless supply of STUFF. Unfortunately, I'm going to have a bit of a slow down in the momentum this week due to another full calendar of events & such. Then I'm leaving for Seattle (sans kiddo!) on Thursday evening for 2 days, but after that, it'll be back to the grind of getting this house in 100% tip-top shape for sale, which pretty much means I'll be packing up all of MY stuff as well, in preparation for the inevitable moving day.

On a more techy-nerdy note; I've been playing around with my new Canon EOS Rebel XSi the last several weeks & I'm really enjoying it (to the extent that my Pentax Optio SV 5.0 megapixel "point & shoot" may get donated to a deserving soul - i.e. friend or family member). I'm including a photo I took at Mission San Juan Capistrano below. I'll post some more images soon either here or on Flickr.

That's about it for now. The house is being shown again this afternoon (this is bound to get on my last nerve sooner rather than later - just sayin'). I need to start some laundry & wash dishes, etc. before Dexy wakes up. A mama's work is never done, right?

Tschuss!


Friday, September 5, 2008

Go Outside and Play - And don't come home 'til dinner!





















Just read a great Ed Op piece in the LA Times from May 2008 regarding the Olden Days (pre-1980's)...

You know, the days when kids went
outside to play and weren't being hovered over by adults every single waking moment?

Here are the links (
Thx to @phatmommy for tweeting):

Remember Go Outside and Play?

AND

FreeRangeKids

Growing up in sunny Southern CA in the 1970's, we ran in age/grade related
packs around the neighborhood. We climbed trees (see pic of my daughter in the same cork tree I climbed when I was a kid). We rode our bikes everywhere, without helmets! We skated & skateboarded, bounced on trampolines, played "Kick the Can" or Flag Football - barefoot. For hours!

In the summer, our mothers all but pushed out the front door & said,
"Don't come home til dinner!" We'd take the city bus to Orange County beaches and be there ALL day, without sunscreen. When we went on our marathon family road trips, we all piled in the backseat of giant American-made family cars, sans car seats or seat belts (gasp!). We swam, ran, collected tadpoles from the gutters, played in the rain, climbed on the Jungle Gyms, rarely watched television, took piano lessons, played soccer, danced, made "forts" from boxes & blankets, etc. all without constant direction or scrutiny from our parents.

There were also no rigid schedules to adhere to each day. No insane academic pressures with mounds of books & homework each night (at least not in elementary school). We were disciplined when we acted inappropriately, and not just by our parents. Our neighbors had "permission" to scold us too & would march us straight home to mom by the scruff of our necks when we did something that wasn't socially acceptable.

Don't get me wrong. I'm quite sure my mother "worried" about us (it's what mothers DO). It just wasn't the same kind of worry you see parents consumed with today... about pedophiles and car accidents, severe injuries from falling out of a tree, or stepping on a nail. About whether or not their kids will get into the "best" preschools, let alone the "best" colleges. Or worse, worrying about what other people will think if you actually dare to say "NO!" to your own child. And btw, I'm often guilty of this too, so I'm not pointing any fingers here!

It was just nice to be reminded that maybe, just maybe, it's really okay to let our kids be kids.

At the very least, they ought to go outside and play!

What do YOU remember about being a kid? How do you "let go" when it comes to your own kids going outside to play?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Margaret Cho Rocks (aka My Meltdown Continues)

Started cleaning out my parents garage this morning (w/ professional organizer extraordinaire Ms. Hallie Jane). This is actually like Act III or IV b/c I already did this with friends about 3 years ago when my we moved my mom into an assisted living facility. She had Alzheimer's & she was a hoarder. I cannot even TELL you how much stuff we removed from the house & the garage... Two construction sized containers full. You'd think I'm kidding, but I'm so not.

Somehow in the last year of living in this house w/ my dad the stuff has accumulated in the garage again. Some of it is mine certainly, but surprisingly there is still mountains of stuff that was mom & dad's. And that's just in the garage, I'm not even talking about all the stuff that is still in the cupboards & closets INSIDE.

Here's the daunting thing. Because the house is now officially for sale, all this stuff needs to be sorted, donated, thrown away, etc. regardless. Obviously no one will want to keep it once I've moved out & the keys are turned over to Mr. & Mrs. New Owners. At least I don't think they will want a ginormous collection of cake pans or three sets of china & silver.

Yeah, I'm glad that I've hired a professional to help me with it this time b/c I need some serious direction to stay focused & on task. Otherwise my emotions start to get the better of me and I will spend HOURS looking at some stupid trinket that was my mothers, or toying w/ a drafting kit that my father used when he was still working as an Engineer.

We finished about an hour ago... It is boiling hot today. I was sweaty and disgusting, so I jumped into the pool to cool off. That was nice. But now I'm sitting in my room watching
The Cho Show (w/ Margaret Cho, duh... whom I love, love, love) and all of a sudden, my emotions get the better of me and now here I sit, in my beach towel, crying my f*cking face off for no apparent reason.

I'll call it my Mini Meltdown - Act I (or is this Act 932?)...

I know this will get better SOME day. But when?! I feel like I'm coming unhinged some days. I'm crabby. I'm sad. I want to pick a fight with everyone. I don't know how to tell people how f*cking bad this is. To be perfectly honest with you, I don't think they'll
get it anyway. Not really. And damnit, I want them to get it. I really do. Maybe then I wouldn't feel so alone.

Anyway, thanks Margaret for giving me a moment to cry. I haven't done that much since my folks died. And I'll take it where I can get it.

The End.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Some days are just stupid. I'd like a do-over please!

Dexy woke up at 1am this morning. I brought her into my bed at 1:30 b/c I have a cold & I just wanted to sleep. She kicked me silly until 4am, moaning and groaning (but also very much asleep). Somewhere around 4:30am I fell asleep with my cell phone clutched in my fist. I'd been fitfully tossing and turning, trying to eek out a spot to nest in next to my bed-hog of a daughter prior to that. At 6am, she was all bright eyed and bushy tailed, asking for her breakfast.

For those who wonder why I'm always tired... For those who find me crabby, anti-social, sharp tongued or irritable all the time (let's not even mention the fact that I'm also fat as a barn). Now you know!!

I don't sleep. Not even when SHE sleeps. I'm up/down all night long. My head is filled w/ thoughts, concerns, nightmares, etc. My bladder has betrayed me. The house is filled w/ too many memories & demons. So, yes. I'm sleep deprived & stressed. Worried. Sad, pathetic & lonely. But you already know that. You're probably also wondering what I have to be stressed about... Some of my friends & family even delight in telling me as often as they can that I "NEED" to go back to work b/c not working has made me stupid, lazy and less-than.

I'd love to tell y'all to go f*ck yourselves, especially on that last part, but what's the point? You'd just shake your heads & call me a bitch. And you'd be right.

I just want to crawl under the covers & disappear. But the house is for sale & I'm going to need a place to go, so I'm thinking about Alaska. I hear they'll be needing a new Governor soon.

The end.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Not much to say on a quiet Sunday...

So I'll share a picture instead. And yes, I changed the image - this one was taken last summer, when she was just a BABY (sniff) ...