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.