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Monday, December 22, 2008

We FINALLY made it out of the house today! We went all the way up to Bellevue. (woah). I was able to go to my Christmas book club lunch, and then we went with my parents to see the "drummer boys" of Snowflake Lane at Belle-Square (the big mall).

Now, please note, that in this picture it appears that I'm telling Rudolph off, "Go on. Get outta here. We don't want your kind..." My mom is standing there going, "hmmm, this is awkward. Yeah. Uh." But actually I was trying to tell him/her/it where the camera was located. He/she/it was a little slow on the uptake. Apparently reindeer aren't very bright (well, other than their noses, of course).

We've had over a foot of snow here!

Now check this out: THIS is dedication in snowman building. Please take note of the snow dog...located between the Snow Boy and Snow Girl.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!...Oh the weather outside is frightful…Walking in a Winter Wonderland….I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…these are just a few of the lines that are constantly playing on repeat in my brain these days. We’ve had so many days of snow and cold here. The boys didn’t have one day of school last week because of it. And this isn’t just Seattle cold – this is Little House on the Prairie cold! We went to the park for sledding with our neighbors on Friday in a nonstop snow storm. Linda made the comment that it was a “white out.” And I immediately said, “I remember when that happened to Pa! He was caught out in the blizzard and couldn’t even see his hand held out in front of his face! They had to string a rope from their house to the barn so that he could find his way to feed the live…stock. Um, I just remember that…from Little House on the Prairie. The books. Not the show. I don’t know if they covered that on an episode or not…it’s just...Wow! This snow is something else, huh?!”

The storm is SO something else, in fact, even the weather lady on the news said, “I predict that we’ll need a name for this one!” I think they name any storm front though. Even the not-very impressive ones. But they always come up with a name. And the longer the crazy weather continues here the more dramatic it becomes. Yesterday the report said something to the affect of: “You thought Thursday’s snow was bad? Just wait. It was nothing but a dress rehearsal for what is yet to come.” I’m not even kidding!

While the snow has cramped our social life a little bit, I’m not complaining too much. It’s so pretty, and we’ve been having lots of fun in it. Plus, Christmas break always means movies, board games and card games to me and snow definitely aids those plans. We went to our neighbors’ house for dinner and games last night. We had so much fun just eating, drinking and talking that we didn’t get to the games, so they came here for lunch and games today. I predict that should the weather continue in the next few days, The Great Game-Off of 2008 will be put into effect.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Seattle area currently resembles The Land Before Time – The Deep Freeze. And Cabin Fever is beginning to set in. Before a brief trip to the grocery store yesterday, the boys and I hadn’t left the house in four days. We’ve got The Cold. The nasty Cold. The Cold stays for a couple of weeks and hangs on plaguing you with new and interesting symptoms every few days…just so you don’t get bored of it. So, Monday morning, I’d decided we would stay home from preschool and take a sick day before even realizing that preschool was cancelled because of icy conditions. Then, Tuesday – same thing – preschool cancelled again because the school district was more than an hour late. And then again today. And then again probably tomorrow.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the snow. I love the Winter Wonderland. My little Christmas-obsessed heart goes pitter-patter with every mention of a possible flurry. But this has turned into an obsession. I continue to check the weather forecast on-line every few minutes as if that will change what’s actually happening – or not happening – right outside my window. And as I mentioned, we’re sick, so we need to stay home any way, and this inclement winter weather makes the decision much easier for us. But that doesn’t change the fact that Cabin Fever has begun to set in. And the longer we’re home the more obsessed with the weather I become. If we’re stuck inside, at least be pretty outside! I’m even checking the forecast on-line more frequently than!

Part of the issue with this The Cold-slash-Winter Wonderland scenario, is that this makes for a seriously anti-exercise combo. I haven’t gone for a run in a week and I haven’t been to the gym in five days. While we do have the Wii Fit and as it turns out, I’m a professional hula-hooper, it’s just not quite the same. So, what am I doing? Staying home, hibernating, and getting fatter. Feed a cold, starve a fever. ‘Tis the season. The Cold is feeding very well.

I’m pretty sure that the next time I do my Body Test on the Wii, it’s going to yell at me, “Hey Fat-Butt! What’s the deal? You been eating your weight in candy canes or something? Yeah, it’s winter, but you don’t ACTUALLY have to store up your fat reserves.”

And yes, with all this time at home, I could be productive – I could clean, get Christmas letters addressed, I could do the stuff I never do – like clean out the freezer and fridge, but no, with The Cold-slash-Winter Storm ’08 scenario, I’d so much rather sit, and be cozy, and check the forecast…and eat.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dude. Yesterday was rough. We had some sort of crazy clumsy and chaos curse take hold on our home. The morning, started with Matthew in tears – not feeling well. I was scheduled to teach classes at the boys’ school and obviously I couldn’t take a sick Matthew with me. So, we worked out that Mike would work at home and I would take Zach with me. (With both boys here the reality of actually accomplishing any work would be total blarney). With that change thrown into the day’s plans, I was running a little late and hurriedly slapping make-on my face in the bathroom.

Enter Zach carrying a velvet box. The velvet boxes are used every year for presents (or for the guise of presents and are simply pretty props under the tree). Zachary comes in announcing that this one has a gift inside for me. (This is a game played every day here – it’s either your birthday or Christmas and you get to open a present – usually some random toy wrapped in the throw blanket or a book that we’ve had for years hidden under a pillow. They don’t usually conform to the standard definition of gift, but of course, we play along and act surprised every time. My favorite ‘gift’ was Mr. Potato Head’s arm, part of a LEGO construction crane and a broken bead necklace – or “pirate’s treasure” in this house. I thought that gift was quite thorough and thoughtful. I’m sure just like the gold, frankincense and myrrh brought to baby Jesus, my triad of gifts held all sorts of promise and meaning).

Anyway, Zach takes off the velvet lid to reveal the Nutcracker snow globe that I successfully stole and brought home from last Thursday’s preschool Christmas party and gift exchange. Matthew had just been saying how we “needed” a snow globe. (‘Cuz it’s maybe the one Christmas chotchke that our Christmas-house lacks). And this particular snow globe was perfect as it was not only the Nutcracker (he loves the Nutcracker) but he was dressed in his toy soldier garb complete with drum (Matthew has a thing for toy soldiers and drums…). So, needless-to-say, Matthew was THRILLED when he woke up Friday morning and found the Nutcracker snow globe on his bedside table.

And we were all devastated when the snow globe present slipped from Zach’s grip and shattered all over the bathroom floor. Glass. Snow globe mystery fluid. Glitter. Nutcracker dude. Everywhere. The first thing out of Matthew’s mouth was, “Well, we’ll have to get another snow globe.” How quickly he’d moved on! Granted he didn’t have much of a chance to get attached, we only had it for four days. I pointed out that, if that’s how we treat our first snow globe, chances are slim that another would be blessing us with its presence any time soon. This is maybe also why we don’t have any pets currently.

The snow globe was the snow ball, so to speak, that set off the day’s nonstop clumsiness. When Zach and I arrived at preschool I made the choice-slash-mistake of letting him “help” me carry in my instruments. Thankfully, all I entrusted in his care was my box of jingle bells – those are fairly indestructible and it’s a good thing, as the moment we walked in the front door, he face-planted and dumped the entire box. It was more loud than mess at least.

Classes went great, but Zach and I were tired and ready to get home at the end of the day. I was famished and very ready for a late lunch. I don’t know if it was my eagerness or just plain lack of coordination (or the curse), but I pulled a small bowl of pomegranate seeds out of the fridge only to have them slip, tip and dump all over the floor. Pomegranatey mess everywhere.

Then, when I went to change Zach’s diaper, post-lunch, I discovered a complete and total mess of explodified diaper crystal innards. If you’ve ever had a diaper explode, you know what I’m talking about. It was enough of a mess that it required actually bathing the kid (we don’t do that much, you know, it’s a big hassle this whole cleaning-your-kid thing) and having to pull out the vacuum to collect the diaper crystal debris from the carpet.

Later in the afternoon, I was met with two unpleasant realities – Matthew: yelling “Come wipe my bum!” from the bathroom where he’s presented himself in “down dog” Yoga pose for my wiping ease and Zach: standing stealthily in the corner of the family room, soberly and lethally filling the entire downstairs with fumes and quietly stating, “I’m poopy.” Yeah, ya think?!

At this point, I’m seriously thinking about buying a haz-mat suit or wrapping myself in tarp.

Finally, after a day filled with the chaos of our clumsiness and the clumsiness of chaos, we sit down to dinner. Lasagna. I think that the curse has at last been lifted when I super-mom save Zach’s bowl of red pasta gooeyness from plummeting to the carpeted floor below. Seriously, I caught that thing AS it was pole-vaulting off the edge of the table! I’m so proud of myself it takes me a moment to recognize what’s happening across from me. Mike and Matthew are wearily studying his bowl of lasagna – now located on the floor, under the table. Of course it is. It was only fair – the universe had to shift just a smidge to make up for my super-mom moves and Matthew’s bowl, of its own accord, slid from the table in order to make for one last mess.

Oh, but then I ran the garbage disposal not knowing that a fork was in it. Then, the day was complete.

Friday, December 05, 2008

You know how everyone needs a little ego-boost every now and then? Well, I got one last night…granted it was from a four year old, but still. I’ll take what I can get.

Last night was the preschool board and staff holiday potluck. See, I was just officially hired on as the music teacher at the boys’ preschool. In exchange for Zach’s tuition, I’ll teach my classes there two days a month. Yep, our little Zach is in school now! And la-oving it! He’s by far the youngest in the “early 3’s” class. (The rest of the kids turn 3 by December 31st. He won’t until April 28th! But because Mrs. Mac had Matthew in her class last year, she knows us and she’s seen that Zach is ready, she made an exception for him). And he’s not only the youngest; he’s also the only boy. The class is six little girls…and Zach! It’s hilarious.

Anyway, this tuition-for-music-classes swap officially started this week. Zach will be in preschool every Thursday and Friday morning, and I’ll teach one Monday and one Thursday a month. While, we’ve just officially started I have taught a couple of times already. I volunteered my musical services to the teachers – once before Halloween and once before Thanksgiving so that we could do some of the fun holiday-themed music that I’ve done in my other classes.

Back to my ego boost ‘cuz that’s what this is really about. Ever since I did the couple of classes, one of the little girls, Elizabeth, in the other 4/5yr. old class always looks at me shyly and whispers to her mom, “That’s Ms. Jenny. She’s the one who sings and does music.” This isn’t out of the ordinary. I’m occasionally accosted at the grocery store or the park by a herd of admiring 2-5 year olds chanting, “Ms. Jenny. Ms. Jenny. Ms. Jenny.” OK, not really, but I would say that the majority of people who seem to REALLY like me (and that I bump into out in public) are under the age of 5 and know me as “Ms. Jenny” and somehow I’m magical because I shake shakers and dance with scarves.

So, Elizabeth’s mom Becky was at the preschool potluck last night. It was the first chance that I’ve had to actually meet and REALLY get to talk to some of the other moms. Becky, just like her daughter, kind of watched me shyly from across the room. She smiled when we made eye contact but didn’t make an attempt to come and chat…which was fine, I was talking to other ladies. Anyway, when I went over to get a plate (to fill up with all sorts of high-calorie and very-bad-for-you holiday appetizers and desserts), she approached me.

“Hi…!” I say (still not yet knowing her name so consciously avoiding it).

“Ms. Jenny,” she says, with a piercing gaze, “My daughter is obsessed with you. She talks about you all the time.”

“Oh, hahaha (weird giggle), that’s cute,” I say. “She’s been great in class.”

“No, you don’t get it. Like she’s OBSESSED with you. You are her…,” she searches for the right word, “You are her Miley Cyrus. Her Hannah Montana. If there were Ms. Jenny bed sheets and posters, she would TOTALLY have them. A Ms. Jenny t-shirt? She would wear it all the time.” (The flash thought crosses my mind, hmmmm, is there something to this? Should I consider coming out with a bedding line? Maybe an action figure?! You know you’ve really made it if you have an action figure).

She continues, “I couldn’t tell her that you would be here tonight or there’s no way she would’ve gone to bed. I’m sure she would have waited up to hear all about it. And the times that you’ve come to do music? She has talked about you non-stop for the rest of the day. And then, thanks to your song sheet we have all the words to all the songs you do. We’re singing them ALL the time.” (Hmmm, I don’t know if this last part is a good or bad thing).

“Well, then you better not tell her, I’m coming in next Friday to do music. She might not sleep for a week!” I semi-snort-joke.

Becky looks at me seriously, “You’re right. I won’t. It would be like Christmas Eve and waiting for Santa’s arrival…EVERY night.”

Another mom comes up and Becky fills her in on just how obsessed Elizabeth is with me. Yes, apparently Elizabeth is the president of the Ms. Jenny fan club. I tell the women, that I definitely don’t mind the obsessed fans. Oh no, I can handle it. We continue chatting and eventually move on to less Ms. Jenny-themed topics.

While Elizabeth is maybe a bit over the top and if she starts staking out my house, I will consider beefing up security; fame is just part of the game. And I must push through. Plus, I need all the ego-boosting I can get. All I have to do is sing a couple of words and people shout at me. Both Zach and Matthew, yell, “MOMMY! NO SINGING!...STOP SINGING! … only BOYS are allowed to sing!” I’m sure it’s kind of like the preacher’s kid being the one who rebels. Or the doctor’s kid getting so sick and tired of hearing about washing his hands, exercising and eating right that he’s just plain nasty. You get the idea. I’m the music teacher, therefore I get scolded and mocked for anything musical done in my home. It is the cross that I must bare. And since my own kids don’t think I rock, I’ll get my admiring fans elsewhere! Quite frankly, I may go out of my way to talk to little Elizabeth not to make her day, but to make mine!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you’re thankful for a whole lotta stuff. We had a mellow Thanksgiving Day. We actually had the full meal deal last Saturday. Tim, my big bro, came up for the weekend. My mom just had a pretty major surgery a couple of weeks ago, so Mike and I made all the food and brought it up to parents’ place.

Yeah, so Mom had surgery. They went through her abdomen to the backside and did some colon work. I won’t get into the details, but essentially they did some nip and tuck and tidying up and it was a major pain in the ass. Now, she’s home and on the long road to recovery. If you know me and are familiar with this Blog, then you’re aware, that I’m not necessarily dedicated to the keeping you abreast of important current events – just recounting the mostly fun anecdotal experiences of my life. So, my lack of reporting on the surgery in no way undermines the importance of this event. If anything, I was too busy thinking, worrying and trying to figure out how to help that I just didn’t get around to Blogging on it.

Mom had one really scary morning in the hospital. She woke up at 3 o’clock and found that she was lying in a pool of blood. The nurse(s) were good for nothing. They essentially cleaned her up, gave her nothing for the pain, no good explanation for the blood loss and didn’t show up again for another three hours. I’m sorry, but I thought the point of a hospital is to be cared for. Hmmmm. Then, around 6am, Mom was in dire need for something to help her pain. I think she gave up on the Nurse call-button since it hadn’t done much good before and she may have been a bit incoherent. She got out of bed and walked out into the hall with the intention of flagging down a nurse for help. When she stepped out, another patient walking by said something to the affect of, “Oh my gosh!” (Or something to announce major concern). Mom looked down and saw that she was standing in a puddle of blood. Quite a large puddle. That, finally, got the nurse’s attention and within moments, Mom was back in bed and surrounded by eight nurses looking like deers in headlights. Uh, yeah.

There was talk of the possibility of her needing a blood transfusion but thankfully was never needed. The doctor discovered that Mom had two fist-sized blood clots in her abdomen (a big bad side effect from the surgery). Surgery was scheduled for the next day to remove those, and in the meantime she was put on Valium for the pain.

Now, FINALLY, moving on to the fun stuff – Mom on Valium! There’s a good time! In the afternoon, she asked Dad for a cup of tea with sweetner in it. He prepared it as directed, but when he looked back a bit later, the packet of sweetner was floating in the tea. “What did you do?” He asked. Mom, in her delirium replied, “I wanted sweetner packet in it!” (She does have a point).

My personal favorite mom-on-major-pain-killers moment took place when she was saying goodbye to the boys. We’d brought them by to see her and they did a terrific job of cheering her up. Mom pulled the boys close and said, “Boys, do you have a night-night song for Grandma?” The boys looked at her like ‘uh, no.’ And then under her breath in an appropriately whimsical way she sang, “Puff the Magic Dragon…” Ahh, what an appropriate song for her (temporary) drugged situation.

Thankfully, the blood clot removal surgery went really well and Mom was able to head home the next day. She’s had a couple of really rough days at home but now, two weeks post-surgery, she was well enough to come hang out at our place for a very mellow Turkey Day. And since we’d done the whole feast last Saturday, today we kept it easy and had turkey soup! It was actually really nice to have the major cooking behind us already. We had a fun time and celebrated Thanksgiving just as the Pilgrims and Native Americans must have – with some rousing games on the Nintendo Wii!

The other morning, Matthew suddenly decided that he wanted his “hair gelled like Daddy’s.” (So, just the bangs spiked up a hair…yeah, sorry for the pun). He was thrilled with the results and declared that Zachary not only also needed gelling but required a mohawk. Zach didn’t resist, so we mohawked away. Zach’s hair is super fine and fluffy on top. As soon as I gelled it up it immediately began falling towards the front forming a big peak. Zach took one look in the mirror and in a monotone stated, “I look like a rhinoceros.” Though he sounded disappointed at first, he guarded that rhino-do for the rest of the day. When I put his hood up before leaving the gym (since we’d be walking into a November Seattley day – POURING rain), he immediately pushed his hood down and said, “NO! Mom! You’ll ruin my jello!”

Zach was so proud of his first "art" from preschool!

Fun with Uncle Timothy and Uncle Chris

Yes, nearly a month later, I'm FINALLY getting some Halloween pictures up!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Last Friday morning, arrived with yet another early Matthew wake-up call. I woke up to Matthew standing next to the bed, his face just a few inches from mine.

“Mom, mom,” he said in a stage-whisper. “Come with me, I have something to show you.” And with that he left the room.

I grunted and looked at the clock. OK, it was in fact “morning” despite it feeling and looking outside like it was the middle of the night. I groggily stumble down the hall. Matthew is in the living room, the dark living room as all lights are still off, and he’s crouched in the middle of the floor, leaning over something.

With much seriousness, he beckons me down to the floor as well. As soon as I sit down across from him, he dramatically sweeps both arms out in a Vanna Whitesque movement. He pauses for dramatic effect and then says, “My tooth. It came out.” That’s when I finally see it – this tiny little white thing just chillin’ on the living room carpet.

“Oh my gosh, Matthew! That’s so cool!” I admire his jack-o-lantern grin and then pick-up the tiny tooth. I asked him if he’d pulled it out and was informed that he was just wiggling it and it popped out…on to the floor…where it stayed until I came and picked it up. Matthew was afraid to touch it. Not me. Apparently loose teeth, while still in the mouth, give me the serious heeby-jeebies but once removed they cause no squeamishness at all.

So the Tooth Fairy found her way to the Martin household for the first time on Friday night. And holy majoly what with inflation and all, she brings a lot more than she did back in my day! A whole one dollar bill! (We informed Matthew that due to the unforeseen economic issues facing our country, she may need to cut back…it’s possible that she only brings a dollar for that special first tooth and then it’s down hill from that point on. Each tooth may only be worth $0.50 from here on out. We’ll be keeping tabs on the lost-tooth market to predict his future earnings.)

Matthew was elated when he found the dollar and he proceeded to carry it around all morning until I finally talked him into putting it into the only safe bank left in this country – the piggy bank, located in his room, on the shelf. As far as I know Piggy Bank has not been a major player in the bailout bill. Piggy Bank has been nothing but responsible. No Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 needed here, thank you very much.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Zach is our monkey. He is a lot more physical than Matthew. He climbs on the furniture. He dances and leaps and jumps. He doesn’t walk places, he usually runs. He pulls furniture down on himself. He is very prone to injury. However, he handles injury and pain like a champ. Case in point – I took the boys in for flu shots a couple of weeks ago. I had to hold Matthew down while he wriggled and writhed in utter trepidation pre-shot and then comforted him while he sobbed post-shot. Zach, I had to hold still long enough for the needle to poke him in the arm, he glared at the nurse and said, “Hey. Ow,” got his band-aid and ran away to play.

The other evening, whilst preparing for bed, Zach had asked for one last sip of water. I was trying to hand him his sippy-cup but as per usual, he was leaping and grooving so much that I missed the mark and he got sippy-cup-spouted in the eye. This one hurt badly enough that it did warrant a big cry. He sobbed and was actually unable to open his eye for a full two minutes. In the middle of his agony, he yelled, “My eyeball is broken. I can’t see! I have a broken eyeball!!”

* * *
We’ve continued taking swim lessons on Mondays and Wednesdays. We’ve been taking swim lessons for several months now. Somehow, by an act of God alone, neither boy has slipped and fallen in the slippery and fallery locker room…until last Monday. Zach felt not once, not twice – nay my friends – he fell thrice to the floor. AND THEN for a grand finale he somehow walk/projected himself into the open door of a locker and is now sporting a nice black bruise on his cheek.

* * *
Matthew has a super-mondo wiggly loose tooth! That sucker’s gonna be outta there any day now. It’s one of the bottom, front two, and he already has the new ones coming in behind them, so unfortunately, his jack-o-lantern smile won’t last for long. Now, I consider myself not too squeamish. I mean, I don’t enjoy blood, I don’t seek out vomit and I’m not a huge fan of poo, but for the most part I’m down with the gory aspects of motherhood. Hmm, yeah, turns out I’m not too digging on the loose tooth thing. When Matthew pulls his tooth all the way down to his bottom lip so that you can see the tooth clinging to two last roots for dear life…I get all heeby-jeeby about it. It makes me shudder and say “blehblyeahbleueya.” (You must say it quickly and in one fell swoop while shuddering to get the full effect).

* * *
Zach has been a total snot about sleeping lately. I don’t know what his damage is…I think, unfortunately, he may just be waking up in the middle of the night and he just lies there…Awake…Bored. This means two things: A.) He decides to spend his awakedness yelling and crying for me to come and hang out in his room, to cuddle, to sit the chair, to ANYTHING OR he repeatedly leaves the comfort of his bed and tries climbing over me into our bed so that we have to spend HOURS doing the same melancholy and utterly fatigued, frustrated march back to his room…we’ve worn down a path in the rug. AND B.) This also means that it’s probably time for him to give up his afternoon naps. This fills me with so much distress and grief that I can’t even begin to elucidate my feelings on the matter.

So, last night was one of those torturous nights of parenting where you’ve been kept up and harassed by an offspring for two hours straight in the middle, wee hours of the night and you really wonder why you ever decided to breed in the first place. Thus, this morning, we were quite tired and had slept a little later than usual for a weekday morning. I woke up to Matthew standing next to the bed. He looked down into my sleep-crustified state and grinned. He said, “Mom, are you as fine as a hotdog in a bun?”

I thought this statement quite funny and shared it with my mom later today. Not only did she find it amusing but she ‘got it.’ I didn’t know there was something to ‘get’.

“Oh,” she said, “How cute. That was his way of saying ‘snug as a bug in a rug’.”

“Huh?” I’d never thought to analyze his statement.

“Of course, that’s what he meant,” Grandmother-oh-wise-one continues, “He was speaking in a metaphor.”

Well, whatever. Metaphorically speaking, the kid’s a freakin’ genius.

* * *

If my mommy/music-teaching/writing career(s) go(es) down the crapper, I have a back-up plan. I’m going to be a special specialist for special weather reports in the Seattle area. Today, Mike and I took my mom out to lunch. As we threw ourselves into the car to get out of the pouring rain, I summed up the weather: “Brr slash ick.” Yeah, that’s what I said. I think it really did the weather justice. I could really go somewhere with that…just where to exactly, I don’t know, but somewhere they’re in need of my weather commentary.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Election Day! I try to keep this BLOG confrontational and debatable-free, so I won’t be talking politics at all. I’ll be talking more important stuff – Halloween in the Martin Household.

First of all, Zach and I went to the gym (actually on Halloween Eve). I took him into the Kids’ Club bathroom to use the potty before we left to pick Matthew up from preschool. Zach was amazed by the pint-sized, him-sized toilet. I said, “Look, Zach, it’s a potty just for you.” He started making comments about how it wasn’t his potty, but then he paused and said (yes, randomly yet ever-so impressively), “Actually, Mom, it’s attached to the wall.” Why, yes, why yes it is. He’s 2 ½!! What 2 ½ year old says, “actually” and “attached”?! I’ll tell you which one – Zachary the Wonder Genius (who is not stunted by his intellect and is still very socially-adept, well-adjusted and funny to boot…just to be clear).

Moving on to Halloween (and I will post pictures soon). We were preparing to head out for trick-or-treating with our wee Army Man Matthew and Pirate Zachary, when the first group of trick-or-treaters rang our doorbell. I said, “Matthew, open the door!” But he was suddenly freaked out by the whole process. So, I open the door just a bit and immediately block the view behind me. Three gory,oozy-goozy, blood-dripping masked preteens were in the process of raiding our candy bowl. (So why they bothered ringing the bell is beyond me). I looked at them in disgust and hissed, “Thank goodness my five year old hadn’t opened the door. You would have scarred him for life…Happy Halloween.” And I shut the door. Shortly after that another group of gories arrived. Thankfully, Matthew hadn’t actually seen either of these groups, but we did prep and remind him that we might see some scary costumes but to just remember they were all pretend. That was all it took. He plastered his body in the door frame and refused to budge, way too terrified to leave the house.

We did manage to talk him into it, promising that if we saw anything scary coming our way, he could just bury his head in Mike’s side. He did brave up over time, even asking an older gentleman, what his name was (Hal), and then informing his new best friend (Hal), that he was no longer afraid and being exceptionally brave.

When I was prepping Zach on trick-or-treating before we even left the house, I said, “OK, and what do you say when they open the door?” Zach hung his head in well-practiced shame and sheepishly said, “Sorry.” Hmm, I guess that’s what I’m usually telling him to say. He did embrace the actual appropriate, rehearsed line and would say, “Trick-or-treat. Trick-or-treat. Trick-or-treat.” UNTIL they actually opened the door, at which point he would freeze and just stare blankly at them and their bowl of candy.

With Halloween behind us, we had a big day November 1st, Mike and I had a reunion with friends from college on the UW Campus. Then, we came home; I was here for about an hour before my hot date (Larissa) picked me up for the Opera. We saw Strauss’ Elektra – not my fave but it was still super fun to get out to an opera. I don’t remember the last time I went to one. After the opera, we went to Fado, an Irish -Pub in downtown Seattle where we met up with our other party-dancy girl, Rebecca. We had a great time being the life of the party. There was a live band and a small dance floor, which I’m happy to say we stankin’ TORE UP.

Sunday, was a quiet day – church, grocery store, and then home. It started pouring and then hailing so it was definitely an inside, in cozies kind of a day. Because of the time change, we decided to have Zach skip his nap (and because it was going to be a late one and that would’ve really messed things up). So, we decided that we’d have a “floor picnic” downstairs and watch a movie. I suggested that I’d walk over to Curt & Linda’s (neighbors) to borrow some videos from their extensive collection. Mike said, “Ooh! See if they have Beauty and the Beast.” “Uh, you have a hankering for a Disney Princess movie, do ya, honey?” Anyway, I did like the suggestion, so I borrowed that and a few others. (And considering that they have two girls, they certainly had a wide variety of princess-themed movies to choose from).

When Matthew found out what we were watching, he groaned and said, “We can’t watch that! It’s a GIRL movie!” (He’s never seen Beauty and the Beast, by the way). I told him that if he was too boyly (uh, manly) to handle a girl movie, then he could just eat his dinner and then play while WE watched the girl movie. Yeah right.

He spent half of the movie hiding behind the couch (in all the mildly scary parts – like when the Beast is being quite nasty and beastish) and the other half laughing his butt off ‘cuz he thought it was hilarious (particularly chuckling at Gaston’s foolish, slap-sticky ways and those silly dancing and singing kitchen cutleries). When the movie was wrapping up and we’re lead to believe that Gaston has, indeed, finished off the Beast, I looked over and saw Matthew surreptitiously wiping tears before they could actually escape his watery eyeballs. (I think Mike may have just had something in his eye at that time as well). Anyway, when the Beast starts to change back into his manly, dreamy-prince state [I hope I’m not ruining the ending for anyone….sorry, did you think that the Beast was just going to kick it at the end? And Beauty would attend his funeral for the Disney cartoon finale?] Matthew glanced at me and asked nervously, “What’s happening?!”

When the movie was over, I asked him, “So, what was your favorite part?” Matthew sighed and said, “The ending – that they were happy.” “Yeah,” I said, “That’s nice, huh? They lived happily ever after. Did it make you sad when you thought the Beast was dying?” Matthew looked at me, slowly nodded and then burst into tears. Ahhh, my sweet, tender-hearted sensitive boy(s)!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I know, I know. My blogging negligence – my blogligence, if you will – has been totally out of hand, inappropriate, and quite frankly, offensive. I apologize. I have no real good excuse either. Busy, busy, but not really any busier than usual. I think I was just in the market for a bit of a writing vacation.

I can’t believe that October has come and nearly gone. It doesn’t seem just that time passes by so quickly. As soon as I feel mentally prepared to finally start the fall/Halloween season, it’s nearly over!

One biggish thing that’s occurred in the last couple of weeks is that Mike has been accused of a crime that he’s not guilty of committing. (Actually he’s not guilty of committing any crimes…as far as I know). We received a notice about it in the mail a while ago and proceeded to ignore it. We assumed that it was an identity confusion issue. See, Mike’s been getting calls from collection agencies claiming that he owes about $1800 on unpaid rent from one of the apartments in “downtown” Newcastle – an apartment we’ve never even set foot in. We call the collection agency people back and tell them it’s not us, you have the wrong Michael Martin, etc. but it doesn’t seem to help. (We have checked all of our credit info, etc. and do know that it’s not identity theft – just identity confusion).

So, we ignored this first notice in the mail but then got another one of those “call us back phone messages.” I call back and find out that Mike is being accused of being guilty of committing a hit and run/rear-ending incident and that he owes money, there was even a police report filed against him. They had our phone number, address, vehicle type and license plate tag.

Collection Dude asks, “Is this you?” I tell the dude, “Um, yes, that’s all of our information, but it’s not us. Neither one of us has ever rear ended anyone or hit and run…from anyone.” He SO obviously did not believe me. So Collection Dude says, “Well, this woman has even filed a police report with the Tacoma Police.” I ask Dude, “How do we prove that we didn’t do this? And when and where did this supposed accident take place?” Dude looks up info and says, “On January 24th, 2008, your husband hit a white Lexus at the Radiation Center in Tacoma, Washington.”

After telling him again, that it’s not us, we’ve never even been to “Radiation Center,” and that Mike rarely even drives our CRV, I look up the date – January 24th, 2008 on my calendar. Now, it wouldn’t be rare for there not to be anything written on our calendar. We do, believe it or not, have days where we don’t do anything worthy of writing on the calendar; however, thankfully, we DID do something that day. I can PROVE that Mike is innocent! On our calendar it says, “Play at Amy’s.” We had a play date that day, in Seattle. AND to make things even better, a few days after that play date, I wrote a blog on what went down that day right afterward our play date. When I told a couple people what I was actually doing that day, they didn’t think that my BLOG would really support our innocence…or at least my sanity. So, should we need to stand trial, my BLOG could act as evidence, but if that’s no good, I’m in the market for some character witnesses. Anyone interested?

Here it is, a description of what I did on January 24th, 2008:

January 29th, 2008

Apparently I was gaining too much of a healthy self-confidence, maybe even an ego. So, God planted this little moment just to remind me what a nerd I really am.

Last week, I met the sister-in-law of a really good friend. I won’t go into details as it’s a long and confusing story of how I connected with this woman. Anyway, I had just gotten the boys strapped into their car seats and I thought, I should go introduce myself. So, I went up to her and explained who I was and that Mike and I are good friends with Kate and Kevin.

“Oh!” she says. “From that thing?”

“Engaged Encounter! Yep.” I supply the “thing” that she is looking for.

“They’ve met some really cool people through that,” she informs me.

Then somehow my brain quits functioning and I get stuck. All I can do is grin from ear-to-ear and say, “Yep, we’re really cool peeps.”

She laughs and kind of jokingly mocks what I say, “You’re like yeah! That’s us!”

And then for some unknown reason all I can do is repeat the exact same mind-blowing line again, “Yep, we’re REALLY cool peeps.”

We say our awkward goodbyes after a terribly awkward conversation, and I get in my car. I drive up the narrow street, turn around in the intersection and head back down in order to depart the neighborhood. She’s still standing outside, so we wave (Oh wow. There go the really cool peeps again! She must be thinking). I feel like she looked at me kind of strangely as we drive by but think nothing of it because I am SO cool. Two seconds later I hear a weird sound on my car – coming from the roof. A moment later, my travel coffee mug goes rolling down the windshield, down the street and rests underneath a parked car. This is why you don’t put things on top of the car. (For the record, I don’t usually do this, but my hands were so full I didn’t have a choice).

I park my car in the middle of the road, hop out and get down on my hands and knees in search of Travel Mug. I can’t seem to find it anywhere and decide that lying on the ground in the road with my children sitting in the car in the middle of the street is probably not the best plan. So, much to Matthew’s distress, I decide to forego the coffee mug search and continue home.

At the first stop light, I decide – for whatever reason – to get a piece of gum. Before chewing it, however, I’m going to be really cool for the cars around me and check myself out in the visor mirror. Right. Two BIG BLACK poppyseeds stuck on either side of my top row of teeth. Of course I have big black objects in my teeth. As if I wasn’t making a great first impression all ready! Now I know that my “We’re really cool peeps” comment was thoroughly supported by my appearance…followed by the coffee mug rolling down my car. Reality check: we’re not cool peeps. We’re not even really cool. And I really shouldn’t be saying peeps.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

[Adventure in Atanta…and then Wichita continued]. We eventually get to our hotel in Atlanta…in the hood. Maybe it was the three inches of protective glass for the cashier at the mini-mart (where we bought contact solution for Mike) or just the general mood, but the neighborhood just didn’t feel like the safest of places. We walked to a McDonald’s for dinner where we did get to catch the end of the VP debate. (Who knew that a McD’s in the hood would have such a nice flat screen mounted in the corner…and that it would be tuned into CNN?! Excellent!). After our excellent dining experience, we headed back to our hotel, where a dude approached us and said to Mike, “Hey man, do you know where I can find the liquor store?”

Knowing that we’d be up at the Seattle equivalent of 3am, we hit the hay early. I woke up at Atlanta 2am to Mike asking me what I was doing. Hmmm. I was in the hotel room bathroom attempting to make coffee…at 2am…we didn’t need to be up until 6am. I was just so very confused!! At any rate, we successfully managed to get ourselves up at 6 (our 3), caught our shuttle back to the airport, used our $14 food vouchers to buy gourmet croissanwiches at Burger King – ooh la la!, and then finally, finally got our plane to Wichita.

Once we had, at long last, arrived at the Hyatt in Wichita, we were tired and stinky and SO ready to party with our EE pEEps at the Convention. We had an amazing time – as always – with this group of people. The Convention was fantastic but made even more so by the quality time we got to spend with our friends there.

Saturday night at the EE Conventions is the time you get to let your hair down and party. After a day full of (very worthwhile) keynote speakers and workshops, everyone is ready for some fun. Thus, enters my new, ginormous laptop bag; now, known to many as the booze bag. A few people decided that spending $9-11/glass of wine just wasn’t going to cut it, so they had made the trek to a liquor store stocking up on behalf of the greater good. The question then became how we would smuggle these bottles of wine down to the Convention banquet. I casually mentioned that I had a quite-good-sized laptop bag. It was as if she had been created for the soul purpose of carrying contraband liquor. With three different zippered sections New Bag easily fit quite a few, good-sized bottles within her good-sized compartments.

Everything went splendidly until we’d left one of our bottles sitting on the table during dinner. It happened to be right in front of Mike who happened to be the one person at our table not partaking in the wine. Hotel Guy comes up and says, “Excuse me, sir. You can’t have that wine here.” Mike just sits there for a second and then says, “Oh, well, it’s not mine.” Great. He throws us under the bus! Then everyone is looking at me, so I say, “Oh! Do you need us to take it back up to our room?” (I’m thinking if I’m super nice, I won’t get in too much trouble). Hotel Guy says, “That’d be great, but you know, we can just put it over on the bar for now.” Um, OK. Bob, at our table wonders if we can go help ourselves to our wine then. Yeah, doubtful.

So, instead Bob starts a bootlegged, contraband liquor business under the table, out of my pretty New Bag. All sorts of jokes were made about the filled glasses of wine that emerged from, essentially, between his legs. You can imagine – things like: the fruit of his loins, etc. While I did enjoy the fruits of his labor, all I could say was, “You guys better not get me busted! I was never even sent to the principal’s office!”

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I am SO glad that I went with the bigger bag. After all of the laptop bag drama, I finally caved and bought a freakishly large bag for Kara. Looks, it’s not her fault that she’s the laptop equivalent of being bigger-boned. So, my new laptop bag, while beautiful in its’ own way, looks a wee bit like a black diaper bag on steroids and also a little like Mary Poppin’s carpet bag.

The bag was perfect for a carry-on for our trip to Wichita, KS last weekend. Yes, I can say, “we went to Kansas for the weekend.” It’s not often you get to say that. AND I can also say, we went to Wichita, Kansas via Atlanta, Georgia. Look, I’m pretty up on the geography, but when you really look at it on the map, it’s crazy talk. We had to fly to the Midwest via the East Coast. SO stupid. But this was what Delta dictated we do.

We arrived in Atlanta on Thursday night with only about 45 minutes to make our connecting flight back to Kansas. (Why they didn’t just open the door and let us parachute out above the Midwest is beyond me). Turns out that Atlanta has the title of being the Busiest Airport IN THE World. It’s true. Who knew?! So, we arrive with a smallish window to make our connection, but we arrived right on time. BUT THEN, they make our big jet drive around to THREE different gates because of a traffic jam before they finally allow us to disembark. Then, Mike and I have to take the train-dealy to the opposite end of the airport. We RUN through the airport (my big laptop bag and Pretty Purse whacking me on the leg with every step), and arrive at our gate, shove our tickets at the Gate Guy. He calmly puts them into the computer and calmly says, “Oh that flight left two minutes ago.” Then Gate Guy calmly tells us to go to Gate Blah-Blah-Blah to find out about another flight to Wichita, KS. We go to Gate Blah-Blah-Blah where Gate Girl calmly tells us that that was actually the last flight of the night to Wichita, KS and we get to go stay in a hotel, get $14 in the morning for breakfast and will be up at the Seattle equivalent of 3am to catch our new flight to Wichita, KS. Ever so calmly. [To be continued...]

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I look forward to the day when green, ooey-gooey slime is not constantly cascading out of Bret’s nose. Bret is one of my music class students. He is three-years-old. Today was the fourth class – that’s FOUR weeks where every time I see the child I wish I was wearing a haz-mat suit…or at least a gas mask. How a child can even have that much body fluid-mucous to leak is beyond me. When will he ever run dry?

Bret adds a lot to class (not just snot and not necessarily all good). He’s the kid who, once he knows every word, (or even if he doesn’t), sings every single song as loudly and as monotonely as possible. He’s also the one that at least twice a class I have to tell, “OK, Bret, move away from ___ because obviously you can’t sit next to ___ without constantly caressing/slash/fondling/slahs/harassing ___.” Ahh, Bret. He’s one of those. [And, no worries, I don't have a visual aid for this one either].

Then, in my second class, there’s Raven (a girl…named after a bird). She’s got the attitude of a “tween” and knows how to use it. Last week, the little lady just could not keep her shoes and socks on. If I asked her to pick them up (as they were in the middle of the path for our marching in a circle), she gave me an unbelievable amount of ‘tude. I’m surprised it wasn’t accompanied with a snap, zig-zag head and “No, you di’nt.”

Also in my second class are: Daria, Anastasia, Ayla, Amana, Ella, Ela, and Sophia. I’m not kidding. Try keeping those straight. Ayla and Amana are sisters. Ayla just had her birthday last week and turned five. Amana is 4 but much taller than her older sister. When I pointed that out to them (as I was trying to get them straight – “OK, so Ayla, you’re older, but Amana, you’re taller”), they looked at me ever so seriously.

Ayla (the heightedly-challenged, elder sister) said, “Yes, Amana is taller because she eats chicken.”

To which Amana added, “Yes, Ayla doesn’t like chicken. That’s why she’s shorter than me.”
Right. I can see clearly that the parents want both daughters to eat their poultry. And these girls really have the equation down: Eat Chicken = Be Tall. (No wonder I find myself having more of it lately).

Finally, there’s Sam. Sam has a special place in my heart. Sam happens to be the son of Kari who happens to be a music teacher and is the daughter of Susan who is a teacher at the school where I am now teaching. (Did you follow that?) All sorts of broo-ha-ha and drama went down because I ‘swooped in’ and got the job that Susan felt was meant for Kari. I won’t get into it…but needless-to-say, I went into my first class knowing that there was a teacher there who was furious with my presence and would be watching and analyzing my every move. I was the woman that stole her daughter’s job. But then, the plot thickened, when I saw that Kari had not only signed her son, Sam, up for my class, but for both sessions – a full twelve weeks of Little Ditties Music Academy tutelage. This woman can’t be that mad about my presence if she’s paying me $120 to teach music to her son.

Anyway, back to Sam. Poor, sweet Sam. Sam has the most horrifyingly cruel bowl – should have been outlawed in the ‘80’s – hair cut that I have ever seen. It’s as if they cut it with a rusty machete…while drunk. Sam makes up for his rough ‘do’ in his sweetness. Unlike the other 4-5 year old boys, he doesn’t suddenly start whacking himself on the head in the middle of class and thinking it’s the funniest thing in the whole wide world. (Matthew would fit in perfectly with these boys. Ahhh, slapstick, body humor – nothing else makes a 5 year old boy laugh quite like it).

After class, last week, I was alarmed to see that Sam was the only child still on the rug (all others had left with parental units) AND that he was crying. I was about to approach him when Ms. Susan (his grandma) and Kari (his music teaching Mama) come flying out of no where. (Great, I thought, it looks like I’m just sitting over here picking my nose while her son/grandson sobs his little heart out).

Ms. Susan came over to me after comforting Sam and leaving the rest of the comforting to Kari. She smiled and said, “Sam’s very upset that class is over.”

Sweet Perfection. I rule. Rave reviews. There is no compliment greater than a kid breaking down after class because he’s devastated it’s over. I love it when I make kids cry…in a good way.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Last Saturday, we had a long (and great) Engaged Encounter meeting. The event took all day, so we were all pretty wiped at bed time. Mike and I, with all sorts of positive thought, looked forward to getting to sleep in on Sunday morning.
At 6:45, I awoke to the most unpleasant wake-up call there is: “MOMMMM!” Matthew called, “You can come wipe my bum now I’m done going poo.” I rolled over and groaned. Just what everyone wants to hear first thing in the morning. “MOMMMMMMMMMMMMM! Come wipe my bum now!!!! I’m done pooping!”
OK, who poops at 6:45 in the morning?!....when they haven’t even had coffee yet?!!

(be glad I DON'T have a visual aid/picture to accompany this entry).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I’m so very sorry to make you wait. I know you’ve all been anticipating with bated breath the conclusion of Cute Bag Saga ’08. Well, at long last, you can release your breath because here ‘tis:

After checking on the progress of my bag for days on end and multiple times a day, I finally rejoiced when, on Monday, the UPS package tracker announced unto the world that Cute Bag was “In Transit.” Oh rejoice! To make my agony all the more painful, there were not one but two solicitors that chose to harass the Martin household (despite the “No Solicitors” sign that is basically built into the door – not our doing, it came with the house and I thought it quite rude and standoffish but it doesn’t seem to be an issue as they completely disregard it’s unfriendly message and try to sell magazines or Mormonism to me anyway). Alas, every time the doorbell rang, I flew down the stairs, flung open the door, hoping to find the UPS person that survived the ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS, and with arms spread in greeting for Cute Bag, quickly realized (in utter disappointment) that it was just some Solicitor. Finally, at long last, I heard a quiet knock on the door and the low rumble of none other than the UPS truck high-tailing it out of here. Poor UPS man was probably like, “Good riddance! I’m so glad to finally have that damn, EMERGENCY CONDITIONS-causing bag out of my hands!”

After a brief tug-of-war with Matthew, who insisted it was his package, a present for him, and therefore, I was not to touch it, I managed to pry the box from his sweaty little hands. (Don’t actually know if his hands were sweaty but the box did come fairly easily as if sliding through a slippery slope. I’m all about the clichés tonight, can you tell? Can ya dig it?).

I opened the box and with bated breath (there’s that darn breath being bated again!), I pulled Cute Bag from her protective wrappings. She seemed unscathed despite her turbulent arrival into my life. I examined her thoroughly on the outside, reveling in the silver claspy-things that made her all the more attractive. And then I unzipped the main compartment only to discover that – well, well! Cute Bag, you’ve outdone yourself this time. Hiding behind her sophisticated, yet fun exterior of dark pin-stripe there lurked a naughty little secret. The inside lining was this wild, funky, I’m all business on the outside, party on the inside bright pink paisley pattern. Forget Cute Bag. No, she’s Dream Bag.

I carried Dream Bag over to the dining room table where, unfortunately, my laptop is pretty much in permanent residence. (I’m still waiting for Mike to build that addition off the back of the house that includes a sun room and my writer’s studio. I’m also waiting for an additional roof downspout-gutter situation to happen too. I wonder which will happen first).
I put Dream Bag down, lift Kara (laptop) up and begin to place her into the loving folds of her new (fun, stylish and funky) home. She doesn’t fit. It doesn’t fit. My laptop freakin’ doesn’t fit. What kind of cruel, inhumane, unjust world is this that my laptop – a standard size, not super large laptop – does not fit into Dream laptop Bag?! I’ll tell you what kind of world. This is the kind of world that makes gorgeous total-tease laptop bags with way-too-small-not-big-enough-for-the-world’s-smallest-laptop-bag sized openings. I tried. And I tried. I pushed. I grunted. I broke out into a sweat. Well, maybe to get it through the opening, I have to put it in the long way. Yes, OK, that works. Stay calm. Breathe. Now, once Kara has made contact with the bottom of Dream Bag, I just turn her…just turn…turn…IT WON’T FIT!!! What kind of piece-a--- bag is this?!!!!

I’m devastated. I’m heart-broken. But more than anything I feel betrayed. My hopes were so high for this bag. I really felt like we had something. This was a laptop-bag-and-laptop-bag-user-relationship made in heaven. Wrong. Totally, totally wrong.
I’ve already requested my return label. Now, I just have to take MY time to print the label, package Dream Bag back into her cozy (back-stabbing) packaging and MAIL her back to the people who find it funny to create gorgeous laptop bags that don’t fit laptops. That’s hilarious. Oh, haha, I might wet myself with the glee of it all.
And so, the hunt for the REAL Dream Laptop Bag begins anew…

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I ordered a new, super-cute laptop bag as part of my I’m-going-to-treat-myself-since-I-landed-this-great-music-class-gig-AND-I-need-a-way-cuter-one-as-Mike’s-freebie-from-some-Nerd-Convention-just-will-not-do-no,no,no-as-I-continue-on-my-quest-to-becoming-a-real(and much cuter)-grown-up-writer…Mission (that’s the name of the Mission…that whole long part and then Mission. Got it?). So, I’ve been eagerly awaiting my new bag. Hmm, would you like to see a picture of it? Let’s see if I’m savvy enough to provide visual aid.

Anyway, I’m so excited about the arrival of Cute Bag that I’ve been eagerly watching the “Tracking Info” provided by UPS. Cute Bag was moving along swimmingly across the great USofA and it was due to arrive this afternoon. So, I click on the status this morning and it tells me in loud all-caps anger: LOCATION: SEATTLE, WA [woohoo! It’s in the same state and only a 15 minute drive away!]. TIME: 1:00AM [how nice of them to work through the night so I can be united with Cute Bag]. STATUS: EMERGENCY CONDITIONS BEYOND UPS’ CONTROL. [WHAT?! Has a terrorist taken hold of Cute Bag?! What kind of emergency? Help! Help! Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! ]. TIME: 2:00AM. STATUS: ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS. [and again…] TIME: 2:00AM. STATUS: ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS.

Is there some sort of freak weather system hanging over Seattle UPS headquarters?! Because as far as I know UPS is pretty down with the lame weather travel and we’ve had nothing but sun and last chance summer here for the last week. OK, a few clouds rolled in yesterday morning so that it only reached the upper 70’s as opposed to 80’s. But is that really “ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS?” And must you yell it at me like I’m in big, big trouble?

There is this thing about Seattle, I’ve noticed. We are a slow people when it comes to adjusting to a new weather system. When the first day of summer dawns hot and clear, all of us pasty-peeps come creeping out of our homes, shielding our eyes against the bright glare of that mysterious glowing orb in the sky. Then, when it rains – even though we’re Seattleites and rain is no weird thing – we still have a hard time driving in it for a while. Don’t even get me started on snow. Seattleites have NO good working relationship with snow. With rain, we have an awkward relationship with this returning, but very common, aspect of our life. It’s like a coworker that you don’t like and you got so used to them being on vacation and you were like WOOHOO! Party! Rain is out of town for two weeks! But then Rain walks back into the office and you’re like, oh, you, Rain. You’re back, eh? And you half-pretend to be nice(ish) but then you totally talk badly about Rain with the other employees at the water cooler.

Hmmm, where was I going with this? Right. UPS.

So, what the heck? If Cute Bag is in some sort of danger I feel like I should saddle my horse and ride into the sunset…er, sunrise to save her. (It’s totally a girl). And I can do things like saddle a horse and come to someone’s (or in this case, some bag’s) rescue BECAUSE I’m like a pioneer with all my vegetable-growing action on the Martin plantation/homestead this summer. I should totally have a horse. I need to rock the horse thing. And, really, I was made to wear a cowboy hat. I look amazing in them. Maybe I need to work the cowboy thing, and storm UPS all cowboy(ish) with my six shooters (I don’t know what those are, I think they’re guns), and be all saddles blazing (don’t really know what that means either), and be all, “Give me Cute Bag or else…partner.” But they may think I’m just another disgruntled postal worker and not take my threat seriously…or maybe I should just pray that the ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS plaguing UPS in Seattle, WA clear up so that Cute Bag and I can be reunited at long last. Stay tuned in the case of missing Cute Bag Saga ‘08…

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Every once in a while, we are those people. Yesterday morning, we were those people. The boys and I walked down with Andrea and her daughters (the most mellow little children EVER) to the new chocolate/espresso place. It’s a magical place full of the smells of…what else? Chocolate and coffee. It could very possibly become my favorite place in the world which is why I don’t go there often. I was buying treats for Andrea (and her girls) to thank her for taking care of our lawn and mail the couple of weeks we were gone in August. So anyway, we get our goodies and head outside to sit in the sun to consume our first-thing-in-the-morning sugar overload.

Matthew was being…a boy. When we are with The Most Mellow Girls in the World, my boys’ boyishness stands out more than ever. Now, we have good boys. Really good boys. Some would even say that our boys could be considered fairly mellow (some of the time, anyway). But put our boys next to The Most Mellow Girls in the World, and they are little crazy rascal-people. When the boys do something ‘boyish’ The Most Mellow Girls in the World look at me like these little mature mini-adults wondering, ‘Um, what is wrong with your children?!’ I feel like I have to be on my best behavior with The Most Mellow Girls in the World.

The boys had finished their chocolatey goodness and were a chocolatey sticky, gooey mess. I was a slacker mom and had opted for a cute purse instead of my mom purse. Thus, I was unprepared – no diapers, no wipes, no face/hand wet ones-wipes. I attempted to clean their faces with the sandpaper napkins provided by the Chocolate Palace (that’s not the actual name, but a good one, me thinks). All the napkins did was get stuck to their faces and leave little bits of sandpaper residue on the perma-stick caking their faces. I gave up on getting my children clean. We weren’t far from home (it’s right down the big hill) and wouldn’t be out for too long.
So, we’re outside, and Matthew is ripping all over the place and being a little over-the-top wild and kinda obnoxious, not listening to a lick of what I’m saying. (Hmm, can you say “sugar first thing in the morning” anyone?!) Zachary is Matthew’s little – more wild and creative – shadow. He takes whatever Matthew does and puts his own goofy-clown spin on it. I had just finished saying, “Matthew, come back up here, you’re too close to the parking lot and too far away.” Zach was acting like a nut and goofing off while watching Andrea’s reaction. All of a sudden, Andrea – nearly as mellow as her Most Mellow Girls in the World – starts yelling, “Zach! Stop. Zach! Look out!” Yeah, Zach didn’t stop. Zach didn’t look out. And he took a major nose-dive for the pavement. Um, there was a curb there. He face plants, pops back up and says, “I’m OK. I’m OK.” And carries on his way. I shake my head in wonder. If that had been our sensitive Matthew, he would’ve cried the whole way home. (I would have too, for the record).

Half a minute later, the delayed reaction sets in. Zach’s lip starts to tremble and in a shaky voice with eyes starting to well up, he says, “Mommy….Mom-my…” I run over to him and pick him up, murmuring mommy things, “It’s OK, Baby.” I start to examine the damage – some pretty impressively scraped up knees. Zach’s cries turn angrier and he yells, “No, Mommy! I’M POOPY!!!!!!” The Most Mellow Girls in the World giggle awkwardly. How inappropriate! Matthew comes running over and says, “I have to poo too!” Seriously? Seriously. What’s with the badly timed bowel movements?! How dare they!

“Look, Zach, I don’t have a diaper or wipes, so we just need to get home. Matthew, can you hold it? You’re going to hold it. Let’s just get home. For the love of Pete, let’s just get home!” Poor Zach is arching his back and kicking and screaming about being forced into the stroller to sit in his poopy mess, but we’ve got a MAJOR big hill to walk up and I just can’t do it (in a fairly rushed manner) with two walking kids (who complain the whole way), a big stroller and hot coffee. (Save the coffee!)

We start the trek up Mount Newcastlest. I mumble something to Andrea and The Most Mellow Girls in the World about how you can’t take us anywhere. We’re a total train wreck. Andrea looks back at us. What a sight. I’m sloshing coffee everywhere, there’s probably poo every and…Andrea says, “So, is that chocolate on Zach’s face or a big booger?” Yeah. We are those people. “Um, let’s pretend it’s caramel,” I say. “As long as you don’t eat it,” Andrea replies. “Yeah, I’m not actually a fan of this kind of caramel,” I say as I scrape the biggest booger known to mankind off of Zach’s sticky cheeks (leaving more chunks of sandpaper napkin behind). This booger could be written up in the Guiness Book of World Records.

As I summit the hill with my poopy, sticky, boogery children we come upon the John Deere digger that’s been doing work at the end of our street. This, of course, has provided my very pro-John Deere offspring with all sorts of glee. One of the “worker men” (as Matthew still prefers to call them), says to my kids, “Hey guys, we could use an extra hand here. Grab a hard hat.” Matthew stops dead in his tracks; all thoughts of the call of nature vanish. It’s his dream finally come to fruition. “Cool,” I say. “Matthew, come home for your lunch break.” I keep walking. “Wait, Mom!” Matthew says, “I have to POO!” Yes, we are those people. I know the worker men enjoyed us at least even if The Most Mellow Girls in the World didn’t.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It’s true. I’ve been a blogger for over 2 ½ years (thanks to my hospital bed rest stay with Zach), I’m married to a computer/techie/nerdy guy, I spend way too much time puttsing around on the internet, and yet, I’ve got the most aesthetically unappealing blog out there. It’s boring. It’s blah. It’s BLAHG.

I have to say that Facebook has changed my life as of late. I’ve connected with so many friends and faces from the days of yore and yesteryear, and it has been so very, very cool. So, I must thank, my stupendous friend Jessica Salerno-new married-last-name [people went got married and changed their names!! What the heck?!], for subtely hinting at what many of you have known for some time: this BLOG needs a serious make-over. Look, I’m not making any promises because you know how long it takes us to get pictures put up on our family website (or maybe you don’t…it takes a while), BUT I will try. And dude! Helloooo! It’s so easy. There’s a little picture button that I never even noticed before! I fear I may become obsessed with picture-bloggage.

So, now I’ll pick a random photo to incorporate into this new entry! (it's a picture of me at Mo's wedding after a few peach bellini's -- I didn't even know what those were! They're quite delicious!)

I think Mike may be questioning my abilities to parent. He arrived home from work the other day to a fascinating scene: the boys had dumped EVERY SINGLE toy box on to the floor in the living, were booty-stark naked and were “swimming” in the “toys swimming pool” while I sat at the dining room table, finishing my dinner, checking email and wearing an overturned toy box on my head (placed there by Zachary). I think I calmly looked at him and said something to the effect of, “Welcome home. Welcome to my world.”

2 ½ year old Zachary has been a chatterbox for quite some time. He did the whole mostly skip first words and just jump into sentences thing. He does, however, have a little bit of a problem with S’s and D’s. Instead of messing with those troublesome letters he just trades them in for G’s. One day, I figured that I should step up my momminess (see example of lame momage in previous paragraph), and work on this with him. He had said something about a stick (gick). “Sssstick. Zachary. Can you say sssssssssstick?” Zach looks at me like whattup, Mama? “Gick.” “No, sssssssssstick,” I say again. “G-ick!” “SSSsssssssstick.” “GICK!!” Now, he’s looking at me like, um, what’s your damage, lady? Are ya slow or something? Why don’t you understand me? He’s annunciating GICK just as much as I’m annunciating STICK. “Ssssssssssssssssssstick.” “GGGIIICCCKKK!” He yells figuring that I just can’t hear him. We move on to dark (gark). “D-ark. Dark,” I say. “G-ark,” he responds. “De, de, daaaaaaaaaark.” “Gark.” “DARK.” “GGGAAARRRKKK.” You’re right. Gark. Totally gark. We’ll work on it another time. Maybe I’d be more convincing with a blue toy box over my head.

The boys were downstairs this morning, when I saw a dog run through our backyard. I watched as it went below the deck towards the sliding door. I ran downstairs to tell the boys to look at our canine visitor. Zach was already on to him and started screeching excitedly, “Gog! Gog! Goggie in our yard!” Matthew jumped up and said, “Thanks, Mom! I always wanted a dog!” Unfortunately all this screaming and movement frightened the dog away.
Zach ran up to the door, and in a scene somewhat like but very unlike Juliet’s “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?” He smooshed his nose against the glass and shaking his head slowly back and forth, quietly said, “Oh, goggie. Where you go, goggie?” It was a sad, sad sight. I was determined to immediately remedy the situation, but I have no idea how one goes about buying a goggie.
[By the by, to save you the time, because I know you were all about to google “gog” and “goggie” to help in my search, let me tell you what’s out there: Two VERY different things. and could provide people with quite the surprise depending on which they were looking for. The .com version is “the home of Good Old Games;” as in, COMPUTER good old games. Whereas the version says: “Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) is a non-profit organization with the purpose of promoting excellence in the quality and integrity of clinical and basic scientific research in the field of Gynecologic malignancies.” Both are very good causes but not the kind of gogs for which I looked. And don’t even get me started on all the different gog references provided by Wikipedia. Though, Zach would say that they are all VERY inaccurate to the real meaning of gog.]

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Matthew heads back to preschool this morning. I’m pretty pumped about it. Not only will he have the opportunity to learn five mornings a week, but I’ll have the opportunity to have him learning five mornings a week. (If ya know what I mean). I’m also looking forward to another year of navigating the preschool parent cliques. Actually, as you know, I try to not even compete or get too caught up in the mix, but the drama always makes for good blogging material.
Just as children do (make for good blogging material)…After a weekend jam-packed with parties and presents, Matthew looked at all of his gifts (primarily LEGO’s – the boy cleaned up). I said something about how lucky he was to have such great friends. He replied, “I love my friends. Isn’t that so nice of me, mom?!” I just hope his love isn’t too closely connected to the pile of loot he was admiring at the time.

Monday, September 08, 2008

September 8, 2008
My music class situation has exploded in the last week. (Exploded in a good way). So, I’d been scheduled to teach classes at the Boys & Girls’ Club starting Sept. 19th. Unfortunately, I could go to on and on and on on the many ways in which they dropped the ball, but it’s easiest just to sum it up and say that things just weren’t working out well for me there. I sound like a very high maintenance contracted business owner when I say, they just weren’t treating me well enough…but it’s true. So, I was starting to get frustrated with the whole thing when, out of the blue, I received a phone call from one of the moms who used to take my class (with her son).
She said, “Jenny! I’ve been waiting two years to make this phone call. The music teacher that used to come to Jack’s Montessori School just quit. You could come and teach your classes here.” (As in, they would provide me with three full classes of full-paying clientele). Let me think about that. Um, yeah. So, I met the preschool directors, figured out my childcare situation (oh yeah, this little guy named Zach…and Matthew needing to be picked-up from preschool…right. Minor detail.), and within two days they had registration forms and fees being turned back in! Karina, one of the directors said, “You know, we have a great relationship with some of the other Montessori schools in the area, I would love to tell them about you and pass along your brochures.” I went, practically overnight, from no business to plenty of business.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

I’ve been officially relieved of my duties. Matthew informed me yesterday, on his 5th birthday, that I am no longer necessary. He said, “Mom, since I’m 5 years old, I can take care of myself. I make the rules now.” Sweet! One down and one to go!
On Thursday night before bed, I said, “Matthew, this is the last time you’ll go to bed as a four-year-old! You’ll wake up so much older.” He was a little concerned about all the growth that would occur. “Hmmm,” he said, “my pajamas will be too short for me! Zach will wear them now. I’ll be so much older than him!” We called my dad to say goodnight (one last time as a four-year-old), in a forced deep voice (complete with furrowed brow and very serious face), Matthew said, “Goodnight, D-Dad.” It was his new ‘deep, five-year-old voice.’ I didn’t know puberty happened this early!
So, my newly independent five-year-old had a marvelous day yesterday. He actually said, “Thanks, Mom! This is the best birthday ever!” (I’m glad we set the bar low with lame birthdays the first four years. My plan worked!). We went to Mom & Dad’s where the birthday boy got to make pigs-in-a-blanket for lunch. This was very thrilling. He opened one seriously major award present – a grandma-made John Deere fleece robe and cozy ‘I (heart) John Deere’ pajamas. When we got home he immediately put the robe on over his jeans and t-shirt. The poor kid was practically sweating and literally sitting right in front of the fan. He asked if he could wear the robe for the birthday BBQ last night, but I had to say no to that one. (It would’ve been great to find a cravate to wear with it – a nice smoking jacket look. Very mature. He is five-years-old, after all).
We had a fantastic birthday BBQ that I feel was, in my slacker Mom way, thrown together, pretty much at the last moment. I mean literally thrown together. About 20 minutes before guests were to arrive I was just throwing random goodies in the backyard along the fence. Each kiddo decorated a goody bag and then we had a goody hunt. They all got one small box of LEGO’s, some suckers and little baggies of cookies. Sugar ‘em up and send ‘em home. That’s my motto. (Or at least it was yesterday’s motto).
The party was so wonderful and Matthew had such a great time that in all the chaos of fun and opening presents, I didn’t even realize until I was tucking him in, that we’d totally forgotten to give him OUR presents. The LEGO’s from us and Zach were still wrapped and hidden in the closet downstairs! So, this morning Round Two of the birthday started off with a bang. And there are more festivities to come (and thankfully, we’re not in charge of any of them). Today is Newcastle Days down at the park – pony rides, bouncy houses, music shows, booths, food. So, we’ll do that this afternoon. Tonight my runny-buddy/neighbor/friend Andrea is having a Bday BBQ for her two girls. Then tonight there will be fireworks for Newcastle Days (which Mike and I can watch from the living room couch)! Then tomorrow, we will drag our two very tired, cranky, sugar-crashed children to church and THEN to the church picnic where there will be more food (and sugar), face-painting, prizes, etc. Holy Smokes it’s a big party weekend!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

PART TWO (Part One found below)

After our near half marathon, the previous day, we were a little pooped Friday morning. We slept in a bit, had breakfast at the hotel, then again, forced our cranky feet into shoes and headed out. This time we walked to Alamo Square – a park with great city views located across from “The Painted Ladies” – a row of pastel-painted Victorian homes. It’s also where the opening credits for Full House were shot. (You know, the 1980’s sitcom that featured the Olsen twins when they were still cute and innocent).
Now, for the record, everyone says that the Full House house is one of the Painted Ladies. I would like to put the truth out there for those many who are confused. While, yes, the opening credits were filmed at the park and showed the Painted Ladies, the actual Full House house is located on Broderick St. – a full 1.1 miles away from Alamo Square. (I did some research on this fact). Unfortunately, my research didn’t happen until this morning (a full week after our trip), so I will admit that just like all tourists I looked at the Painted Ladies and thought, “hmmm, it looks familiar, but is it REALLY the Full House house?” I wasn’t totally duped though. Mike can tell you I spent most of that morning puzzling over the location of the REAL Full House house. Guess we’ll just have to plan another trip to see the real thing.
OK, so we saw the non-Full House house, walked through town, back to our hotel, checked out and then had lunch at a French bakery/creperie. After lunch, Mike went back to the hotel lobby to chillax and do stuff on his laptop. Meanwhile, I set out for some quality shopping in Chinatown. We were both happy campers. I bought two silk Pashmina scarves and a silk bag for freakishly inexpensive. Once I returned, it was time to pick up our rental car and head out of town to Napa Valley. We drove across the Golden Gate Bridge (which had obviously been returned from its’ cleaning that took place the previous day). I got a cool picture of the top of the bridge disappearing into the fog.
Traffic was a little rough from San Fran to Napa, so we arrived at the hotel about 30 minutes before the start of the wedding rehearsal. We rushed to get cleaned up and changed. We were in a major frenzy but then saw Father Rob in the parking lot…this was about 8 minutes before the rehearsal should have begun. He said, “Um, yeah, no rush. Mo and Nathan aren’t even here yet.” That’s right, this was a Goddard wedding. The Goddard clan has taught me (or forced me) to be a little more laid back about things. And obviously, the wedding rehearsal can’t do much without the bride and groom.
The wedding was held in a cute little mission church . I fluted at the wedding, so we watched the rehearsal (everyone crying already), and then I played through a verse and refrain of my piece (On Eagle’s Wings). It was then time for the rehearsal dinner which was held at a gorgeous Italian restaurant in the area. I got to meet Mo’s best friends from college – Keith and Kristen. Mike and I enjoyed hanging out with them for much of the weekend. At 10, we were kicked out of the restaurant, so everyone headed back to the hotel (where pretty much all of the guests were staying) with the leftover wine. When we headed to our room at 1am, the post-party was still well under way at the pool. “Huh,” I wondered, “I’m surprised no one has called to complain. The pool closed two hours ago.” Oh, right. The hotel guests were pretty much ALL Mo-Nathan-Wedding Peoples.
Saturday, August 23rd, 2008 started a little cool and cloudy but by 11am the gray had burned off to a sunny, clear 75 degrees. We hung out by the pool, Keith went and picked up lunch for us, and then Kristen and I went back to our rooms to get ready. She and I had been invited to go hang out with Mo and the fam as she got ready. In true Goddard fashion, we beat the bride to the bridal suite! (They were still at the salon when we arrived.) We helped Joy – the photographer – set up some still shots of the wedding dress. I could go on and on about helping Mo get ready and how she was stunning, blahblahblah. Seriously, like a 1940’s movie star,
As Joy and I followed Kristen to the church (with the videographers following us), she suddenly turned off the highway. At this point it was already 3:30, the wedding was to start at 4, and I still needed to warm up my flute (which I realized I’d have to do in the car since the chapel would already be full). I thought maybe Kristen was lost, but when we pulled up to her car, she said frantically, “They forgot the veil! I’m turning around to go back for the veil! Keep going on…” Seriously, if I hadn’t been a little stressed out (and worried about sweating in my dress due to the stress AND heat) I would have found the humor in how similar this was to a: I’ve been shot. Go on without me…kind of dialogue.
Joy and I made it to the church about 5 minutes before the wedding was due to begin. Knowing that it wouldn’t start without a veiled-clad bride, I played my flute in the car for a couple of minutes. The wedding began about 25 minutes late. Not too bad. My guess is that Kristen hauled booty on the highway.
The ceremony was short and sweet and beautiful. I must say, I was a tad nervous for fluting as it’s been a while since I played for others – especially at a wedding! I was actually most nervous about my first note. Whenever I had practiced, the first note never came out well unless I’d been warmed up and playing for a while. Obviously this wasn’t an option on Wedding Day. I played in the car for maybe three minutes and then my flute just sat there in the front of the church for another 30. My only goal, my only thought was “Nail that first note. If I nail that first note, then I am SO sticking the landing, SO pulling a Michael Phelps, major gold medal big finish, baby!” (And all sorts of other Olympics-appropriate analogies). I’m totally pumped to say that I kicked that piece’s butt so hard there was nothing left of it when I was done. I ripped it. (i.e. I was quite pleased with my performance). I had a couple of people tell me after – including Nathan’s mom that it was the part that “pushed them over the edge.” (In a good way). Lorna – mom ‘o the groom, said, “Jenny, I held it together until you played and then I just totally fell apart.” Look, normally, I wouldn’t want to make people cry but in this case, it’s a VERY good thing.
At the end of the wedding, Father Rob had all of Mo’s adorable nieces and nephews stand in the center aisle to help with the final blessing of the couple. When the were just about to kiss all of the kids and Mike – yes, my 6 foot 5 Mike, were to run down the aisle, out the church doors to the big bell and ring it whilst Mo and Nate kissed. To those not knowing what was up, it must’ve looked pretty funny to see all these kids – and Mike – go running out of the church. (Mike’s job, by the way, was to help with the ringing of the large bell). I’m very proud of him. He did an exceptional job.
The reception was AMAZING. It took place at V. Sattui Winery – pretty much an ivy-covered chateau/villa. Beautiful. The whole event was fairy-talesque. Two long tables stretched out under the stars with twinkly lights and candles lighting the whole way. We had a two hour long, multiple course, wine-a-flowin’ meal that was accompanied by numerous toasts and speeches – all moving, all emotional, all eloquent. There were a few of us girls at the table who had to resort to using the linen napkins for face-wiping ‘cuz we ran out of Kleenex.
Before dinner, we were standing in the courtyard visiting and drinking (a lot of that was done), when who should start to descend the stairs but none other than Jen Schefft – the former Bachelorette and fiancée to tire fortune heir, Andrew Firestone. If you’re up on reality TV at all, you’ll know that after being picked by Andrew and getting engaged in “the most romantic rose ceremony ever” [just how many most romantic rose ceremonies ever can you have?!], she eventually called off the engagement. A while later, ABC picked her to be the Bachelorette, where she got to choose from a buffet of 25 eligible and inhumanly attractive men. The final two dudes BOTH proposed to her and she turned BOTH down. To the first dude she said, “Yeah, you’re great but there’s just something missing.” And to the “final” guy, the guy she picked, she said, “Keep the ring. I want to do this the right way. I don’t want to rush into things. Let’s see how things go, and if you feel the same way in a few months, ask me again.” They were broken up by the follow up show, three months later.
Now, Jen got a lot of flack for that. She was called “high maintenance” and “too hard to please” and “too picky.” I, on the other hand, always thought it was impressive. Why should she pick a guy when she knows that he’s not The One? Why settle? Maybe he’s great but you gotta listen to your gut. So, I see Jen-the-Bachelorette and ask Mo’s sister-in-law Jen (this could get confusing) why the heck Jen-the-Bachelorette is at Mo’s wedding. Apparently, Jen tells me, the dude who Jen-the-Bachelorette is with and nearly engaged to, I might add, is a co-worker to Pete (Mo’s bro) and formerly to Nate. (He no longer works there). So Jen and I are being total celebrity stalker-types whispering and watching Jen-the-Bachelorette just as Jen-the-Bachelorette walks by. I was like, OK, this is lame and dumb. And I’m sure Jen-the-Bachelorette is totally on to us.
So, I approach Jen-the-Bachelorette, stick out my hand and say, “Hi, I’m Jenny. Let’s face it: I totally know who you are and think you’re great but not at all in a stalker sort of way.” She laughed and said something. I have no recollection of what. Oh, I think she introduced me to her dude and I introduced her to mine. But whatever. It was all about me and her and this amazing connection that we had. I went on to say that I was impressed that she hadn’t rushed into things, and I know she got some flack, and I think that’s totally lame, and it was great that she waited ‘cuz she’s got this great dude now – even though I don’t actually know if he’s great or if he’s her The One, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. And she did respond with something all coy about “Yeah, I’m glad I waited…” etc. Eventually I took a breath and allowed others (the dudes) to contribute to the conversation. We were having a great conversation actually. Like, hello, forget Mo, here’s my new BFF. So, it’s all going swimmingly and then Father Rob comes up.
“So,” he says to Jen-the-Bachelorette and Dude, “Do you guys know Mike and Jenny from Engaged Encounter? They’re practically celebrities.” Oh. My. Gosh. We’re talking to a “practically” celebrity. AWKWARD. In response Dude mumbles something like, “no, we just met.” Then Father Rob continues, “Well, aren’t you guys all around the same age?” hmmm. AWKWARD. No one really says anything. So, Father Rob addresses a question to Dude since he’s the only one talking apparently. “How old are you?” AWKWARD. Dude says, “Um, 35.” Fr. Rob says something like “Oh, right, so you’re about the same age as Mike & Jenny. Mike how old are you?” “29,” Mike responds. AWKWARD. Jen-the-Bachelorette shifts around nervously. Then to me, “You?” “I’m 28,” I say sheepishly. Poor Jen-the-Bachelorette, knows she needs to respond next. “32.”
I don’t think 32 is old, for the record. I think the whole thing was just a bit painful and awkward. So, here our new friendship was thrown down the crapper. Once Father Rob started asking what belief system they come from, you could tell they wanted desperately to make an escape. Eventually, Jen-the-Bachelorette found a pause in the conversation, and said, “Have you had a chance to explore the winery yet? We haven’t so we’re going to go do that right now.” The end. The end of our potential lifelong friendship with Jen-the-Bachelorette and Dude. I guess I’ll just have to stick with my NONcelebrity-type friends. (Just kidding, guys. Love ya all. You’re ALL celebrities in my heart).
Somehow, despite the fact that we were up partying VERY late – for the second night in a row – we’d been roped into going to EARLY Sunday morning Mass with Father Rob. As Mo’s brother John said, “Woah. You definitely can’t play hookie when you’re the priest’s ride to church. Oh, and better not nod off either! Do you know all the words? He’ll totally be listening to see if you know all the words.” Anyway, as we were pulling up towards the church, I saw a big sign that said, “Episcopalian Chapel.” I said, “Father Rob, you’re going to be in BIG trouble with my parents if you take us to an Episcopalian church!” He thought it was funny.
Mo’s parents were at Mass as well, and the five of us went out to breakfast afterwards. It was a nice way to wrap up the whole wedding weekend. Discussing and reliving the evening with John and Sandy was great. It really was the most beautiful wedding we’ve ever attended. And I’m sure they went above and beyond to impress the celebrities and “practically celebrities” as well.

While we didn't get a picture of me and my new BFF, Jen-the-Bachelorette DID take this excellent picture for us:

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Even though I love writing my Blog – it’s total “me” time – I still had to bribe myself to get here. (Diet Pepsi and some ridiculously bad for you sugar-coated-in-amazingness almonds). The issue is that my brain is still stuck in Vacation Mode. It’s taking me a while to get back to Normal Mode – which isn’t the same as everyone else’s Normal Mode, mind you; it’s the more spacey-mom version of Normal. Anywhoo, I’m here now, so let me make the most of my time (and my combined highs from the sugar almonds and caffeinated Diet Pepsi).
A week ago, Mike and I departed (at the butt crack ‘o dawn, remember) for two days in San Francisco and two days in Napa Valley for Mo’s wedding. As you may well know, I ADORE the airport and was quite disappointed that despite my constant vigilance to discover some airport wackos (aka: blog material), people were just kinda normal-to-boring. They gave me very little to work with, therefore I will move on.
We arrived in San Fran at 8:30 in the morning. We caught the BART to our hotel where we checked our baggage. Equipped with running shoes, city map, camera and purse we headed out like the prepared tourists that we were. Mike had mapped out a route for us, and for the most part we stuck to it. Our hotel was in a great location – right near Union Square, the shopping and theater districts and not far from Chinatown. We went past Chinatown, towards North Beach or “Little Italy.” We made brief stops in a little used bookstore – my favorite kind (and no, they didn’t have my bookclub book!) – and then in the first church we came to. For some reason, every time we saw a church, we would assume, “Ooh! That must be the Cathedral.” And we’d pop in, soon realizing that yes, while it was beautiful, it ain’t no cathedral. We stopped in three churches, each progressively larger than the last. By the end of the day, we saw the ACTUAL cathedral from the outside but were too tired to go inside!
After the first church stop, we started our first ascent of San Fran hilliness. Holy Ma-Joly. I forgot how hilly that city is. And for some reason, I decided that because I would be missing one of my run mornings, I would run EVERY hill. What the?! So, Hill One (which included stairs for an added workout), took us up to Coit Tower. We would’ve had an amazing view of the city, if it weren’t so foggy!
A bike policeman was taking a breather along the railing. A tourist – I believe Italian – approached him and said, “Excuse me, but where is Golden Gate Bridge?” In total seriousness, the officer replied, “Oh, it’s gone. They took it away for cleaning. I believe it should be back late tomorrow.” I started chuckling as the poor tourist man looked bewildered and confused…and then finally got it.
From Coit Tower, it was a brief downhill jog to Fisherman’s Wharf. We watched the sea lions for a while – who fascinate and amuse me to no end. I kind of wonder if they aren’t paid performers who are bused in early every morning. We lunched at a place claiming to be the “home of the sourdough bread bowl” or the “best sourdough bread bowls in the world” or “our sourdough bread bowls rule” or “your bread bowls are crumbs compared to ours.” I don’t remember. One of those. So, we had, you guessed it! Sourdough bread bowls with clam chowder which we insisted on calling “chow-dah” even though we were no where near the East Coast…quite frankly; I think we were like the opposite of the East Coast.
From Fisherman’s Wharf, we walked along the waterfront heading towards Ghiradelli Square. The best attraction we saw was the most off-the-wall. A homeless man, on the opposite side of the street, was sitting on an overturned bucket. In his hands he held this ‘thing’ that to approaching tourists looked like a bush. Really, it was a bunch of branches and leaves woven together to make a little wall for him to hide behind. He’d even built in handles for ease of use. Mike and I were like, “what are all these people looking at?” The sidewalk was lined with people just stopped, watching him. Then, I understood. As three women approached, completely unawares, he suddenly popped out from behind the “bush” yelling “ARRRGHHHHHHHHHHH!” which was met with an “AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” scream from the ladies. It was the most bizarre thing. But instead of sitting and asking for money, he was spending his time entertaining and making people laugh.
OK, fast forward a bit…we went to Ghiradelli Square where we HAD to buy something delicious. We opted for a mint chocolate chip with dark chocolate hot fudge sundae. It pretty much rocked my world. After sufficient face-stuffing, we again began a long hilled ascent, this time to Lombard Street – the twistiest, curviest (and quite short) street in the world (or at least that claims to be all of that). By this point, it was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the clouds had lifted, the sun had burst through and it started to get pretty warm. We’d been up for 12 hours and had already walked several miles. Unfortunately, to get back to our hotel, it was uphill THE WHOLE WAY. After jogging up each hill, I’d stop at the flattened out intersection, wait for Mike and say, “Ooh! Look at Alcatraz!” or “Ooh! Look at Coit Tower!” or “Ooh! Look at the bridge!” and take a picture. However, with every block, we climbed higher, so every single intersection provided a better panoramic view. In the end, I think I had about 6 different versions of the same picture, each one taken from a higher elevation.
We stumbled back to our hotel to check in and were informed that we’d been upgraded – for free – to a suite. Sweet! We explored the room on sore feet and then crashed for a cat nap while Oprah played in the background. AT 5:30, we forced our angry feet back into our sneakers and walked a mile to a movie theater to see Batman. It would have been a great experience – sitting in the AC’ed, cushy seats if it weren’t for one fact. At this theater, when you purchased your tickets, they showed you a diagram and you picked/reserved the seats you wanted. The map showed that all but a handful of seats in the ginormous theater were still available. Mike picked the front row of the second section (behind the aisle). His usual. More leg room, you see.
We located our seats and hunkered down. Two seconds later a group of three women start walking towards us – with nearly an ENTIRE EMPTY theater to choose from, they picked the seats RIGHT NEXT TO OURS. And to make matters worse, the woman sitting next to me was the JUMPIEST movie-goer I’ve ever experienced. Any little excitement in the film caused her to flinch or jump or gasp or stifle a shout OR a combination of all of the above.
After our movie, we headed back towards Chinatown for a late supper. We walked PAST our hotel and a gajillion dining options to the Chinese restaurant that had been very highly recommended somewhere (I think on-line). Sure enough, there was a line wrapping around the sidewalk. But we’d walked that far, of course we would stand in line for 45 minutes for food on our tired feet even though there was a nearly empty Chinese restaurant right next door and right across the street and right around the corner. The food WAS good though. I’d say it was worth the wait.
Arriving back to our hotel around 11:30pm, we calculated that we’d walked a total of 10 miles that day. I don’t know why we didn’t just tack on a few more and make it a full half-marathon!

Part Two of our California Adventure to come…