Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 28- Who is Responsible?

I saw the stain on the second-row seat while leaving the supermarket. Our four-week old car had been bastardized. At first, I thought Patrick might be the guilty party. So I did what I always do with visually unidentifiable stains; I sniffed it. No urine. It was sweet. Which made the stain the kids' fault. The cloth seat had been the victim of spilled lemonade or Gatorade. So typical of anything I own. It gets ruined, trashed, or winds up in the same place my turkey baster is- the kids' bathroom.

I started unpacking the groceries while Scot helped unload the car. He walked into the kitchen carrying an empty sippy cup.

" I found this on the third-row seat. Maggie left her lemonade in the car, and when you collapsed the seat for the groceries, it spilled, " Scot said. "Didn't you notice that the seat didn't go down all the way?"

"NO, " I said. "The spill is in the second row, and it's old, and dry. "

"NO," Scot said. "There are spills in the second row AND the third row!" "One dry, one fresh."

Initially, Scot's fire seemed targeted at me. But I understood that type of anger. When you're dealing with four and seven year old potatoes, the blame has to be directed at someone who holds a somewhat responsible position in the household. And in this mini-disaster, it was me. I hadn't realized the seat hadn't collapsed completely, therefore crushing and bursting open the cup. I don't want the car to be a premature pigsty any more than he does. Crap just happens, and I can't prevent it all.

My favorite greeting card has a woman blaming her kids for her missing pickle fork. I can relate. When you have children, household items become dirty, broken, and missing.
As they grow, Scot and I are teaching the kids to appreciate what they have, and to take care of their possessions. But mistakes are made along the way. Hopefully, those mistakes will become less frequent and the girls will meld into mature, capable adults. Then someday they too can experience the wonderful frustration of being a "responsible" parent.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Day 27 - She's got a Beaver

In my house, you don't have a fever. You've got a beaver. Make that a Double-Beaver all around. Or at least for 3 out of the 4 of us. So sometimes, even men around these parts can claim they've got a beaver.

Here's how it came to be that way. Years ago, probably 20, my mom watched a little girl named Casey. Casey got sick one day, and sprouted a fever. My mom comforted the child, and said something to the effect of, "Awwww, poor thing, you have a fever."

Only when Casey got home, she repeated this:

"Mary said I have a beaver."

To which Casey's mother said, " Mary said what? "

Of course it all came out in the wash, and made for a funny story, and now we call a temp a "beaver."

Maggie is on day 4 of a beaver. I'm sincerely hoping the antibiotics kick in real soon before I blow a gasket from cabin fever. We went to pick up a pizza at the local strip mall tonight and I felt like an Afghan refugee in the U.S. The smells, the sights! The stores! Nobilo is helping to lighten the mood around here. Best of all, Scot will be home tomorrow. First Saturday home since Christmas!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 26 - Daydream Believer

This morning at breakfast, Scot asked me what I was thinking about. Usually it's nothing, or something a tad too disgusting to come clean about. Today, I answered before he was through asking the question.

"Pony trekking in Wales."

In 1993, I spent a semester at the University of London. On weekends, my friends and I traveled around Europe. One weekend we went to Euro Disney in Paris, and another weekend was spent pony trekking in Wales. It was an idyllic time, all four months of my time overseas. No responsibility, no job, and not a care beyond being hung-over. I felt the gratitude for that freedom then, and I realized a day would come when I would look back and wonder what had happened to that smooth faced young girl.

By 2 p.m. today, I had tended to the sick child (low grade fever and cough,) fought off attention swipes by jealous little sister, and taken care of Korben. During this time, I cleaned the entire house, top to bottom, and served two meals on tray tables in front of the TV. By 5 p.m. I had tossed a salad, had a child diagnosed with Bronchitis, and worked on first grade homework. All in a day.

By 9 p.m., I had filled a prescription, fed the dogs, husband, and children, and then, faced almost certain death. At least in my mind. Upon leaving the drug store, my Jetta, twelve year old beast she is, lost all electronic display, power steering, and control. As I turned onto the major road leading to home, smoke filled the car. I tried to remain calm, and instructed the children to prepare for a land ditching. Hastily, I pulled onto the first side street, and the three of us bailed out of the car. With Nora crying and asking if we were all going to die, I ushered them to stand 20 feet upwind of the car. Maggie (with a 100 degree fever) promptly sat criss-cross applesauce next to a neighborhood mailbox. Nora, my child in every way, whirled around on one foot, shrieking, moaning, and praying for safety. Never mind we were out of harms way. Now it was the dark that had her on edge. Twenty minutes later, my mom pulled up and took us home. Scot was at class in Tempe. With the new car.

I'm finding it quite ironic I was twirling my spoon in yogurt and dreaming of the Wales countryside today, on what became a rather hectic day. After I had told Scot what I was thinking about at breakfast, I retrieved my photo album of the trip and made him suffer through my own slide show. My mother happened to pick it up this afternoon, and leafed through it. Her first comment was "look how young you look." I was young. And smooth. I hadn't fought fevers and pulled children out of smoking cars yet.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 25 - Winter In Scottsdale

We saw a breezy, balmy 80 degree day here in Scottsdale. I love winter! I took both infants outside, and sat on the grass from 3-5. Completely neglected dishes, dinner, laundry, sick children ( Maggie was home sick with a fever. I knew I had spoken too soon about February.) I couldn't get the obsession of a cold beer in hand out of mind, but I settled for Gerber Fruit Puffs. I have no dietary discretion. I ate 3/4 of a tube of Gerber Fruit Puffs, for Christ's sake. It was a divine day. Later, Scot came and sat with me. We got out the folding chairs, opened the chips, and watched the World go by. I love Wednesdays, when he works from home.

Hoping for a good night and kids in school tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 24- Travel Tuesday- Or not.

I'm fresh out of traveling. Nope. Haven't done it lately, can't remember any trips clearly, have forgotten what it's like. I'll get back to that topic when divine inspiration has struck, or when I'm back from the cruise in 3 weeks.

Let's do a recap of events around these parts. Five days till February is over. I'm holding my breath. Wonderful March with its orange blossoms and signs of impending burning heat arriving are welcome around these parts. But we've been lucky. Save Scot. He was a sick puppy, but seems to have made a complete recovery. It's been a good month for the kids. Scot's birthday is on Monday. 38. Don't tell him I told you. To be honest, I forgot about his upcoming birthday till today. When it's March 2nd, and February is a short month, it always creeps right up on me. Any gift ideas would be helpful. What do you get the man who has nothing? He got 10 T-shirts for Christmas, so don't suggest clothes. Any fun, reasonably priced ideas would be welcome. Speaking of him, the man is home. He left the house at 7:35 a.m. and just walked through the door at 9:39 p.m. Sad, overworked little lad. Maybe he needs some liquor- yeah, maybe that's a good gift idea.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 23- Oscar Weiners and Losers

When I see Miley Cyrus and Lisa Rinna at the Oscars, I need to ask "why?" Don't they have their own awards gig?

That said, it looks like Miley might molt right before our eyes. Too heavy, too sophisticated, too amphibious.

Lisa Rinna. Where to begin? It looks as though the poor thing got lost on the way to audition for Jemima in "Cats". Put down the Aqua net. Quit with the lip pucker needles. Stop it right now- no one believes those are really your lips. For Christ's sake, does this woman have a stylist?

I felt so badly for Reese. I heard the stunner had a terrible wardrobe malfunction backstage. Thank God for the stage hands! They came to her aid with curtain tassels and you'd never know a thing was amiss!
Oh Reese! You're hot! And skinny! What is that draped monstrosity?

Lastly on the losers side is Kate Winslet. Kate, you are an astonishing beauty. A pretty dress, but I'd like to see more curves, and more youth exhibited. And Helen Mirren is pissed that you
ripped off her hairdo.

On the good side, I love Natalie Portman. A refreshing scoop of sorbet.

Jennifer Anniston looked pretty and fresh in white. A nice change from the staid, classic black she usually sports. Can't quite figure out why she went for the braid of hair by the forehead, but maybe John thought it was a groovy, young look. She IS older you know...

Penelope Cruz was gorgeous last night. The woman's accent drives me batty, but she's a smart cookie. She got away from Tom before he could make her wear this dress.

Hugh. Oh Hugh. You are today's Mel Gibson, with a dash of Fred Astaire and Sean Connery thrown in. A renaissance man. The complete package. What a delight.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day 22- F. U. School of Architecture

"It's kind of been the ugly duckling that will emerge as the beautiful swan," Will Bruder says of the Dial building he designed.

Years ago, I picked up a phrase that I use quite often . It was coined in Bill Bryson's Book, The Lost Continent. Bryson was describing a hulking, ugly, concrete box of a hotel in downtown Savannah as something that came from the "Fuck You School of Architecture."

You know you've seen buildings such as these. You can be in the most picturesque, gorgeous location, and some whack job architect decides to put his rogue stamp on the terrain.

Enter the new Dial/Henkel Headquarters building in Scottsdale. The building sits on a relatively undeveloped plot of acreage, just off the 101 highway that runs through North Scottsdale. It's about eight miles away from my house, on the way out of town. The first time I saw it, last July, I freaked out.

"What the hell is that blight on the landscape?" were my exact words. The building is glass, and unfinished concrete, but lacks the necessary slickness and clean lines it seems it should have to be deemed modern. It's mid-century, minus the panache. You know what it is? It's where Mike Brady would have worked on The Brady Bunch. He was an architect, right?

I passed the building on the way to a birthday party today. "Mommy, there is the building you hate, " said Maggie. And once again, my aesthetic sensibilities were offended. Today's mental image was of a building in the Frankfurt air park on a grim, rainy day.

When I went looking for pictures of the completed project, I could only find the photos I have posted. One is the artist's rendering of the final result, and the other, which is a shot taken mid-construction. I did find one article on the building. Interestingly enough, it discusses the public reaction to the structure. Maybe the architect wanted to get people talking.

Dial's New Digs Get Mixed Reactions

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 21- Act of Contrition

O My Body,

I am sorry for my sins with all my gut. In choosing to have 3 margaritas, two cupcakes and a handful of tortilla chips, I have sinned against you whom I should love with nutritious food. I firmly intend, with willpower and self-control, to hold back, to eat no more, and to avoid whatever party or social occasion leads me to sin. In her name, my bloated body, have mercy on me.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 20- Travis

This is Travis. Did ya hear what Travis did this week? He savagely attacked and disfigured a woman in Stamford, Connecticut. The owner of 15-year old Travis, Sandra Herold, had raised the animal from infancy. The chimp rode in the car, played on the computer, and drank wine from a goblet at the table. When Travis got unruly earlier this week, the owner called on a friend to help bring him inside. When the friend exited the car, Travis attacked her. Earlier in the day, the owner had given Travis a dose of Xanax to calm him down. This was not the first time the 200 pound animal had escaped the house and needed reinforcements to bring him home. On this occasion, police were forced to shoot and kill Travis.

Hmm... sounds like a wild animal to me. I wonder if Sandra Herold happened to catch the commercial for Pedigree that's currently airing. The ad shows owners calling to their wild pets (a rhino and an ostrich) only to have the animals charge through the front door, leaving a wake of mess behind them. At the end of the commercial a guy is throwing a Frisbee to a clueless, motionless cow. The point is that a dog is a suitable, loving pet that would make most people happy. Where is the fun in having a pet that wears diapers, and on occasion you need to sedate? Ive' got kids for that.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 19- Don't Make Me Bitch Slap You!

I proceeded to try to tie one on last night. Got stopped short, as my parents and their friends were ready to retire for the evening at 7:30. Probably a good thing, as I'm not sure I could have found my way home with any more beer. I left the restaurant at that awkward time; too early for the kids to be in bed, too pathetic to down another beer solo. So, I did what any tipsy woman with an hour on her hands would do- I went to Marshalls. You know you're loosened up when you want to try on bathing suits. Really, it counts as the one night stand of the shopping world. You will feel sickened the next day at the indiscriminate choice you made when you weren't in your right head (I thought I looked skinny, but then again, I had beer goggles on.) I was accurate in my pre-game assessment. I couldn't blog after an evening like that.

Don't Make Me Bitch Slap You!

Walk on me. Beat me up. Give me a verbal browbeating and let me have it. Might have been the case for most of my life, but in the last few years, I've changed. It came with the confidence in knowing I'm a pretty sensible person with a decent brain. When things don't look right, I'm gonna cry foul. I'm still new at my new found mouthiness, so sometimes my lips start moving before my brain fires the correct word. But hindsight is 20/20 with all verbal disagreements. It's only later we think of the perfect thing to say.

On Tuesday, I had just picked up Maggie when I ran into my friend Stacy. I was leaving the school yard on my bike, going towards adjacent parking lot. Stacy corralled me and proceeded to mutter something about a woman in the parking lot who had just been shouting at her. The story broke down like this: Stacy had been driving down a highly traveled neighborhood thoroughfare, on her way to pick up her daughter at school. The woman in front of her (BMW lady) was driving the long stretch of road at 10 mph, in a 30 mph zone. Realizing she was going to be late, Stacy passed the woman and continued on her way to school. Apparently, the woman she passed was going to school as well. When Stacy got out of her car
BMW lady was standing there, and accosted her. The BMW lady's complaint was that Stacy shouldn't have passed her in a residential area. Stacy let me know that she listened to the woman and calmly and politely apologized. End of story. Except is wasn't.

As Stacy is walking back to her car, and I am loading the kids in the bike trailer, BMW lady's friend (woman #2) walks up to Stacy at her car and launches into her own tirade of Stacy's "grievous" driving error. What could be garnered by this woman's spiel is that she was behind Stacy and saw the whole thing happen.

This is where me and my big mouth come in. I hightailed the bike and trailer over a hill and across the curb to come to the defense of Stacy. Problem is, I'm like a wound-up chihuahua; lots of growling and snarling, but a small mouth that can't hurt you too much. And this is how it went:

"Well, aren't we perfect! You must be perfect, is that it? Do you always drive perfect ? (and some other crazy shit like that)

"Leave her alone. You've yelled at her enough. Leave her alone. Okay, go bye bye now."

I said all this in one crazy, heated breath as Stacy sunk into her car. I'm not sure she was embarrassed by the women who yelled at her or her lunatic friend that rode in on her bike yelling something about being perfect.

The Dalai Lama would have been proud of Stacy. She was apologetic, cool and collected. She realized the banshee drivers were a little short on patience and brains, and she remained calm. Probably the correct approach in this situation.

But this felt good. It's taken me a long time to learn how to stand up to people, and I would gladly do it again . I was so "nice" for years, and I'm not sure it ever got me any more friends or admiration. It just made me feel powerless. I rode away on my bike a little taller.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 18- Me and My Big Mouth

Me and my big mouth in more ways than one. Day 18 and this is the first time this blogging daily thing is feeling a bit like dental surgery.

Yesterday I promised that today I would bring you the story of a school confrontation. If you read my photo blog, you would have seen that. But you probably didn't. And it's okay. I just can't right write about it now. See, it's an involved story. And I must get permission from my friend Stacy, to talk about it on my blog. She was involved.

Plus, I am going out tonight. The time when I usually blog will be spent drinking Kirin drafts at Bamboo Club. My parents are back in town. I will be joining them, sans family, for happy hour later . I'm not expecting to come home coherent. Definitely not sober enough to string some words together.

Let me gather my thoughts, get the go-ahead to discuss this weeks "Housewives of Scottsdale" story, and live a little tonight. As you might have been able to ascertain from the clipped text, I'm a bit cranky, short and in need of a refresher. I think you've been there. :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 17- Travel Tuesday

Path up to school (blog about verbal altercation that happened here after pick/up coming tom.!)

Greenbelt approaching school

Behind our house

Pima Path

Pima Path

I Didn't travel far on this Travel Tuesday. While Scot stayed home working ( with babies sleeping), I Threw Nora in the bike trailer and rode to Maggie's school. Once I was out, I noticed how spectacular the sky was. I swung back by the house and grabbed my little camera. It was one of those days where I was reminded that I do indeed live in paradise.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Day 16- And I Shall Wear Him Down

Scot is still sick.

Not sick sick like we're going to need to hospitalize him, but sick enough that if he keeps going (literally) he'll be able to wear my jeans soon.

I made an Immodium run yesterday. Hasn't seemed to work much. His throat hurts, and he has dark circles under his eyes. He skulks about and is listless.

But the ultimate barometer of his health is how much I can take advantage of him in his weakened state. Many years ago, I bought a fake tree for Christmas (which he detests) while he writhed in pain with the stomach flu. Just dragged that baby in and set it up. He never said a word.

Today, I opened a facebook account for Scot. This is the Scot that thinks facebook is for chicks with spare time. He hasn't batted an eye.

Go ahead and befriend him. Gregory Scot Muma.

And don't you worry- I'm in the profile shot. I might sell him down the river, but I'm not giving him away. :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 15- Now That I'm Bigger

When I was young, I made a mental note of all the consumer goods I would have in my house when I grew up. These were items that my mother either kept on hand in spades, or things I deemed important, but went without. This topic came to my attention lately when my kids got a hold of my pogo stick.

For years, I wanted a pogo stick. I remember asking for one every Christmas year after year (that and stilts) and never receiving it on Christmas morning. For all I know my parents couldn't find a damn pogo stick, or realized my athletic potential capped out at walking. That was probably it- they knew a pogo stick would lead to a cast and other medical expenses.

I finally got the pogo stick. At age 22. A friend of mine bought it for me after hearing my pathetic tale of unfulfilled longing. I learned how to jump, and still take it out for the occasional ride. Heck, I have lugged the thing around for three moves. On Friday night, my kids found it in the garage, and took to it in a big way. Maggie is currently trying to master it in the driveway.

In addition to the pogo stick, there were other must have "necessities" I knew I would want as an adult. I either knew their value from having them, or from not having them. The following is the list.

Batteries- We have a battery cabinet. Scot and I buy them in bulk at Costco. Growing up, we had a battery bag. Some were used, some were new. There was never a guarantee you'd get to play with your Christmas loot until you made a battery run.

Chocolate Chips- My mother always kept chocolate chips in the house. Always. In the freezer. I have kept up the tradition.

Ice Cream- Never had it. Today, I get nervous if we are down to 4 1/2 gallons.

Paper Towels- You laugh. Last summer I scoured my sister-in-laws house for roll of paper towels. She uses rags. How do people clean like that? My mother, the original consumer, used paper towels to staunch blood and decorate. As do I. Scot says Al Gore would squirm if he knew how much I use.

Sushi - I never had sushi till I met Scot. My parents thought it was too expensive. But that's how Scot and I fell in love. Our marriage would not be the same without it. It is expensive. But it's worth it.

Good Coffee- I grew up with instant. For years, I never understood why people loved the drink so much. I never had a cup of regular coffee till I was in college. Now, I brew coffee every day. Nothing fancy, just fresh.

Good Beer- Old Milwaukee was what was on hand as a college kid at home. I couldn't stand its metallic taste in the can. Life is too short for bad beer. Now, it's anything different or unexpected. Cranberries in beer? Sure, let me try it.

Magazines- My parents always had magazines lying around the house. To this day, I love to visit them and read all the travel and news periodicals, along with Vogue and Glamour. We subscribe to The Week, and someday I would love to have time to read more glossies.

If Scot were writing this, he would put "cookies" on the top of the list. He never had them growing up, and he is anxiously awaiting the Girl Scouts Thin Mint delivery this month. It's an interesting exercise. Why we hold such small things to be important to our everyday happiness, and how what we had and didn't have as a child help to determine what we value as an adult. I'll never understand the lure the pogo stick held for me for all those years. I'm just glad it fulfilled the original desire, and that it will be around for my children.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 14- Happy Sick Intestines Day

Scot in bed. Notice the dirty socks on the floor. He's working on a stimulating paper for Econ. 498 about Obama's Package.

Remember how I told you that I don't do anything special on Valentines Day? Yeah, well, I still don't.

Today, my dearly beloved is suffering from a bad tummy bug. Two nights ago, Scot woke up sick in the middle of the night. For the past two days he has partaken in the Gwyneth Paltrow Colonic Special. Easily the man has lost five pounds. This is always the moment I say "Why not me?" "Life is not fair! "I need to be in a bathing suit in four weeks!" Alas, the mother must work, and has no time to take to her bed. Scot went to class today, cranked out an exam, and is now in the prone position. Truly, I feel terrible for him. Happy Valentines Day, my love. We will celebrate another day. Or year.

Must run- the children are complaining of not feeling well.

Hey Jen, Jealous?

Delivery man, You can leave the flowers at the door.

Day 12- The Bunker

When the Apocalypse happens (he he ) , I'll still be here. If you are left behind as well, come over and dine with me.

We will be having pasta and salad.....dressing.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 11- Funny Valentine

I just read my friend Jen's blog. She's pissed at Saint Valentine. My heart goes out to her and all the lonely folks as Valentine's Day nears. But don't despair. We are all in this together. V-Day is a long-suffering, Hallmark- induced holiday that makes single people painfully aware of their circumstance. And for married women whose husbands couldn't give a rat's ass, it goes by without mention. Back when I was flying solo, I believe I spent one Valentines Day with a romantic boyfriend. Even then, I don't remember what, if anything, I got.

Scot is up to his ears in grad school classes. He's working two jobs, and every day when he comes home he tells he that he" survived" another day. Valentine's Day is approaching and I'm not expecting a thing. Maybe a card. Eight years ago, I received some diamond earrings on February 17th. And that's just because they were a late Christmas present. Scot doesn't believe in giving and getting on the majorly marketed holiday of Valentines Day. Instead, I get things on Mother's Day (one year I got a phone, on another year, a vacuum.) Yes, I'm serious. The romantic things happen on Flag Day and on a Friday afternoon in the middle of August. That's when I get a poem written for me (it's happened twice!) or flowers brought home (from Costco- they're cheaper.) So, all of you that wish you were getting a heart-shaped diamond, nah you don't. It's cheesy. Just like Valentines Day. Love is best expressed all the year through. Like when your beloved cleans up your Cinco de Mayo vomit.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 9 - Tuesday's Travel- The Ettington Park Hotel Stratford-Upon-Avon, England

I've interrupted silent moments in the car, and giggly moments at dinner with Scot to utter these words -

"Before I die, I must go back to that hotel in England."

Reflective times remind me of where my soul is truly at rest. That would be at The Ettington Park Hotel. I'm sure many of you have heard me wax on about this hotel before. I swear I'm not being paid to advertise for them. Here's how it all started.

Sixteen years ago, I spent a semester at the University of London. When my parents picked me up in the spring, we toured the English countryside for three weeks. One day, we happened upon a castle-like building on the outskirts of Stratford-Upon-Avon. We drove up the gravel path and were surprised to see that the grand building was a hotel. We walked through the gorgeous halls, inquired about the hotel rates, and sat for a cocktail in the exquisite drawing room (top left)

Fast forward to 2000. In the fall, my parents, sister and Scot and I rented a house in the Cotswold's for a week. One day, we went into Stratford and on our way, passed the Ettington Park. I had forgotten where the hotel was, but there was no mistaking it as we drove past. It stuck out of the acres of unspoiled verdant grass like Stonehenge. Nothing was around for miles. "STOP," I told my father. I got out of the car and ran up the walk. This was it. This was the magnificent hotel we had visited many years before.

The entryway had a reception stand not unlike something from "Faulty Towers." Approximately 50 keys hung from a post, and the man behind the counter wore a rakish cap. In the hallway stood tall rubber boots, loaners for walking in the muddy woods. Not far off, two hunting dogs sat in beds. When I inquired about whose dogs they were, the employee told me they were hotel dogs, and were available for guests to walk. The halls were deliciously rich with tapestries and wood, without being stuffy.

We entered the drawing room to have a drink. Upon recommendation of the bartender, Scot and I ordered Archers and lemonade, some fancy British refresher. I started to hum along with the piano player and lost myself in the realization that I was in the same countryside that The Bard wrote about. The enormous glass- paned windows looked out onto the lawn, and across the road sheep were grazing in a field. I was somewhere special, with my favorite people, and that eye-opening moment was forever seared in my brain. Our group went out the side door and ventured outside to stroll the hotel grounds. It was then I started to twirl. And sing. And run through the grass. I channeled Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. There is a framed picture in my house to mark the moment I found my "lifewomb."

Scot and I decided long ago that should we ever win the lottery, we would escape to The Ettington to plan our next move. The rain splattering on the windows would be the perfect accompaniment to the talk of dreams, and hopes for the future. My personal relaxation goal is to sit in the drawing room of The Ettington Park and write for hours, and then tramp through the wet fields with the hotel dogs. I've uttered my wishes to return so many times. Once, after my tonsillectomy, when I was praying for death, and another time as Scot playfully tackled me on the floor of the family room. Maybe for our 15th anniversary we'll go. Or when I get published. Or when we have the money. I will go back to The Ettington Park one day. Hopefully sooner than later.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Day 8 - Intervention

Against my better judgement, I went to Toys" R" Us. Target didn't carry the Graco Tot-n-Loc kiddie chair I needed, so I thought I could find it at the toy Whorehouse, I mean Warehouse. I also needed to replenish some day care toy supplies. While we were there I was going to allow the girls to pick out a couple of crafts for our upcoming trip.

We quickly found the Crayola craft aisle, where I found some new markers, and the "True to Life" crayons. The crayons, housed in plastic, are three colors swirled into one. When you color grass, you get a neat effect from the three shades. The same goes for ocean pictures. Next, the hunt was on for modeling clay. Try as I might, I could not locate clay. I had remembered seeing Crayola Clay, sold in foil-wrapped bricks before. An "associate," a 16-year old kid, informed me that the store didn't carry clay.

"What do you mean, there is no clay?" I said.
"We don't have clay," he shot back. "We have Moon Sand." He said this as if these items were completely interchangeable.
"NOOOOOOO way," I said. "Not Moon Sand. Uh uh." That shit is the work of the devil. In thirty years, that crap will make asbestos look like pollen. It gets all over everything, and doesn't disintegrate. I hosed it off the patio into the grass six moths ago, and it's still there.

The "no" answer on clay would not do. I found an older woman who worked at the store. When I asked her where the clay was, she said, "We don't sell it. Can you believe that?"

No, I couldn't. Sad.

"Forget it, we'll dig up some dirt from the back yard, reconstitute it, and call it clay, " I joked with the saleswoman. She was old enough and wise enough to know the teasing sarcasm in my voice meant no harm. She laughed, and I laughed.

"Now, could you tell me where the Tot Loc chairs would be?" I asked the woman.
"Oh, I remember those, " she said. "I had one for my kids. You hooked it on the counter or table so the babies could eat with you. Weren't they the best? Yeah, we don't have them anymore. I guess they were kind of dangerous."
I walked off with an enormous Fisher-Price contraption.

We turned the corner and began our search for a good day care activity that all the children could enjoy. There are only so many times the kids can do the same puzzle or load the Little People Bus. I told the girls to start looking for a viable, entertaining activity they and their friends could enjoy again and again. I was thinking dominoes , an erector set, or some balls.

Maggie came back to me with the "Spongebob Squarepants Operation" game.
"No, Mags, we have Operation."
"But this is Operation with Spongebob!" she retorted.

Nora sauntered forward with a giant Barbie head. It looked like the Barbie head from my youth that you colored and cut, but this one also sang. And spun her head 360 degrees, screaming "fuck me! fuck me! " when you crossed her.

"No, Nora, something boys and pacifists will enjoy too, " I joked.

This time Maggie brought me the Spongebob edition of Ants in The Pants.

"For God's sake, NO. It's a piece of cheap plastic, with paper clip ants you shoot in his pants."
"Don't you see, you two?
You've been duped.
You are addicted to commercialism.
Life is not all Disney, and Spongebob.
If Spongebob is so darn important to you though, I'll dress up like him while we play Lincoln Logs , okay? !"

"Will that complete the package, will it, will it?"

I was getting loud. And my rant was difficult for the children to understand. The look on Maggie's face was skepticism mixed with fear. She wasn't challenging me anymore. Nora stared at me blankly and asked what Lincoln Logs were. I wanted to cry.

Things were looking bleak. I turned the aisle to leave, when Hark! - what was on the next aisle? Legos. Legos in primaries, Legos in pastels for today's woman. Lego's with a city theme, a Star Wars theme, a train theme. Legos for all. And so I sold them on Legos. Well, I'm not sure I sold them. Rather I told them- this is what mommy is buying and you will like them.

Armed with my bucket of Legos, art supplies, and a gigantic plastic dining seat, I headed to the register . I think it can be said that there are many positive things about progress and childrens' toys today. For example, Maggie could whip my butt in Tetris, and knows her way around the keyboard. But can she build a home with Legos and one day have Ken pork Barbie on the Dream House balcony? It seems toys that make you dream up a story or become a character of your own are dying out. Imagination and danger in the toy store are becoming hard to find. I'm not sure I could have made my point any better in Toys "R" US. But I think I got through to them. When we got home, the girls played with the Legos for hours. Together, we built a helicopter, a car, and a house complete with a flowerbed.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 7- Forget what I said yesterday. This is a new day.

I'm cranky. Full-blown bitch.

While it could be February setting in, in reality I think it's that my family is getting on my nerves. Scot has been immersed in work and school constantly. Mon-Friday, Tuesday and Thursday nights, and all day Saturday. So when he is home, all he sees are projects to attend to, dog shit to clean, and children who haven't gotten good doses of adequate parenting all week. With the children the one- parenting system translates to whining, back-talking and moodiness. I'm cranky because I've been a full-time outfit for the last four months. All cleaning, ass-wiping, and meal prep. No one has told me for days that I'm cute, funny, capable of so much more. So, I bitch. On top of it, no one is reading my god damned blog.

So World, quoting Weeds, "go suck yourself."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 6- Grateful Day

Saturdays are the best. They are filled with lovely, little things. Here's the tasty, sweet tidbits I've enjoyed today.

1. Sirius Radio- Channel 22. REM, The Smiths, U2, Duran Duran, Echo and The Bunneymen, Tears for Fears.

2. Chick-Fil-A - The best chicken sandwich with pickles.

3. Target - Move me in. Right now.

4. Maggie's Karate - 45 minutes free of laundry folding and other household guilt.

5. Temps in the 60's with swirling dark clouds- winter in Phoenix. Lap it up!

6. A reheated cup of coffee at 3:00 p.m.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Day 5- Joelle's blog

She's gone and done it. And it's fabu.

Day 5 - Dick Hurtz And Sour Grapes

Hey Dick, You were voted off the island. Your time is up, and frankly, everyone thought we were done having to listen to your psychotic rants of WMDs and the end of days for the United States.

As for Obama's camp upholding basic constitutional laws with prisoners at Gitmo, well, yeah, he's following the law. Obama hasn't unlatched any cells yet. If you're afraid of any terrorists running free, it was done on your watch old man. Mr. Obama is on day 18 of a daunting job, and your negativity isn't really helping. Have some class and keep your trap shut. You're kind of negative, Dick. And this country doesn't need any more boo-boos right now. We are all hurting enough.

On Inauguration Day, Beyonce sang Etta James hit "At Last," for the First Couples first dance at one of the balls. Recently Etta James trashed Beyonce for singing her hit. "She has no business up there, singing up there on a big 'ol president day, gonna be singing my song that I've been singing forever." She went on to tell the crowd at the Boulevard Casino in Coquitlam, British Columbia that she "couldn't stand" Beyonce, and that the president with the big ears " wasn't her president." Last year Beyonce portrayed James in the movie Cadillac Records. Yes, James was performing at the Boulevard Casino in hot and wild Coquitlam, British Columbia. Sounds like a big ol' carton of sour grapes to me.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 4- Photo Blog

Today, I am asking your help. I need you to beg, cajole and pester my friend Joelle to start her own photo blog. Joelle is an immensely talented photographer. She is currently trying to hone her skills so that she may deem herself a "professional" and charge the big bucks. I got a call from her the other day and she told me she was going to try and shoot every day, for 365 days of the year. She suggested I do the same with my writing. This is the fateful phone call that started me on this nonsense of blogging every day. Joelle, where are you? We need your beautiful eye candy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Day 3 - Karma Police

Oh ye of such little faith! Do not despair. It's only 8:42 p.m. The night is young. Plenty of time to blog. I wouldn't break a promise on the third day! I'll probably break it next week, when February unleashes its fury on my household with some nasty sickness. God Forbid.

Libraries make me break out in a cold sweat. In school, I always got nailed for talking too loudly. But the problems have really come up since I've had kids and now visit the library regularly again. The last few years have brought hundreds of dollars in late/missing fines, escorts out when Nora had colic, and a general air of disdain from any employee I've ever had to encounter. The place makes me feel like I've sinned yet again.

On Monday, I took the kids to the library to restock on books and videos. While I was there I purchased a book and magazine at the Book Corral, a used book stand inside the library. The Cooking Light issue I picked up for fifty cents had a tasty looking recipe featured on the cover; steak tenderloin and pomme frites.

After placing all our loaner items in bags, I walked over to the Consumer Reports shelf and leafed through the issue focusing on digital cameras. A nice little one page summation showed all I needed to know. I glanced around, and didn't hesitate. Riiiiiiiiiiip. I tore the page out, folded it into a tidy square, and slipped into my pocket. It was naughty, it was selfish, and I felt heady with Library Guilt.

When I got home, I took out the Consumer Reports page and showed it to Scot. "You stole that?!" he asked. "Nyo, I ripped it out," I stammered. He brought up a good point. Is it stealing something if they let you borrow it anyway? Hmmm...

Later on in the evening I cracked open the Cooking Light that I purchased at the library. I flipped through to find the recipe for the steak and fries (p. 112).

109, 110, 111, 118. What? Where? Yup. It was gone.

" This is the library, Toni. We are here with the Karma Police. Please come with us."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Day 2- Travel Tuesday- Why I became a flight attendant

After I graduated college, I approached my job search in the following way; what job would give me limited responsibility and no upward mobility but cheap travel, immense free time, and oodles of time to waste reading and doing crosswords. Or watching TV. Or something pleasurable and selfish. It was in this way that I picked my college major as well; what painful thing didn't I have to do? How could I fit skiing into my credits, and what major required the least amount of math, and no foreign language? Sign me up for that.

After an extensive search of two industries, those being food service, and flight attendant, I made my choice. I would fly till I earned my Mrs.. Then I could let someone else worry about following workplace demands like rules and etiquette. In the end, my major of Communication worked for me as a flight attendant. Being on the airplane only required that I count the liquor money, and my lack of foreign language (with a major of Communication, no less) simply meant I couldn't work Mexico City flights. I could live with that. I flew for free, indulged in hotel room PayPerView, and read. Boy, did I read. In my tenure as a flight attendant, I thumbed through every bestseller, skimmed the classics, and could tell you how to please your man in four minutes.

Immediately I started breaking the big rule. No reading on the flight attendant jump seat. At any time. And if you got caught, you got fired. I'm sure the original intention of the rule was to prevent distraction during the critical phases of flight such as take-off and landing. These are the times when you should be aware of the inside and outside of the cabin and to be able to assess ground conditions (seriously.) When you sit on a plane for 5 hours though, what do you do with yourself? After serving drinks, picking up the trash, and ignoring call buttons, you have time to kill. Asking flight attendants not to read on the jump seat is like asking a man not to read on the toilet. Everyone broke the rule. There are two types of flight attendants. One type is incredibly structured and detail-oriented. These are the ones that worked crosswords and sudoku on the jump seat. The other type are there for the bennies- fly free, don't ask too much of me, and let me catch up on my reading. That's where I fit in. In five years flying I read Ann Rule mysteries, John Grisham paperbacks, People Magazines, and the odd flight manual that was left lying around. If I left for a trip without a book in tow, I got a little nervous. What would I do with myself as I flew over Des Moines? There are only so many Christian Conversions one can undergo from fellow crew members.

This all came to my mind a couple of weeks ago, when the plane crashed down in the Hudson. Upon impact, the crew was probably chanting "BRACE, BRACE, BRACE," and determining which passengers they were going to utilize during evacuation. I know they were ready and they safely and calmly handled the evacuation. Because that's the job. But I also know that among the floating cups and stir sticks in the wet cabin , there was a puzzle book or magazine that had been hastily thrown by a panicking flight attendant. A pretty good job in retrospect; catch up on your Tolstoy and Brangelina gossip, and save a life when you need to. I miss those days. I think perhaps I might have liked that job.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Blame Joelle

Joelle told me today that she's going to snap photos for 365 consecutive days. She got the idea off of some photo site. Obviously if you shoot enough pics, your technique improves, and you learn a whole lot about what does and doesn't work. "Yeah, great!" I said. "Do it!"

Damn, I had to go and encourage her.

"Ya know, why don't you do it with your writing?" Miss Smarty Pants offered. The more you write, the better you get."

I told Scot, who threw in his opinion. "She right. I think you get so hung up on writing the perfect thing, that it cuts down on how much you write. Just write."

So, Today is DAY 1 of 365 days of dribble. I will make every attempt to log on every day, from now on, until Punxsutawney Phil does his thing again, next Feb. 2.

Please help me by giving me ideas and topics to blog about. You'll be reading (gun to the head) so let me know what you want to read.

And if you hate it all, blame Joelle. :)