Thursday, July 27, 2006

And They're Off

We leave for Eddie's wedding tomorrow, bright and early, in the pre-coffee hours of dawn.

I still have to pack, clean the house, do four loads of laundry, write a best man speech (I will be the best (wo)man, standing next to my brother, just as he did at my wedding), and try not to melt from the heat or kill the kids in the process.

Stay tuned for fun posts next week.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Letting Our Hair Down

Last weekend I went to a girls' night out/birthday party in Laguna Beach for this sweet lady.

The evening started out innocently enough, what with the homemade birthday cake, girly presents, and all the dressing each other up in jewelry and new skirts and such.

But I soon found myself testing the construction and physics of Christine's homemade beer bong. And the birthday cake ended up taking the place of everyone's dinner.

So, you're pretty smart and I bet you can guess where the rest of this story goes. But just in case, let me fill you in on the highlights:

There was much frolicking and bar hopping throughout the night.

And my first taste of Red Bull. (Not bad, but not sure I'd go there again.)

And much laughter. Uproarious laughter. Eyes closed and tears coming out laughter.
And, oh my, the dancing.

And strange TV shows.

And many fruity drinks.

Which inevitably led to the women's bathroom "art" photos.

And drunken, moody self portraits, sometime after midnight, as I waited to use the bathroom.

And other acts of public embarrassment I'm not at liberty to disclose in this forum.

(Did you know, though, that I have my very own guardian angel? He's an absolutely beautiful blonde gay man who, completely out of nowhere, appeared--right there on Pacific Coast Highway, somewhere in the dizzy distance between Woody's and the Boom Boom Room--to hand me a bottle of water in my, ahem, time of need. Thank you, guardian angel! I love you.)

It was more fun than should have been allowed or legal in a single night. My voice is still recovering from laughing so hard and howling at the summer moon with these great gals.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Slumber Party

Before I had children I used to think it was mean when parents would say their favorite time of day was after the kids went to bed.

I so understand that now.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Baby Shea met her great grandmother--my Oma, my Dad's mom--for the first time last week. Today I was able to take some cute pics as the two bonded over a pouch of cookies on our backyard glider.

Oma, still remarkably spry and attentive at 90, flew in from New Jersey as part of a nearly three-week trip that will include attending my brother's wedding in Northern California next weekend--a wedding will mark the last of her five grandchildren to get married.

Because the sound of her voice is such a source of comfort to me--and because I'm more than just a little nostalgic about some people and things--I've been unable to bring myself to erase any message Oma has left on our home answering machine over the last few years. As such, I now have more than a dozen old messages--everything from Happy Birthday! to How are you doing?--taking permanent residence on our answering machine. They've become little audial treasures that I rediscover every now and then, which always bring a smile.

While she's here visiting I plan to sit down and interview her about her life--and capture the whole thing on an hour-long cassette tape (or two). It will be a treasure to have as a piece of family history and a helpful way to string together the various stories I've heard over the course of my life into a single, narrative thread. And, I guess it will also allow me free up some much-needed space on the answering machine, too.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Things I Never Really Thought I'd Hear Myself Say

  • What do caterpillars smell like?
  • Please don't eat the plants.
  • How's my good pooper doing today?
  • But you won't have big boobies because only women get big boobies. [pause] Yes, they were full of milk. [pause] No, you can't have any because they're empty now. And, besides, they're only for babies. [pause] Yes, that's true. You are my baby, but the answer's still no.
  • Please don't eat his shoes.
  • No, honey, I don't think you understand. It's pajama day at school, so you don't HAVE to get dressed today.
  • I haven't read a book in more than a year.
  • Please don't eat the remote control.
  • Because I said so.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Only In Orange County...

...could someone use this headline without even the slightest trace of irony.

In fact, I guarantee that someone saw this little homemade ad in the window of one of the shops downtown and said to themself, "Yeah, you know, that really is a good price!"

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

For Those Of You Who Care About This Kinda Stuff

So, the potty training fluke I mentioned a while back continues in its astonishing regularity; Shea has been using the toilet for #2 for the last 10 days.


I'm still thinking of it as a strange, prolonged fluke, but I'll let my hair down in a fit of whimsy and dare to call it a trend.

Considering the
torturous potty history we endured for nearly a year with Finney, I'd like to think the fates are trying to even out the score somehow.

I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, I'm not asking too many questions. I am, however, keeping my fingers crossed that maybe the trend will evolve into a movement.*

*(Sorry, it was too easy.)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Simple Pleasures

I spent a lovely summer day in Laguna Beach recently with my girlfriends Chrissy and Christine.


We rode the trolley.

We ate ceviche and drank margaritas.

We got our toes done.

Time with just friends is a rare treat.

It was lovely.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cool Places, Part 3

OK, so you're probably getting the point that it has been HOT, HOT, HOT here these last couple weeks. Sunburned scalps hot. Fans always spinning hot. And, best of all, water play hot.

The kids have been in the pool, the ocean, the sprinkler, the soda basin, and the Igloo cooler at one point or another, trying to beat the heat.

Shea's sweet baby scent has been completely masked with the odor of Babies' SPF 45 and Finn's gotten such a solid tan that his little butt shines ghost white in comparison to his browned torso, arms and legs. Both kids' hair has lightened noticeably. We've been eating copious amounts of frozen yogurt. We haven't worn shoes with backs or closed toes in months.

God, I love summer.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Art Of Living

I love this photo for so many reasons.

The first is that, because I didn't use a flash, the image has a warm, Renoir-like, slightly blurry feeling to it that evokes a timeless quality; this could be any family at any time after the invention of toilets and potty seat rings.

The second part that warms my heart is that it presents an honest, intimate picture of what having very small children is often like: cramming many bodies into tiny spaces, trying to cheer each other on and usually sitting on the floor while doing so.

But the best part about this picture is that it commemorates Shea's first poop on the potty--at 14 months old. I realize this was probably a fluke, and that we'll be rockin' the Pampers for the next year or two, just like we did with Finn, but even the smallest glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, she'll be one of those early toilet trainers you hear about every so often just fills me with the kind of glee reserved for when baby fixes you her first martini.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


"Mom, Shea gave me two kisses. I wiped the first one off, but I think I'll keep the second one."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Where I'm From

I am from a small plot of paradise that grew as I did; from Canon cameras and Sears projectors, Mercurichrome and Campbell's soup.

I am from the wood-burning stove and deep black grout between faux brick panels; from Moulin Rouge, Sarah Bernhardt and Toulouse-Lautrec wallpaper 32 years still up; from thin walls and thick heads.

I am from the aloe vera and the bougainvillea, the coyotes and the pelicans.

I am from opening presents on Christmas Eve and the gaps between shouting and silence; from Eggert and Anne Marie and Paul and Harriet. From the constant smell of gas in the basement and food cooking on the stove.

I am from the arriving early and the paying on time. From my father’s focus and my mother’s kindness.

From red and black are only ever worn together by whores and it’s illegal to drive barefoot.

I am from those who left the church behind.

I'm from north and south, east and west; from rouladen and eggplant parmesan, clams and avocados. From the farmland near the Baltic and the Val d'Aosta, from the shore of Long Island and the sands of Southern California.

From the fluffing of the hospital pillow, the bicycle race around the lake, and the disco dancing in the attic. From the hiding in the goose down comforter to the burning of the midnight oil.

I am from the shelf above the television set, the newspaper clippings in the dusty box, the scrapbooks in the closet, the byline beneath the headlines, and the blog my kids made famous.


This exercise in introspection was based on a poem by George Ella Lyons. Many people have used its template as a writing exercise to create their self portrait. You can read more of them and create one about yourself

One Year Ago Today

Happy Fourth of July!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Fly Away Home

Dickie Bird, my dad's beloved budgie, died unexpectedly today.

Before my dad could run to get a dropper of whiskey to revive him--the way, as a teenager, he had successfully saved his former budgie from death once before, a budgie that went on to live 15+ years--the bird trembled as one last pulse of life filtered through his tiny body and died right there in the cup of my dad's hand.

Dickie was a humorous companion; he was one of the few birds we've had who actually learned to speak, and managed to convincingly mimic my dad's Brooklyn accent as he spoke his 25+ words and phrases ("Finnegan, where are you?" was a favorite of mine; "Where's the beer?" another).

He even captured my dad's guttural guffaw so well that we would often have to look and see if it was my dad or the bird who was actually in the room laughing. We often referred to him as my father's dog, since he perked up when my dad entered the room, fed off his breakfast and dinner plates, and spent countless hours dutifully perched on his shoulder.

Tomorrow we will say a few words of remembrance for Dickie and bury him in the garden at my parents' house. It will be Finn's first encounter with death and burial and we intend to keep the experience lighthearted, focusing on the celebration of the bird's life and the joy he gave my father--and us--over the last 7+ years.

Godspeed, Dickie Boy!