Thursday, July 31, 2008


Grandma comes today and the boys are so excited. Hopefully, it will ease Jack's disappointment over not getting to go to Disneyland with daycare today. I felt awful but I just couldn't see spending $120 for them to go when I can take them there for free. And, I wasn't that thrilled with the idea that they'd be at Disneyland, with all the crazy crowds and stroller wielding parents, without me to watch over them. It's the classic case of "they're only safe with me" but, that's just me.
Tomorrow we're going to Knotts Berry Farm and that should help. Ironically, I don't think Jack cared that much about Disneyland per se but was mostly disappointed that he didn't get to be with the big kids. He wants to be big so bad.

Last night, they were whiny and cranky as usual but the night before that? They were sweet and lovey and absolutely delightful. We stayed outside all evening after dinner (no TV - yay!), got out the telescope and looked at Jupiter and the stars. It was so wonderful. Dean and I laid on the chaise lounge while Jack gazed at the universe. Of course, they had taken naps that day (earthquake day) and that makes all the difference.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


We had a moderate earthquake here this morning. I checked on the boys and they are fine. No serious damage to report, no injuries, no casualties.

Everybody's ok.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Weekend Update

Last week I complained to Tom that there was a spot right between my shoulder blades that didn't feel right. He started pushing around there with his all-knowing fingers and announced that I had a rib out and should go to the chiropractor. Yes, I nodded, took a muscle relaxer and went to bed. I followed up that advice with two nights of carrying sleeping children from car to bed and a trip to Costco. A trip to Costco which included about 40 pounds of meat.

I imagine the formula goes something like this:
2(35) + 2(35) + 40 = MY BACK IS KILLING ME!!!!

I have a 3:30 appointment with the chiropractor.


Remember when I casually mentioned last week that 5 years old was kicking my butt? Well, it still is. Saturday was especially rough. Tom went into work and it was just me and them. They apparently don't want to be siblings anymore because they repeatedly tried to kill each other. However, they must not have wanted it badly enough because they didn't move from the couch when I commanded them to go to the middle of the living room and beat each other up so we could just get it over with already.

C'mon, I'm just kidding.

Or, am I?

Luckily, their friend Callum desperately wanted them for a playdate and his mother generously suggested that Tom and I make a run for it. We didn't even ask, really, are you sure?

We went shopping which is so much more fun when you don't have to mediate arguments between children. We even managed to find curtains for the living room (FINALLY!) and new decorative pillows! And, thanks to a heads up by Kelly Clarke (thanks Kelly) we saved $50 because of the friends and family coupon! Or, the pessimist might say we spent $300 that we wouldn't have spent otherwise (thanks Kelly). In any case, I'm very excited to put up my new curtains just as soon as I can lift my arms above my head.

After our shopping excursion, we decided to really take advantage of our free time and went to see The Dark Knight. It was really good but it might have contributed to the back issue because it was so intense that I kept having to sink down in my seat, cover my eyes and grasp Tom's arm firmly - only to sit back up again when things lightened up a little. I walked out of that theater with shaky knees and not just because of the way Christian Bale fills out that batman suit.

Finally, we headed back to Callum's house to pick up the boys. Lucky for us (and future free, I mean, playdates), the report was that the boys were really easy, had a great time and it was almost easier having the 3 of them than it would have been to have just Callum. It looks like we have more "playdates" in our future.

The next day, with the exception of a few minutes in Costco, the boys were really good.

This is a phase, right? When they turn 6 they'll be lots of fun again, right?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Free Association

Five years old is kicking my butt. Today I found myself thinking wistfully of the baby stage. Maybe it's because two of our closest friends just had babies.

Could I please stop self editing? Holy hell it's driving me crazy. Constantly going back, delete, delete, delete. Rephrase. No wonder I'm feeling creatively blocked!

I'm feeling creatively blocked. I compose posts in my head all the time - on the way to work/school, on the way home, as I'm falling asleep at night, as I'm washing my hair in the shower. A constant stream of words go through my head and, in my head, they sound fantastic. But by the time I finally get a chance to put them down on paper - the words escape me and I find myself hovering over the delete key more than anything else. It's making me nuts. The words are there.

Then I stop what I'm writing and re-read what I've written. Why? I don't know. I wish I could write what's in my head. It sounds so much better there. Oh, gotta go flip the chicken. Nope, not ready yet. Maybe if I just brainstorm? Free, free, free - what is that expression? freestyle? no freemind? no what is it? god, that's going to bug me. free association. Thank goodness I figured that out.

So what is this post about? My stifled creativity or how 5 year olds are kicking my ass? Let's first start with the stifled creativity. So, I'm constantly composing posts in my head - we've covered that. Then, by the time I sit down to write I'm too tired. By then, it's 10:00pm and I'm bone tired without a creative trickle left, let alone a stream. I also long to start reading again. You know, great books, great fiction, great non-fiction. Great writers. But I don't have time. I don't have time to seek out great work and, if I had something great to read, I'd fall asleep by page 5. Instead, I read blogs. Tom wonders what I'm doing whenever I have the computer on my lap. I feel stupid saying "reading blogs" but it's what I like to do. I'm sure he wonders what I find so fascinating about other peoples' lives - people I've never met. But, some of them are brilliant writers and I always feel like my soul is a little nourished when I read something beautiful, something thoughtful or brilliant. I crave that.

I'm sitting here looking at my bare walls and I so badly want to fill them but am waiting to be inspired. By what? I don't know. I want to put something up that makes sense, that suits us, our home, our lives. I want art but don't know what kind. Photography? Prints? What? Pictures of family? It drives Tom crazy that we haven't put anything up yet but I don't want to just throw something up on the walls just to cover them.

Then I see something in a magazine - a cool cabinet with carefully, thoughtfully collected mementos and inside my head whines "i want that".

I used to hate quiet. I always turned the TV on even if I didn't watch it, just to have some noise. Now, I long for quiet. It soothes me. I love leaving the lights off in the house with just one light on, just one pool of light that casts shadows into the living room or hallway. I can breathe.

Tomorrow I'll probably hate the fact that I wrote this. Will wrestle internally with uncertainty - should I leave it up or take it off? I could make it private. Do I care? Is it part of me? Does it deserve to be shared? Would anyone benefit? Does it matter?

Will it hurt anyone? That's the most important question. Only me. Will it?

I love my life. I just wish I had more time to nourish my soul.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Catalina Island

Of course I went! And I fully intend to do it again next year. It was awesome!

I needn't have worried about the boat. It was a big boat, the water was smooth and the boys did just fine. I brought along some freshly grated ginger and whenever I felt slightly uneasy, I ate a pinch of ginger and it calmed the waves (of nausea).

We didn't spend much time in the town of Avalon but just headed right for the beach. The kids frolicked in the waves and I took pictures. The water was cold but once they got in, they were just fine. After a few hours of beach play and lunch, we headed over to the cove so the older kids could go snorkeling. Jack and Dean both said they wanted to snorkel but we couldn't get Dean to go down the steps. He stayed with Amanda instead. Jack insisted he wanted to go but only with me. So, I got into the water (FREEZING!!) and held onto him while he came in. The combination of the cold water, floating kelp brushing his feet, slippery algae on the steps, the too-large snorkel mask and the darkness and depth of the water was too much for him though, and he got very scared. I put him back up on the step and one of the older kids walked him back up the steps and wrapped a towel around him. He was worried about me so he stayed at the top of the steps and watched me snorkel until I finally climbed out after 20 minutes. I don't fault him for freaking out. That water was cold and it's very disconcerting to navigate behind a snorkel mask. But, I'm hoping that they'll do it next year when we go back because the fish are spectacular and I know they'll want to see it. I don't much like breathing through that tube though. Made me hyperventilate.

The only stress-inducing moment was when the 18 of us had to sprint to make the 3:00 ferry. We made it with just a couple of minutes to spare. I wouldn't have minded being stranded on Catalina for another couple of hours though. It was real purty.

I'll put up a couple of pictures as soon as I can figure out why Blogger is sending me error messages.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Summer Days

It's crazy this week. So busy at work that I just have time to rush into my office, check voice mail, glance at email, groan at the expanding list of unread, prep for the next meeting, rush out to pick up the boys. I promised myself that tonight I would leave work at the office and be completely in the moment when I picked them up. It didn't start off so well. They're grumpy after a long day of frolicking in the surf, making sand castles and chasing the tide. Later this week they're going on a day trip to Catalina Island.

Yeah, their daycare rocks.

Still, it's a long day for a couple of five year olds and I usually bear the brunt. Tonight was no different and by the time we got home, everyone was scowling. So much for in the moment.
To diffuse the tension, I busied myself in the kitchen while they settled in to watch a little noggin. They watched, I cooked and everyone settled down. I finished up dinner and told them to go wash up. They didn't make a move. I figured they fell asleep but no, Dean wouldn't go to the bathroom by himself and Jack was just laying on the couch with his face in his hands. I asked again for them to go wash hands and then Jack looked at me and told me he was scared. I sat down on the couch, bundled him up in my arms and asked what he was afraid of.

He's afraid of the boat. And that's how I found myself in the strange position of ignoring my own fears in order to reassure my child. Naturally, I've been wrestling with this trip to Catalina. They have an hour long drive to the port followed by an hour long ferry ride to the island. Once on island, they'll play on the beach, have some lunch, do a little snorkeling and walk around the little town before they hop back on the ferry and head back to the mainland. It will be an amazing, unforgettable day for them and I don't want them to miss it -- despite my own irrational fears. But Jackie's afraid that the boat is going to tip over and that there are sharks in the water.

What? I wasn't afraid of sharks. At least, not until he mentioned them.

Luckily, Tom arrived just a few minutes later and he talked about how safe the boat is, that Amanda would never let them do something that was dangerous. Somehow, it's more believable when Daddy says it.

My schedule seems kind of light on Friday. Maybe I'll take the day off.

I hear Catalina Island is beautiful this time of year.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

El Capitan

The boys posed w/ Mickey outside of the El Capitan theater today.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Right now, yes this very minute, sitting in front of me on a festive orange and fuschia plate is a chunk of fresh italian bread, a handful of kalamata olives, a chunk of fresh mozzarella and the most beautiful, delicately sliced prosciutto. And, just for kicks 'cos I'm crazy like that, I just poured some gorgeous extra virgin olive oil into a bowl so I could dip my bread into it.

I really would make a very good Italian.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Twin Bond

They held hands today on the way to school.

After a morning of name calling and numerous pronouncements of meanness.

They always find some way to reconnect.