OK, so it goes down like this...
Saturday Maddy, Levi and I get up bright and early, drive to my folks home in Gilroy and walk to the Garlic Festival. Once there we barely have a chance to buy a headband with a crown on the top and a frozen lemonade before a temptress in the Kids Zone sings her siren song, "Hey, do you want to enter a talent contest?" She waves 3 lyric sheets in Maddy's face and asks her to pick one and sign on the dotted line and our weekend is forever changed.
At 4:30 we come back to the designated children's area - and I have to interject here that at 11:00 am when we wandered in this exact place it was cool and breezy, the kids were fresh faced and well behaved, the parents patient and wanting to spend some quality time with their precious offspring. At 4:30, not so much.
It's blisteringly hot. I can't swing a dead cat without hitting 5 sweaty, filthy, cranky, garlic-scented kids screaming and whining and demanding more sugar-crack-shaved-ice. Parents are beer and garlic scented, exhausted and weary and equally whiny. Also, Maddy is so hot and nervous that I think she might throw-up. Fun!
After the emcee blatheres on for 40 minutes (you'd think I was exaggerating this point, though I am not) Maddy is the first on the stage. She had selected "Rock Star" by Smash Mouth. She stands up straight, sings her heart out and does a great job. Then she has to turn to the judges. That's right. Cause this is "Idol" style. Now let's be clear, had there been a Simon in the bunch I would have knocked his ass flat in the dirt. Luckily for them, no harsh comments. Compliments all around. Maddy leaves the stage. And promptly bursts into tears.
See, singing is not her forte. Don't get me wrong, she can sing. She can carry a tune and emote and has wonderful rhythm. But her preference is dance. If she had had time and been prepared she would have danced. But there, in that place at that time, so nervous and hot, with no tap shoes and none of her own music, with such limited choices, she sang. And she didn't feel great about her own singing. What can you do?
Deep breath. This is why parents earn the big bucks, if you know what I mean. This will be a humbling experience and we will all be fine and I just need to help my daughter to stand up straight and walk through this even though she is feeling very uncomfortable right now. I am sad and proud all at the same time. Because I want her to have successes, but the losses are so important too. They help to define us as people. They make us stronger and kinder and more compassionate. She can do this and I'm here to help her.
So, after I comfort her, tell her she was great, I then explain to her that we have to support all of the other contestants. We sit ourselves down on a hay-bale and watch singing and dancing and juggling and karate. The judges vote. All of the contestants are invited on to the stage. They are thanked and fawned over. You're so great and awesome, etc, etc... The top three will be invited to come back tomorrow and perform in the final competition for the title of champion, blah, blah, blah. Everyone is nervous. Fidgeting and wiggling abound.
And they call her name.
And what I know in that very instant is that this experience, this humbling and learning experience, has just turned into something else all together. It's gonna be a blood bath. I mean that in a in a 9 year-old, poised and polite, festival in a park, kids talent competition way. Cause tomorrow she's not gonna sing. Tomorrow she's gonna dance. And dancing is her forte. She's going to bring her A-game. Cause that is how she does it. And these other two finalists, this brother and sister from Gilroy, they're never gonna see it coming. I feel a little bad for them.
Of course, I video-taped the whole she-bang. In my complete video, when the winner is announced, (and make no mistake, she was the winner) you can see from behind the shock of the Gilroy kids' friends. They had tons of friends and family there. They all thought one of the local kids would win.
And I'm the out-of-town bitch who showed up with the ringer. Nice.
Here is the short version. So you can see for yourself.
OK, so it goes down like this...
I'm feeling torn.
On the one hand I want to be catty and bitchy about the San Jose Grand Pricks that are shutting down all of downtown so they can publicly measure their - well, you know. I work downtown. Getting there blows right now. I hate the whole car racing thing. I hate it more when it affects my access to my work and my commute for over a week. I just want to... complain! A LOT!
But I'm feeling really heavy with all of the tragic reportings lately. Holy crap. It really is my practice to find the bright side. To get to a solution before my friends kick my complaining ass to the curb. You know my motto: "Two arms? Two Legs? Then shut the hell up! No complaining for you!" But this week there is a lot of sadness and struggle in my line of sight and I am feeling dark and down.
I get the fragility of life. We only get to live this one life this one time. It is just so precious and quick and sweet. I feel guilty when I piss the day away. But that's where I am today. I'm moping. I'm also home with a recovering husband. And I'm a little tired. And I am a mopey, sad lady.
I'll feel better soon. Back to my normal self. That being said - please, if you can read these words, slow down. Drive safely. Remember what you are doing and where you are. Right now. Be where you are. Be in your body and in your mind. Where you were earlier today or last month, that moment is gone. Nothing you can do about it now. Where you are going will come even if you don't worry. So don't. Be thoughtful. Be safe. Be safe because it matters to so many people. It matters to me.
I'll thank you in advance. Thanks.
I would now like to share a few links. I hope you enjoy them. Or not. Whatever.
Great shopping sites:
The only food site you'll ever need:
This one is just what it's title implies:
Sort of like a meal of appetizers, I could do a whole movie of trailers:
Apple Movie Trailers
The Hotlinks and Videos of the day are often a great way to kill a half hour:
Go Fug Yourself
I'm feeling really lazy like I don't want to write or cook or talk - all I want to do is read. Is that so wrong?
Here are 2 books just waiting for me at the Rosegarden Library for pickup today:
Eat the Document: A Novel
No Country for Old Men
And a lovely little list of Summer Reading options from Amazon just for you. And anyone else who goes there. Enjoy.
ALSO - be sure to take the poll I posted (to the right at the top of this blog)!!! I want to see results. Send your friends!
Gosh, that sounds pretty pushy after I just said I don't want to do anything at all. Hmmmm....
** Earring Update - no earrings for Maddy yet. We were at the Claire's at the Gilroy Outlets this weekend and I asked her if she wanted to pop in and get them done real quick.
Madigan's wide eyed response: "Uh, I don't know. Ummmm, where is Daddy. I don't think he wants me to today." So there you have it. Someday, but just not today. Or tomorrow.
It is time for the summer TV lineup. When did this start? Summer used to mean boring reruns, perhaps I should go outside and enjoy the longer days and daylight. Not anymore!
Here are a few of the shows that will keep me cooped-up indoors:
State of Mind - Lili Taylor (whom I love) is a psychiatrist working in an office with a number of other therapists. One of them is her husband. Who she just walked in on having sex with their marriage counselor. Lovely. I saw the pilot and i like that it is dark and smart and quirky and not at all sappy. Fridays at 9:00 on Lifetime.
Burn Notice - Where the hell did Michael Westen come from? I just hope he stays a while. This is a sexy "spy gets the boot" story, complete with beautiful ex-girlfriend who could rip your head off with her hands, and alcoholic best friend PI who thinks better when only wearing his chonies. Thursdays at 10:00 on USA
Monk and Psych - returns, but both are great fun. USA is really turning it up these days! Fridays at 9:00 and 10:00, respectively. On USA.
The Closer - Another return, and a great one. Bad lipstick, big purses, funny little cardigan sweaters, voracious appetite; aren't these things you'd expect from a chief of police in Los Angeles? You will now. Mondays at 9:00 on TNT.
Saving Grace - Holly Hunter. Need I say more? Mondays at 10:00 on TNT. After The Closer.
Traveler - Fun conspiracy show. What's not to love. Also, Tyler Fog's dad is the prison warden from Silence of the Lambs. The one Hanibal "has for dinner" after he escapes. Hehe. I can't figure out what night, but I was able to watch the latest episode online. ABC.
I also like Dexter and Weeds. I will always adore CSI, and since I am always out at 9;00 on Thursdays, I catch up when I can. But only the original one. Not the Miami and New York crap.
There is literally nothing I want to see on NBC or FOX, and now that both Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars are canceled, I see no use what so ever for the CW or whatever the hell that stupid network is called. My humble opinion here, folks.
Any shows you are watching? Let me know!
Levi is the only living creature in our house who slept last night. The rest of us did not. Here is how it went:
Levi went to bed. He fell asleep in 5 minutes
Madigan got in to her bed.
Madigan came to our bed.
Madigan went to Levi's top bunk.
Madigan moved to the sofa.
Madigan came to our room and lay with her blanket on the floor.
The dogs woke up and rustled around. A lot.
The dogs barked.
Madigan got up from the floor and came in to our bed.
One dog started sneezing. A LOT. For a long time.
Ruben took the sneezing dog downstairs and slept on the sofa.
Madigan got up to check on Ruben and the dog.
Madigan came back to our bed.
I barked at Madigan that she had to GO TO SLEEP for the love of Pete!
At this point it was 4:30
I feel as bad as I did when I was nursing a teething child who was going through a growth spurt. Except for the cracked nipple thing. The entire right side of my head is throbbing, I yawned ten or more times in my staff meeting. I am day dreaming about taking a sick day to sleep. And you know what sucks the most? This is TOTALLY MY FAULT. And here's why:
I let Madigan watch The Sixth Sense. Go ahead and judge me. I'll wait.
It seemed so innocent at the time. I was watching the movie a couple of days ago and Madigan came in to my room. I let her know that this movie was about a little boy who can see and talk with ghosts and even though the ghosts scare him he wants to help them. Kind of sweet and a little scary. So she made the choice to hang around. I talked her through Mischa Barton barfing in Haley Joel Osment's red tent in the middle of his bedroom. I explained that the doctor was a dead guy but he didn't know it and how Haley helped him to feel better. See, sweet and only a little scary, right? Well, I'm 36. She is 9. Lesson learned. WAY too late.
Also, our friends from Missouri came to visit and we said goodbye to them last night. She was very sad and will miss them. Also, she is changing schools this fall. She is anxious and nervous and worried and now I have firmly planted ghosts on to her list of things to worry about. Super!
There are no plans for solution in this post, folks. No ideas about how we will resolve this and be well rested and happy very soon. No promises that I will never show her a scary movie again (although I'm pretty sure this cured me of that need).
I'm just tired. And I want to go home.
Oral surgery sucks ASS. That is all there is to it.
But it turns out that my dentist actually knows what he is doing. Cause just a couple short weeks later I don't want to die. Which is nice.
On that fateful day I spent an hour and a half with a pig nose strapped to my face while my doctor and his short tempered nurse took a jackhammer to my head. He tried to take my pig nose at one point. Razor sharp nails in flesh changed his tune pretty quickly, I must say. We agreed that I should be breathing gaseous happiness for every second of our special time together. Great minds thinking alike and all.
So I will have 3 more grafts over the next few years. You might read my grumbling complaints. Please forgive me in advance. We heavy handed brushers who cause our gums to recede are people, too. We deserve the same irritated though thinly veiled respect for self-indulgent and rambling posts as the rest of those so-called "normal" people.
I'm forcing the issue. I'm making my kids stay home. On a Saturday. No trip to the movie theater. No play dates. No shopping excursion to the air-conditioned mall. Just us at home. In a house with 4 computers, thousands of books, 2 tvs, stereos, 1 mp3 player, 1 karaoke machine, closets full of art supplies, bedrooms full of toys, dogs to play with, and a mountain full of outdoor adventures awaiting. In other words, pure unadulterated hell.
I have a few tricks up my sleeve in just these situations:
First, I make my kids watch endless hours of television. I mean, why am I paying all that money for satellite service if I can't buy myself a full day of brain cell burning peace and quite? Hello? Also the meals that I am required to feed them can be eaten in front of the magic silence box. Delightful.
Second, in the event that they will not be entertained by the idiot box, I can check out some crafty kid ideas on the Internet. One site I like I love is Melissa's Buzz Off from Alpha Mom. Recent articles include painting with straws and photo sensitive paper projects. Very cool. And Kids Craft Weekly is an amazing resource for the pre-school set. It's a weeks worth of projects on a single topic. This week the topic is Machines. Check it out.
The perennial site for tragically bored children is FamilyFun.com. With literally thousands of crafts and treats and decorating ideas and activities and birthday parties and fun. No child should ever utter "I'm so bored..." while a site like this exists.
Third, I can choose to let the boredom in and see what they discover. This is the hardest option for me because it can include up to 2 hours of whining and complaining before the magic of imagination kicks in. (During this phase I often visualize drowning myself in my huge tub or driving off a cliff a la Thelma and Louise.) But once the imagination takes over - nirvana.
So, when the kids are handled (thank the lord) I have some time for me. Which is the entire point of having a relaxing day at home. Often I choose reading. I'm currently back on a Jonathan Kellerman kick. I had put him down for a couple of years and while I was away he wrote some good books. Good for him and for me!
Shelfari is a fun bookshelf site that lets you browse user's bookshelves and read reviews and ratings and such. I like to browse a shelf with some of the same books I have and look for new cool books and authors. I just found Elsewhere this way. I will be adding it to my account at the San Jose Public Library. The library will email me when they have the book ready for me. I love that!
Also, I can be found cooking when time allows. My cooking style tends to be the "use what you've got" kind. I have a well stocked pantry and I try to buy fresh seasonal ingredients (as they are the best tasting and are often the best prices). Then I start searching. Whether it be AllRecipes.com, Cooks Illustrated, or perusing the pages of How to Eat or my favorite classic choice, The Joy of Cooking. The thing with me is that the the meal has to have a theme. If I'm doing Asian, you won't find an Italian salad dressing on the greens I serve. Sesame-soy or something of the sort. I'm a bit of a stickler in that way. Sue me.
One cool new thing I want to try is Scrapblog. It is an online photo scrapbooking site. I haven't started yet, but I'm totally going to. I haven't touched my physical scrapbooks in a couple of years. Which brings me deep shame. Like I don't love my family anymore. Thus the blogging thing. And now this. When I make an album I'll show you. I promise. If you do one, please show me. Thanks.
So it looks like Levi is playing with his extensive Lego collection. And I do believe that Madigan is writing a story. I told her that I would post it on her blog if she wanted me to. She went away and came back a few minutes later looking for the names of cities in Mississippi. I think she's in the zone. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
OK, I'm off to feed these kids. Cause it's nearly 2:00. Maybe time for lunch? Maybe so.
Nascar themed pool party for Zach's 5th birthday
Visit with cousins in from Paris
Theater Camp at the Rep in SJ
Playdate, Transformers movie and overnight with Emma (dance friend)
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk with our old neighbors
Nascar themed pool party for Zach's 5th birthday
Visit with cousins in from Paris
Ice Age 2 movie
Playdate with Christopher
Soccer fun at Loma Prieta (his new school)
Riding a bike!!!
Bridge to Terabithia movie night at home with mom and dad
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk with our old neighbors
Holy mother of god.
My childhood summers:
Be bored out of your ever-loving mind for 90 days in a row
Be sweaty while you do it
Fight with your brother
I just got a great haircut. Not a regularly scheduled haircut. Not a quick trim cause I have to hack off the bottom 3 inches of split ends. I got a wonderful, leisurely haircut. A flip your hair while you walk to the car, haircut. Complete with a great head massage during the shampoo and a secret concoction of 3 or 4 different delicious smelling products. Mmm mmm good.
I happened upon this great haircut totally by accident. See, I was supposed to pick up Madigan from a play date at around 7:00 which meant I had some time on my hands. I stopped by to visit with Heather while she got her hair colored at Workshop in Los Gatos. Madigan ended up staying the night with her friend, so no pickup for me. Heather's hair color guy Shane had some time on his hands cause he doesn't like to drive home in traffic. One thing led to another, and voila! I look and feel fabulous. And now Shane is my new hair guy. Sweet.
I haven't had a great haircut in a while. I've been letting myself go. I've been a little bit lost in mom-ness and work-ness and wife-ness and totally out of sync with my style-ness and my fabulous-ness.
I don't know about the rest of me, but I'm happy to have good hair back. Feels great.
I live in the mountains. I live in a lovely home. It is located on a mountain road. The mountains, themselves, are wonderful. My home is beautiful and warm. I couldn't be happier. But then there is the road.
Our road is lumpy and bumpy with lots of tight turns. It is 1 to 2 lanes wide, depending on where you are. No smooth, gentle curves for a fun Sunday drive. There are sections where cars can not pass one another. If the 2 cars approach these areas, someone is going to have to pull over. Standard operating procedure. These conditions are made so much more fun by all of the bike riders in the warm weather. It's like a carnival fun house - around every turn there could be horrible death and dismemberment! Super cool! More on the cool bikers another time.
It's not that bad, really. But there is a special code that you have to follow. I try my level best to be safe. I drive a speed just above "granny wearing a shawl" and below "paranoid car accident victim." I have my lights on during the day so other cars can see me, especially because of the shadowy dark stretches of road. The people driving in full sun light cannot see cars coming in the shadows. But they can see lights coming toward them. See how that works? Safe. Considerate. Neighborly.
So, a couple of days ago I'm driving my kids to a pool party. We're crawling along, playing music and having fun and I'm driving (slowly, mind you) toward a narrow stretch that is in shadows. I'm in the sunlight, see. With my lights on. Plus there is sunlight on my car so people can see it. You know what I can't see? The huge black Range Rover with no lights on, driven by the cell phone chatting mother of two. So she stops. And so do I. And she waves me past. But I can't pass, cause she's too far over. There is no room. So I signal to her that she will have to back up and let me pass. She is clearly pissed, cause she's gonna have to set down the cellphone, plus she can't see over her own shoulder as this fucking car is way to big for her and she doesn't know how to drive it. I mean, I'm inferring, but I think that's what her stink-eye is saying.
She finally backs up and over enough for me to pass. I roll down my window, good samaritan that I am.
"It's helpful if you turn on your lights. That way people can see you coming."
"I know how to drive these roads! I live up here in the mountains! And besides, some people just drive too fast!"
So I say, "If you'll just turn on your lights. People can see you coming when you are in the shadows. It's helpful. So we can see you."
"NO. I DON'T HAVE TO. I DON'T HAVE TO DO THAT."
I hope, deep down in my heart of hearts, that her kids talk to her just like that.
I've been spending time in the kitchen with delicious fruits the season. Here are a couple of little yummies I came up with for a dinner we had with our neighbors, Tiffany, Bob, 8 month-old twins Cambria and Nichalos, and Tiffany's brother Doug. The babies didn't have much, but they liked the tastes of dessert that they were allowed.
Fresh Juicy Peach Salad
In a big bowl, combine:
1 head lettuce (I chose curly green leaf)
1 big juicy peach (or 2 small) cut into thin wedges
Chevre (goat cheese) - 1/2 cup crumbled or as much as you like
1/2 cup candied walnuts
1/8 cup red onion, thinly sliced
In a small bowl combine:
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. honey
1/4 cup cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Whisk to combine. While whisking, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or canola oil.
To the mixed dressing add 1/8 cup minced red onion and 1/8 cup crumbled chevre cheese. Stir to combine.
Pour 1/4 of the dressing over the salad and toss well. Add more if you like. My husband always does like.
Apricot Raspberry Crumble
3 cups chopped apricots
1 pint raspberries
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Arrange fruit evenly in the bottom of a 13x9 glass pan. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup oats (old fashioned)
1 tsp. cinnamon
chopped nuts (any kind will do, chopped fine)
When the topping is crumbly, sprinkle evenly over the top of the fruit.
Bake at 3:50 for 45 minutes to an hour. Start checking at 45 minutes. The fruit should be bubbling and the top should look like a soft cookie, but should not be too brown. If the topping is getting too brown but the fruit is not boiling, cover with aluminum foil and continue to cook until the fruit bubbles.
Let cool for a 1/2 hour or more (because boiling fruit is like molten lava and will take the roof of your mouth clean off if you aren't careful) and serve with good vanilla bean ice cream. Or any vanilla ice cream on sale. Cause $7.99 is way too much to spend on a half gallon of ice cream, no matter how damn good it is.
Everybody loved the crumble. Levi wasn't so hot on the salad, but the rest of us loved it. Let me know what you think.
Summer and all of its delicious hot stickyness is here. Long lazy days filled with icy-cold drinks leaving rings all over the house and the hum of fans blowing constantly. Kids, all filthy and sweat-streaked, either running flat out or flopped, spread-eagle on any available surface. Brightly colored plates of fresh fruits and veggies, fragrant flowers inside and out. Blessed are we who must slow down a bit because the weather won't permit our usual frantic pace.
Enjoy your slow. Revel in boredom. See what it brings.