Saturday, April 30, 2005

Recipe for Success

I have come to the conclusion that in order for me to get anything creative done, I must do the following:

1. Ignore the housework.

2. Give myself time to noodle a little. Go for a walk, or as I did this morning, go get a facial (which I desperately needed, and which allowed me time to work on a story idea while a collagen mask dried on my face).

3. Write. Every day. It's that simple.

Handy Home Treatment Advice

By the by: my aesthetician, Helen, is 45 years old and looks, hell I don't know, at least 10 years younger than that. She told me that she doesn't have time to get regular facials because she's too busy giving them to other people. But she told me this simple trick: in the morning, boil some water and pour it into a cup or mug. Place 2 chamomile tea bags in the water and leave them there all day. In the evening, take the tea bags out and throw them away. Pour the chamomile tea into an ice cube tray and place it in the freezer. The next morning, after you rinse your face with water (only wash your face at night, she says), take out the ice cube and rub it over your face. She claims it firms up the skin and prevents wrinkles. What the hell, right?

She also said I have the skin of someone under 30. "You have beautiful elasticity to your skeen," she said. (She is Russian, and calls me "dahlink," and I can't help but think of Natasha from Rocky & Bullwinkle when she does so. With great and abiding affection, of course.) This is because my skin is pretty damn oily, but as Helen says, "Would you razzer have peemples or wreenkles? I'll take the peemples any day!"

Easy for her to say. But she is lovely, dahlink.

Tune in tomorrow and watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat (nuthin' up my sleeve...presto!).

Friday, April 29, 2005

Who you tryin' to get crazy with, ese?

Don't you know I'm loco?*

Last week, when we were driving down to Oceanside, Viva declared war on me, with (as far as I'm concerned) practically no provocation on my part. She was whiny and complaining for virtually the entire 95-mile ride. I won't get into all of it here, because I have conveniently blanked out certain nasty bits in my brain. However, at one point about 45 miles into the drive, Viva started screaming that she couldn't get her shoe off. To be helpful and to make the screeching stop, I reached into the back seat (while driving at about 3,000 mph), felt around for her foot, pulled her shoe off, and dropped it onto the floor. She then started screaming even more loudly: "I need my shoe! I want my shoe ON!"

Oh, people. The reason they make toddlers so damn cute is so you won't drive the car off the fucking road when they do things like this. I patiently explained that we were in the carpool lane and driving very fast, that she had said she wanted her shoe off, and that she was just going to have to live with it like that until the car stopped. After I calmed her down from that hissyfit, she started this a few minutes later:

Viva [screaming bloody murder]: I'm stuck! I'm STUCK! My shoulder! My neck!, etc.

Mama [looking back quickly once we get on a straight stretch of road, and realizing she is complaining about her car seat straps]: You're not stuck. That's your seatbelt.

Viva [suddenly calm]: Huh?

Mama: That's your SEATBELT. You need it to stay safe, remember? I wear a seatbelt, you have to wear a seatbelt, everybody has to wear a seatbelt to be safe in the car. [surprised not to hear any further protest from the peanut gallery] God, I'm losing my mind.

Viva: You want it back, Mama? You want it back?

Mama [laughing, but serious]: YES! By God, YES, I would like it back. Have you seen it?

Okay, so yesterday, this weird whininess returned. Again, we were in the car. Viva was complaining about everything: the fact that I had no juice box for her, the price of gas, how much her arthritis has been bothering her, you name it. This was punctuated by her asking me every couple of minutes, "Where are you going?" Since I had told her where we were going already about 18 times, I got just the tiniest bit fed up.

Mama: I don't know about you, but I am going lulu, crazy, totally bananas, 'round the bend!

Viva [suddenly really, really mad and on the verge of tears]: I don't want to go around the bend! I don't want to go around the bend!

Mama: Oh. My. GAWD.

* Apologies to Cypress Hill, but surely I'm not the only one who's misappropriated their lyrics.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Satan's Myths of Marriage

On Sunday, Sweet William was channel surfing and came across a Christian televangelist-type show. The preacher was talking about marital problems, and it became clear that he was addressing his entire sermon to the wives in the audience. Now, I don't know about you, but when I encounter something that blatantly misogynist, I can't tear myself away right off. It's like a car wreck or a street fight. I'm horrified, but I have to look.

Well, it's a good thing I did, or I would have missed this little gem: "Intimacy means 'Into ME see'." Sweet William and I gasped, and grinned huge, lunatic grins at each other. "Oh, honey," he said. He didn't have to say anything more.

"Oh my GAWD," I said. "I love it." And it was immediately added to the canon of goofball stuff of which the Blah Blahs are most fond.

This term is useful in so many situations:
  • Perhaps we are irritable with one another. All one of us has to do is say, "Into ME see," and it breaks the tension, avoiding further escalation of irritation and possibly sparking a pillow fight.
  • Perhaps one of us is interested in getting a little action. All one of us has to do is say, "8 o'clock, after Viva's asleep. Into ME see," and the other will wink and nod.
  • Perhaps one of us is sick and regaling the other with details of gastrointestinal distress, at which the other is protesting, "Too much information!" All one has to do is say sweetly, "Into ME see," and the other must grumblingly acquiesce.
At any rate, if you, too, are interested in learning more from this earnestly helpful man of God (cough, cough, sorry, something in my throat), you may click here. And yes, the title of this post was the title of the sermon. Cheezus!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


This morning, after dropping Viva off at preschool, I had breakfast with a friend of mine. We are not old friends, and we are not best friends, but she is one of those people that you can speak your whole mind to. She is articulate; she is brilliant; she is well-read; she is principled; and she is really fucking funny. I admire her a great deal.

After we ate, we went for a walk, and as it turned out, I spent my entire "No Viva" time with her. The whole morning! We just would not shut up. We talked politics and capitalism and feminism and ethics. We talked about the mundanities of everyday life. We talked about one's life purpose and careers and family and what the next step for each of us might be.

Well, for her, it's business school. She has been accepted to one of the top programs in the country and she'll be moving east in July.

For me, it's not so clear-cut. I want to write, and yet I have not made that happen. Not yet. So here I sit, after having this thought-provoking discussion, and I have no answers, and here is a quote for you to ponder:

There is never enough time for writing. It is a parallel universe where the days, inconveniently, are also twenty-four hours long. Every moment spent in one's real life is a moment missed in one's writing life, and vice versa. - Gish Jen

This pretty much encapsulates how I have been feeling. I am going to work this, though, so help me God.

Monday, April 25, 2005

I'm sick. I'm sorry.

I've caught Viva's cold. Wait, you're saying, didn't she just have a cold?

How perceptive of you. Checking back though the archives, it appears she had a cold a mere month ago. I didn't get it that time.

Damn preschools. They're nothing but germ factories, you opinion which, in a way, is confirmed by these recent findings. Do you see how following the news can drive you completely 'round the bend? Now it turns out I haven't given my child the best start in life by keeping her home with me!

I am completely crabby, in need of a facial, and would love nothing better than to curl up on the couch and watch all the DVDs we own that I haven't yet watched. Actually, I should start with The Office: The Complete Series and Specials, which I borrowed from Coolia. I've only watched six episodes. I have watched the American spinoff, which surprisingly, isn't horrible, maybe because it features one of my favorites, the guy who played Arthur on Six Feet Under.

My little mucus-factory has just awakened. More to come...

Monday, April 18, 2005

Recent Blah Blah Tidbits

Heard around Casa de Blah Blah over the past couple days:

Sunday Afternoon

Our balcony door is open. There is a prodigious amount of honking and yelling from the street. Our downstairs neighbor yells back from his balcony, "I forgot my cocktail!" There is a period of relative silence, and then the honking and yelling begins again. Some thoughtful young gentlemen down on the street are hanging out by their ginormous SUV -- a Navigator? Who knows? -- and yelling, "Where are those cocktails?!"

Viva [gesturing toward the balcony]: What's that?

Sweet Willie [all weary sarcasm]: Probably a genius.

Viva: Look, Mommy, look! A genius!

Monday Morning

I have just finished taking a shower. I am standing in the bathroom in my birthday suit, putting on moisturizer. Sweet Willie is watching me from the bedroom.

Sweet W: Your booty looks like a cat's smile.

Monday Morning, Viva Awake Now

We are in Viva's bathroom, having just finished brushing her teeth and washing her face. Viva picks up an incense holder, which mercifully is empty.

Viva: Where's the stick? What happen to the stick, man?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Phone is Not a Toy!

Recent phone message from Sweet William's dad, Bill. (A little context: their relationship could fairly be described as rocky, and messages like this come from out of the blue.)

Bill: Hey William? We are having a block party at our church and we would like for you to come and bring Viva. Okay, it’ll be Saturday, April the 16th from 10 to 4 –

Female Voice: Hello?

Bill: Hello? [sounding pleased] How you doin’?

Female Voice: This is Sylvia [laughs].

[Note: Sylvia is Bill’s wife, Sweet Willie’s stepmother. Sweet W cannot abide her.]

Bill: Oh. [not so pleased]

Sylvia: I’ll hang up, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were on the phone.

Bill: Oh, okay. [Sylvia hangs up.]

Bill: Okay. I was saying it would be from 10 to 6, 10 to 4, Saturday, April the 16th if you would like to come and be the special guest…

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Well, today was Viva's first day of preschool, and miracle of miracles: it was fine. It was more than fine, it was great. I felt sick and on the verge of tears all morning before we got in the car and went to school. Once we got in the car, I thought to myself, "I wish her preschool was 100 miles away," because that is how completely insane I am over this milestone that (hello) every kid has to go through on some level or another. I was not so much worried about her as I was about myself, and yet...she is still so small, and she doesn't stick up for herself, and what if the other kids don't share, and what if she doesn't like what they have for lunch, etc., etc., ad nauseam.

Yes, I am completely insane. But at least I know that I am. Why, hello, are you completely bananas too?

Anyway, I kept it together until I got outside, where I started blubbering like a fool before I even made it to my car. I went home, drank some iced coffee, and:

called Coolia, did two loads of laundry, folded and put away said laundry, vacuumed, cleaned Viva's room, washed dishes, pulled together dry cleaning and Goodwill bags, threw library books in a bag after realizing they were DUE TODAY,and then realized I had 15 minutes to go return the library books, pick up Sweet Willie, and pick up my Viva (Sweet W works two blocks away from where Viva goes to school, so I got him on his lunch hour). We arrived just as naptime was starting. Miss Elsa opened the door, Viva popped out of the darkness and said, in a voice that melted me from curly head to lacquered toe, "MOM-my!" Like someone had just given her the best present ever.

Now, apparently she didn't cry at all. And either we have the most well-adjusted child on the planet, or there will be some sort of nasty delayed reaction.

But now that Viva's in school, I expect to be blogging more, and writing more, and maybe paying a bit more attention to current events. Did you know, for example, that the Pope died? I can see why you might not have heard about it, because it has hardly been covered by the media at all.

Oh, and I might even perform a public service for you. Given that I have to put premium gas in my car, I am always looking for the best deal possible. Well, my friends, here is the link for the cheapest gas in the L.A. area (just type in your ZIP code). And for those of you from other areas, just go here.

I mean, you can pay more if you want to. But you could probably find something else you need to spend money on.

Reality Check

Moving on: I recently saw Hotel Rwanda. Um. Sweet Willie worked on this movie in post-production, so he saw it about 15 times. He said that it was like Schindler's List, in that it is an intense experience, very moving, but because it is so, you really are not going to want to see it more than once. I have not found this to be the case. I find myself thinking about it again and again and wanting to see certain scenes again, and I would, except we have a screener DVD, which is essentially a video -- there is no such thing as scene selection, no extra footage, no "The Making of" kind of material. Since there are certain scenes that I really do not want to see again -- I'm not so crazy about genocide by machete, I don't know about you -- I would just have to fast forward, squinting and flinching, through the whole movie.

Anyway, I just felt really drawn to the characters and horrified by what they went through and relieved that it was over. You know, how sometimes you read a book and you're sad that it ends, because you've come to care for the characters and you want to know what else is going to happen to them? If this has never happened to you, then I don't know what to tell you. Maybe you should try reading a book, I don't know.

But I guess the beauty of this movie in some sense is that it is a true story, so I can now go online and read interviews with Paul Rusesabagina and his family to get more info. Hey, technology is an amazing thing.

I might go do that right this second. But first I'm going to sneak back into my kitchen and have a cookie and a cup of tea while Viva is knocked out and snoring. Viva la midday snack!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Where have YOU been?

So I had a couple of weeks there where I was not blogging. What happened, do you say? Well, Sweet William was on vacation, for one thing. Although that's not much of an excuse because we didn't go away. We often don't, because we like home a lot. Also, we wanted to have time to do all the prep for Viva's birthday and party, which was a smashing success. Highlights from her birthday week:

Sunday: drove down to Oceanside for Easter. Since my grandfather's death, my mom has gone crazy with decorations and my grandma doesn't seem to have the energy or inclination to stop her. There were bunnies and chicks on every available surface. There were also two kinds of cake. Have I mentioned yet that my mom has diabetes?

Monday: drove back to Los Angeles. It took nearly three hours because the grandmas were hanging on to us for dear life, so we didn't leave until the afternoon [read: rush hour traffic]. There is nothing quite like crawling into Los Angeles County on the 5 Freeway at 4 in the afternoon. Sweet Willie and I were quite ticked off about it. Viva could not have cared less because she basically slept the entire way home.

Tuesday: Sweet Willie spent most of the day with Viva, at his request. I cleaned house, got a mani/pedi, had my car detailed, and took notes on ideas for the TV show my friend Coolia wants us to write. Viva could not have cared less because she had her DADDY! All to HERSELF!

Wednesday: I seem to be blanking on what we did that day. It must have been fabulous. Oh, one thing I can tell you is that Viva took her first ballet class that day. And she looked cuter than cute in her tutu. Seriously, I could barely stand it.

Thursday: Viva woke up with a fever. Her temp could not be confirmed because she was fiercely resistant to use of the thermometer. Since she was pretty feisty, we decided to stick with the game plan and take her to the aquarium, which she seemed to enjoy. Later, when we got her home, she threw up all over the couch. We then put her down for a nap and debated calling off the birthday party. Decision held pending her condition the next day.

Friday (Viva's actual birthday): Fever gone, Viva got up and within thirty seconds of waking up wanted to open her presents. Once she opened everything, she said, "More presents?" What hath God wrought?! Later, we took her to the pet store to get her big surprise birthday present: an aquarium. We were talking to the fish guy, had decided on a tank and were debating the merits of various fish, when he said: "Oh, hey ya know, you can't take the fish home for five days, ya know that, right?" Since we had not done any homework of any kind on this issue (because why be prepared?), NO, we did not know this. Apparently you have to set the tank up and get the water to the right temp and right pH before you add the fish. Oops. And even then, they recommend you get "tester" fish (i.e., fish that cost 20 cents each) since they might die. "Oh, man," said Sweet Willie. "Dude, we have to get some fish today. We can't go home with no fish. I mean, look at her." Viva was the very picture of cute expectancy. So we bought two twenty-nine cent goldfish, who Viva promptly dubbed "My two Dorothys," and went home. I think you know what happened. The two Dorothys didn't even make it to the end of the day. Flush!

Anyway, Viva was interested in those fish for about 10 minutes, and then could not have cared less. So Sweet William made the executive decision to cut our losses and return the tank. I think Viva was much happier with the rest of her presents. She also liked her birthday cupcake.

Image hosted by

Saturday: The morning of the party. Party supposed to start at 11. At 9:30, Viva had a meltdown:

Image hosted by

Just had to share. The party went off without a hitch at 11, was over by about 1:30, and then Viva had her second meltdown, which we didn't document, and went off for a nap. I think she was really ticked off that all the hoopla was over. We should have a party every weekend!

Whew! That's all the recapping I can stand. If you have read this far, you must be a freakin' masochist.

Anyway, we had a good time. She is now two, for better or worse. And she is starting preschool tomorrow. Oh, dear God, my heart.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Un. Bee. Leave. A. Bull!

The scene: post-lunch. Nap time. Have just consumed lunch and in combination with our new "in order to get Viva used to going to preschool next week, have to get her and myself up and out the door by 8 AM every day this week" schedule, am practically comatose.

Viva is snuggled in her Dora sleeping bag next to her crib, talking my head off. I am lying with my head on the Boppy and nearly passing out. I tell her "Okay, baby, quiet down, let's both take a nap -- Mama's taking a nap too," and roll over with my back to her.

A few seconds of silence. Then Viva starts talking to herself. Then she starts talking to me. I pretend I am already sleeping (i.e., I do not respond).

Viva: Mommy, are you sleeping? [no response] Mommy? MOM!! [no response] Oh my GOD, this unbe-LEEV-able. [softer, more to herself] Oh my God, it's unbelievable.

I nearly bust something internally trying not to laugh, and then I roll over and say, "Okay, sister, back into the crib, let's go!"

And of course, I haven't had a nap and it's past time for her to get up, which means I have to go wake her. Mean, mean, Mommy.

Have a fabulosh weekend, all...

Just wrote post. Gone!

After nearly two weeks without posting, browser closed while in midst of writing entry. Can barely contain rage. Will try now to write abridged version. But can barely see through red mist. Must. Carry. On.