Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More Powerful Than a Locomotive!

Today is Tuesday, and we are exactly a week away from Viva’s 5th birthday. We are not doing a HUGE party this year, but we are doing a small party at school (cupcakes, goody bags) and we are supposed to be taking her and her best friend C. to Disneyland* the weekend before the birthday – i.e. this coming Saturday. Now, I have called C’s mother twice in the past week and a half and left messages on both her home and cell phones. I offered to just take C. with us, or, if her mom was not comfortable with that, we would of course pay for her as well. NO RESPONSE. This is after I already ran it by her a month or so ago and she agreed to come. So now I am scrambling a bit and will probably see if one or both of my nephews can come instead. I know Viva is going to be really disappointed if C. can’t come – I fully expect big, drippy tears, veins standing out from neck, etc. – so I am pretty ticked off on her behalf.

At any rate, Viva decided that for school, she wants a Bat Cat party. Bat Cat is a fairly minor character in the Charlie and Lola series, so there is no such thing as commercially-licensed Bat Cat paraphernalia. I don’t have as much time on my hands these days as I did when I was home on medical leave and made the Bat Cat Halloween costume, so I asked her to compromise a bit and do a general superhero party. She was down with that, because lately she is crazy for The Incredibles and wants to be Dash (“He can RUN! ON! WATER!”)

and she knows the boys in the class (who outnumber the girls 2 to 1) would be cool with Spiderman and Batman masks and all. But as I am looking for goody bag stuff, etc., I’ve been smacked in the face again with how unbalanced all marketing crap is.

The only female prepubescent superhero that I’m aware of is “Word Girl” who appears on PBS:

She’s great and all, but she has a limited audience. There is no big-name girl superhero.**

This bums me out. Clearly, I am going to have to create one in my spare time.

Speaking of non-commercial superhero stuff for your kid (and we were, weren’t we?), check out Little Capers. Now I’m stomping off to finish a program budget, in a single bound.

*I know, this seems to completely contradict my hatred of all things Disney. But we live less than an hour away from D-Land and Viva has never been and wants to go. Sometimes for your kids you have to suck it up.

** Yes, I know Dash’s sister is a superhero, but she’s in junior high. She can turn invisible and create force fields, which is pretty handy, but she doesn’t have the punchy personality of Dash, so I can see why Viva is not so taken with her.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Kick Me While I'm Down!

I just received this in my email inbox:

Dear Family,

Thank you for your interest in [Very Nice] Charter School.

Unfortunately, due to overwhelming response to this year's lottery, we are unable to offer your child a space in the 2008/2009 Kindergarten class at this time.

Your child will remain on the waiting list, and should a space become available, you will be contacted based on the order of the waiting list.

We thank you for your interest in our school and wish you all the best.

[Very Nice Principal]


That was my public school backup plan. I am breathing deeply and thinking that this is all happening for a reason. Something good will come of all this. You know what they say, "You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can't predict the weather."* Words of wisdom, my friends.

I need a day off.

* Outkast, "Ms. Jackson"

Monday, March 10, 2008

Living in a Shotgun Shack

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself-well...how did I get here?
Talking Heads
“Once in a Lifetime”

So. We are not moving. We could not make the house work for us for a variety of reasons. I am really bummed and I can’t talk about it.

The breakroom where I work is stocked with a variety of teas, coffee, and hot chocolate packets. I am finding little consolation in the idea I can drink hot chocolate, “now with antioxidants!” How can hot chocolate have antioxidants in it? What kind of world are we living in?

Back to house news, because I can’t stop thinking about it. Sweet Dub and I have been watching the real estate market tank, and following forecasts which indicate the L.A. housing market won’t fully correct itself until possibly 2010. This is frustrating, because we are on the cusp of being able to buy, and yet anything we buy now would probably depreciate as soon as we bought it. It’s like buying a car!

At any rate, because I am all about the Internets, I have found a couple of LA-area blogs I like, one of which is pretty well known, and the other perhaps not so much. Check them out, if you feel like it. Now, with antioxidants!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Honey, I'm Home

I know I am a blog slacker, and I don’t write enough. This time I haven’t been writing because I didn’t want to jinx my Really Big News.

No, I’m not pregnant. At least, I don’t think so. Hmmm…(counting back through the calendar…)

Well, anyway, the Really Big News is that the Blah Blah Family is moving! We are doubling our space and moving into a new house less than a mile from our current house. It is still a rental, because we have not yet saved the big bucket of cash we would need to put down as a down payment on a house in a decent area (median home price in Los Angeles is somewhere around $500,000*, but the average home price in our ZIP code is $850,383. Yeah, you read that right.). We’re getting there, but not quite yet. However, while this house will cost us more in rent, it will actually save us money in the fall because VIVA CAN GO TO THE LOCAL PUBLIC KINDERGARTEN FOR FREE!

Yes, there was much screaming and dancing for joy on that one. We’re sending her to one of the top ten public elementary schools in Los Angeles and putting most of what we spend on preschool each month in the bank. I can not even tell you how relieved I am. Here are some lovely photos:

The view of the house from the terraced back yard!

The capacious living room!
Our squeaky clean kitchen!

By the way, we move in less than two weeks. I see a garage sale in my future.

* I am pretty sure that buys you a chicken coop. The 834-square-foot house in which we currently live is valued at $603,500 on Zillow.com. That’s actually less than when we moved in. Hey, maybe we brought down the property values!

Dear Prudence,

The way that my office is set up and my desk is configured, anyone can see my monitor when they walk into my office – that is, if they really want to. A person that I work with has the habit of walking in and as he/she is talking, situates self so their body is where they can see the computer, and eyes keep going back to whatever is on my computer screen. I realize that this is a very human trait, people are naturally curious, etc. but I find it really rude. Most of the time I am doing work stuff, but sometimes I am eating lunch at my desk – which should be pretty obvious, as there is food on a plate in front of me. Despite the fact that I am at my desk, sometimes there’s personal stuff I want to do, like look at my bank balance, pay bills, etc. Sometimes I want to write an e-mail to a friend. Sometimes I want to comparison shop online when I am contemplating a big purchase. Sometimes I like to check other people’s blogs!

Just so you know I am not a complete idiot, I realize the solution is that I should just reconfigure my office. However, I have a heavy, L-shaped desk with the keyboard drawer attached in this configuration. I have tried moving the monitor before but the cord doesn’t stretch far enough.

So perhaps I just need to be rude, although I don’t want to damage my work relationship with this person, and I like him/her overall. Any ideas?

Wimpily yours,
Mama Blah