Thursday, January 29, 2009

It’s Not Easy Being…

In these economically distressed times, most days I've been brown-bagging it to work. Except I don't use a brown paper bag, I use one of my Chico bags, which is actually a shopping bag and really too large to use as a lunch bag. So today while eating lunch at my desk, I was looking into reusable bags and eco-utensils and I got distracted onto Fleurville’s site. You know, they’re all environmentally friendly and stuff. And I came across this:

It’s the Calla Chair, the coolest looking (and eco-conscious!) high chair known to man (or maybe just to me). You know, Cily will need a high chair in a few months. Some day she might eat actual food. And you know what?


Ye Gods.

Apparently you need to have some green to go green these days. Go figure.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Talking to Myself

Note to self: when it is 3 am and your baby is wide awake and lying next to you gurgling and smiling and staring into your eyes and not by any stretch of the imagination going back to sleep, remember that she will not be this small forever. Smile back at her and cuddle close. And that baby puke smell on the towel you’ve laid out under her on the bed? With the wet pukey spot close to your face? It’s sweet, is all it is. Repeat that like a mantra as the baby tries to grab your nose with one clammy (clammy? From spit-up? Best not to think about it.), chubby hand.

Note to Cily: yes, it’s sweet the way you want to rest your head on Mama’s shoulder all the time. But could you maybe not spit up on her shoulder every single time she picks you up from daycare? Because at home, it’s fine – she’s usually wearing something she can just throw in the wash anyway. But when she’s getting you from daycare, she’s generally wearing something that’s dry clean only, and honey, it’s getting expensive.

Note to Viva: I love your – how shall I put this? – “spiritedness.” You have a very strong personality, and I applaud how firmly you assert yourself. However, sticking your tongue out at Mama when she says something you don’t agree with is a sure way to find out the meaning of “there’ll be hell to pay.” And saying you’re really, really sorry does not negate the rudeness. Thus, you will be going to bed with no story. That’ll learn ya! Also: in general, please keep singing. The sound of your voice, coupled with your enthusiasm and complete lack of self-consciousness, brings me joy. Even when I have a headache, I still love it. As long as it is not accompanied by the sticking out of the tongue mentioned earlier. (I really hate that.)

Note to husband: we are ships that pass in the night. I love you. What was your name again?

Note to self: perhaps deciding to get your black flats repaired while in your eighth month of pregnancy, at a shoe repair shop that is not located in the flow of your regular life, was not the best decision. I would place a bet that your shoes are no longer there. Console yourself with cyber window shopping at Zappos. Mmmm, shoes.

Note to Neutrogena: your hand cream rocks.

Note to crazy mom at Viva’s school: Friday at 5 pm, in a ridiculously congested and densely populated part of the city, is not a good time or place to have your child’s birthday party. Calling me three times to try to convince me that Viva really wants to go? Makes me want to accommodate you even less. And for the record, a Dora the Explorer electric toothbrush has to be one of the weirdest goody bag gifts ever.

Note to Riley, the dog next door: Why do you keep trying to escape from your house? Why do you always run to our house? Your people genuinely seem to like you, since every time we call them to tell them you are with us, they dutifully drop whatever they are doing (generally having the nerve to have dinner! Without you! Somewhere outside the house on a Friday or Saturday night!) and drive home to get you. Please, Riley. The last time you escaped you really almost hurt yourself. Try and summon up some survival instinct and stay inside your yard.

Note to the movie industry: Wow. DVDs and pay-per-view are really chapping your hide, aren’t they? Um, here’s the thing. I took my kid to a matinee this weekend and between the tickets and popcorn and such? I spent THIRTY-ONE FIFTY. For real. So not cool. Get with the program.

Note to self: Yes, you know that you don’t have it so bad if that’s your worst problem. Over and out.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Am Gon

In all the excitement over the inauguration yesterday, I forgot to mention that this weekend, Viva made her first attempt at running away from home.

Ah, yes. I remember when I was about her age, getting furious at my mom about God only knows what, and pulling out my blue flowered suitcase, throwing some beloved possessions inside it, and telling my mom I was leaving home and not coming back. I threatened to move to my grandparents’ house, and as I recall, my mom did not try to dissuade me. We were living in a housing project then, in a concrete townhouse kind of dealio, and I stomped down the stairs to the front door, which I remember was royal blue and metal, and then I sat there in the doorway with my suitcase, pretty ticked off and kicking one sandaled grubby foot at the pavement, halfway stubbing my big toe in the process. Every now and then I would steal a look up at the kitchen window, and my mom would quickly pull the curtain back as if she was not looking at me at all and wasn’t worried I was going anywhere. Realizing that she was watching me not leave, I got up a few times and walked out of sight, a few houses down and back, just to make it look like I meant business.

Finally, I gave up and went back inside and told my mom I wasn’t leaving today. I think there was some apologizing and hugging, but I can’t fully remember.

Back to my firstborn. Over the weekend, Viva got mad at Sweet Dub because they were playing Wii and she got frustrated with whatever they were playing and burst into tears. One of our house rules is that if you start to cry while playing a game, you need to take a break from playing it. She threw such a hissy fit when Sweet Dub told her to take a break that he grounded her from playing Wii for a week. This only made matters worse, and she stomped up the stairs in a screaming whirlwind. Sweet Dub was – well, it wasn’t his best moment. I decided to mediate, and I went up to Viva’s room.

Viva was crying loudly and yelling at the same time about how she was NOT going to stay in this HOUSE and she was going to RUN AWAY and how Sweet Dub was the MEANEST meany daddy EVER and it’s not FAIR and on and on in a continuous loop. I knocked on her door and went inside.

“Viva?” I said. She was inside her closet dragging out her suitcase, surrounded by various items of clothing and toys. Among the things she had pulled out to take along was her hoppity horse – perhaps not the best choice unless she was going to use it as a means of transportation.

She screeched something unintelligible and angry at me.

“Why are you mad at me?” I said. “I have nothing to do with this and I’m just trying to see if you’re okay.”

“I’m mad at everyone in this FAMily,” Viva said.

“Even Cily?” I said.

“Yeah, because she made a NOISE while I was playing and it made me lose my concen-TRAY-shun,” Viva said. “And that made me LOOOOOOOOOZ…” and she started bawling again.

“Oh, honey,” I said. (Is it just me, or when your kid cries, does it make you want to cry?) “I know you don’t like to lose. But you know games are supposed to be fun, and when it stops being fun maybe you should—“

“I am running aWAY,” Viva yelled, crying some more.

“I understand that,” I said. I watched her pick through some more of her things, sniffling and moaning. “Can I say something to you first?” Viva nodded. “Can you come here for a minute?…Closer. Closer,” I said, and then pulled her toward me to hug her.

“I just want to say that I’ve really enjoyed having you around for these five years,” I said. “And I’m sad that you want to leave us, and we’ll really miss you. And I’m sad that Cily might have to grow up without you, because you are such a great big sister. And so I hope that you’ll reconsider your decision. And I love you.”

And I kissed her, and then I walked out of the closet, out of the room, and closed the door.

Later, after Viva had come back downstairs and was playing Legos without further incident, I happened to be taking laundry upstairs and found this note taped to her door: “I am gon Love Viva” I quickly spirited it away, to be filed with my “you dot love my”and “it’s omost The Week End hep hep hray” notes from previous encounters. Oh, my girl and her drama. I do love her so.

Obama Sandwich

The Blah Blahs took yesterday off to view the inauguration at home together as a family. Yesterday in the late morning, Sweet Dub’s Blackberry was blowing up with texts and emails from folks who were all saying, “You said there’d never be a black president! You said there’d never be a black president!” I said to him, “You should write back, ‘I’ve never been happier to be wrong.’”

“Oh my God,” Sweet Dub said. “That’s exactly what I said.” He scrolled down in his Blackberry and showed me the message: I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.

Same sandwich,” I said, and kept right on washing out baby bottles.

(This should go without saying, but we stayed home to watch not just because Barack Obama is the first black president. We stayed home to watch because of the phenomenon that Barack Obama has become, and the response he has engendered among the public, as evidenced by the insane turnout on the Mall. People are ready for change, and even if he doesn't accomplish all that he sets out to do as president, he has energized a goodly segment of the population. In and of itself a very positive thing.)

(We also stayed home to watch so we could scream with glee and jump up and down like idiots as George W. got into the helicopter and flew away. If I could get that video and the video of the Iraqi reporter throwing his shoes* at W. on a continuous loop? Man, that would be the best video ever.)

(* I really do think that should be W's "thing" wherever he goes. I wish everyone at the inauguration had thrown their shoes at him. And Dick Cheney. Like, just at the two of them, maybe in an isolated space without anyone else around, so there wouldn't be collateral damage to other people. I am not totally heartless.)

Edited to add: OH MY GOD! How did I miss this?? ("Bush Protest: Shoes Thrown at White House")

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sandwiches and Synchronicity

When Sweet Dub and I first began dating we kept being struck by how similar we were. Naturally, some of that was just part of getting to know each other and finding out how compatible you are (or are not). At one point while we were dating, I arrived at Sweet Dub’s apartment after a horrible day at work and rather than cooking anything, he decided he would just go get us some sandwiches at Subway. Tenderly (partly because you know, these were our early days, and partly because I’d had such a crummy day), he said, “What kind of sandwich would you like, my sweetie?”

“The [sandwich name redacted because now I can’t remember it],” I said. “It’s not on the menu anymore, but if you ask for it they’ll make it.”

“Are you KIDDING me?” Sweet Dub said.

“No, I know it sounds weird, but they’ll know what you’re talking about,” I said.

“I KNOW,” he said. “That’s my sandwich.” He actually sat down, he was so thrown. “I can’t believe it,” he said. “We are so alike that we even eat the same sandwich.”

That has become a shorthand of sorts for us.

Recently, each of us unbeknownst to the other, on the same day, went on to craigslist to check rental prices in our area. While we just moved (JUST MOVED! You remember?) in November into a year-long lease, we both already went back to craigslist to look around. I think both of us were wondering in this economy whether we are getting our money’s worth in the neighborhood we’re in. The consensus: yes. Rents are not coming down, at least not here. We both independently concluded that we should continue to watch the market and possibly start looking at buying a house later this year, as our lease expires. When we discovered that we had each done this on the same day, all we could do was laugh.

“That is unbelievable,” Dub said.

Yeah. Same sandwich.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Mixed Breed

With all the turmoil in the world right now, and all the burning questions of the day – should the U.S. government bail out, well, pretty much everyone? What can be done to fix the mess in Gaza? Will Los Angeles ever rid itself of smog? (Apparently not.) And, does this inauguration make my ass look big? – with all that, I say, I know what is foremost in your minds: which dog should the Obama family choose to bring with them to the White House?

The Obamas have narrowed it down to two choices: the Portuguese water dog or the Labradoodle, both of which are evidently good for people with allergies because they don’t shed. (First Daughter-Elect Malia has allergies.) Fortunately, the experts have been quick to weigh in, and at first it seems all sweetness and light: Sen. Ted Kennedy owns three Portuguese water dogs and enthusiastically endorses them as a good choice for the First Family. And then there’s Christy Westover, who breeds Australian Labradoodles in Klamath Falls, Oregon. She says the dogs are “family-friendly, loyal and sweet-tempered…It's a great choice."

Okay, so then I don’t care either way. But then there’s this:

The American Kennel Club does not recognize the Labradoodle, a cross between a Labrador retriever and poodle, as a breed. The club wants the Obamas to choose the Portuguese water dog, according to Daisy Okas, spokeswoman for the AKC.

"All dogs are wonderful," said Okas. "But a Labradoodle is a mixed breed and its predictability can't be compared to a purebred. We think especially for such a high-profile family, they need to know what they're getting."
My (kneejerk reaction) vote: Labradoodle. The AKC can kiss my ass and mind its own bidness. President-Elect Obama is biracial himself. What’s wrong with being mixed? Go, Labradoodle, go!

And now that you know my vote, I’m sure you can sleep soundly tonight. Live, from Los Angeles, I’m Lisa Blah Blah, signing off. Tune in next week as I rant about my bellybutton lint.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Caffeine, How I Love Thee

The coffee maker in our office break room is broken. NOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

P.S. Two of us who work closely together have infants at home (mine 2.5 months, his 7 weeks old). We are both frantically sleep-deprived. The coffee maker breakdown is truly a Crisis of Epic Proportions. Work productivity? What's that?

Geeking Out

My first week back at work was rough, especially after not only being on maternity leave but having thoroughly enjoyed the holiday season. Okay, there were some moments where I thought I might lose my mind with so much togetherness, and here I must shout out a very belated note of thanks to Los Angelista: not only did Viva receive the SpongeBob Lego Rocket Ride set* in time for us to discreetly wrap it and set it under the tree, but she also received a SpongeBob Lego ER set. She literally played Legos for two days straight and refused to leave the house or change out of her pajamas. I know I said that she was crazy for both SpongeBob and Legos, but even I could not have predicted this extreme response. It was just a bit worrisome...

So anyway, as I say, going back to work was a bit of an adjustment. Cily is at a daycare center just five minutes away from my job and I’m actually pretty comfortable with her being there. I think Sweet Dub had more anxiety about it than I did, to be honest, because he hasn’t been there yet.

With going back to work and with the new baby, I’ve been feeling a little…removed from Viva, and so when she came home with the news that she had a science project to do – and then it turned out that in their science unit, they’re covering animals, and that the project involved creating a diorama and a mini-report – oh my God, do you even understand what a geek I am that I was so excited that we were going to work on this together?! (I am pretty sure that last run-on sentence was a hot mess, but hello, sleep deprivation.)

Viva told me the animal she’d chosen was a lion, and that she needed to create a diorama of the lion in its habitat and then write a mini-report about where lions live, what they eat, etc. I went to Target Saturday morning and along with new outfits for Cily, who is outgrowing all her clothes quickly, I bought a couple of lion figurines so we could get started. Of course, Cily was going through something this weekend, adjusting to childcare and then adjusting back to home, so her sleep has been all messed up and she was irritable, harkening back to her colicky days, and it seemed she just wanted to be attached to me 24/7.

During one particularly rocky period with Cily in the afternoon, at Viva’s urging, Sweet Dub emptied out a shoebox and they began work on the diorama (it’s due at the end of the month). Do you know they pretty much finished it?? It looks frickin’ great. Viva made a bloody zebra carcass out of Play-Doh and they printed out pictures of zebra herds and pasted them on the savannah background they’d already installed so it looks like the rest of the zebras have run away. She cut out long golden grass and stuck it here and there so the lions are kind of half-in and half-out of it. Viva ran to me to proudly display it.

“It looks fantastic, baby,” I said, and then to Sweet Dub mournfully, “I didn’t know you were going to do the whole thing!”

“She still has to write the report,” he said.

“That is not exactly the fun part,” I said. “You know I was geeking out about getting to do the creative part.”

“We still have to decorate the outside of the box,” he said in a conciliatory tone.

“Whatever,” I said. I had to console myself with reading one of the Junie B. Jones books all cuddled up with Viva. Her obvious enjoyment of the Junie B. series also pleases my inner geek. I gotta get my thrills where I can, people.

* Through a fantastic giveaway on the Los Angelista site! If you haven’t been over to Los Angelista’s, what are you waiting for? She posts just about every day and it’s always something interesting (unlike this space). So go, already!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Cutie Patooties

Day Four of work. Buried! Up to my neck! Ridiculous!

In lieu of a real post, I give you pictures of my girls -- pictures that, had I gotten my act together, might have accompanied a Christmas or even New Year's card:

I say to you that I still hold out hope that I may (a) print these out and (b) send them with thank you notes to old folks back east who generously sent the kids things for Christmas and who as yet have no clue how to access email or download attachments. That is my hope.

All the best to you and yours.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Black Woman Here No More

Adieu, Maternity Leave. As of yesterday, I am back at work. I have a new, larger office with nice furniture and, because one of the senior therapists here just retired unexpectedly for health reasons, for the entire month of January I have a Reserved Parking Space (RSP), which I am capitalizing so you will understand what a Big Deal it is.

The only problem with the RSP is that no one seems to know which space it actually is.

Our organization has four reserved parking spaces on the first floor of the parking structure, and they all are labeled with the name of the organization only – not with the name of the person who is to park there. Since I don’t want to cause any ill will by parking in someone else’s space, this is a bit of a dilemma. So today, I went to the parking attendant supervisor guy (PASG) and explained the situation and asked if he could tell me which space it is. “I’m parked in 138, but I don’t know if that’s her space,” I said.

The PASG, whose first language is definitely not English, said, “Black woman?”

“Yes,” I said. Vice President with advanced degrees, but he doesn’t know that.

“Black woman here no more?” he said.

“That’s right, she’s retired,” I said.

“Oh, black woman here no more,” he mused. Then he gestured and said, “Come on.”

We went down the ramp to look at the spaces, which he identified as “Nissan Xterra, BMW, and Mercedes.”

Since Dr. Black Woman Here No More drives a Mercedes, we determined I was in the wrong spot. However, Nissan Xterra, also known as White Guy On Vacation, is a suitable spot for the moment and I don’t have to move my car.