Friday, February 27, 2009


Cily has the croup and it has resulted in laryngitis. She coughs so hard she vomits, and then she cries in the most pathetic heartbreaking squeak. Needless to say, Sweet Dub and I have been taking turns taking sick days to stay home with her. She is intermittently feverish, but surprisingly not very irritable at all. A little fussy, but snuggly and sweet fussy rather than “O My God nothing is making her happy” fussy.

Today, Sweet Dub went to work from 6AM to 11AM, and then came home so I could go into work in the afternoon. Of course, now that I am at work (and it's almost time to leave) I can’t concentrate. Hence:

Grace in Small Things*

1. This morning I was tickling Cily on the sides of her neck and she really started laughing – which, since she has laryngitis, was not very loud, but nonetheless really turned my heart into a big gooey mess.

2. Last night, our neighbor from around the corner came over to introduce herself and to let us know of the deadline for a local charter school (next Wednesday). I guess she’d been talking to our next door neighbor and he told her of our school issues. We had a nice chat and I found out that not only does she have a 7-year-old daughter who is into a lot of the same things Viva is, but there’s a 5-going-on-6-year-old girl living next door to them as well. You mean Viva might actually be able to play with little girls her age, a mere stone’s throw away? Sweet!

3. Today I am only working a half-day! Granted, that is because Cily is sick, but hey, a half-day on a Friday? I’ll take it!

4. Today an old classmate of mine from college emailed me unexpectedly – found me through Facebook – and she is just as I remember, funny and on point.

5. At work today someone dropped off a bunch of free pies. I just had a slice of blackberry pie heated up in the microwave and it was heavenly.

* Hat tip to Journeymama for her blog posts which led me to the Grace in Small Things Website. If you haven’t read her blog, take a look – she and her husband moved last year from the States to India and I love to read about their transition. They have four very small children and you’d think their lives would be nuts, but Rae is always kind of inspirational and peaceful. Her kids are beautiful, too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Deep Down

…I’m really shallow. Lately I have become obsessed with the things we do not have in our house – things I think we should add, and things I want to replace. It’s a long list, and I won’t bore you with the details, but it’s making me a little nutty.

Added to this, my darling Sweet Dub is obsessed with buying either (a) a treadmill or (b) a new video camera. We have already had conversations about how we should not be making any serious purchases in this economy – this is not a recession, it is something much more serious, and with so many unknowns, it’s best to be careful. Also, it seems likely that, with more budget cuts in public education, we will be keeping Viva in private school indefinitely. So we are holding back and saving our cheese, but because (a) we live in a capitalist society and (b) we are inundated with catalogs from the previous residents of our home and (c) everyone everywhere is having a SALE SALE SALE, we’re (or maybe more accurately, I’m) a little antsy.

Furthermore, although we’ve had offers of cribs from two different sources, we haven’t been able to coordinate pick-up with either party. At the moment, Cily sleeps in a co-sleeper for part of the night and in the bed right next to me the other part of the night. I’d like to move her into a crib and ultimately put her into Viva’s room at some point. I won’t get into why we haven’t been able to get either crib, but I will say it hasn’t been for lack of trying. I’m going to give it one more go this weekend before I completely wash my hands of it and go buy a damn crib with the money I’m not supposed to be spending on anything.

I know, I know: it’s not about what we own, but what we are. Or really, who we are. I will not be moved! I have nerves of steel! My debit card remains securely in my wallet, rolling its figurative eyes at the crazy.

Things I Love More Than…Well, Things:
(in no particular order)

(1) Cily’s toothless smile
(2) The L.A. sky after it rains
(3) Watching the snow fall. On TV.
(4) Viva’s laugh
(5) Being in bed with my honey
(6) A cup of tea and a good book
(7) An unexpected phone call from a friend
(8) Sitting on the beach watching the waves
(9) Singing loudly in my car
(10) The way I feel after yoga
(11) Discovering new music
(12) Snuggling in a big pile of kids and husband on the couch
(13) Making people laugh
(14) Making lists (no, for real)
(15) A good night’s sleep

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Tooth, the Whole Tooth, and Nothing But the...

Dear Viva,

Wow! You lost your first tooth! You are officially no longer a baby, although you will always be my baby. I’m sorry I got a little weepy when it fell out. Moms are like that sometimes. It doesn’t mean I’m not excited for you, because I really am!


Dear Tooth Fairy,

Five bucks per tooth? Really?? Even in this economy? It’s just because that was the first tooth, right?


Dear Viva,

I’m very pleased that you’ve decided to save your five dollars and wait until more teeth come out so you can save up for something special. You are such a smart kid!


Dear Sweet Dub,

What constitutes “something special”? What if she wants to buy a snake or something?


Dear DNA,

Please let Viva’s teeth come in fairly straight. I’m putting in a plea for no orthodontia. Help me out here.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sign 'O' the Times

...and not the Prince song, unfortunately.

I work for a social services agency that serves "high risk" families. Most of our clients are low-income, many have substance abuse problems, and pretty much all have experienced some type of violence. When people ask me how things are going at work, I tell them that things are much more difficult for our families than ever before, with the economy being what it is. Even in the best of times, our client families are hard pressed to provide the basics for their kids. I learned today that among our client families, CalWORKS applications have doubled in the past six months.

Goddammit, that's depressing.

Connect 4 - or in this case, more

Do you belong to any networking sites? I have a Facebook account, a LinkedIn account, a Shelfari account, a college network account, a family MySpace account, and a friend just emailed to invite me to join I don’t even know what that is, but I’m pretty sure I don’t have time for it.

I barely have time for the friends I have, even my nearest and dearest! I know this is going to sound antiquated, but wouldn’t it be cool to get off the computer and just call the people you want to talk to? Or even just email a quick note to say, “Hi, I’m thinking about you”?

What is it with this crazy life? I admit I am just as bad as everyone else about keeping in touch. I have aunts back east with three and four kids and not only do they manage to shop and wrap and get packages out to us every Christmas, but they promptly write thank you notes (like within a week!) for the gifts I send their way. It is mind-boggling.

I blame the TV and its siren call. Now, really, after I’ve been staring at a screen all day at work, do I really need to stare at a screen for a couple of hours once I get home?

I think not. What I need to do is attend to other personal business. Spend some time with my husband, maybe do some yoga, maybe catch up with some friends. What did I do with my time before I had children? I really feel a need to reclaim that part of my life in little bits and pieces. Don’t get me wrong – I realize it would be unproductive to long for hours of free time to just noodle around. But can I grab 15 minutes here and there and make little moments for myself?

Financial advisers always say you need to pay yourself first. You hear me? That's what I'm talking about. Facebook and all its minions can wait. I've got other stuff on my mind.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Birthday Bidness

Following up on my post from yesterday: I started to write a really long response about the birthday issues in comments, and then realized it was getting kind of ridiculous, so let me just put this out there:

Regarding who to invite: I hate to leave kids out, but there are 24 kids in kindergarten, split between two classes, and Viva has friends in both classes. If we invite all the kids, and they come with parents and siblings, ye Gods! That doesn't include cousins and other non-school friends she might want to invite.

Most of the kids she is friendly with are kids whose phone numbers I have - so I could invite by phone or even by email. I dunno, I'm thinking I may end up doing one school party like last year (like Nerd Girl) and then invite some friends to an off-site party, probably at a bowling alley, since that’s what Viva is leaning toward at the moment. Sweet Dub is really against the idea of only inviting some kids to the not-on-school-grounds party. He thinks there will be hard feelings if other kids find out – which, of course, there will be.

For the record, for Viva’s fourth birthday, I invited only five of Viva’s school friends to a party off school grounds, and I did a separate low-key party with cupcakes at her school. There is one little girl at school whose mother is...well, she crazy, there's no other way to say it, and no one wants to deal with her. We had already been stuck with her at some other kid’s party a few weeks before that, and we did not want a repeat. Nonetheless, the little girl found out about Viva’s non-school party and confronted Sweet Dub when he picked Viva up from school.

“My mom says my invitation must have got lost,” she lisped at him, giant brown eyes all soulful. He says it broke his heart.

“I am not going through that again,” he said. “We have to invite her. I’ll deal with [Crazy Mom’s name withheld].”

I ran it by several moms over the weekend. They all said they only invite the children their kids are close to, and that they never feel slighted if they aren’t invited to something.

“You’re doing me a favor if you don’t invite me to a party,” one said, and we all agreed. But of course, the problem is not the parents’ feelings, it’s the kids’. Nobody liked the idea of inviting the crazy mom, who we’ve all had to deal with at some point. But we all like the little girl, so we may just have to suck it up. I’m leaning toward inviting only 8 school friends (all of whom have at least one sibling), 2 or 3 non-school friends and siblings, her 3 young cousins, and a few of our friends and their kids. That means we could be talking 30 kids! Has anyone noticed it’s a recession?

My head is killing me. I’m ready to curl up in the fetal position and hibernate until this whole birthday thing is over and done.

In Which I Confess I'm a Bag Hag

"I'm thinking balls are to men what purses are to women. It's just a little bag, but we feel naked in public without it."
- Sex and the City

So my sister Lola’s birthday is coming up and for some reason I am obsessed with buying her a bag. Mainly because I love a good bag (this is not a euphemism for anything, you dirty, dirty Internets. Stop breathing so heavy and grabbing my knee.), so I get to shop vicariously.

How cute are these (courtesy Mimi Smartypants)? I love them all. And yet they are maybe a little boho and perhaps better suited to me than my sister. And yet, who doesn’t need a splash of cute hipsterness, especially when one is being reminded that one is getting older due to one’s birthday, and one could use a dash of how you say, joie de vivre? I think it’s a perfect gift. And if I happen to buy two, what’s the harm? Economy, eshonomy. (Say that ten times fast, I dare you.)

By the way, Etsy is the best invention since the self-threading needle. Better, even. There, I said it.

P.S. I just bought the cutest Orla Kiely bag (on sale! SWEET!) as a replacement for my nasty falling-apart tote bag that I'm ashamed to bring to work anymore. Now you know my weakness. That and shoes - if I had the money, I would have a whole room full of shoes. And books. Oh my God, let me shut up now.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A floating accumulation of miscellaneous stuff

I don’t have anything deep to say today, just a bunch of random observations. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Seriously? One of the Best. Headlines. Ever:

Early Humans Had Nutcracker Jaws

As an Anthropology major, I salute you, Yahoo! News!

The Golden Age

For years, Sweet Dub has complained about car commercials never showing a black man in the driver’s seat. I admit I had never noticed this because I am not insane, but once it was pointed out to me, I realized he was right. Finally, over time, we actually began to see black men driving the car in some of the car commercials. This weekend, Sweet Dub was watching the post-Super Bowl TV offerings and said, “Hey, look – a black man driving the car. Now you see it all the time…[thinks for a moment] Black President, black coach wins the Super Bowl, and black men driving the cars – after all these years of being the boogeyman, this might be our time. It’s the Golden Age of the African American male, honey.”

And with that, Cily spit up all over her daddy’s hand.

“There’s your Golden Age,” I said to him. “How’s that workin’ out for ya?”

A Musical Interlude

Yesterday, on the way to school/work, I eased up to a red light and happened to look in my rearview mirror. The guy in the Honda CRV behind me was pulling a guitar into his lap. Because you know, what better way to pass the time waiting for the light to turn green than to strum a few bars to yourself. I was about to make some snarky comment like “lost on the way to the Lilith Fair,” but even I don’t know where I was going with that.

The World is a Rainbow

Last night, a very dear friend of ours, Lady E, was in town for business and we had her over for dinner. (I know! On a Monday night! We frickin’ rock.) (P.S. We ordered Indian food. What, you thought I was going to cook?) Lady E is black and her husband is white. She was telling us that her oldest child B. is very race-conscious and is always describing people by their color. “You know that book, Shades of Black? It describes all the different colors of blackness, like you’re yellow like popcorn, you’re brown like a pretzel – you know what I’m talking about?” Evidently they talk a lot about race at their house, and it doesn’t hurt that they live in Oakland, right near Berkeley. She jokes about her daughter being a little militant for a 5-year-old. But anyway, yes, I had heard of this book and I felt a tinge of guilt for not having a copy of it because I do try to show Viva books that validate her experience, yada yada yada. And about two seconds later I got over it, because God knows Viva has a very strong self-concept and is very proud of being brown – and that didn’t come out of a book.

Later, after Sweet Dub had dropped her off at her hotel, he said to me, “That book she was talking about? That is the last thing we need.” As it turns out, B. pointing out what color people are is not always welcome. I know! With all the complications surrounding race in this country, who’da thunk?

We’re All Friends Here

Viva will be turning six in just a couple of months and she is already demanding to know what we are doing for a party. I won’t go into our labored and lengthy discussions, but want to put this out there: do you feel it is acceptable to not invite all the kids from school to a party that is not held on school grounds? Is it ever okay to invite just the kids she’s friendly with? And where does one draw the line?

Sweet Dub and I are divided on this issue based on previous experience. I won’t bias your response by telling you my opinion. What do you think?

**This post has been edited to correct the misspelling of Super Bowl. What, I thought it was all one word. I don't know from football.