Thursday, April 29, 2010


Just a quickie:

Catching up on my blog feed reading, and I came across this little gem which had me nodding my head. In it, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits reiterates what has been floating through my mind since Sweet Dub got laid off: in essence, this too shall pass. This happened to us, and it was neither good or bad, and something else will happen tomorrow, and that too shall pass. And life will go on.

“A weed is only a weed when we don’t like it. Children are only naughty if we don’t like their actions. Life only sucks if you judge it as bad.”
This is very hard for me, this dropping of judgment and expectations. Very, very hard. But it’s a great exercise in retraining your brain.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Back from the Doldrums

Well! I just dropped a bomb on you and then skedaddled away, even though so many of you so kindly took the time to comment and commiserate.

That’s not cool, and I apologize. What’s happened is that Sweet Dub got laid off and that very same day, our modem decided to die. What with one thing and another (oh, the intricacies of health insurance and COBRA and such, and by the way: SUMMER CAMP! You gotta start thinking about it! And by the way: cell phone! Sweet Dub’s was a company phone, so he suddenly didn’t have one and lost all his contacts! And hey: pinkeye! The baby got it! And T-ball! We are smack in the middle of T-ball season! And sickness! Sweet Dub and I are both neck-deep in phlegm! And exhaustion! And, scene.) – well, what I’m saying is, I’m pretty invested in keeping my job right now, so I’ve not been blogging at work, and I’ve had no Internet access at home, and I don’t have a Smartphone, so I’ve been somewhat off the grid in terms of blogging.

But here we are, and ten days post-layoff, we are managing to stay positive. I am trying to avoid thinking about health insurance because it makes my eye twitch, so I won’t go into that, but just know this: the Blah Blahs can’t ever catch a break with something like that. Every avenue I tried came back to this: I must pay through my employer for health insurance, and it is $1,100 a month. COBRA is not cheaper, and we don’t qualify for the federal subsidy because Sweet Dub is eligible for health insurance through my job.

But enough about that. (Already I can feel my blood pressure spiking and my heart rate increasing, just in writing those few sentences.) At least one of us has a job. And we have some severance pay and we have some savings (partly for the hypothetical house which is impossible to buy in Los Angeles anyway) and if worst comes to worst, we have credit lines that are not being used. But I would hate for it to come to that.

Here is where I should insert something pithy and somehow poignant and inspirational. But instead I want to tell you a silly story, because it’s finding the humor in the everyday that’s keeping me going right now, and maybe it will make you laugh, too.

Earlier this week, I discovered that if I said, “Ready, set –“ to Miss Celie, she would say, “GO!”* But she would say it with such force that she would literally rock forward on her toes and the vein in her neck would stand out. And then she would break into a huge grin, as pleased with herself as could be.

Last night, I was talking to my mom on the phone and I figured this was a perfect “show off to Grandma” moment, so I said to Miss Celie, “Ready, set –“ and she said, “No.”

Ready, set – NO. It’s kind of appropriate, I think.

* And she doesn’t pronounce it plainly, “GO,” it’s more like “Goh!” which for some reason is more endearing and harder to convey on the page.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Holy Crap

Sweet Dub just called me. He got laid off today.

Holy freakin' crap.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


It was a Tuesday morning. Sweet Dub was working horrific hours at his job. When he left for work at 6 AM, he asked if I was okay. My hips had begun hurting pretty bad at about 4 AM, but I said, “I’m fine, go to work.” And then I said, “But if I call you and ask you to come home, it’s not an April Fools!” and I went back to sleep.

About an hour later, I woke up with the distinct feeling of being wet. “The final indignity has happened,” I thought. “I’ve peed myself.”

I hefted myself out of bed and padded into the bathroom, where I peed again. As I was washing my hands I felt like I was peeing on myself again. I could feel fluid running out.

“Did my water break? I think my water broke,” I said out loud to no one in particular. “Is that what this is? This is not what I thought it would be.”

And, seven years later, that pretty much sums up my journey of motherhood. It is not what I thought it would be. It is so much more of everything, I can’t even explain it.

That day, my life changed forever. At 7:22 PM, Viva rocketed into the world.

A few hours old

A few weeks later

And she’s been rocking my world ever since. But enough about me, because after all, it is her birthday. Here are her specific birthday instructions/requirements:

(1) I must sleep with her, in her tiny little bed, so we can wake up together all snuggly-like
(2) She does not care what she has for her birthday dinner, as long as there is cherry Jello for dessert
(3) She is having a class field trip, so no party at school (huge sigh of relief here)
(4) HOWEVER, she is inviting her entire 1st Grade class over to our house for a party next Saturday (insert nervous breakdown here)
(5) She must also sleep over at Auntie Lola’s Saturday night, so as to wake up at her house Sunday morning for an Easter egg hunt and thus, maximum birthday/Easter-type leveraging of wonderfulness

Ah, my girl. Was there ever one so amazing and superb? Her legs are ten feet long and she can tell you the plot of every SpongeBob episode EVER and sometimes she still does that thing where she says, “Remember when--?” and it’s about something that happened when I wasn’t even there, but she always assumes I am with her, all the time. It’s like she thinks I can see everything she is doing. Not quite in a creepy way, but like we are so connected that I must be able to see everything she does even when I’m not there. Like we are twins or something.

She is slow as molasses on a cold day, and quick as a whip, and all other kinds of similes and metaphors that I won’t bother employing here. She wants to be like all the other kids, and at the same time she wants to be different, and I get it, I really do. She is a complex little person. The other day she said:

“Mom, Ms. C only lets me get CHAPTER books out of the library.”

“What’s wrong with that?”

“I’m the only kid that has to read chapter books. No one else has to read chapter books.”

“I thought you get to choose whatever book you want,” I said.

“No, Ms. C picks our books,” Viva scowled. (Actually, I believe the process is that the teacher has to approve the books they’re checking out.)

“So what’s wrong with chapter books? Is she picking ones that are too hard for you?”

“NO,” Viva said.

“It’s just that you’re the only one who’s reading them?”

“Yeah,” Viva said. “The other kids get the easy books.”

I finally realized that she thinks the teacher is being hard on her, rather than recognizing her skill level and having her read what’s developmentally appropriate. I then tried to explain to Viva that it’s because she is so good at reading that Ms. C gives her the more advanced books, because she might be bored with the easy books. Viva was still skeptical, and still kind of pissed at being labeled different in some way, even though it’s because she is way beyond her grade level.

She has an innate sense of fairness, and she really could not give a damn what she looks like. Except she better have some cool sneakers on. If she could wear whatever she wanted every day, it would be basketball shorts, a T-shirt and some badass Adidas. She protests having her hair “did,” but refuses to get it cut. She loves the way her hair looks right after she gets out of the shower, and right after it’s been oiled and braided. She has a much higher tolerance for fuzzy edges than I do, and ducks when I try to swipe at her hairline with a brush in the morning.

She hates it when she is not excellent at something the first time she tries it. I mean, she hates it to the point where she will burst into tears and throw a racket down and say, “Tennis is so STUPID anyway!” I mean, like in the moment if she could she would take a flamethrower to the tennis racket, the tennis ball, and all of Wimbledon, Serena Williams be damned. I know that it is only time and a moderate level of maturity that make me a bit more mellow about things like this than she is, but at the same time, it is exasperating.

Three weeks later, she will be bouncing a tennis ball with her racket like she is a pro, rage forgotten. She is a tough cookie, and still a little girl who screams for her parents in the night when she has a bad dream. The Tooth Fairy is no fiction to her. Yesterday, we had a serious conversation about cartoon duck voices (from Donald Duck to the baby duck on Tom and Jerry, we covered the whole pantheon).

She is so distinctly herself. I really lucked out. So happy birthday to Viva, my sweet, smart, ever-growing knockout of a girl.