Saturday, November 30, 2013

Day 30

On this last day of NaBloPoMo, I just want to say: whew! I did it!

The hair wars in my family continued over Thanksgiving. I don't understand what my child's hair has to do with anyone else in her family nor why they want to make her feel that she is not as pretty if her hair is not pressed straight. My daughter is beautiful. She is also smart and hard-working and funny and kind. I love her pretty little face and I love the deep conversations we have and the insightful remarks she makes. She brings me joy.

In that spirit, I leave you with this: How to Talk to Little Girls. Enjoy!

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Hang of This

I was proud of myself for writing a post ahead of Thanksgiving and for figuring out how to schedule it to post itself on Thanksgiving Day. I knew the day could easily get away from me. So yesterday when I had a few minutes of free time, I wrote another post and saved it so I could stay ahead of the game.

OF COURSE: I logged on today to post it and it's logging it as posted yesterday. Or maybe that's just my phone...?

Anyway, I still have a long way to go with this mobile blogging thing. Stay patient, my friends.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Betwixt and Between

I called my mom to wish her a Happy Thanksgiving. I called both the landline and her cell number. In both cases I got a message that the number had either been changed or disconnected.


Emailed her via Facebook and gmail. No response yet.

Have left a message with my sister. This is very strange.

Further updates as events unfold.


Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants. - Kevin James

Wishing you all a day of elastic or drawstring waistlines. Wishing you a day of abundance not only in food, not only in thanks, but in family, friends, love, contentment, comfort, and all the things that are the opposite of stress. Wishing you peace. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Is there a doctor in the house?

(This year in 5th grade, Viva completed an entire unit on the "amazing body machine," including doing a PowerPoint presentation on the cardiovascular system in front of the whole school.)

(This evening...)

Sweet Dub: My eye hurts.

Viva: Let me look at it. You know I'm a doctor, my degree is hanging on the bottom of the fridge.

What more do you need, really?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Have a Laugh

Today kicked my butt. I got nothing for ya, NaBloPoMo.

Trying to upload a video of Ceeya for your enjoyment, but technology is rather ornery today. Did it work? The little girl giggle has to be one of the most infectious things on this earth.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Countdown!

Yeeps! For those who celebrate Christmas:  it is exactly ONE MONTH away. Aiiiiii!

Why do I feel like it has gotten away from me already? We usually have our holiday photos done and ordered by now, and we haven't even done our photo shoot yet - I admit I feel a little under the gun. (We are planning on shooting on Thursday or Friday morning and then designing and ordering the card over the weekend. Hopefully I can then receive them and do a mail-out by the weekend of December 9th. Time to get my mailing list together...)

One of the things that can too easily leave me scrambling at the last minute is stocking stuffers.  Not so much for the kids as for Sweet Dub. (I have also been known to buy them for myself now and then - don't judge, sometimes I just see something I would really like that seems perfect. Smiley face emoticon here. You know how it is.)

I was quite happy to stumble upon this in my Internet wanderings today: a list of men's stocking stuffer suggestions from the Art of Manliness blog. I think there are at least five items that Sweet Dub would be quite happy to receive.

As for my wish list: honestly, I have what I need. I would like some red boots since my wonderful old burgundy ones bit the dust last year. But truly I would be happy with an Amazon gift card and a few hours free to read.  And maybe a massage.

What's on your list?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sandy Sunday

Beautiful clear day, perfect for climbing sand dunes at the beach.

I love days like these. The ocean was smooth as glass, and brilliantly blue. So calming, such a great place to put aside your worries and accept the day as a gift. Happy Sunday, all.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

It begins.

It's Saturday evening. I have deep conditioned Viva's hair and I am about to start the detangling process. From there I hope to section off her hair and do box braids.

I'm thinking I will get about half-done tonight and finish off tomorrow morning. Pray for us.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Rotten Tomatoes? Sour Grapes?

The weather here in La La Land has turned overcast and drizzly and cool. It is exactly the kind of weather that makes me want to curl up with a fuzzy throw blanket and watch movies, read books, and eat soup. And maybe bake things. You think that’s a good idea, right? The baking?

At any rate, I am relieved to announce that while it appeared that my not-quite-two-years-old Kindle had recently kicked the bucket, following some Internet research I was able to do a hard reboot and my baby has revived. This was a huge relief because had it died, I certainly did not want to have to purchase a new one. And it had not only lots of books and subscriptions on it, but also my very favorite Flight of the Conchords video clips, which I watch when I am feeling blue. Not to mention my Sudoku app! I am such a huge geek that I can complete a Sudoku in under four minutes. Not to mention my Netflix app! It is a little ridiculous how bereft I would be if I had to go without it.

So when I began this post, I was going to write about books, and how I find the books I think I want to read. I collect lists of books I want to read, but I realize I also collect lists of movies I want to watch, and I realize that what I look for in both of these things are very similar.

(I should stop here and say that despite my love of the written word, and my appreciation for a well-made movie, there are huge gaps in my literary and film education. At the same time, I realize there is a finite number of days in my life, so I am not going to waste time with slogging through books or movies I don’t like. It is rather liberating. When I was younger, I could so easily put myself in the writer’s shoes of having bravely put their guts out into the world to be read by the public that I would dutifully continue reading through hundreds of pages just to give the author a chance, even if the book wasn’t grabbing me. I felt obligated to finish! Well, no more.)

What I look for is: something that will make me laugh or make me examine what I truly think. Something that will take me on a journey, with all the little side trips and mis-steps that journeys have. Something that will make me feel different when I am done.

Well, this is hard to know at the outset as you are looking at things. I tend to like independent films, quirky films, and books that take me to unexpected places. I absolutely cannot deal with stories where violence toward women and/or children, or come to think of it, animals, is portrayed. It took me forever to see The Accused and I could not watch it all in one sitting. I still don’t think I have ever seen it all the way through. Same with Precious. These are “good” movies, they tell important stories, but I can’t deal.  

At this point, I don’t look for movies that I know will depress me. I am therefore surprised, and sometimes pleasantly, by movies like The Descendants, which I thought would be a quirky family comedy but ended up being, yes, sad, but also deeply moving.

As the weekend is fast approaching, tell me: (1) what do you look for in movies and/or books? And (2) what would you recommend?


Disclaimer: I may or may not read or watch your recommendations. I’m annoying quirky like that.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Am I Out?!

I was just checking my blog feeds, which includes my own since I want to be able to view my posts as others see them so as to fix formatting errors and the like, and I realized that the entry I posted on Sunday night 11/17 at 9:36 PM appears to have been posted Monday 11/18 at 12:36 AM since I am on Pacific Time.

Ordinarily this would not be a big deal except I am trying to do NaBloPoMo, yo! One post a day for 30 days! Am I disqualified? I think not.

So I have said it, so shall it be. Or I shall be quite cheesed!

Off to trot about the Onternet to see what I can see...warning, I am Not. In. The. Mood!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Hot Mess

Big sigh. This hair issue has gone from bad to worse.

My sister-in-law wanted to make Viva an appointment to get her hair done this Saturday so she would be set for Thanksgiving. I responded that Viva doesn't want to get her hair pressed again, so I wanted to make sure the other stylist, who doesn't press hair but does "braids" (i.e. cornrows) was available.

"I thought Viva doesn't want braids, she said they made her hair hurt," Diva said.

"She doesn't want cornrows, she wants individual braids," I said.

"Well, that takes forever and that is really expensive," Diva said. And then she fixed her mouth to tell me that she was through with my child, that she didn't even know what she wanted to do with her hair, that she was trying to do something nice and that before she started doing this, Viva's hair looked a hot mess and she never ever saw her even look in a mirror and that she just can't be doing this etc., etc. and by the way YOU'RE WELCOME.

I remained calm (although WHAT THE F? You are THROUGH with my child? My child, who you just said looks A HOT MESS?! And then you are going to imply that I am ungrateful?) and said (as I had already said multiple times) thank you for doing this for Viva, but since it's not what she wants, it doesn't make sense to keep doing it, so why spend that money and time.

And then I prevented myself from having some kind of cardiac infarction, wished her a safe trip for Thanksgiving, and as I was saying it, realized she had already hung up on me.

Happy frickin' holidays. If you took my blood pressure right now I think it would be off the frickin' charts.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lifelong Learning

I am at a seminar today for work. I arrived early because I was paranoid about traffic and I was rewarded with a nearly empty parking lot, a cheery, not busy cafe where I bought yogurt and fruit and coffee, and a serene courtyard with an infinity pool where I could sit and ruminate on life and other ponderables. Smack dab in downtown Los Angeles!

What a lovely respite from my usual hustle and bustle. It was a pleasant surprise.

I came to this seminar today to learn about business but I feel I have already gotten what I need.

Wishing you some unexpected pleasantries today. Enjoy!

Monday, November 18, 2013

In everything, give thanks

Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough. - Oprah Winfrey

It is the season, in social media, to give thanks. Some people are pledging to give thanks every day during the month of November - or rather, to list each day at least one thing they are grateful for. And that's great. I think we need more of that.
There is also a larger movement to try and be more mindful - to appreciate more each day how lucky we are. In fact, a magazine has even been launched with this as its marching orders. Be present, be in the moment. Enjoy and appreciate where you are.
At one point in college, a friend was bombarding me with a barrage of questions, and kind of picking on me a bit. Fed up, I said to him:  "Enough! Why must you question everything? Why can't you just BE?" And his response was: "Questioning things is the human condition. Say 'be' to a tomato and you will not find opposition."
I am determined to find a balance. So question things, sure, analyze things - go nuts. But allow yourself some time to be still, and to appreciate some things as they are. That is my offering of the day.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Carving Out Time

I was about to get back to my Walking Dead addiction this evening when I realized that I hadn't yet blogged today. For heaven's sake, Self! I thought to myself. You've been doing so well with this NaBloPoMo thing, don't blow it!

But I realized I didn't have a post ready to go, not even the germination of one in my brain. And then I thought, it is always so hard for me to blog on the weekend. And why is that?

It is hard for me to get any time to myself on the weekend, which is partly because I so much love being with my husband and kids for long stretches of time, and particularly when we have nowhere we have to be. I know that I need time to myself to recharge. I am a natural introvert. But I also get my fuel from being around my family. We are a very huggy goofy loud and laughing bunch, and it's hard for me to tear myself away. Sweet Dub's videography and photography work translates into very changeable hours, and sometimes he is booked for several days in a row, or nights, or weird chunks of time smack in the middle of our weekend. Since it's holiday portrait and event time, he is booked for the next few weekends. This weekend he was home all day Saturday through Sunday until 3 PM. It felt like such a treat!

So the good news is, I seem to be very capable of being in the moment. The bad news is, I may occasionally lose sight of my long-term goals, including writing, when I am focused on the family that is right in front of me. That's kind of how life is these days.

Also: I am very sleepy due to a self-induced Walking Dead Season 1 marathon on Netflix last night. So I am just not sure I am making sense. Yeah, sorry about that.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fresh Air

I have good intentions on Friday evenings. I think I will get up on Saturday and do laundry and clean the house and do the grocery shopping and I don't know, maybe some rocket science in my spare moments. And then I realize I have a free day with hours stretching out before me, and the whole family is kind of zonked out from the week, and I make some king of half-assed breakfast and lounge around in the living room playing with the kids and then I look up and it's 11:30 and no one has dressed or bathed or brushed their teeth.

And then we get ourselves together and hike on out into the world:

And it is a perfect late autumn day. The laundry can wait another day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 15, 2013

Philosophy of Life

File:The Thinker, Auguste Rodin.jpg

Image Credit:  Zarora, Wikimedia Commons

Every right-minded man has a philosophy of life, whether he knows it or not. Hidden away in his mind are certain governing principles, whether he formulates them in words or not, [regulating] his life.  
--John D. Rockefeller, Random Reminiscences of Men and Events
Off the top of my head, I would say my governing principles are:  to be kind, to act with integrity, to be fair, and to be open-minded. I am the first to admit that I am not always successful with these.

What about you?  What are your governing principles?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ageless, Timeless, Clueless.

Hey, guess what? This “writing every day” thing is hard! I can’t lie.

Today’s story opens at a funder holiday event about 40 miles from my office. At a lovely mid-morning reception, I met someone who has only been in the fundraising/grants development business for one week. He asked me for advice, training resources, etc. He asked all kinds of other questions, as well. It turns out we live in the same neighborhood, which was a little coincidental considering we were at an Orange County event, a fair pace from our LA County digs. But as we went on talking I started to get this vibe that he had more than a professional interest in me.

(And believe me, I am so clueless about this type of thing that even after DATING Sweet Dub a few times, the first time he kissed me it took me completely by surprise. He gives me a hard time about it to this day.)

I mean, it’s flattering, I guess, but also a bit awkward.  He was very nice and subtle about it (to me, but you know, see above re: cluelessness) but once I got hip to it, I pretty much shut it down right away – politely changing the subject and checking the time, then leaving shortly thereafter. I also found it funny that the one black man – the one brotha at the whole event! – sought me out and tried to become my new BFF. Or more – wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
Whatevs - I just didn't expect this type of thing to be happening at my advanced age. I mean, I am 45!  What the what?! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Long, Flowing Locks - Revisited

Yesterday, I told you about Viva’s excursions to the beauty shop over the past couple of months. Her braids were too tight, they were hurting her head and potentially damaging her hairline, and I asked the stylist and my sister-in-law Diva (who’s been facilitating this process, as well as providing financial backing) to give her scalp a break and put her hair in a loose style. I suggested box braids.

Instead, Viva came home with her hair pressed straight:

At Auntie Diva's, making krispy treats before coming home.


And I am deeply conflicted. I am better off than Sweet Dub, who was furious, but I am conflicted, and here is why:

Since Viva was very small, I have told her how beautiful her natural hair is. I never wanted her to get caught up in the whole stupid “good hair” vs. “bad hair” ridiculousness that rears its ugly head when it comes to discussions of black hair. I try to take good care of her hair -- to trim the ends when it needs it, to keep it well-moisturized and in protective styles. I am a big advocate of loving what God gave you and rejecting any nonsense that your hair, the way it grows out of your head, is somehow “less than” if it is not straight and long. I love naturally curly and coily and kinky hair and I have made a decade-long effort to convey that to my baby.

In the meantime, Sweet Dub’s side of the family has been pushing for years for us to straighten Viva’s hair. “It would look so beautiful!” my mother-in-law would say.

“Her hair will look beautiful no matter what she does to it,” I would respond. “She has beautiful thick hair.”

“I am not teaching my baby that B.S. self-hatred,” Sweet Dub would say to his mom. “Leave it alone, there is nothing wrong with her hair. We are not teaching her that.”

And then we would speak of it no more. Until the next time. “Why are you so invested in this?!” Sweet Dub would say. “We are done, stop bugging us about it!”

But still the pressure kept on – not on us, as it turns out, but on Viva. “Do it for Granny,” my mother-in-law would say. “I just want to see it one time.”

So you see where this is going, right?

It really feels that this whole exercise of taking Viva to have her hair done for weeks was just a very well-laid plan, the culmination of which was:  Viva had her hair pressed straight without even understanding that’s what was about to happen. Now, they didn’t put chemicals in her hair, because I really would have gone off about that. But I hate that they did this without our true consent.

And here’s what has me more conflicted:  Viva loves it. She has been combing her hair, and brushing her hair, tossing her hair out of her face, keeping a scrunchie on hand at all times so she can pull it into a ponytail if she needs to, and even wrapping it, pinning it up, and wearing a satin bonnet at night. When her hair is natural, I have to remind her Every. Single. Night. To put a satin sleep cap on. Or to wear a shower cap when she bathes. It is infuriating.

And worse:  Ceeya sees all the attention this new hair is getting, and she now says she wants her hair “done” at the salon. This, from the kid who fights me every time I want to comb her hair into braids or puffs, or even just finger-comb it out into an afro. Yes, this, from the kid who loves to wear her hair “wild.”

Did you hear that loud scream? That was me.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Long, Flowing Locks

(Okay, so here’s the recreation of the post I lost yesterday.)

A couple of months ago, Sweet Dub’s sister, Diva, offered to take Viva to the beauty shop to get her hair done for the first day of school. Viva is getting older, maybe she needed a change. Diva is an empty nester, with no one at home to spoil. She offered not only to take Viva to the beauty shop this one time, but to take her regularly and pay for her hair to be done – to free up my Sunday hair-doing time and to spare us the added expense, since we are on a tight budget.

All well and good. Viva came home with her hair in tiny cornrows in a lovely way pattern across her head, with tiny braids spilling down her back. She looked very different, much more like a tween, and she liked having her hair in a more sophisticated style:

So every three weeks, we would drop her back off at the shop and Diva would pick her up, pay for her style, and take her out to eat. It was nice for them to have their own one-on-one time together.

But as time went on, the braider put Viva’s braids in more tightly, even though I had asked that she put the back part of her head in loose braids (she completely ignored that request). Viva complained that her head hurt, that it itched, and when I investigated what was bothering her, I found she was getting large red bumps at the nape of her neck. No, no, no. I do not like that. That is a one-way ticket to traction alopecia. Bumps be gone!

So I took the style down (a three-hour undertaking, as it involved tiny cornrows criss-crossing her scalp and intersecting in some places), deep conditioned her hair with a cap overnight, and then the next day restyled in some double-stranded twists, similar to this:

I told Diva that we wanted to take a break from the cornrows because I was worried about the health of Viva’s hair. She said she was sure they could find a loose style which wouldn’t hurt, so Viva’s hair wouldn’t be clamped down to her head so tightly. I suggested box braids as a compromise (without the eyeshadow of the model below):

Do you know Viva came home with her hair blown straight and pressed?!  Sweet Dub was furious. I was less than happy. 
Can you guess why?  Stay tuned for part two, coming tomorrow.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Technical difficulties

I just spent half an hour typing out a post on my phone. Thought I had saved a draft, exited the app temporarily to copy and paste a link--came back to the app and my post has vanished.

Oh. Em. Gee.

I am not going to try and recreate it at this point because I am now leery of the same thing happening if I use my phone and for heaven's sake, I just spent 30 minutes writing. It's the end of the day and my eyes hurt.

I will try again tomorrow. Maybe it is saved somewhere? Will try to retrieve but my gut instinct is that it is gone. Burgleflickle!

(Hmm...and now YouTube link to Bob Odenkirk classic Miller Lite commercial won't post. I give up! Thank you and good night!)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Reunited and it feels so good

My sister-in-law, Diva, took the girls for two nights this weekend so we could get a little break. We had fun at the wedding, but I missed my little munchkins most especially this morning. Once reunited, the four of us spent about two hours just lounging about and snuggling. I love these moments and wouldn't trade them for anything.

Now Sweet Dub is out unexpectedly at a last-minute gig and the kids and I have been writing and drawing together. Here is Ceeya, deep in concentration:

And Viva? Well, I'm going to leave that post until tomorrow, because I have a lot to say. Warning: it's about hair. There will be pictures.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

In Happier News...

On our way to a wedding! All gussied up, ready to have some fun. As long as we don't have to Macarena, it's all good.

Hoping to post again later with more pics. Stay tuned! - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 08, 2013

Soft Rains

Image credit: Keven Law, flickr Creative Commons.

Not two days ago, I wrote that I had learned that one of Sweet Dub's friends who lives across the country from us had been brought home from the hospital to die at home. This morning, we learned that she has passed away.

Oh, I can't even. My heart breaks thinking about it. If you haven't already seen this series of photographs, they provide just a small glimpse of what living with cancer is like - its long, painful progression. The last three in the series will just wreck you. But they are beautiful, and they tell such a poignant story of how much two people can love one another.

Rest in Peace, B.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Our Days are Long

Part Two.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
- Steve Jobs 

There is that peculiar phenomenon that when you are doing something that is not stimulating, the hours seem to drag. And then, conversely, when you are having a good time, the time flies by.

When I am at work these days, the days drag. But then I get to the end of a week, and the end of another week, and then I realize, “Holy shiz—we are nearly at the end of the year 2013 and where has the time gone?”

If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am doing today? Actually, no. I am proud of the work I help to accomplish, and I know that I contribute to making some people’s lives better through the work that I do. But the work itself brings me no joy, and that is no way to live, is it?

This is a recurring theme here, which tells you something, but in my defense, I have been doing things to try and change my work life. I have been reading a lot to help map out what I might do next, and I have been teaching myself some helpful skills – I am learning HTML, for example, which is a long time coming. I am looking at the jobs I want and working backwards into them – i.e. determining what skills I need that I don’t have – and also trying to keep abreast of trends in the online world, so that I am not learning things which will soon be outmoded.

I am trying to be more purposeful with my loved ones as well – to have more fun with my kids, to be more present with my husband. And in my larger circle, to operate from a place of love rather than fear, which is the culture in my family of origin. (Risk! BAD. Status quo! GOOD. Change! SCARY. Ugh. Grunt.)

But in all honesty, what I really want is just to write. To write essays and to write fiction and that is all I would do all day. And maybe draw illustrations to go with the fiction, or just to amuse myself. I want to be – not exactly a lady of leisure – but I want my days to be a little less frantic, and a little more hanging about the house poking away at my laptop and sketchbooks.

That is my vision. I am going to do my damnedest to get to it. For the days, they just go. And I don’t want to waste them.

NOTE that I am learning HTML and I haven't been able to fix the damn line breaks at the top of this post. I will figure it out, but not this moment.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Our Days Are Short

Part One.

I recently learned that one of Sweet Dub's friends from law school, who had been battling breast cancer, had been sent home from the hospital. She is not going home to recuperate. The cancer has spread to her brain. She is going home to die.

This woman is about my age. She is one of a group of us that all got pregnant at the same time and all had our first children (all girls) within months of each other. She lives in New York, while the rest of us are in California, so I do not know her well. I only know stories from the rest of the group and those are few, since we don't see each other all that much.

(I just realized that it's possible this news is what caused my recent nightmare about Sweet Dub dying. I am not too swift sometimes.)

So I don't know her all that well, but I can't get it out of my mind. It's heartbreaking to imagine leaving your loved ones behind. Not to mention that cancer is a shitty way to die, though honestly there are not many un-shitty ways to die. But I know, because my grandfather's cancer ultimately spread to his brain, that it's a horrifically painful way to go, and it just makes the whole situation extra horrible to me.

This news has been percolating in my brain, and then I saw this

And you know, it made me pause. Because when faced with your imminent death, you have to wonder what it was all for. What do you leave behind you? And I might not get cancer but I don't know the number of my days, and neither do you. And faced with this fill-in-the-blank, the first thing that came to my mind was:

Before I die I want to:

Operate from a place of love and openness rather than fear.

Wow. What?

Stay tuned for some sloppy self-analysis and probably some navel-gazing. It'll be fun! I'll bring the pretzels.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Timing is Everything

I have roughly 30 minutes from when my office-mate leaves to my usual departure time. I love this time because I generally wrap up what I am doing, get organized for the next day, and, during NaBloPoMo, finish whatever post I've been ruminating on and typing on my phone during breaks and publish it (thank you, BlogPress app!).

Today my boss called and sucked up a chunk of that time. My lovely well thought-out but not finished post will have to wait. I know, this harshes your whole day. Stay strong!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Last Minute Me

I have to attend a wedding this weekend and (of course) I have nothing to wear that fits/is appropriate for a fall evening wedding, so I have been trolling about on various websites to see if I can find something I like. In a classic case of champagne taste on a beer budget, I found this:

I love it, but it's $198. Can be bought at Nordstrom if you are so inclined. As for me...I gotta keep on looking.

Don't get me started on shoes.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Simple Sunday

We Blah Blahs spend much of our spare time in nature. We are blessed to live in Southern California, where the weather is conducive to being outdoors most of the time.

Today we spent the afternoon in Playa Vista, which has a number of protected habitats:

We hiked around on some trails, relay-raced each other around the playground, and brainstormed a concept for our Christmas card this year--one of the hazards of being married to a photographer is that you can't just snap some pics and hope for the best.

Fortunately we all love coming up with cool ideas for photo shoots. We came up with not one but two concepts to try, and we will see which one we like best. Of course they require completely different outfits for each, but I am game because I think either one will make people laugh. I will post pics from each when they happen and we will see if our tremendous brilliant vision has been realized.

In other world news, I woke up last night/ this morning at 1:30-ish and happened upon the documentary Blackfish, which explores the plight of orcas in captivity at places like SeaWorld. Let's just say it is not a pretty picture. Let's go further and say that it is really disturbing. And heartbreaking. And infuriating. And I haven't been able to stop thinking about it all day. And you should see it if you can. And then we should, like, storm the gates of SeaWorld and liberate them all, except they probably would not survive in the wild, not to mention how would we transport them all, so that's a sucky plan.

This is probably why I am not some kind of dictator or some such. I lack planning skillz. However, I do make a pretty awesome frittata, so I am not a complete loss. And I stay out of protected habitats! So there's that, then.

I joke, but what can I do from my comfy chair to rectify issues like this? I have been reading more about it but have yet to see concrete suggestions about how we as regular Jo viewers might help. I need a road map. I can think for myself (mostly) but I'd like to know what options are on the table.

In the meantime, I am sad for everyone involved. And this isn't what I set out to write about but I guess it's where my head is at.

No pithy conclusion. Just sad.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Bad Dreams

Ceeya woke me up at about 2 AM because she had a bad dream. We curled up together in my bed and she went back to sleep very quickly.

But I? Oh no, my friends. I was awake, and awake for hours. I did not get back out of bed, for fear of waking my (5-year-old) baby. I lay there snuggled up to her, smelling her hair, holding her hand, knowing she will not be small forever, enjoying this little slice of quiet contentment.

Sometime after 4:30 I dozed off--and had a long, rambling horrible dream in which I was literally fighting off feral cats and rats invading an old house I'd moved into. And then realized Sweet Dub had been visiting someone in the hospital and inexplicably dropped dead while there. It hit me like a board to the chest, I fell to my knees and howled. I screamed at my mother, who was suddenly there, to turn off the TV, which was inanely loud. She picked up the remote and turned off the cable box only, so instead it turned to the loud roar of dead air. "Turn it off! Turn it off!" I screamed in my pain, and I woke up sobbing and holding my heart.

I rolled out of bed gasping and realized the shower was on and the noise had infiltrated my dream. I staggered to the bathroom and saw my love, blurry behind the shower door, and my relief flooded over me like the warm shower rain. "Honey!" I called, and he poked his Sweet Dub head out, eyes wide with concern as he took in my distraught face.

I kissed him and almost crawled into the shower in my jammies. I briefly told him my dream as I blew my nose.

"That's awful," he said. "Honey, no. Never."

Whew, Lord don't test me like that. My heart would give out.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 01, 2013

Let's Do This Thing!

Last night per tradition, Sweet Dub and I took the girls over to the West Adams neighborhood where many of his friends grew up. We use the house of the mom of one of his oldest friends as our home base to meet up and trick or treat from, so other friends can join in as the evening goes on. I look forward to it because it is one of the few times a year we all get together, and in past years we have had as many as 13 kids in our group, shuffling along in their assorted costumes and shining flashlights hither and yon.

One of our friends is the mother of four girls, currently ranging in age from 12 to 16 (there's one set of twins in there). She works full-time at a demanding job as an educator, runs marathons, and is constantly driving her kids to swim meets and volleyball tournaments all over Los Angeles in her spare time. She is warm and funny and I have missed her. When I ran into her on the sidewalk, she hugged me tightly and told me I was gorgeous. Who doesn't need a friend like that?!

Later, we were sitting on her mother-in-law's porch as our kids were trading candy and still giving candy out to straggling trick-or-treaters, and she said to me: "I just have to tell you that you have inspired me!"

“What?” I exclaimed. “How so?!”

“I am writing!” she said, her face all aglow. It turns out she is working on not one but two writing projects as part of her work, and she will be publishing an academic e-book as well as contributing a chapter to a book that is being edited by a colleague in Australia. She said that I inspired her because I am a writer and she knows I have been working on a book myself.

Er…okay, let’s be honest here. I haven’t even written on this blog consistently, never mind working on the actual book I want to write (which is in pieces, each of which is less fleshed out than the last). My job is stressful and exhausting and once I have got home and dealt with dinner, baths, the kids’ homework and everything else, I have nothing left.

I confessed all this to her, and she was sympathetic and supportive. “You just have to do it,” she said. And by God, this is true. My spirit is withering away without having a shred of a creative outlet except the fun projects I do with my kids. I need to get this shit together.

I am writing again. And I am starting here. NaBloPoMo is upon us! Wish me luck, and some quiet time to think.