Archive for August, 2011

29 Aug 2011

All the Ways I’ve Hurt Myself

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Commenting on a post over at Suburban Scrawl, reminded me of one of the first lame ways I injured myself, which reminded me of the many others. So I thought I’d tell you about them.

The first happened when I was around 12.  My grandma was over and I was in the kitchen, probably looking for a snack. I opened one of the cabinets that held the pots and pans and saw a little, dead mouse. I didn’t want to scare my grandma, so I tried to stifle my screams and ran out the front door. I figured I’d get the mail and sit out there until I decided how to re-enter the house. On the way to running, barefooted toward the mailbox, I felt a sharp pain in my foot that instantly drove me to the ground. The gardeners were there and had apparently left a rake, tines up, on the driveway. You know how in cartoons, when a guy steps on a rake, the handle pops up and hits him in the face? That’s totally not what happened to me. What happened instead, was the tines went through my foot in two places and came through the top of my foot.

I don’t completely remember what happened next. I believe I pulled the rake out of my foot, but it might have been my grandma who did it. Within an hour, I was at the ER getting tetanus shots.  When I got home, I decided to tell my parents about the mouse so they could dispose of it. They did. It was easy because it was a leaf. I stepped on a rake because of a leaf.

A couple of years before this incident I was going to the mall with the same grandma and my mom, as any good Valley Girl would do on a weekend in the 80’s. I was wearing open-toed sandals and insisted on opening the door, which opened right over my foot and pulled the entire nail off of my big toe.  The bleeding was constant, as was the pain. My mom carried me to a bench and shoved my foot in a bucket of ice she got from the restaurant right inside the mall. Again, within moments, we were on the way to the ER. But, get this, on the way there… My mom stopped at 7-11 to get me a frigging ICEE. The extra moments of not getting medical attention were totally worth the extra Mom-Attention. I’ll never forget that. Or the screaming I did when I got shots in my foot. Or the screaming I did when the bandage was pulled off my toe a few days later. But mostly the ICEE.

Fast-forward a few years. I was 14 or 15, spending my summer at drama camp at Cal State Northridge. (Yes, I went to drama camp every summer for five awesome years. Shut up.) It was lunch time and all of my friends and I were deciding where to eat.  Half of us were on one side of Nordhoff, a busy street, and the others were on the other side. When we finally decided on Taco Bell, I yelled across the street, “Meet us at Taco Bell!” The word, “Bell” had hardly escaped from my lips when I walked, WALKED, into a telephone pole which was covered with nails and staples. It knocked me out for a second, and when I came-to, I put my hands to my face. I pulled them away to see them covered in blood. There was a dentist’s office right there, and my friends had the wherewithal to drag me in and get me some ice. About an hour later, my mom picked me up, shaking her head at my lame klutzery, (the ICEE days apparently long gone). I missed the next few days of camp and thought I looked like a monster with the dried staple-scabs all over my face. Years later, when I was getting rhinoplasty consultations, I was told over and over that I had broken my nose. I never knew.

And those are just three of the many lame ways I have hurt myself. I bet you have some stories you could share. Just be delicate. These kinds of stories always make me cringe.

27 Aug 2011

Flawless Saturday Question

24 Comments Flawless Saturday Question

If you had one month to do whatever you wanted, with WHOMEVER you wanted to do it with, what would you do?

If I had a month with no obligations, and money was no object, I would grab my husband and son and rent a tricked-out tour bus. I’d hire a driver and we would drive across the country. We’d stop at every cool diner we could find, visit museums and amusement parks, see the sights in every city, meet new people, and have a damn good time. I so desperately want to see more of our country, up close and personal. And I want to do it with my boys.

So, if I had a month to do anything I wanted that’s what I’d do. What about you?

25 Aug 2011

Felines. Cute Little Bundles of Crazy.

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I have two cats.

When I talk about my family, I always include my husband and son. About 75% of the time, I mention our dog. And about 5% of the time, I mention my cats.

I love them. I really do. I MUST, because I’ve had them for 16 years. For 16 years I’ve fed them, cleaned up their pee and crap, and tolerated their bullshit. Every time I take them to the vet I hear, “They’re in incredibly good health for their age”, so I must be doing a pretty good job. Let me tell you about them:

I adopted Sonny and Misty 16 years ago, when I was 24 and they were about a year old. I was never a cat person, but I knew I wanted to rescue an animal and I wasn’t home enough to have a dog. I found an incredibly cool cat named Jesse at the cat rescue and immediately started the process, filling out paperwork, getting a home inspection, and promising my first born if anything were to ever go wrong. We still have Garrett, so I think we’re in good shape.

Jesse was about 15 pounds of lap-sitting, ear-petting, paw-kneading, purring goodness. He seemed more like a dog than a cat, which is why I was attracted to him. Apparently the adoption folks saw the squishy center of my hard, outer shell and asked if I would foster a couple other cats, too. I said yes and they giggled. I didn’t see them giggle, but they must have giggled because I had just agreed to bring home two of the most screwed-up cats ever.

Within days of Jesse, Sonny, and Misty coming home, it was clear this configuration wasn’t going to work. Jesse liked being alone. He would frequently talk about himself in the third person saying, “Jesse doesn’t play well with other cats”, and “Jesse prefers having the litter box to himself.” He would also fling himself off of my bed or couch, aiming himself perfectly to land on one of the other cats, who were half his size.  Jesse did not play well with others.

And then Jesse got sick. He apparently ate a ribbon or some other length of rope and needed immediate surgery. I paid for the surgery and then made a really lame decision. I knew I couldn’t keep all three cats because they didn’t get along. So I took Jesse back to the cat rescue and kept the two that had been thrust upon me. I figured, in my soft, gullible heart, that it was better to rescue two cats than one, and that Jesse was so awesome he would definitely find another home.  As I drove off, I heard him yell, “What did Jesse do to piss you off? Oh. It’s like that, is it? Jesse doesn’t care! Jesse never loved you!”

So here I was with two cats I never meant to have. Misty was invisible, only coming out to eat or pee when I was out of the house or asleep. I swear she didn’t let me pet her until she had lived with me for ten years. Now she sleeps on the pillow above my head, and even lets Garrett and Russ pet her, but it took years of proving I wasn’t out to kill her before she granted me even a smidgeon of trust.

Sonny was cooler. He was a lap cat of sorts and enjoyed our company. He would also occasionally jump on one of us, claws out, and cause us to need copious amounts of hydrogen peroxide and neosporin. Oh. And he peed. All over our apartment. Everywhere. We only realized it when we were moving out of our townhouse into our new home, and we unplugged all of the air purifiers only to be punched in the face with the smell of cat piss so strong it almost killed us.

At that moment we decided our indoor cats were to become outdoor cats the second either of them took the liberty of peeing in the house… Which happened 30 seconds after we moved in. After 48 hours of heaving, snotty, sobs… Sonny was relegated to the outdoors, where he has lived for 7 and a half years. He has the entire garage to himself, with a kitty door. He also has the patio, all four patio chairs, and one of those soft carriers filled with blankies and a kitty pillow. He seems fairly happy, but I know he misses our laps. And we miss him. But no one is allowed to pee on our walls now that we have a mortgage.

Misty lived outside for 2 years. Not because she peed in the house, but because she wanted to go out. It changed her a lot and was instrumental in her trusting us. She matured in the outdoors. But after two winters of watching her freeze in the rain, refusing to take any shelter (due to claustrophobia or stupidity), I forced her back inside. Only then did the whole, “We’re really not going to kill you” thing sink in.

They both eat special food for their kidneys now, and Sonny is on thyroid meds. I love them a lot, but in a different way than I love my dog. I love them in the way anyone would love any living creatures who ate the food provided them, allowed you to clean up their personal waste, tested you for nearly two decades, and still eyed you with suspicion and peed on your baseboards.  Yeah. I love them like that. And apparently I will for the next 16 years. Because they ain’t kidding about that whole “9 lives” thing.

20 Aug 2011

Flawless Saturday Question

41 Comments Flawless Saturday Question

What’s your favorite thing to eat when you’re sick?

This weekend was apparently not made for going out and having fun. My son and I are both under the weather and my mom needed some TLC today, too. So it looks like this weekend is pretty much shot.

When I was a kid I craved two things when I was sick:

Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie and store-bought chocolate cake from the refrigerated section. With the hostess-cupcake-looking frosting? You know what I mean? I think it usually came in a foil pan.

Those two things were all I needed.  Well, those two things and some magazines. It’s been years since I’ve had one of those pot pies. I think reading the fat grams cured me of that craving. And I never really crave that cake anymore.

Now when I don’t feel well, I usually want some very brothy soup, toast, and maybe scrambled eggs. But nothing really gives me that warm feeling that I used to get when I was on the couch with my parents eating fattening, processed foods.

Tell me what makes you feel all warm and fuzzy when you’re feeling all sick and yucky. Maybe I’ll get some good ideas.

18 Aug 2011

My House is Breaking

17 Comments Personal Crap

There is a list of things my husband and I want to do to our house:

Put a fence around the front yard.

Fix the fence in the backyard.

Replace the front door.

Paint the outside.

Make a pathway from the back door to the garage.

Light the backyard.

Get under-counter lighting in the kitchen.

Replace the oven.

Buy a new grill.

Refinish our wood floors.

This list is only partial, and most of it has needed to be done for years. We are a frugal pair, and the poor house suffers because of it.

But the most nagging, annoying, in-your-face thing that needs to be done is to RE-PAINT THE INSIDE OF THE HOUSE!

When Russ and I moved in, we painted all of the rooms ourselves. We will never do that again. It was adorable and romantic at the time. Two youngsters in old denim, ordering pizza and holding paint rollers. We were a sight to see. But years of wear (and possible shoddy work) have caused our painted walls to rebel against us. I’m about to show you photographic proof of our shame. Now let’s see if it helps me to get off my ass and call a damn painter.

This is the chip by the front door. It’s mostly due to our dog, Bogie jumping up and scratching whenever someone comes to the door:

This is the massive erosion of the paint on the window sill where Bogie stands with his nails scraping the paint off little by little:

Window Sill

This is the wall in the dining room/family room, where G’s wicker toy basket has left several scratches, and now this chip in the paint:

Toy Box Wall

This is the window sill in the kitchen. Years of water and steam and bullshitting my way through dinner parties has caused this:

And this is the ingenious way I cover up the embarrassing paint problem:

As you can see, this is a problem. Obviously, it isn’t a problem that has taken up too much of my time trying to fix. But it is a problem, nonetheless. We could probably find the paint we need in the garage and patch up all the “issues”, but most likely I’ll want all new paint colors. We’ve been living with the same walls for seven and a half years, so it would be nice to spruce things up. That means I have to go pick paint colors. AND if we’re going to paint, shouldn’t we get the floors refinished at the same time? That way the painters wouldn’t have to worry as much about the floors, knowing they were about to get made over. And then, if the painters are coming anyway, shouldn’t we just have them do the outside as well?

And then, just like that, we’ve probably spent close to ten grand. I just got really sick to my stomach.

So, do we do the patch work and fix one problem at a time? Or do we live with the shame of our house falling apart until we can spend the money to get it all done at once?

What would you do? Or, should I say, what will you do? For me. To help. Got any wood-floor hookups? Any free paint? Wanna come re-do my walls? I’ll take you to Hollywood, where the celebrities are. But I won’t help you paint. I did that once. And it didn’t really work out.

16 Aug 2011

Some Awesome Quotes

16 Comments Personal Crap, Toddler

Since Russ has gone back to working outside of the house, G-Man and I have been spending a TON of quality time together; even more than we did before. We’ve been having some fantastic adventures and a lot of good bonding time (which he will never remember). Over the past week he’s been dropping some awesome quotes and I wanted to share a few with you.

*Upon seeing a SCUBA diver in the water at the aquarium: “Mom, look! A SCREW DRIVER!”

*Talking about taking a shower: “We have to put the mat down so I don’t slip. My butt is hard so I could get hurt. Your butt is squishy so it won’t hurt as bad if you fall.”

*After finding my Jillian Michael’s workout DVD’s: “Mom, you have to exercise. Put this on now. I want you to exercise.” When I told him I had to change clothes: “Okay. Are you going to put on your exercise boobs?” He then proceeded to work out right next to me for ten minutes. He’s a great trainer.

*After a day of some fun, some errands, and a lot of silliness: “Mom, I love you in my whole heart.”

*Upon trying to make him laugh: “Only Dads and boys can be funny. Girls and Moms can’t.” I’ll have to show him “Bridesmaids”.

*Picking him up from school last week:

“When I get older, will I marry?”

“I think so. But you have to find someone you love very much.”

“I want to marry Penelope at my birthday party when I turn 4. And I want a radio to play “The Final Countdown”. And I want my teachers to be there.”

*And possibly the coolest of all: At school they were learning about different cultures all over the world. His classroom got Ireland and Greece. The teachers taught the kids the Greek alphabet, but weren’t sure if it was completely sinking in. It was. Garrett recited the whole thing for me and then for Russ. Russ was very proud, but said he’ll only be accepted into a fraternity when he recites it holding a burning match after ingesting three beers.

There you go. Just a few of the gems I’ve been privy to lately. Oh, kids! They say the DARNDEST things, don’t they? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

I’m exhausted.

Update!!!! I just got done swimming with G. When his cousin asked why I got out of the pool, G replied:

“She was really freaking cold.”

13 Aug 2011

Flawless Saturday Question

35 Comments Flawless Saturday Question

At Blogher ’11 there was a pretty hilarious reading at the Voices of the Year show about what people saved when their houses caught fire. Noa Gavin’s post is called, “Oh Good. You Saved Your Bullshit”. And you can see it here.

It got me to thinking what I would save if I needed to. And besides my family, pets, and pictures, I honestly can’t think of anything else. Oh, maybe the millions of dollars I keep under the mattress. In cash. Small bills.

I bet as I go on with my day today, I’ll think of one or two other things.  But I have somewhere to be.

SO…

What would you save if your house caught on fire, and why?

AND…

How much money do YOU keep under your mattress in small bills?

While you’re thinking, here’s where you can find all of the Voices of the Year posts. They were wonderful. Jenni Chiu made me pee my pants. Others made me cry my eyes out. Enjoy them all!

11 Aug 2011

Life Keeps Teaching Me the Same Lesson

16 Comments Personal Crap

It’s a story for another time, but today I was at the hospital visiting my cousin for the second time this week. It’s a cancer hospital. A place where research is done, people are healed, and others… Are not.

As I left his room to let him sleep and headed toward the elevators, I saw a couple I had seen as I was coming in. They were Asian and in their late 40’s, or early 50’s. When I first saw them, he was on his cell phone in the third floor lobby, possibly getting updates, possibly giving them. She was across from him, facing him in a chair about ten arm-lengths away.  She watched him intently. She was quiet.

Here I was, only an hour later walking through the same lobby. And she was with him again, her husband I think. And she was wailing as she walked toward the elevator. It’s a wail I have only heard within the last year or so, sometimes from my mom, sometimes from myself. It was the wail of someone who lost someone they could never fathom losing.

I didn’t want to get on the elevator with them, to interrupt this precious moment. See, grief is important. It’s private and beautiful and so very necessary. I didn’t want her to feel like she needed to cut it out, or pull it back or stop the pain. So I waited in the lobby, facing the window and I cried. I cried for her and her loss. I cried for my dad who was treated for nearly four years at this same hospital, and I cried for my cousin who is fighting.

I know I’ve been yapping a lot the last year about how I’m trying to live differently. I’m trying to prioritize and make every moment special. No one can do it all the time, but my percentage has certainly risen. And living in that moment today gave me even more resolve. This life is precious, people. And I don’t care if you get sick of me saying it. I’m going to say it a lot more.

Do things that matter to you. Take care of your people. Let your people take care of you. Don’t let your stuff define you. Reach out to new people. Hug someone so damn hard they lose their breath. Don’t waste time with shitty friends. Don’t be cheap. Don’t stress about the shit you can’t do anything about. Apologize. Accept apologies. Have some serious fucking fun every single day. Teach someone something you’re good at. Don’t be afraid to learn new things. Smile at a stranger.  Listen when someone is talking to you. Remember when your spouse was the person you were dating. Tickle your kid. Laugh your ass off. I’m doing all of that stuff a whole lot more. And it’s just the beginning…

10 Aug 2011

Paying for Blogher ’11

16 Comments Personal Crap

As you may have heard by now, there was a big-ass blogging convention in San Diego last weekend. Blogher ’11 was a bevy of beautiful, talented, smart, funny women (and some men) who blog, want to blog, used to blog, or want bloggers to talk about them or their products on a blog. In it’s seventh year, the Blogher convention still feels like it’s new. Even though I’m a little late to the game, I felt like I was getting in on the ground floor.

Besides all the swag, there were seminars, speeches, parties, meet-ups, food breaks, workouts and swag. It’s worth mentioning twice.

I had an incredible time.  I met incredible people. I got incredible free shit.

And now I’m paying for it.

I am, what some people might call, bad at time-management. I suck at it, frankly. And when I take any time off of my regularly scheduled programming, all hell breaks loose. You must understand, Blogher didn’t just take up four days in beautiful, sunny San Diego. NO! It took several days (maybe even weeks) of planning before I left L.A. (Including the 90-minute session of trying on clothes before packing, so that I was packing outfits instead of just random tank tops and jeans like I usually do.) I also had to get all the laundry done, grocery shop, and make meals so the fridge wasn’t empty in my absence. I had to arrange baby-sitters and grandma-visits. I had to fill up the gas tank, get a car wash, and of course… Spray tan.

So, coming home after a week of prep and four days away has left me behind, to say the least. I have bills to pay, food to buy, stuff to clean, calls to make, emails to return, swag to organize, business cards to go through, etc. etc. etc. And so far, due to some work and personal circumstances, I have had no time. I have so far only accomplished laundry and ordering in. Not a meal has been cooked by me since last Wednesday, and I’m pretty sure one will not be cooked by me tonight. The stack of papers I need to go through on my desk has reached hilariously large proportions, I need to transfer my jury duty service to the court by my house, and I still haven’t taken my on-line traffic school course.

Do you see? I suck at managing time. And I’ll be blaming Blogher ’11 for everything I don’t get done from now until  Blogher ’12.

But I am realizing something cool as I type these words. Since I’ve been home from Blogher, I’ve taken three walks with my son and my dog, Garrett and I have spent at least an hour chalk-drawing on the sidewalk, I’ve played pirates, I’ve mimed ice-skating and falling over and over again, I’ve played “I Spy” while waiting for pizza, I’ve fixed snacks and put band aids on the smallest boo-boos you’ve ever seen, I’ve shared a cupcake and giggled as we licked the abundant blue icing, I’ve had at least two tickle fights, read four books, and given numerous hugs, kisses, and a few reprimands and tear-wipes. SO, I am clearly good at time-management when it comes to a little blond guy who lives with me. But not when it comes to anything else.

At least I have my priorities straight.

05 Aug 2011

Blogging, New Friends, and My Problem

25 Comments Personal Crap

It’s seeming more and more that I blog almost as though I’m writing in a diary. I blog about (most of) my innermost feelings, the goings-on in my life, what makes me laugh, what makes me cry.  I wouldn’t say I’m a “professional” blogger.  But it’s certainly not merely recreational. I blog to help find myself, and in the hopes that others find themselves in my writing. I blog because I believe it’s going to lead me to the things I truly want to be doing. In many ways, it already has lead me there.

So now I’m at a fucking blogger convention. Yes. I am. I’m in San Diego with 3,000 other bloggers. And it’s pretty damn interesting. It’s SO MUCH like Holywood, it’s weird.  There are A-List celebrity bloggers, B-List, C-list, etc. I think I’m on the same list here as I am as a television personality. You can come to your own conclusion. There’s a lot going on:  Networking, seminars, parties, food, swag, and a whole lot of schmoozing.

It was rough for me to leave this morning.  As hard as I try, it’s never easy for me to just “go with the flow” when it comes to going away. I guess I’m more a creature of habit than I even knew. And it’s hard for me to relinquish the control I’m used to wielding on a daily basis. I make breakfast. I make lunch. I make dinner. I feed the animals. I clean the litter box. Now, of course, seeing that in writing makes me a bit excited about having three days “off”. But, dang it, I ENJOY doing all of that stuff! (Mostly the stuff that has to do with the boys. Less so with the litter box.)  As good as I know it is for me, and for the fellas… It’s hard to leave, even for a few days. I love being with them, damn it! And I’m not ashamed to say it.

But I did it. I packed, I left Russ annoying notes about when to feed the animals and to remember to give G his vitamin and to get the mail, and I left. On the way to San Diego I picked up one of my favorite bloggers, whom I had never met. We talked non-stop and she is as lovely and engaging in person as she is on paper.  Or on a computer, as it were.

I then got to meet a bevy of women throughout the day who I have connected with over this past year.  I want to tell you about each of them but I don’t know if I’m permitted. Suffice it to say, I feel lucky to have met them and I can’t believe how kind they have been to me. One of them in particular (you know who you are) needs to be my PR person. Another, (you know who you are) needs to schedule my life for me on excel.

It’s been a lovely day, although a tad overwhelming, and I even got to have a twenty minute conversation with the boys, (overheard by one of my new friends). When I told G-Man I had some “stuff” for him, he wanted to make sure it had to do with dinosaurs. When I told him it didn’t, he cried. Russ thinks he might have been crying about me being away. I think it was because there are no Brontosaurs in my bag.

Which brings me to the real reason I’m writing instead of sleeping, which I should be doing because I have a breakfast to get to in 8 hours. I think it’s important for you to know I have a problem. I have a big problem. I like free stuff. This is probably something Russ could’ve told you every time he saw me weep during Oprah’s Favorite Things.  But I didn’t know how deep my issues were.

Tonight, in the expo hall, among hundreds of other women… I took shit. I didn’t steal it, mind you. It was all offered to me. And I took it. Hawaiin Rolls? Took ’em. Dark chocolate? In my bag. A Tempurpedic sleep mask? Mine. Coupons for creamers and Dole fruit and pita chips and sun chips and wood floor cleaner and Dove bars? GOT THEM! I also got some naughty stuff. And post-it’s. And a water bottle. And I ate. I ate like a frigging pig. Not only, NOT ONLY!, were there caramelized pear and stilton cheese pastry crust goodies, there was chocolate and fruit and Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits AND sausages on a stick wrapped in a pancake like a damn CORN dog only BETTER! And then Hillshire Farms made me eat a cuban sandwich! And I ate more when I got to the party tonight. Because it was all free, not because I was hungry. NOT TO MENTION the party I went to right when I got here where I got THROWN a bag filled to the BRIM with shit for Garrett! THEY PRACTICALLY FORCED ME TO TAKE IT, PEOPLE! IT ISN’T MY FAULT!

So, I’m going to get help. Not this weekend, of course. I mean, who knows if there are any good Gratis Anonymous groups in San Diego. I’ll wait until I get home. But then I am GOING to one of those meetings. I hear they serve coffee and donuts. For free.

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