Saturday, May 31, 2008

Weekend 3-Way

What's In Your Fridge?

player one:

Pathetic, I know. Measly and paltry and just plain sad.

But beer from Texas, that's good. And 2 bottles of champers. That's really good. That's leftie chicken quesadillas next to the champers, and cilantro in the colander. Those are fresh eggies from our North Stongington friends' very own chickens. There are nothing in the drawers. I opened the freezer to show off my ice maker. I have an ice maker. And one thing of margarita mix lime ade and 1/2 package of Hot Italians.

Now excuse me while I go to the grocery store.


player two:
What's In Your Fridge?

This is not my typical fridge. Really, it isn't. I'm not claiming to me Ms. Healthy, but normally you can find something other than beer and cake inside my fridge.

But today, it's true, you'll find 4 types of beer:

And 2 types of leftover cake:

(Want to see what kinds?)

Carrot cake (Yummm).

And coconut cake (double yummm).

Oh, and excuse me, there actually is more in here than beer and cake....there's also Champagne and chocoloate covered strawberries.

And some leftover pizza

Geez, all I need now is my boyfriend and room service.

player three:

What's in your fridge?

but I'm TOTALLY going to try and raid Ms. Healthy's fridge tomorrow

Friday, May 30, 2008

fetch mommy a drink

One morning, the voice in my tv announced a story called “women and drinking.”

Whoop! Whoop!

I was immediately inspired.

But alas, this was not a fun-loving party story. It was a cautionary tale about naughty mommies who drink during the day (to soothe their underlying mental health issues) and then get DUIs in the carpool lane after school.


I chuckled when a probation commissioner named Rocco Pozzi said twice that ‘these women’ think nothing of putting their kids at risk, and when a psych doctor named Charles something said that it’s okay for women to be stressed, but we gotta handle that stress, and we need insight to understand the critical responsibility that we have for our kids.



Okay, so of course it’s naughty to drive your kids around drunk. It’s naughty to drive yourself around drunk; it’s just not nice to endanger perfectly innocent strangers on the road.

And I can even sort of see how this story was well intended; maybe there are people out there who had a lightbulb moment when they saw this segment, who had not previously considered that you should take care when mixing booze and kids.

At my girl’s 6th birthday party, I decided not to serve alcohol because of the location’s close proximity to a large body of water. Plus, the party was at 3:00 and most of the guests were... you know, 6. I meekly and apologetically forewarned many of my guests that I was not serving alcohol, knowing that they were accustomed to a different kind of party vibe from us. I invited them to stay late after the rif raf went home so we could break out the coolers and set stuff on fire in the dark next to that big body of water. But I was filled with doubt and shame, and I felt like a moron. It worked out okay, though, even when some guests brought and drank their own booze during the party (ahem).

But this story on tv missed its mark if it was about helping people with kids cope in an acceptable way. And how was it helpful to make this a story about moms rather than parents or caregivers? Moms with underlying mental freaking health issues?

At any rate, this mom disregarded the judgments and warnings offered by Matt Lauer and the reporter and the psychologist and the social worker and the police and probation officers because buzz kill!

Even though my girl is too short to hold the beer bong up for me, and my lashes are still singed from the last time my boy got to fire up my crack pipe, they both become more likeable when mommy is drinking.

Where are my keys?

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I really have nothing today. No good angle for some interesting blog entry. I was going to fill you in on the new goldfish, but I forgot my camera, and the goldfish post really requires photos.

So what to talk about?

Moving? Turning 40? Getting divorced? Starting the freelance project I agreed to do but have no time for?

These are the subjects that are weighing on my mind lately. With the exception of turning 40, which I have successfully done, these things bring me down, worry me, sometimes wake me in the middle of the night.

We all have these demons in our heads. Yours are probably not the same as mine, but I’m almost positive you have some. Or have had some in the past (if you’re lucky enough to be free of them now).

We all have our own personal coping mechanisms too. Some of my personal favorites are: denial, alcohol, and positive thinking (not necessarily in this order).

But when I really look at my life, the thing that lifts me above all my worries, that gets me through the difficult, bumpy times (and I’ve had a few of these lately) are my friends.

They’re the very best.

At a minimum they’ll drink with you. Even if it’s a school night and they have to talk their husbands into watching the kids; even if you’ve not been very good at keeping in touch lately; even if it’s supposed to be poker night, and they’re looking forward to throwing cards and taking your money, they’ll rally behind you and listen to your marital (or some other) saga instead.

If your situation requires more than a night of drinking, they’ll invite you to go out of town to get your mind off things, even if it’s a trip planned around a race and they know you don’t run.

They’re also superb at telling you only the good things people say about you, and forgetting the rest.

On top of all this, they buy you things, they make you laugh, they watch your kids, they ask their friends and family for favors on your behalf. The do incredibly big things and small mundane things. From holding your hand while you sob over your broken heart to picking the lint off of your sweater, they take care of you.

My mom (a friend) threw me a party Tuesday night for my 40th birthday. I was surrounded by friends. Old friends, new friends, and even a few friends of friends. I hugged every one, tight, at least once. Because although friends might never know just how much they mean to us, how we love them and are indebted to them and only want the best for them, we want them to know. I hope they know. I really hope they do.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


We have no furniture.

We packed up all our cool stuff 7½ years ago, put it in storage in our basement, and rented out the house with our furniture in it. Two years ago we sold the house and got rid of the furniture: the bed, the table, the chair, the couch. It was old and tired and didn’t deserve the basement space it would take up.

So now we’re in a new house, filled with that same cool stuff – opening up the boxes, with the help of a certain Sweet Jennie, was like our wedding all over again – but, well, there’s no couch.

We’ve got little bits and pieces, here and there, that we’ve hung onto. And the weird thing is: they all seem to have been made by Dad.

Here’s the spool table that I got when I was a freshman in college, which Dad refinished for me:

Most kids have a raw spool sitting in their dorm room, or maybe one with a coat of paint slapped on. Not mine. Mine was sanded and stained and varnished and is still – 27 years later (gasp!) – perfect. I love it. It’s retro and cool and weird and I will always have it with me.

Here’s the clock Dad made for us in our last house:

Dad’s an awesome clock maker. Notice the stain and varnish? This is currently the only clock in our house. And it made it to Fort Davis and back, which is saying something.

Here’s the typing table Dad made for one of my sisters when she went to college:

We just stole this took this off Mom and Dad’s hands last week. And a good thing too because it’s one of our very few surfaces we have. And it matches our house perfectly.

That photo on the table is of Mistah Schleckah and our oldest niece. She’s graduating high school next week. So far it’s the only photo out on display. I love this photo. Look at Schleckah’s face. He’d never been around babies before in his life, and you can tell this little 4-month-old is completely an alien being to him. But he’s also intrigued. And you can tell he is just about starting to fall in love with the little munchkin. That moment? That very moment, is, as they say, the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Plus just look at those stinkin’ tootsie-toes peeking out under Mistah's arm. I mean really. Who could resist those tootsie-toes?? She’s gonna knock ‘em dead at Chapel Hill.

Here’s the stool. Dad makes these for all his grandkids. I recently asked him to make one for ME for my bday – having no kids I felt completely gypped out of getting all the cool stuff he makes for the wee ones. So he and Mom just gave me the one they had at their place.
It' a beautiful stool. It’s got dowels instead of nails showing.

See? In my book, that’s the work of a master craftsman.

Here’s another stool. Dad didn’t make it, but it came from Mom and Dad’s old house.

I love it because the rung is all chewed up by our dog.

I’m not sure if it was Yobo or Bogie, but she did a good job of it.

Here are the book display things Dad makes for Mistah, to, well, to display his books. I think Dad uses his scrap wood for them, and they make Mistah over the moon with happiness.

Here’s the book holder in action . . .

. . . with a book by Chuck Bowden.

Here’s a little soap holder Dad made for me years and years ago.

Is it warped and messed up with age? Whadda YOU think?

Here’s the beer opener Dad mass-produces for all his daughters.

If you’ve got one of these, you’re in.

All this stuff is a fraction of what Dad’s made and built and fixed and replaced and just made better wherever we’ve lived.

Wait until I get all those prints and photos that Dad framed for us unpacked . . .

And hey, where the hell is that paper towel holder Dad made for us?

Hmmm. This house has a total of two closets and no surfaces to put anything down. We could really use some shelves.

Dad? Can you come up and play??

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On May 27, 1968

A gallon of gas cost 33 cents

"Mrs. Robinson" by Simon and Garfunkel was at the top of the charts.

The National League awarded a major league franchise to San Diego

And she was born

Happy Birthday, Beth!

You don’t look a day over 39 ¾

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sleeping In

Teenagers know how to sleep in. I remember weekends when it was noon before the household was graced with my sparkling presence. Now that was sleep - deep, dark, drooling sleep. It was physically painful to have to get up on school days. I could justify anything to sleep a little longer – I don’t need a shower! Breakfast is for chumps! I’m sure mom won't mind driving me if I’m a little late. I would have promised my first-born child in exchange for just five more minutes.

In college, my night owl tendencies had the perfect avenue. I could stay out late or just stay up late reading, and then sleep the better part of the day away. That’s why God made afternoon classes.

When I became a parent, everything changed. Never before had I understood the special psychosis of sleep deprivation. This is when I got really good at sleeping. I perfected the ability to fall asleep on the way down to my pillow, and I learned how to elicit a full night’s rest out of any solid 3 hour block of sleep.

After years of being roused by early rising children, I now have the luxury of sleeping in again, but my body defies me. I’ve forgotten how!

I am not a morning person; I’m not one of those people who is up and at ‘em at 6 am. I never see 6 am unless I set the alarm, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve been forced to do that. I wake up at 7. 7 is good, 7 works for me. I can still stay up late and enjoy the quiet household – I usually watch the 11:00 news and about half of Letterman (which is starting to suck, but that’s a story for another day) before I go to bed. 7 gives me enough time to drag the snarling children out of their cozy beds and facilitate the eating and dressing and packing of lunches and backpacks and whatever drama there is to be tackled on any particular day. We’re usually only 3-5 minutes late for school. They totally enable me, but that’s another story for another day.

On weekends, I like to think I’ll sleep in. Except on Saturdays, when I try to make it to the 8:30 kickboxing class. So on Sundays, I like to think I’ll sleep in. Yesterday was Sunday, I had stayed up for Saturday Night Live and made a conscientious plan to sleep in.

So 7:00 comes, and I wake up.

I refuse to open my eyes.

I have to pee………… but I don’t.

I start thinking… and I try to make myself stop.

Coffee……. NO, sleep.

Sunday paper………. NO, sleep.

Did my favorite shitheads post their weekend blog?..... NO, sleep.

Whose turn is it to blog next? NO, sleep.

Oh, it’s me! What should I write about? I had a thing in mind about babysitting, or going to concerts… what should I wear to the concert? Memorial Day – the Cronins’ picnic, or our old house and the stuff in boxes in my garage, oh my god the garage, I need to call AmVets, how are we ever going to sell this house? We need to get someone out to look at that bathroom; I wish we were handier. Maybe we could do some of it, how bad it would be if I just starting pulling that shower thing off the wall…………….wait, wait, WAIT – NO! SLEEP!

So I decide to get up and pee, and then go back to sleep.

I’m comfortable now, drink of water. Ahhhhh. I love this bed.

I use the meditation chants I learned last year from that cool monk….
what was his name?
Man, those people knew how to relax.
And they were so happy and peaceful and still.
I want to be a monk.

I remember the song, first word inhale, second word exhale







This really works. I’m drifting off.

Then I hear the dreaded sound of a bedroom door opening……slow……calm……. I hear my girl in the bathroom,
then I hear her come into my room
She’s standing right in front of me,
6 inches from my face to see if I’m awake
……..moment……..wonderful…… moment....
I feel myself starting to twitch –
if she knows I’m awake I am doomed.
I kick it into high (slow) gear….


It must have worked because my next conscious thought is that she’s gone, and I hear my husband yelling back and forth with her about what’s for breakfast.

Ahhh, I did it! I slept in! And the family managed to get through the morning without me and I’m going to feel so great to have banked this extra sleep!

Wow, those monks are good, that really worked!

I feel so refreshed!

I stretch languidly and squint at the clock.

It’s 7:08

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Weekend 3-Way

This is a quick one, this weekend sort of snuck up on us - Ellie's unpacking, Beth's mom is visiting, and I got home late last night and was trying not to be the blog mama. But then I thought of these questions in the shower while fantasizing about my lunch.

3 questions:

1. What are you wearing?

Jacquie - a towel. See above. Blogging takes priority over dressing.

2. What are you having for lunch?

Jacquie - yummmmmmmm. I have leftover cold stuffed grape leaves and tabouli, and I just picked up some plain yogurt and spicy hummus at Trader Joe's. I'm going to grab a few big leaves of green leaf lettuce and wrap the joy inside. I can hardly wait! Blogging even takes priority over eating. Who knew? I did snack while preparing the kids' lunches though, yummy tacos. I am also tickled to announce that we have a new house salsa - Trader Joe's Salsa Autentica

3. What CD is in your car (or u-haul - or stereo) right now?

Jacquie - The Police, Outlandos D'Amour. Warming up for Monday!

Your turn, ducklings!

1. What are you wearing?

A pink tanktop, a black bra (I know, I know, but I'm out in public), green shorts, black shoes, a watch, a brown hair pretty, a wedding and engagement ring, 4 out of 6 earrings, a peace sign toering, and sunglasses on my head.

2. What are you having for lunch?

Leftie Recovery Room pizza. BUT, Mistah ordered badly, and it's not that great, sadly, because Recovery Room pizza is supposed to be great, and usually is.

3. What CD is in your car (or u-haul - or stereo) right now?

UHaulic has no cd player. Can you believe??? We're still trying to set up our stereo at home, and drilled holes in the floor this morning, but need to get more stereo wire from Mumsie's. Last night Mistah Schleckah had Compay Segundo on our little boom box (well, Mumsie's little boom box; we stole it). The guitar player from Buena Vista Social Club, don't you know. Today our stereo will be hooked up. Who needs a couch, a table, a real bed, or stinin' kitchen counters??? We're going to have freaking awesome tunes. Today.


1. What are you wearing?
Black sweatpants and a ripped up black sweatshirt that I somehow inherited from Harvey Beans. (It's only 8:42 Sunday morning, so I'm not feeling bad [yet] about still being in my pjs).

2. What are you having for lunch?
Leftover carne and pollo asada?

3. What CD is in your car (or u-haul - or stereo) right now?
A mix CD that Lynn made for the B2B/SF trip. I keep listening to song number 1 over and over and over again. (Mary J Blige and Bono duet)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Leaving Ar-Kansas

Where we were when we last spoke?

Ah yes, here we were:

The Westy stuck on the side of the road in Daisy, Arkansas.

The thing about emergency roadside service: when you call them for a tow, they need to know to where you want to be towed. “Um, the crack VW mechanic in Daisy Arkansas, who specializes in 1987 watercooled Vanagons, please.”

“What? There ARE no VW mechanics in Daisy? Excuse me? In all of southwestern Arkansas?”

We’ve been through this before. We are not waiting for some guy in Daisy, Arkansas to order a new starter for a 1987 Westy, while we wait in the Daisy Motel 6, going barking mad. We were lucky enough to find the magical genius RubĂ©n in Nogales, Arizona last time:

. . . but this ain’t Nogales.
Nine days in Nogales was one thing. But a dozen days in Daisy??

“You know what? Just tow us to the Daisy, Arkansas U-Haul. There is no Daisy Arkansas U-Haul?? Oh for pete's sake. Then just tow us to the Nashville, Arkansas U-Haul.”

And that’s just what ol’ Lou does.

We empty the contents of Westy into the back of UHaulic,

(No, that's not ALL of it. That's MOST of it.)

. . . and take off.

Hey, Westy’s an old girl. She’s tired. She’s been hauling us around the country for 7½ years, 127,000 miles, and 48 states. The very least we can do is give her a ride home.

So now we're just towing our bedroom around. Very civilized. Camping’s never been so luxurious.

(Hey, you can blog anywhere. . . )

UHaulic is very dependable, which is great, especially in the mountains. But man. Boring? Dull as dirt. And bumpy? Aye-yah-yie.

We cross 8 or 9 states, driving on the interstate the whole way – a tragic way to travel – and then BAM:

And, BAM:

Yep. We're back in Connecticut, allright. But 2:30 on a Thursday afternoon??? What da?

It’s like we never left.

Except THIS time, we’ve got this truck in front of us:

Staring at The Country Hen Man is NOT the worst way to sit through traffic:

C’Mon! Even Mistah Schleckah smiles in traffic behind this guy.
Hen-Man helps.

So do the amazing and glorious Mom and Dad, who, when we arrive at their house, welcome us with open refrigerator wine bottles arms. And feed us a Lebanese meal . . .

And when we head to the other side of the state today, we will, for the second time in 4 months, arrive home . . .

No, not this home:

although it's home.

And not THIS home,

although IT's home.

This home . . . Our new home. In New London. Is this home?

Fiesta de Primavera

The annual spring art show and festival was held at my daughter’s school last night. I adore the art show. I think it’s brilliant. One piece of every student’s art is showcased in the library, museum style, for all to see: parents, siblings, grandparents, friends. It’s a great way to highlight both the all-volunteer Art Corps program, and the talent of the student body.

It’s also a good reminder of what our children are lacking in most California public schools. Where are the art teachers? Where have they gone? Art is the highlight of my daughter’s week, that is the weeks that she has art, so that is to say, the art lesson (taught by parent volunteers NOT an art teacher) is the highlight of my daughter’s month at school.

Obviously, I should do more art with her at home. But I don’t. Guess what I do instead?

I take care of the damn fish she won at the festival!!!

Doesn’t Anna Watkin's fish look pissed?!? (It's a bit hard to see at this size, but it does, believe me.)

I was actually a bit pissed last year when my daughter informed me that she had won a fish (at the ART show). Who gave her permission to care for a living thing? Well, apparently her dad did, with the stipulation that it was to reside at my house (that sounds like him).

I sucked it up. I outfitted the fish with an aquarium, and colored marbles, and some shells (although I did not fall into the live plant trap). I bought the fish food flakes and the magical drops that turn our water from chemical death pool into placid swimming environment.

I even bought my younger daughter a fish. (She chose a hideous black one with those freaky, bulging eyes.)

I thought they would both die. Right away.

One did, the ART show fish. We had a small ceremony. Then we flushed him (Pumpkin was his name). Just Big cheeks (yes, I did try to convince my daughter that Big eyes was a more appropriate name, but she would not go for it) was left.

Big cheeks kept on living. Month after month.

Until the morning I was rushing to get all my tasks done before I could run away to Palm Springs for the weekend with my girlfriends.

Just one wrong pour from temporary holding container to sink, and Big cheeks was gone. I panicked. I shoved my hand down the kitchen drain. I felt around. Frantically. I did not feel him. In my anxious state of mind, I decided to run more water to see if I could feel him as the water rose. No. I’m now convinced this just moved him closer toward the water treatment facility. Poor Big cheeks. Adios.

So this year? This year I was rooting on my older daughter as she tried to land a ping pong ball in a fish container.

Why not, right? If I get really sick of him, there is always the sink.

Here’s to art. And fish. And fish as art.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sam Clam's Disco

During a recent trip to San Francisco , my keen photojournalistic eye
was captivated by images of the back of taxi drivers’ heads,
my pretty drinks, and many sad attempts at
trying to capture my own image in a mirror.
(I’m not sure, but based on what I did get on film
I suspect that I am either a witch or a vampire).

I'll spare you the macabre flash photo failures, and offer instead
The Story of Transportation To and From Pretty Drinks.

On Friday at 11am, we were off to quite a promising start at the departure gate


Beth said her photo has not yet been on the blog! Ain’t she puuuurdy?

The flight was so quick, we hardly had time to use up Lynne’s drink coupons!

This scary guy was carjacked
into taking us to the St. Regis

When you need ice for your beer at the St. Regis, you smack all the buttons on the fancy phone and end up calling 9-1-1 and then an angel appears with polished silver and linens.

This guy

Took us to this paradise:

I once had a friend named Kevin try to teach me that it was bad manners to be a clean plater. It is apparently in poor taste to use one’s Kobe beef like a spatula to scrape up every last delectable tidbit from a plate like this. I should have taken another photo 4 seconds after I took this one, I could have tested my reflection theory in the gleaming sparkle of the pristine whiteness of my clean plate.

How you like me now, Kevin Regan?

Then this guy

got yelled at a lot while taking us to this drink:

MMMmmmmmmmmm Irish Coffee

The guy attached to this foot used it to make clanky San Francisco-ey sounds

on one of these

But the most impressive mode of transportation that we used in San Francisco was
these 18 legs

that took us here

and then here

Where I swam my way out of a whole bunch of this

more photos

Only in Sam Clam's Disco