Friday, May 30, 2014

Be Invited

If I had one piece of advice to give my kids . . .

Wait a minute. I don't have kids!

Okay, if I had one piece of advice to give all the kids in all the world, I'd give this advice . . .

Be Invited.

Get Invited.

Be kind, be wonderful, be generous, be gracious, do the dishes, help with the clean-up, grill the burgers, clean the kitchen, do whatever it takes.

Because if you do . . . .

. . . you will get invited to parties at places like this.

And that, my children, is a very good thing.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

throwback thursday

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

my girl, interrupted

So most everyone (who’s anyone) knows that I’ve been writing that other blog during our current family shit storm to keep the peeps up to date with whichever way the poo is flying on any given day. It’s a good outlet for my feeble mind, and allows me to keep everyone from my coworkers to my cousins to my TKB instructor in the loop, which is also good for me because then I don’t have to answer those loaded “how’s it going” questions with such detail. So basically, what I’m saying is that it’s all about me. Duh.

I’m keeping it pretty clean over there, so you can expect a whole lot more foul language from me back over here where I belong, because I’m busting from holding it in and how the fuck do you write about your kid in a fucking wheelchair without saying fuck? See?

(And if you’ve covertly found this blog through the commenter profiles on that blog and you know me in real life, especially through work, please just let me pretend you’re not here because I don’t censor myself here and although I never talk about work, I do sometimes frequently sprinkle the f word around)

But nevermind all of that, let's talk about my girl!

Look at her. She’s so dreamy.

My girl seems to have grown up (and turned Balinese?) while I was otherwise occupied. I can’t get over that face of hers! With or without the luscious redness of her lips, that face is suddenly so changed! We are planning for her ninth birthday party next month. The last year of her single digits.

The shit storm has been hard on all of us, but Bill and I have learned without a doubt that kids somehow roll with the punches a whole lot easier than we old folks do. We tend to get all hung up on the later, while they stay squarely focused on now. The biggest impact this unexpected left turn has caused for my girl is that her number one playmate and partner in crime is suddenly benched. She's a pretty good sport about it most of the time, but every once in a while she has no choice but to abandon him in the backyard after being ordered to fetch the wayward ball one too many times.

In the last few days, the kids have been using the tumbling mat for smack down grappling. It's horrible to witness, all knees and hair and stinky feet with giggles morphing into screams.

It got a little intense for my comfort, so before they asked again for the green light to kick the shit out of each other, they donned their safety gear.

And my girl might be compassionate, but she shows no mercy:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cruising redux

Not sure if you remember the great deal I got on a used beach cruiser a few years ago? I was so happy with it, and with my girl's cruiser purchase as well, and we used them fairly often when living in Crown Point.

But then one 4th of July, which will be two 4th of July's ago this year, my ex husband took my bike for a spin with his pals, and the chain broke, and he had to be towed home, and he never fixed the broken chain. So, it sat and sat and sat and sat in the side yard, getting rusty and old.

Poor baby.

Once I moved into my house (Hey exactly one year ago today!! Happy anniversary 3646!) I went to his house and grabbed it and now it's sitting on my side yard getting even older and even more rusty.

The chain, if you're wondering, is also still broken.

My girl's cruiser is still serviceable, but her dad came by and snagged it one day and I've not seen it since.

This house we've now lived in, for exactly one year, is exactly 2.5 miles from the ocean (at least according to Google maps). I want to ride my bike there on days that I don't have a car load of crap to haul to the sand.

My rusty, no-chain, rotting bike is not going to get me there in its current condition. So I drive. And search for parking. And my thighs and ass get nothing out of the deal.

But low and behold, look was awaited me on my return from our weekend at the unhappiest place on earth:

Yes, a sparkling almost-new cruiser!

With a shiny bike lock, and water bottle holder and bottle...

And helmet and even the original instruction booklet!
Oh, and even a bike pump!!
Whoot! Watch out gluts, you're going to have to start performing!  

What a nice gift, right? Amazing! I jumped on that girl and took it for a spin straight away.

My mom bought this bike before she moved to San Diego, when she was still living in more bike friendly St Pete's in Florida. She hasn't used it much here in SD, and well, it's been sitting at her house on her side yard (but protected in a shed!) for almost two years, so she's taking mercy on me, and freeing up her space, and passing it on down the line.

I'm super excited and grateful. What a gift! And one that will keep on giving. Just wait, you'll see. I'm going to take a before photo of my ass today, then the after photo at the end of the summer. Bet you can't wait to see that!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Dibble Deck

There's a new deck in town, my friends.

The Dibble Deck.

It is pure awesome.

And it has many uses: It's great for sitting upon with friends . . .

. . . lovely friends . . .

. . . lots of lovely friends.

It's awesome for watching tiny children ford the babbling brook . . .

It's fabulous for solving the problems of the Universe.

Toads love it . . .

. . . or as we like to call him, Alan the Tree Frog.

It was built with lots of blood and sweat and lower back pain by the man himself . . .

It is a work of art, a labor of love, an astounding piece of architecture, and most especially, the perfect venue for a dance party.

Monday, May 26, 2014

big doings

Big doings around these parts over the holiday weekend!

Goodbye playroom

Hello......Den? Lounge? Back room?
Spoiler alert: it looks great. The back yard is still harboring the KEEP and DONATE piles (we managed to toss the TOSS),  and the computer is not yet plugged in, but we're having big fun transforming the space and look forward to a little furniture shopping tomorrow. Yay!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Let 'Er Rip!!

During our years on the road, when we had the opportunity to camp at state parks in the Westy for months at a time and therefore enjoy free electricity, Mistah would set up the coffee every night in our rescued Mr. Coffee coffee machine, and hang a little note to let me know, when I got up first in the morning, that it was ready to go.

(We still have the sign in the Westy, naturally; I photographed it in situ yesterday.)

Fast forward six years -- six years tomorrow since we arrived in New London! -- and that selfsame coffee maker -- salvaged from the dicey trailer our friend Norm bought in Florida -- still sits in our kitchen, and Mistah still informs the world about the State of the Coffee, with his notes.

Mistah is very helpful and instructive with his instructions.

The notes -- which still stay taped to the side of ol' Mr. Coffee -- offer an historic perspective to the proceedings . . .

Ed made an appearance . . . 

. . . as did Bruce.

Mistah even sets it up for me when I have to get up at approximately 4:44 once a year . . .

This is one of my all-time favorites:

I only hope that our girl Denise -- unlike her friend Bill -- 
knows her left from her right.

My Mom gets more notes than anybody . . .

. . . and she really loves our new carafe, which I recently bought at the East Lyme High School tag sale for 25¢, which is possibly the best 25¢ I have ever spent.

At this point, though, after all these years of detailed instruction . . .

. . . Mom knows the drill.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

a worthy idol

The best and the worst thing about being in the middle of a great book is that I don't want to do any of the other things I am expected to do. Little things like work and prepare meals and interact with other humans. I just want to read my book. Is that so wrong? Is it really so bad if I steal away to the bathroom for 30 minutes in the middle of the work day? How do you know I'm not suffering from a debilitating stomach ailment? I should buy one of those fart machines and set it off every few minutes while I'm in there to scare people away. Wait, that's brilliant. Anyway. I love my book, but it's so hard to find solid chunks of time to devour it. All those hours wasted sleeping, sigh.

I wish I could remember the first book that got me. The Secret Garden? A Summer To Die? A Nancy Drew mystery? I just always remember reading. My kids are decent readers, but both would find it easy enough to set the book aside when their phone pings. I guess I'm guilty of that lately too, which is embarrassing. I've got to prioritize and make sacred my reading time. Nobody do or say anything interesting of facebook tonight, okay?

My boy has recently started reading Stephen King, which is so awesomely cool and amazing. I tore through all of those books in high school, what a treat to have them ahead of him. He's currently reading Apt Pupil, one of the four novellas in Different Seasons. Creepy shit, that story. He'll love it! I'm going to recommend Firestarter next. Or The Dead Zone! Christine! I'll ease him into The Stand before even telling him about 11/22/63.

My girl and I don't exactly share the same taste for books. Sure, she loved The Outsiders and The Art of Racing in the Rain as much as I did, but her passion lies in the young adult dystopian melodrama. I caught her reading in her room at 1am when she was finishing the Divergent series. Weeping. At least she knows how to prioritize and make sacred.

It's good to love a book.

Now may I please get back to it?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Unhappiest place on earth

So, it's that time of the year again. Time for our annual sojourn to Disneyland during the very most crowded weekend of the year because we are idiots my daughter has a regional dance competition there. Every year. Every fucking memorial day weekend. Every single birthday weekend of mine.

Bright side? My birthday is not until Tuesday this year, so I will not be at Disney or on the highway to or fro Disney on my birthday at all.

Dark side? We have to be there all goddamn weekend. She is dancing in 7 dances, so I'm not sure what I expected. But when the schedule came out I almost cried. Six of the dances are Friday evening - Sunday morning at 9 am. Not bad! The next one? The lone remaining dance? The worst choreographed of the dances she is in? The one that is almost embarrassing to watch? It's not until 5:15 PM on Monday.

Hmm, let's much money is it going to cost me to entertain 3 kids at Disney from Sunday morning at 9 AM until Monday evening at 5 PM? An extra night in the hotel, and extra day at the park, many more meals at exorbitant prices. Oh, and getting on the freeway at 6 pm on the Monday night of Memorial day weekend in Southern California? That, my friends, will do doubt cost me my sanity.

So, here you go, Mickey, from me straight to you, with love.

Monday, May 19, 2014


My three younger sisters are awesome, luscious and delightful, but I've got a beef with them.

They're stopped producing nieces and nephews for me.

I need a lot more nieces and nephews in my life, people.

Thankfully, our young, virile, cooperative friends are still producing for us.

And they let me borrow their baby for an afternoon, when necessary . . .

Is she not spectacular?

I held her for an embarrassingly long time.

But the peeps were cool -- her godfathah, her fathah and her (so-called) real auntie.

. . . but she loved me best. Clearly.

But, oh, what a lovely family who invites us into their embraces.

What gorgeousness . . .

What lovelihood.

Friday, May 16, 2014

flashback friday: hellfire style

It has been a crazy-nuts couple of days around these parts. I think the worst is behind us, and conditions are expected to improve throughout the day on Friday, then the temperature will blissfully drop by about 20 degrees for the weekend. Someone new to San Diego recently asked me: "These Santa Ana winds, does anyone like them?"

In a word? No. Especially when they burn down our pretty city. 

Here's a piece I wrote a few years ago about the Santa Ana phenomenon:


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Out of Satan's Ass

Living in Southern California, there are days in the fall when you wake up and know, even if you missed the meteorologist’s moment in the spotlight as the lead story on the previous night’s 11:00 news, that it’s going to be one of those days.

“Well,” you think: “at least it will be warm,” although it’s absolutely frigid as you leave the comfort of your toasty bed. Your skin is reptilian, your lips are cracked and dry, and your hair is standing on end and charged with electricity. You can’t get enough water into you. Everyone is being an asshole. Someone finally groans and says it out loud: Santa Ana.

The Santa Ana winds have always carried a leaden load of folklore with them on their way down from the mountains. Just as we tend to accept the full moon as the legitimate root cause of unusual behavior and extreme emotions, the Santa Anas can be blamed for your edginess or ennui on a day when the air is thick with gusty heat.

Raymond Chandler once wrote:

"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen.” Red Wind, 1938
Aside: Lou Grant once recited that passage to Mary as an example of how to write prose, and Chris Stevens read it to his radio audience on Northern Exposure.

Many Californians describe the heavy, dry stillness that precedes a Santa Ana as “earthquake weather”. Others claim an increase in homicides, although I can only vouch for an increase in my own homicidal intentions.

In the last several years, the Santa Anas have brought a more intense foreboding to this area, still singed both literally and metaphorically by devastating wildfires. It’s not that the winds will necessarily bring bad things, but it sure feels like if bad things are going to happen, these blustery days do create the perfect karmic backdrop.

This week we had a full moon and a Santa Ana. And PMS.

Anyone wanna see my shiny sharp knives?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

This is for you, Ellie. More magic

Guess what Ellie, guess what?

I discovered yet another layer to our birth dates, our special date of entry into the world that helps to define us. We know you're a/the birthstone expert, but this new angle may take a bit more time to commit to memory. It's the color of your birth date, and its accompanying characteristics. So, you know, 365 colors and their characteristics.

I came upon this in a store and was too cheap to buy the book, so only had time to snap photos of yours, Jacquie's, and mine before they moved me along.

These are listed below in chronological order, by month.

Me first! Just call me pickle!
Perhaps chatty pickle would be more apt.

You next, Ellie! Sensual and charismatic!
Plus, you seem to already know innately not to allow
monetary concerns to be the focal part of your life! Bravo! Go Neptune!

Last but not least -- Jacquie.
Dance, Jacquie, dance!
And don't forget to cry, career girl ;)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Summer in May

Monday was Mistah's birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mistah!

We had a lot of ideas about how we'd celebrate, most of them involving a boozy lunch outside, on a deck, overlooking the water.

Do you know how hard it is to do that, along the shoreline in Connecticut? Well I'm here to tell you it's much harder than it should be.

So Mistah, bless his heart, pulled an Ellie and said, "Let's get a grinder and go to the beach."

Music to mine ears.

We packed up Westy, we called in our grinder order, we bought a bag of chips because it was a BIRTHDAY, we loaded up our Oscar with cans of Tecate, and we were off.

We brought sweatshirts: this is, afterall, May.

But we didn't need no stinkin' sweatshirts; we needed bathing suits.

Because it was warm. The beach was beautiful. The weather was stunning. After this long cold hard winter we endured, the day was perfection.

It was Summer. In May.

Mistah thought we should be shades-less for our Ledgie selfie.

Yeah, that worked out well.

And look who else was there . . .

That's right: Suntan Lady!
(She don't like it when it's shady.)

Oooh, and look who else was there . . .

Oh, it's okay; she was just having fun.....

And one of the great things about New London's Ocean Beach?

When one is ready to move on, one can go up to the Gam and have a drink on the deck, and look out upon the world:

Oh, hello drink.

Oh, hello world.

Oh, helllllooooooo Submarine going out to sea . . .

Only in New London, baby.

Oh, hello Mary Ellen.

Oh, hello boys.

 Good-bye for now, MV John H.

 Seeyalatah, Ledgie . . .

Until next time, Ocean Beach.

Thanks for the fabulous Mistah birthday. Thank you for the taste of Summer in May.