Spirituality. Or something.

3 05 2013

While jokingly discussing past lives in the car today:

Her: I was a piece of hair in my last life that got pulled out.

Me: Wait. That GOT pulled out? Or that GOD pulled out?

Her: GOT.

Me: Oh I thought you meant God. Like, maybe God is this guy with really amazing hair, but he has an anxiety disorder so he pulls out his hairs and every time he pulls one out, it falls to earth and becomes a human.


Her: I think every time I pull out a hair, I’m actually killing a person.

Me: Wait. Are we the gods? Or are we god’s hairs?

Her: We’re the gods.

Me: Maybe it’s like the Neverending Story. We’re the hairs of God and we’re the gods of hairs.

Her: WHAT.

Me: Remind me to blog this conversation when we get to Starbucks.

And then my daughter broke her tooth.

6 09 2012

A few weeks ago, after dinner, Margie was outside playing with her friends while I was in the bedroom folding clothes. I heard some crying and it started getting louder so I decided I better go check it out. Elliott was standing by the window putting his shoes on, and in the tone of a parent trying to hold himself together he told me, “I’m going outside to help Margie. Something’s broken.” I assumed he meant a TOY. I assumed wrong.

She’d been riding on her belly on a friend’s skateboard and hit a bump in the sidewalk. And the sidewalk won.

Broken tooth

(Naturally I was all, “Hold still. I just have to get a picture for the blog and then we’ll go to the ER.”)

(Kidding. I didn’t get this photo until hours later while we were IN The ER. And my purpose was 75% for our medical records and only 25% for blogging. Also I’m only blogging this with her permission.)

I freaked the fuck out. I mean. Inside. Because broken people parts are not something I do well with. And teeth are so permanent. Bones mend, but teeth get lost outside. (Skin is for keeping all the broken bits inside, it turns out.) It was doubly hard to take because she has my teeth so it was almost like looking at my own mouth broken.

Not to mention offensive. I mean. I gave her these perfect teeth and what does she do with them? Kids.  So irresponsible.

Not knowing at all what needed to be done, I called the nurse’s line who recommended a trip to urgent care. Urgent care gave us a card saying thanks for letting them serve us and they hope to see us soon (I SWEAR I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.) and sent us off to the hospital (I love Children’s Hospital and hope to never ever visit their ER again. Ever) where a dentist patched her up while we watched the Olympics.

It was mostly OK except for the novocaine shot which resulted in loud screaming and upset both kids so much that they needed to hug each other as soon as it was over. And I got all verklempt. There are times I wonder if I’m doing something wrong since my kids aren’t overly affectionate with each other in general, but moments like that make me know for sure that having two kids was the right decision.

So she’s temporarily fixed. She will hopefully get a more tooth-shaped fix in the near future, but won’t get any permanent fix until she’s finished growing.

Fixed. Ish.

And, in the following week, much dental and insurance drama ensured. Hooray. I won’t go into it because A) that’s boring for you and B) I like my blood pressure where it is, thankyouverymuch. Except for the sexist part. Which you can read about here. Yes. That happened. In 2012. Unless we accidentally took a time machine to 1962 and I just forgot to notice. Which is possible, of course. I mean, this dental office didn’t even have digital x-rays.

So far? We like ten.

26 05 2012

i <3 her

During the winter Margie was going through a really difficult time. The kind where you wonder why you wanted to be a parent again and how long until you’re done? And with Margie, because she is such an extremely passionate and emotional being, it was a pretty dark period for me as a mother. We’ve been visiting Disneyland a lot lately, often with Claire’s family. The first two times we went with them were difficult. Actually the second time made me pretty much swear off Disneyland with Margie ever again. It was awful.


But that night, on the way home, she and I had a really amazing talk. She was able to name the things that had led her to have a bad day, she was able to communicate those with me, and she was able to come up with some ideas of how we can handle it in the future. Furthermore, she’s put those ideas into effect since that day and has been working her ass off to handle her emotions in an acceptable way. On numerous occasions I’ve seen her heading down the dark path only to stop and turn around and handle whatever it was in a way that is not only better, but also better than many adults I’ve known.

i found this

I’ve noticed that she has certain ages that are harder than others. And then ages that reflect her growth into an awesome person. At six she gained a new level of ability to reason which was pretty awesome. She was able to understand consequences better than before. But seven was tough. Eight was pretty awesome. She was into reading and making friendship bracelets and working out issues with us. Nine was even tougher than seven. So far? We like ten.


It’s one of those times that makes me know why I wanted to be a mom and marvel at how lucky I am to be working with these amazing little people and helping them find the path to adulthood. A few months ago, I was too weary to go on, now I’m so excited to see what’s around the corner.


Slumber Party

30 04 2012

I’ve put this off for too long. The sleepovers. Most of my favorite memories of my childhood and teenage years revolve around sleeping over at friends’ houses. And I look forward to that for my kids, too. But for a long time my kids weren’t ready to sleep away from their parents (Elliott still isn’t) and then there were other issues at play relating to my doorbell dread and to my being married to a hoarder. And then last year was just too hard. But then my girl turned 10 and it seemed like the perfect way to make her 10th birthday really special while also welcoming in the brighter future.


So we planned a slumber party. Inspired by Brenda’s parties, and also by Pinterest, I decided to go all out for it with a theme and everything. Margie chose Rainbows (which made it all the more exciting to me) and we scoured Etsy for rainbow decorations, grabbed as many rainbow favors as we could find at Party City, and even bought rainbow-colored sprinkly things to go on ice cream sundaes.


As a surprise, I decorated the house early, for her actual birthday, so she’d come home in the morning (she’d been at Dad’s that night) to a rainbowed house. She loved it. The birthday banner, twinkle lights, and dots stayed up all week, making it feel as festive as Christmastime.

and then the dollar spot told me these headbands were totally cooler than party hats and i needed to buy them

Oddly, during the week leading up to the party, I had absolutely zero anxieties about it. No doorbell dread, no overthinking. Not sure how I pulled that one off, but it worked out quite well, living anxiety-free. Who knew?


We’d come up with a list of activities for the party in case the kids got bored, but it wasn’t necessary and after awhile they didn’t follow it at all. They turned on the TV at one point, but got distracted and, like, used their actual imaginations or something. They drew fake mustaches (and monocles!) on their faces, they blew up balloons and let them fly, they drew fake mustaches (and monocles!) on the balloons*, made bracelets, decorated their DSi’s, watched YouTube, and, most importantly, prank called people. I was worried about how that would be accomplished in this day and age of stupid Big Brother telling everyone your damn phone number. But kids are smarter than Big Brother. And, since they all have cell phones, they just used each other’s phones to remain somewhat mysterious.

taco bar

At one point they all huddled into the bathroom and closed the door and got very quiet. And then, strangely, my phone started to ring. So I answered it in a very silly high-pitched voice, and both the other end of the line and the little voices in the bathroom erupted in giggles. And then they asks how I knew it was them. I has smrts. That’s how.

sundae makings

So it was a good time and we all had fun. I spent most of the evening holed up in my bedroom catching up on TV and my sky scarf; it was like having a bunch of baby sitters around. Baby sitters who are very loud and leave a really big mess behind.


In the morning, though, my girly was overtired. And for those who know her overtired = making the rest of us miserable. Luckily part of what she’s working on in her personal growth is to be open to allowing me to help her switch out of Evil Mode and she was able to recover and enjoy the day fairly well, anyway. I love watching that kid grow. She’s amazing.


So, bring on the sleepovers! But don’t expect me to decorate a party like this for her until she’s at least 18. I suppose I owe Elliott one when he turns ten, but that still gives me three years to recover. And I will need it. And coffee.

*just kidding, they drew other stuff on the balloons.

Demon Adventures. Also personal growth n stuff.

26 04 2012

I have so much to say. But only while I’m driving or in the shower or something. I need to make a habit of audio recording myself all the time and just posting that. Only it would be SO CONFUSING for you to try to follow my brain while I talk to myself. It’s harder than following my brain while I talk to you. Which is pretty hard to begin with.

Suffice it to say that this has been a time of incredible change and growth for me. I’ve learned things about myself, and let things go to regrow more organically. I’ve learned things about life, about friendships, about parenting and my children. I wish I could document all of it, but it happens so fast, and so naturally, that I can barely make verbal note of it before I’m onto the next step. I guess I’ll have to just let that be what it is, too.

This week has been a surreal week of new things for SOAM, too. It got picked up first by the Daily Mail in the UK, and then by Yahoo (wherein a woman WHO WAS *IN* OFFICE SPACE said my website was “meh”. Which. Actually. Might not be a compliment. But it doesn’t really matter because SHE WAS TOTALLY IN OFFICE SPACE and also TALKING ABOUT *MY* WEBSITE) and a few other sources. And the traffic crashed the site. Repeatedly. Like to the point where I had to find a new company to host it for me. And that, my friends? Was beyond stressful. Tech is not my language and to try to fix something so INCREDIBLY TECHY was downright traumatic. In case you’re here for advice, the coping technique I used follows:

1. Cuss a lot.
2. Deep breath.
3. Remind self to take it one step at a time, and do whatever the smrt people say.
4. Panic.
5. Repeat.

It might need work, but it got me through.

And you know what happened this week? My first baby turned ten. TEN. Oh, you know what? It’s kind of like this. Only with less pot and no professional killing. Take out those things and it’s EXACTLY like that.

she's weird, too, though

She’s amazing lately, too. This time of change isn’t just about me (unlike most other things in this world, which totally are just about me). She’s made some incredible growth that gets me all verklempt just thinking about it.

So here’s to spring and growth and life and The Happy. And to not taking a ride on this bus.

um. i don't think i fancy a ride on THAT bus.

Or, TO taking a ride on that bus, if that’s your thing. If the demons are hot I guess it might be mine.

Dancing with Matt

3 07 2011

About a year ago Summer and I went to a Cake Wrecks books signing and met Jen and John. Yesterday we went to the beach and danced with Matt. We’ve decided that our new goal is to meet every internet celebrity, one by one. Which, now that I type it out, sounds really unlikely. But fun!

Quick digression: As we were walking all the damn way across Coronado (because the Fourth of July weekend + a hot day + the beach = no parking anywhere anywhere) and trying to corral two kids and also me across busy streets we naturally got to talking about Paris. It is a little scary to try to cross Parisian streets, and Summer recently accomplished this feat with 20 8th graders and survived (and so did the 8th graders). This conversation naturally led me to comment (again) on one of the things I was most struck by while watching Sherlock – I mean besides the fact that Sherlock Holmes and I totally have the same pillow. There is a scene (more than one, actually) in which someone hops in a cab that’s parked on the right side of the road and the cab darts between traffic all crazy-like onto the left side where it belongs and drives off like nothing unusual happened at all. I remember Douglas Adams writing about this once, and how he was shocked to get a ticket in the US for parking on the wrong side of the road. So I was relaying this to Summer with exaggerated emoting for humorous effect when a lady next to us piped up in an English accent and asked, “And what’s wrong with that?” My feet? Are DELICIOUS. She went on to accuse us Americans of crazy shit like making right turns on red lights so I guess we’re even, but note to self: never mock other cultures in public again. I mean, except for this paragraph. And a quick note to my English readers, I do not actually judge your culture for your parking habits. In truth, I merely poke affectionate fun at you. Feel free to return the gesture if that floats your boat.

So! Matt. We trudged across the sand to a giant crowd of people who’d gathered in the designated spot and who were murmuring things like “Matt” and “dance” and who were also wearing random strange headgear (presumably to spot themselves in the video easier). Matt was not there. But! He had kindly shared some notes with us regarding this gathering:

When you get to the spot, look for the guy who looks like the guy in the dancing video. Just come on over, say hello, and ask if I am Matt. If I’m not Matt, I will let you know.

Wearing distinctive clothing will make it easier to spot yourself in the video, but please do not dress as a licensed character (Mario, Spider-Man, Sarah Palin) or I will have to blur you and that will make everyone think you showed up naked or something. Also, please do not show up naked.

I did not notice anyone there naked, so this was clearly a group who followed directions very well. After a short wait, a dark-haired guy in sunglasses ran up to the crowd to a large round of applause. Speaking of mob mentality (because Summer was, actually), all it takes is for a few people to assume that every dark-haired guy in sunglasses is Matt for the rest of us to assume the first people know what they are talking about. They didn’t. But, true to his word, Matt informed us that he was not Matt. Only a moment later, another dark-haired guy in sunglasses, struggling with a large cooler, walked up to the crowd to very little applause. I guess we were jaded and suspicious by that point. Poor Matt.

And so we gathered into a big mob. There was a girl there with the most awesome bright orange hair I’d ever seen, two guys who Matt dubbed “Shirtless Guys”, and a bunch of goofy kids who bossed Matt around a lot. Well, and a bunch of other people, too. Matt set up the shot, made us give thumbs-up to the disclaimer, squeezed in to join us and we danced.

First we did Matt’s dance, and then we did a bunch of others. Turns out I fail at dancing. I mean, this really shouldn’t be a surprise to me, but it turns out even simple dances like The Swim are beyond me when you are supposed to do it in some kind of rhythm. I predict being fully embarrassed when this video is finished. Or possibly that the entire San Diego sequence will be cut because of me and I will become Hated.

The kids in the front row all took turns making up dances for us to do. Matt was seriously so awesome with all the kids. At one point a tiny two year old ran up and grabbed onto his leg and just held there – that’s pretty much how all the kids felt, I think. Elliott showed Matt how do do a “dance contest” which ended, unexpectedly, with falling down rather than a prize. But then most things Elliott does end with falling down. He is a big fan of the physical comedy.

Happy Thing: My Son Teaching Matt From the Internets How to Dance Contest

It was such an awesome afternoon, as are most when you meet internet-famous people. But the sun was shiny and we were within view of the Hotel Del and we were dancing and we were with a group of people who were just awesome (as you’d have to be to show up to dance for the internet). And the traffic off the “island” (because Coronado likes to call themselves an island but it is clearly a peninsula) wasn’t nearly as scary as it looked. Win!

So. Who should we meet next?

UPDATE! We didn’t make it into the actual video because we were upstaged by a stupid sea lion (and maybe because I danced so terribly that we got upstaged by a stupid sea lion), but you can catch bits and pieces of us in the outtakes.

Friday Thoughts

18 03 2011

Happy Thing: My Job

This photo was from yesterday’s Happy Thing. I sat there in the morning, checking in at Own Your Beauty, responding to comments and glowing as I read them. Over 1,000 people have read the article I wrote since it was posted Wednesday and as I lifted my mug for a sip of coffee, it occurred to me that while other people were looking at my mug that morning, I was the only one holding it. I don’t know that I can explain how surreal that is. So not only do I love the content of my work, but I think it’s pretty damn exciting to see my story posted on the home page of BlogHer.com, or on USAToday.com. Me. I wrote that. Wow.

Have I mentioned here that USA Today’s website has picked up Own Your Beauty? Cause they totally have. And I’ve even got a bio on there. A year ago I didn’t even know what I wanted to be when I grew up and here I am, a writer. Apparently. I’m loving it completely, but I’m also just in awe at how The Universe works.


I read this earlier in the week and it struck me. One of my bigger worries right now is about money. Will I be able to afford to live here at all? If not, then what? I can’t take the kids out of state where it might be cheaper because this is where their dad is. The other option I can think of doesn’t work for me, either. And to top it off, things have been tight this past year, even before the split. We have very little in our savings compared to what the IRS will probably expect come April 15th. And so I’d been taking a lot of deep breaths and reminding myself that even if we have to set up a payment plan with the IRS, we’ll still be alive at the end of it all. And then that last bit of Jen’s post? The addendum at the end about how there are people in the world who have much, much larger troubles in their lives? Some of them won’t be alive when Japan’s put back together. Some of them already aren’t. But some of them will. And for awhile their lives will be a nightmare, but then it will become normal again. A new normal. And they will go on. Because that is what people do and have done for the entire history of people. And that is what I will do, too. One foot in front of the other. That’s all I have to do right now.


And while we’re on the subject of the disaster in Japan (and, truly, I don’t think the word “disaster” has ever been so true as it is to this particular situation – it’s like watching a movie so ridiculously unbelievable, you change the channel. Only no one can change this one because it’s not a movie), can I just say that, despite all the sheer horror of the thing, it really puts global unity into perspective to me. And technology makes it possible to really understand how close we all are. 8,000 miles away (at least when taking the route Google Maps suggested) there was an earthquake. A massive one. It put our 7.2, 45-second quake last year to SHAME. (Note to Earth: No need to compete, stay calm. We’re proud of you for your 7.2, please do not feel the urge to outdo Japan.) It caused a tsunami that travelled, in one day, to California shores. When it reached us, it was far less destructive than in Japan, or even Hawaii, but it was clearly visible. We are truly connected. It was as though Japan reached out and touched us, quite literally. The wildness of creation, as Madeleine L’Engle put it, is truly incredible. The effects of the quake also fill me with awe – according to CNN, the quake moved the main island of Japan about 8 feet, also shifted the entire axis of the Earth, effectively shortening the day (however minute, it’s impressive). That’s mythical, right there. Of course, this article states that weather patterns can change the length of a day far more than the quake did, and that’s almost more incredible. Oh my how I love my Mother Earth. She is truly wild and amazing.


Here in my home, I’ve been making changes. I started with that shoe rack, moved on to the rest of the living room, into the closets, kids’ room, kitchen and my own bedroom. Things are organized and they’ll stay that way. You have no idea how happy I feel about this. I feel clean and uncluttered. Tomorrow some friends are going to come by and help me move the furniture in the living room around and make it a new place with new energies. Speaking of energies, I have this intense desire to keep the windows unblocked. For most of my childhood, the curtains were drawn to prevent people seeing the mess. For most of my marriage the windows were open, but covered by furniture, as was every available inch of wall space. And now I just want them free and unblocked. I want them wide open to clean energy and sunlight and a soft breeze off the ocean. I even plan to start washing the windows soon. (Hey, I’ve washed them once in the 5 1/2 years we’ve lived here, what do you want from me?)


The kids still seem to be adjusting well. They’ve spent a couple nights at their dad’s now, and he’s being very flexible with them when they want to come back here. More than I probably would be, even. They don’t seem overly upset and don’t even seem to be acting out much in other ways. I can only imagine this is because there’s been no drama between their parents and they know they can come and go as needed and we will always support them.

I, on the other hand, cried the night they left. Of course Elliott came back home at 9:00 that night so I wasn’t truly alone anyway. The next night I was, though. And I don’t remember the last time I was the only one in a home. Maybe some time when Melissa and I lived together. Surely the amount of times I’ve slept utterly alone in a home have been less than the number of fingers I have (which is the average amount). It felt empty, and I kept panicking when I realized I hadn’t checked on them in awhile. But it also felt good. Like I finally get the chance to find out who I am and how I like to live. I finished lining the cupboards with shelf paper, got some work done and watched some TV. When I woke up the next morning I discovered the two extra pillows had converged on me just like the kids usually do in the night.


And then this morning, after a night full of very tedious sleep wherein my mind chattered away endlessly with utterly pointless dreams, I had a Big Important Dream. It began with me outside the home my grandparents owned. The yard was completely dug out, at least a full story into the earth. The walkway to the door, left untouched. A police officer had died in some sort of standoff here at some time in the recent past. I was in the driver’s seat of a car (so much different than my first Blue Whale dream… which, according to a quick search, I never wrote about here – must do that soon) and when I looked into the backseat, I saw myself. Which is just fucked up. So I attacked her/me. I scratched and pinched, anything I could from my position to hurt her. She/I just sat there, terrified. She/I never made a sound. And then I heard a voice – someone was just out of sight – telling me that she/I was my inner self and I should be kinder to her/me. I don’t think I attack myself any more, but I feel it’s pretty clear this is one of those dreams you must take seriously. What are your thoughts?


And now I will get up off my arse and go do some more prep in this house before tomorrow comes. I’m going to enjoy my open windows and my newly open spaces in my rooms. And then maybe I’ll play some Wii with the kids. It’s gonna be a lovely day.