Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Word for 2013

So there's this thing where you pick a single word to use as your mantra for the year. My word has to be Balance. Balance between work and home is the main focus. I need to spend more time at home, and less time at work. I need to devote more of my energy to home and not to work. I've been slacking, and feeling guilty.

Now, I was going to be an asshole and say that my word for the year was perestroika. But actually, the literal meaning of perestroika is "restructuring" and that's actually a pretty cool concept. Perestroika isn't a bad mantra for 2013, if you think about it.

Another asshole word I considered was defenestration. Consider it, if you will, making your mantra of 2013 a word that means "the act of throwing something out a window."

Another word I considered was quincunx- five objects arranged in a square formation with one at each corner and one in the middle.

Do you have a mantra word?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Things I've Learned About Men

I'm not a self proclaimed expert by any means, but these are some of the things I've learned about men, from living with my man since 1999.

1. Don't get mad at him when he buys you a toaster oven for Christmas. He bought it because you've been bitching about the broken one for the past two months, and he believed the toaster oven was a thoughtful gift.

2. If you want something specific, tell him where to get it and the size and color you want. Even better, find it online, set up a shopping cart and tell him to push the "Purchase Now" button.

3. He will have a favorite shirt. It might date back to high school. Do not mock this shirt. It will make him feel bad.

4. The cat will always be YOUR cat. Even if he calls the cat his "Furry Buddy" and carries him around on his shoulder.

5. He will probably have ridiculous superstitions and rituals regarding watching "his" sports team.

6. He won't notice that the bathroom mirror is covered with spots and streaks, but his truck will be spotless.

7. Speaking of the truck, the children won't be allowed to eat or drink anything inside it, but will be fed Doritos and orange Fanta in the minivan, because it doesn't matter if the van gets stains.

8. He will throw the child in the air and catch her. This will terrify you. Just look away. 99% of the time, he'll catch her.

9. Fruit is not a normal part of his diet.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monday News

Still working on that whole "Story Of Us" will come!

But, some levity -

I went to the dermatologist on Monday and was informed that I have a mole on my ass. And, not only that, I probably should get it removed. Considering I don't exactly walk around outside bare-assed, it's strange that I have one in that location. Frank's response "Oh, yeah, that's been there for awhile."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Division of Labor

I totally stole this from The Diniwilks. I think it's fascinating to see how families function differently.

Child care: I make the decisions for child care. This part of life is mostly over now that the kids are in school full time (thank god). They just stay at school at the after school care until either Frank or I can get them before 6 PM. And a lot of the time we're racing to get there at 5:55 PM because of traffic or work issues or whatever. We actually need to find a baby sitter for night times, but no luck right now. In a few more years, we won't even need that. We also luck out in that the kids spend 5-6 weeks in the summer with my parents. It's great for everyone- the kids get to spend the summer on the beach, we get to pretend that we don't have kids for the summer. It's like sending the kids to sleep-away camp, except they're staying with grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Newborn care (bonus historical category): I did the bare minimum of 6 weeks with all three kids. And, I was stir crazy and wanting to get out of the house by 3 weeks. Frank took a week with the first child, and two weeks with the next two. He used to work PM swing, so he'd actually get to hang out with the kids in the mornings while I went to work. Then, I'd be alone at night with the kids. He generally got home in time to do the middle of the night feeding- between 11 PM and 1 AM he'd usually have a baby with him on the couch. It meant that I never really had to be a Zombie Mommy, because I got at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night even from the very beginning (yes, I breastfed, but we depended on bottles for that middle of the night feeding). My husband got to the point where he could basically change a diaper while asleep. 

Time off (bonus category): My husband works insane hours now- 12-16 hour days. I don't get a "time off" day. But, again the kids are old enough that we can sleep in on the weekends and the kids can occupy themselves. 

Work: We both work full time. My job is a traditional office job 8 AM - 5 PM. His is in the food service industry, so he works 6 AM to 6 PM or 8 PM. A 60 hour week is STANDARD for his position. 

Food: I do 95% of the grocery shopping, because I do 95% of the cooking. I make the meal plans so I pick the food that we eat.

Housecleaning: Frank does 90% of the cleaning. He does the laundry, the dishes, mops and vacuums the floors, puts away clothes, organizes and trashes clutter, changes bedsheets and just about everything in between. I clean the bathrooms- that's the one thing he won't do.

House decorating (bonus category): Mostly Frank. We have the same tastes- simple, clean lines, neutral colors. He likes to change out the art on our walls. He gets a bug up his ass about painting rooms, etc. My only request is that we have only white linens on our bed (I know, it's weird, but I only like white sheets and white down comforters).

Yard work: The front yard is xeriscaped so that there's minimal upkeep. The backyard gets mowed once a month or so, and I keep the pool from going green.

Communications: That's all me. I have to remind my husband to call his parents on their birthdays. We have a synched Google calendar to keep us on the same page, and a huge calendar on the pantry door that appointments, soccer games, girl scouts, tutoring and meetings and stuff are written on .

Finances: We both have individual accounts and a joint account. The joint account pays the household bills, and we each have fuck off money in our single accounts. Fuck off money is the money we keep separate from each other so we can buy the impractical things we want without having to get into a fight about it. As is "I don't care if you hate this, I bought it from my own money, so fuck off." Frank carries the family insurance plans, because his company is HUGE and they have a wonderful Cadillac plan for a reasonable price (I don't skimp on health or dental coverage, I want EVERYTHING). 

Activities: We take turns. Frank is great at planning the logistics of the big trips, I do more of the local stuff. I'm more of a "just tell me when to show up" type of person, he likes to plan things out so we don't miss anything. We do a lot of free and cheap activities on my watch- like Art Walks, Christmas tree lighting, visiting parks and getting ice cream. We go to a lot of baseball games in season, because it's a cheap family outing. Luckily the kids are easily amused and travel well. The kids have flown cross country so many times that they're pros and don't even get excited about it any more.

Who wears the pants (bonus category): I'm the boss. Just ask the kids. 

I think we're lucky in that we've lived together now for 14 years (and we're only 34 years old). We had five years without kids to figure out how to function as a team before we added the stress of kids to the household. Well before the kids, I knew I'd be alone a lot at night, just due to the job field that my husband is in. 
As of today, my husband and I have been monogamous for 17 years. Fully half of our lifetimes, and all of our adult years. I plan on doing a "story of us" type post later on, when I can get some of our old pictures together.  

Feel free to steal this! I think it's a great topic. Link below if you plan on doing a division of labor post.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thus is the saga of the Chicken Parmesan Sandwich

I grew up on the east coast where Chicken Parmesan sandwiches are plentiful and abundant, even stereotypically available on every menu. While not my favorite sandwich, I would have the odd craving once or twice a year. A craving that was easily remedied by going into just about any place that served food and getting a piece of this delicious treat. This culinary treat has been impossible to find in Arizona. I've gone so far as to explain to sub shop employees how it's made:

Typical Conversation:
Me: I want a Chicken Parmesan sandwich
Sub Man: I don't know what that is.
Me: I want a breaded chicken sandwich.
Sub Man: OK, what do you want on that?
Me: Tomato sauce and cheese, toasted please
Sub Man: Sorry, we can't do that.
Me: But you have sauce, I can see it, just take the sauce from the meatballs, and put it on the chicken. Put a piece of provolone on it, and toast it.
Sub Man: I can put the cheese on it and toast it. But I can't put the sauce on it.
Me: OK, then I want a meatball sandwich, without the meatballs.
Sub Man: So just sauce and cheese?
Me: Yes
Sub Man: OK, what do you want on that?
Me: Breaded chicken
Sub Man: I can't do that.

And so ends the saga of the Chicken Parmesan Sandwich.

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Sister, the Ridiculous One

Being ridiculous, purely for the sake of being ridiculous is a prized personality trait in my opinion. When my sister was pregnant last year, for the first time, she had the traditional romantic belly shot and all that comes along with it. This year, with her second child, she's gone a less traditional route:

I present, for your viewing enjoyment- 39 Weeks Pregnant In Under-Armor. Or Super Pregnant Lady.

I never had the guts to take pictures of myself in a leotard, let alone while pregnant, and post them to a public forum. I salute you my sister, and revel in your ridiculousness.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

88 Questions

So, I totally failed Blog a Day for November. But, I think these questions, so here goes:

1.  Do you usually sleep with your closet door open or closed? Closed. The monster totally would eat me if I left it open.

2.  Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotels? No, but I do usually take the little bottles of lotion, even if I hate the smell, because the kids get a kick out of them.

3.  Have you ever ‘done it’ in a hotel room?  Yeah. The husband and I have been together since we were 17 years old. We did the "get a hotel room after prom" thing. We also went to colleges 100 miles from each other, so occasionally we'd get a crappy room around the mid point.

4.  Where is your next vacation? We'll be heading to Massachusetts, as is per usual, at the end of May to drop off the kids for the summer. Our next "grown up trip" we think will be Ohio. So we can do the roller coasters before we're so old that it hurts. I also think Disneyland is on for 2013.

5.  Have you ever stolen a street sign before? No, and I don't understand the allure of doing so.  

6.  Who do you think reads these? Very few people

7.  Do you have a calendar in your room?  No, that's on the pantry door, because otherwise I'd never know where anyone has to be on a given day.

8.  Where are you?  At work, in my fishbowl office. Yes, I have an interior office with three glass walls. The iillusion of privacy that really doesn't exist.

9.  What’s your plan for the day? Get through it, then go to horrible, awful Girl Scout Cookie training

10. Are you reading any books right now? Safe Within by Jean Reynolds Page. It's pretty depressing.

11. Do you ever count your steps when you walk? No

12. Have you ever peed in the woods? Yes, I used to do a lot of underage drinking in the woods.

13. Do you ever dance even if there’s no music playing? Absolutely!

14. Do you chew your pens and pencils? Yes. Unfortunately. Not chew, so much as hold with my teeth while I'm thinking.
15. What is your “Song of the Week”? Mokiki Does The Sloppy Swish- Mokiki It's the SNL digital short from Saturday, and seriously, it's infectious.

16. Is it okay for guys to wear pink? Yes. Some look better than others. Some guys who wear pink are quite douchy however.

17. Do you still watch cartoons? Not gonna lie, I love Pocoyo
18. Whats your favorite love movie?  Love, Actually

19. What do you drink with dinner? Diet Coke or water if I'm eating after 7, which is most of the time. Wine if it's the weekend or at a restaurant.

20. What do you dip Chicken Nuggets in? Chicken nuggets are vile. I don't eat them.

21. What is your favorite food/cuisine? Sushi or New American. I like chefs who are willing to take traditional cuisine and twist it.

22. What movies could you watch over and over and still love? Jaws, Ocean's 11 and Ocean's 13 (don't mention the abomination that was Ocean's 12), Love Actually, The Departed, Center Stage, Bring It On,

23. Last person you hugged/kissed? My husband and kids

24. Were you ever a boy/girl scout? A Girl Scout from 2nd grade through graduation. Now I'm a Brownie Leader (but I hate it, and this is the only year I'm willing to do it)
25. Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine? If someone was willing to pay me.

26. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper? My grandmother. A few months before she died.

27. Can you change the oil on a car? No. Why would I want to do that?

28. Ever gotten a speeding ticket? Not in a few years.

29. Run out of gas? Never, but came close a few times in my old Grand Am with a broken gauge.

30. Favorite kind of sandwich? Meatball Sub or a Steak, Mushroom and Cheese from Zach's in Weymouth MA.

31. Best thing to eat for breakfast? Cinnamon Raisin bagel with Philly Cream Cheese, toasted
32. What is your usual bedtime? 11 PM

33. Are you lazy? Yes. Yes I am.

34. When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween? Most frequently a witch. Because it was always cold and rainy, and the costume would be hidden under a winter jacket anyways. So the pointy hat and a fake nose was generally my costume.

35. Do you have any magazine subscriptions? Bon Appetite, Saveur, Martha Stewart, ESPN

36. Which are better, legos or lincoln logs? Legos for sure

37. Are you stubborn? ME??? NEVER.

38. Who is better…Leno or Letterman? Letterman.

39. Ever watch soap operas? Days of Our Lives for YEARS. I haven't really watched that since 2007 when I had my last maternity leave.

40. Afraid of heights? No. 

41. Sing in the car? Yes, always.

42. Dance in the shower? No. The point is to get done as fast as possible.

43. Dance in the car? A bit of seat dancing occurs

44. Ever used a gun? No

45. Do you think musicals are cheesy? I love them.

46. Is Christmas stressful? It can be. But in the past few years we've been trying to cut back our obligations. At this point, we refuse to leave our house on Christmas day. Dinner is served at 3 PM. If anyone wants to see us, they are welcome to come over after 1 PM and stay for dinner.

47. Ever eat a pierogi? Yes. When I can convince my husband to make them.

48. Major annoyance right now? The next door neighbors who I suspect broke the windows of my van

49. Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid? A mortician. I wish I was lying, but I had a fascination with funeral homes and wanted to live in one.
50. Do you believe in ghosts? Not really

51. Ever have a deja-vu feeling? Yes. Wait, did you ask me this before?
52. Do you take a vitamin daily? Does Diet Coke have any vitamins in it? Because that's the only thing I take daily.

53. Wear slippers? No, I wear wool socks around the house when it's cold

54. Wear a bath robe? Yes, after my shower, when I'm trying to get the kids out of bed. So my hair doesn't get my clothes all wet and wrinkled.

55. What do you wear to bed? Underwear.

56. Wal-Mart, Target or K-Mart? Target.

57. Nike or Adidas? Asics.

58. Cheetos Or Fritos? Cheetos, maybe. Doritos are the bomb.

59. Peanuts or Sunflower seeds? Neither.

60. Ever hear of, “gorp”? Yes, see above. I was a Girl Scout for  LONG time.

61. Ever taken karate? No, it's a scam.

62. Ever kissed someone of the same sex? No

63. Can you curl your tongue? Yes, and my middle and youngest can too, but the oldest and husband can not.

64. Ever won a spelling bee? I can not spell. Like I had to get an exemption in 10th grade because the teacher based 40% of our grade on a weekly spelling test, and I would have screwed up my GPA with a D in her class. I had to do A LOT of extra credit book reports to make up for the absolute failure at spelling. That's what spell-check is for. And, I'm smart enough that I know what word I need, even if I can't spell it.

65. Ever cried because you were so happy? Sure, I've had three kids, I can be a hormonal wreck.

66. Own any record albums? No

67. Own a record player? No

68. Regularly burn incense? No it gives me migraines. 

69. Ever been in love? Yes

70. Hot tea or cold tea? Only hot. Cold is gross.

71. Tea or coffee? Tea, coffee is gross.

72. Favorite kind of cookie? Toll House chocolate chip, homemade, either by me or my Mom.

73. Can you swim well? Very well, and I made sure my kids learned by the time they were 4 years old.

74. Can you hold your breath w/o manually holding your nose? Yes.

75. Are you patient? No. My way or the highway. It leads to interesting parenting challenges with my child who has the same exact personality as me.

76. Ever won a contest? A few. Every decade or so, I get on a lucky streak. It's already passed for this decade.

77. Ever had plastic surgery? No. I have the type of nose that people get surgery to look like!

78. Which are better black or green olives?  Neither.

79. Can you knit or crochet? Neither

80. Wash room or bathroom? Bathroom.

81. Do you want to get married? Already am. 

82. Who was your High School crush? A boy who was in a ton of my classes. We kissed once. It was kind of awesome. But it never went beyond that kiss.

83. Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way? No. I just do what I want anyways.

84. Do you have kids? A passel of them.

85. Do you want kids? No more than I currently have

86. What kind of mom are you? Laid back. I let the kids learn from their mistakes and I try not to fight battles over stupid things like insisting on wearing snow boots in the middle of summer. We have very few rules in the house (don't draw on the walls, use your words not your fists), I don't micromanage, and I let the kids get messy.

87. Do you miss anyone right now? My family. We live about 3000 miles from my Mom, Dad and siblings. My sister is having a baby any day now and I miss that I won't be nearby for that, or Thanksgiving.

88. Who do you want to see right now? My girls from high school that I'm still close with. I'd love to be going to cocktails with them this weekend.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Nights Before Kids, Friday Nights After Kids

Before Kids (BK from here on in) 5:00 PM- Get out of work
After Kids (AK from here on in) 5:00 PM- Get out of work (some things haven't changed)

BK 5:30 PM- Sit down for a drink with my co-workers to rehash the week
AK 5:30 PM- Sit in traffic while anxiously watching the clock, hoping that I won't be late for pick up yet again

BK 6:00 PM- Have another drink
AK 6:00 PM- Corral the children into the car, listen to them whine, bribe them with promises of ice cream in order to get home without someone having a crying fit

BK 6:30 PM- Pay tab, go home, think about maybe making dinner
AK 6:30 PM- Get home, think about maybe making dinner, find movie on TV

BK 7:00 PM- Decide to take a nap, to recharge
AK 7:00 PM- Make dinner, because children are in the middle of a mutiny and are threatening to eat each other if they aren't fed NOW

BK 8:30 PM- Wake up from nap
AK 8:30 PM- Husband is home. Pull second load of laundry out of dryer, start sorting clothes, tell kids to take a shower, find soccer clothes for tomorrow's games, empty backpacks, have a glass of wine.

BK 9:30 PM- Get to husband's restaurant, have a cocktail and get dinner. Hang out at bar, flirting with restaurant owner, bartender and/or patrons, sometimes friends will show up
AK 9:30 PM- Get kids in bed (except oldest, who doesn't sleep), turn on Netflix or Redbox movie du jour

BK 11:30 PM- Husband is out of work, out of uniform and ready to go out
AK 11:30 PM- Husband and I are passed out on the couch

BK 2:00 AM- Leave bar, go home via taxi or walk home, make out in public along the way. Stagger to bed.
AK 2:00 AM- Wake up with a sore back from falling asleep on the couch. One of the children is sick or has fallen out of bed. Wake up husband. Console child. Stagger to bed.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm Going to do this NaBloPoMo Thing...

November is here, meaning it's NaBloPoMo. Which basically means I'm really attempting to blog everyday this month, just for the heck of it. As you can see by my very sparse posting history, I'm not very good at blogging on a regular basis. Sure, I read a bunch of blogs. But write one myself? Not so much.

So, in the case that I actually get a reader or two, here's a quick background sketch all about me!
  • I married my high school sweetheart at the ripe old age of 22. We celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary this year (I think the traditional gift for the 12th year is a 12 pack of beer), and have been together for 17 years.
  • We have three school age daughters, all of whom were born before I turned 29.
  • The hubs and I grew up in Massachusetts, lived in Rhode Island for a few years, and finally moved to the Phoenix metro area in 2001. 
  • We are rabid fans of all New England sports teams
  • I read a LOT and I have a huge Goodreads account to keep track of what I have read and plan on reading- Goodreads- keen23
  • I don't take life too seriously. Shit happens and you can't let it bog you down. 

Thing I learned today- IHOP has pumpkin pancakes! I'm trying to keep down my carb intake (said as I finish two pieces of nutritionally bereft, but oh so delicious golden slices of white bread toast with ample butter) but now I can't stop thinking about them! We're totally going to IHOP sometime this weekend.

Other thing I learned today- If you attempt to save money and buy the cheap cat food, not only will it stink up your house, but the cat will refuse to eat it, and will intentionally knock it off the top of the dryer, because he's a jerk. (I think I forgot to mention the anti-social 12 year old cat who lives with us. Yeah. Him. We've had him since 2000, and he's survived 4 moves with us. He's more spoiled than the children. Also, everyone feeds their cat on top of the dryer, right?)

So, that's what's happening here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Strange and Vivid Dreams

Last night I dreamed it was raining eggs, and no one except me thought it was strange. They were all like "don't you realize this means we don't have to buy eggs anymore?"

Monday, September 17, 2012

All About Me Prompt

This is from some blogger Crappy Day Present thing, and while I'm not participating in that, I actually like the prompts enough to fill them out. So, read and learn people, read and learn about how fabulous I am.

What is your dream job?
That person who works for a literary agent who's sole job is to read manuscripts and see if they're good or pieces of crap. I want to be paid to read.

If you had 1,000,000 dollars to give away, how would you do it?
Stay local with my choices. Give to the kids' school system. Donate a bunch of technology to the school, give each teacher $1000 for classroom stuff, donate to Planned Parenthood and The Florence Crittendon foundation.

Under what circumstances would you adopt a child?
Adoption isn't my thing. The only kids I'd be willing to adopt would be nieces and nephews who's biological parents can no longer care for.

Why were you given your name?
My last name was really long, so my parents wanted a short first name- 5 letters or shorter. My name came from a baby naming book, and my parents both agreed on it.

What was the last national park you visited?
We went to Louis & Clark National Historical Park over the summer. It was pretty.

What was the first thing you learned to cook?
Scrambled eggs

What book can you read over and over again?
It used to be From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler, but recently, it's been Ready Player One. Ready Player One is such an amazing book, I love it.

What makes you feel young?
The way my husband looks at me sometimes. It makes me feel 17 again.

Did you ever work at an on campus job? What was it?
No joke, I did week night security at the campus center. Basically I walked around the building and made sure people weren't having sex anywhere, and calling the campus bus for drunk girls who didn't know how to get home. In exchange for this, I got a coveted garage parking pass for free, plus a plush salary of less than minimum wage. Really I was in it for the parking pass.

If you needed someone to act as a character reference for you who would you chose?

What was the first concert you went to see?
The Green Day free show in 1994 at the Hatch when there was rioting in the audience. Awesome times.

Who is someone from your past that you are sorry you lost track of?
Some of my friends from college, who just seem to have disappeared.

If you could see 24 hours into the future what would you do with this ability?
Solve problems at work before they began.

If you had it to do over again what would you study in school?
I'd go into teaching. As much as I like the salary I make right now, I HATE working in the summers while all of my teacher friends get to hang with their kids on the beach.

What do you know how to say in a foreign language?

"Two beers please" and "Where is the bathroom?" Also "Where is the library?" and "My name is Louisa and I am from San Antonio." (except my name isn't Louisa, and I'm not from San Antonio)
What is your all time favorite joke?
Why is the graveyard so popular? People are just DYING to get in there. (my kids tell me this all the time, it's a family classic)

What was your first paying job?
Counter girl at CVS

What is the strangest food you have ever eaten?
The husband is a chef. When we go out, he is often recognized by other chefs in the business, who then go out of their way to impress us by sending out "specials." I've eaten just about everything- eel, soft shell crabs (eaten whole, in the shell, deep fried), sweetbreads (not what you think it is), corn smut, goat, and various organs and parts of animals that normal people don't eat. The husband makes me try everything and tells me to just not smell certain things.

What in your life is more important than money?
My family (sigh, cheesy answer I know)

When was the first time you saw the ocean?
I was born in a town that's on the Atlantic. Chances are good we drove by it on my way home from the hospital. I didn't see the Pacific until 2001.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Vacation

All right- so the vacation

Seattle- you can tell there's lots of tech money in the area, as Frank put it "lots of chicks that rate an 8 or a 9 walking around with guys who rate a 3 or a 4" and the good looking guys were gay.- We went out for sushi with Adam. Went down to Pike Street market (watched the fish throwing), ate street food, and went to a Sox game- one they actually won! Drank a LOT. A city with a very high opinion of itself. Never have I seen so many dietary specialty items for regular purchase- it seemed like everything was "Gluten Free, Vegan, Soy Free and Tree Nut Free."

Train from Seattle to Portland- 3 hours. I was motion sick for most of it. Highlight was watching the couple on the other side of the aisle proceed to get wasted drinking Dewars and Root Beer- from a vintage suitcase they had turned into a portable bar. The girl of the couple wound up yelling at some chick who kept getting on her phone and whining to her parents, yelled something along the lines of "Can't you fucking read? There's no cell phone use in here." She was a sloshy mess when she yelled, so it was awesome.

Portland- Grittier than Seattle. Like if you took Providence RI and Fall River MA and squished them together to make one city. Industrial, lots of bridges. Good food scene. I could live there. There's a hippie vibe that was absent from both Seattle and San Francisco. A grid city, which was comforting.

Oregon Coast- gorgeous! Seriously the most breathtaking scenery I've ever seen. Pine rain forests with virgin growth pine trees that are 400+ years old and 50+ feet tall. The waves were crazy, and that's apparently just how they are. We went to Astoria so Frank could see the Goonies house (on his bucket list). We bought a $1 CD tour and listened to it for hours (because we couldn't get any radio station that was worth listening to in the rental). This is also when I figured out that Frank was totally lying to me about how long the damn drive would be from Portland to San Francisco- he totally undersold it to me by 300 miles. Also went to Tillamook for the tour- stupid except for the all-you-can-eat cheese samples.

Drive from Portland to Davis CA (home of UC Davis)- I gave up. We made it to an hour from Napa when he started to fall asleep at the wheel. Did our laundry- college towns are good for something. Had beer and pizza in a bar, left for Napa early. Long ass drive. Like 10 hours of boring. Mt Shasta has snow on it year round was about the only thing I found interesting.

Napa- Yeah, touristy in places. Gotta pick the good wineries, even if they charge more for a tasting, because the wines are hard to find out of state. We did Grigich Hills and Keenan wineries. Grigich poured us a glass of dessert wine that retails for $85 for a split (the small bottle 2.5 glasses), as part of our $20 per person tour- on top of the other 5 wines we were poured. Good value for the money. Driving through the town itself sucks- so do it once and be done- pick out your wineries so you move out from the center of town against the traffic.

San Francisco- By this time I was just exhausted. We did the piers, saw the sea lions, went to the chocolate factory, rode the cable car, walked through Chinatown, and everything. As a result, instead of getting up early on Saturday to spend a few extra hours in the city, we slept through our wake up, and didn't get to go back downtown. Flew out of SFO, and got home to a cat who missed us greatly.

This was probably the last of our expensive "just us" vacations for a few years. We have to go to Disney next year for sure (Land, not World), and we want to do an Alaska cruise, but we'll take the kids on that. That will fill up our next few years.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

In Which We Decide, as a Couple, to be A-Holes

A certain family member is getting married this Memorial Day weekend. My husband is in the wedding, I am just a guest at this wedding. My husband is only an usher in this wedding, so not a job that requires a lot of training- he's been an usher before, he knows how to ushe. So, anyways, this wedding is turning from a Wedding Day into a a Long Weekend Wedding Event. Husband is not happy about this. As a result, in a moment of rebellion, we have purchased sports tickets for the Friday before the wedding. This is rumored to be the night of the bachelor party. A party that my husband has no interest in attending (because this party most certainly will not feature breasts that aren't mine or excessive drinking, instead this is to be a night of cosmic bowling, video games and pitchers of cheap beer split 6 ways). The bride, as this is HER WEDDING, is rumored to be furious that we are not attending all events of this weekend. But truthfully, I don't care.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Not Really A Single Parent (But It Feels Like It)

My husband is a chef. He's been in kitchens since he was 14. It's the only job he's ever done in his life, and so far seems to be the only job he'll ever do. From the first time we even got together (at the ripe old age of 17) I knew that we wouldn't be one of those couples who would be home at the same time for most of the week. I was fine with that- I'm one of those people who likes to be alone at times and I thrive on setting myself in a regular routine. Up until 2009, my husband worked at stand alone restaurants or in the hotel industry. This meant that nights, weekends and holidays it was pretty much a lock that he'd be working and I'd be home alone with the kids. Again, I knew this when I signed up for the gig as wife of a chef.

In 2009, this changed. He went into corporate dining (for privacy's sake, I won't mention the name, but it's a big company). This meant a bigger salary, better benefits, and supposedly "more family time." As in, in theory, he works Monday-Friday, 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM (pretty normal hours for a corporate chef). In practice he works from 5:30 AM until 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, or even 9:00 at night. I would be fine with this if there was some sort of consistency. There's nothing worse in not knowing when he's going to be coming home. It sets the kids off- they always ask "when will Dad be home?" Sometimes he's home for dinner, sometimes he makes it home for goodnight stories and other times he doesn't get home until they are already asleep. In a way, I would rather he not be home until after they are in bed all the time. We have a routine, and when he comes home randomly, it just screws with the routine.

We had a talk about this issue this week. I honestly told him that I need him to be more consistent. And if he was going to be home after 6:30 but before 8:00, he should delay until after 8:00. This didn't go over well. But honestly, I can't deal with it. Dinner to Bedtime is awful in our house. Adding him to the mix randomly doesn't work.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A to Z about Me!

I feel the need to stretch my writing muscles- too much reading, little to no writing. I'm also bad at just picking a random thing and going with it (and truthfully, my kids aren't that interesting right now so I can't imagine boring people with the trials and tribulations of 1st and 3rd grade homework gone awry).

So, to re-boot an old internet meme- I present the

A to Z

A. Age: 33

B. Bed size: Queen. It works for us. Neither of us is very large, and it discourages the children from camping in with us.

C. Chore that you hate: The stupid dishes. Why can't we just eat out of the pots and pans? Or eat everything off of tortillas? Those Mayans had the right idea.

D. Dogs: None. Just don't have the time, not that I'm anti-dog.

E. Essential start to your day: A shower without any interruptions- I will not settle arguments, tie shoes or pour you a drink while I'm in the shower. The door has a lock for a reason- yelling through it or sticking your fingers underneath it will not help your cause.

F. Favorite color: Blue

G. Gold or silver: Silver

H. Height: 5' 4"- the average height of an American Woman

I. Instruments that you play: I took years of piano, played the sax in elementary school, but I don't think any of it has stuck around in my brain

J. Job title: Office Manager (fancy way of saying "Doing the shit in the office that no one else wants to do, in order to keep the place running)

K. Kids: Adeline- almost 9, Anaya- 7, Avery- 4.5 (my girls are fantastic, most of the time)

L. Live: Phoenix Metro area

M. Mother's name: Ma

N. Nicknames: KB, Rah

O. Overnight hospital stays: 3 births- all c-sections (one emergency, the other two scheduled, because, if I already had the scar tissue, I sure as hell wasn't pushing a baby out of my vagina by choice)

P. Pet peeves: People opening cabinets and not closing them. How fricking difficult is it to close the damn door???

Q. Quote from a movie: She gave me a pen. I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen. (Say Anything)

R: Right or left handed: Right

S: Siblings: 2 younger brothers, 1 younger sister

T. Treat you adore: A really cold, strong margarita while sitting poolside. Or my Mom's apple pie

U. Underwear: cotton

V. Vegetable(s) you hate: Peas, cabbage, broccoli

W. What makes you run late: Getting everyone out the door on time is almost impossible. I pad my time by trying to leave 30 minutes before I actually need to do so.

X. X-rays you've had: Arm- fell down the stairs and my elbow swelled up, turns out it was just a bone bruise. Teeth and jaw at the dentist- one of those cool ones that go all the way around your head

Y. Yummy food that you make: I'm a pretty damned good cook. Pork carnitas. Apple pie. Chocolate chip cookies. Quiche. Risotto. I know my way around the kitchen, and I'm not ashamed to say so.

Z. Zoo animal: Otters. The monkeys with the red butts. Hippos. Zoos are awesome. Unless you go with my husband who walks around with you telling you exactly how he'd cook a specific animal and what he thinks it tastes like.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Things that are Older Than Arizona

Today, Arizona celebrates 100 years of statehood. Congratulations Arizona, for being the 48th state, the last to be admitted into the contiguous States of the Union. I suppose the reason why it took so long is that no one really wanted Arizona. I mean, sure, we were willing to give the land to the Native Americans after we forced them off their tribal lands, but actual statehood? Come on now. So, in honor of this milestone, I've put together a list of Things that are Older Than Arizona

1. My hometown- Weymouth, MA- settled in 1630, incorporated in 1635. Way older than Arizona.
2. The Boston Red Sox- established in 1901 (named the Red Sox in 1908)
3. Anne of Green Gables novels- published in 1908, arguably the first "young adult" novels written
4. Boy Scouts of America- established 1910
5. Crayola Crayons- 1885
6. Theory of Relativity- 1905
7. Vaccines- 1796
8. Groundhog's Day- 1886
9. Methuselah- a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine Tree in California- 4,843 years old, still living
10. George the Lobster- born 1896, released back into the wild in 2009, presumed to still be living

Obviously this list is not all inclusive. Many other things are older than 100 years old.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Things My Kids Sing

Remember this gem of a song from the 1990's?

We listen to 90's on 9 almost every morning waiting for the bus. As a result, my 4 year old went off to Preschool singing "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls. But only the line that goes "If you wanna be my lover" which was absolutely inappropriate, but hilarious at the same time. And, she was on loop, so it was the same line over and over and over again. "Mama, I love this song!" she told me.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Two Turtles in Love

We took the kids to the Zoo this weekend. One where you can feed the giraffes. Avery was terrified of them, and the baby llama in the petting zoo. The giraffe I guess I can understand- it's head was as big as she was. But the baby llama? It's too fricking cute to be afraid of. It doesn't run, it BOUNCES, I kid you not.

Also, we must have been there during prime Tortoise mating season, because the tortoises were getting it on all over the Zoo. And, let me tell you, tortoises are loud and grunty lovers. It brought about all sorts of fun questions like "How come that turtle is taking a ride on the other ones back?" And "Is the Mommy turtle giving her baby a piggy back ride?" I seriously should have videoed it.