Thursday, July 30, 2009


I'll be a model pupil tonight, babe.
I wanna get ten out of ten.
I'll be a model pupil tonight, babe.
I wanna get ten out of ten.


God love this man.

I disgust myself sometimes

I can’t tell you how close I come to writing about my bowel movements sometimes. Hell, if Dooce can get away with it, why can’t I? Well, for one thing, constipation is a lot funnier than diarrhea. And I [almost] always have the latter.

But that’s not what I came here to write about. No. I wanted to say that I am so goddamned happy today I almost can’t stand myself. It’s the last day of the work week (still doing 4/10s… sort of) and, AND, tomorrow is payday! I survived this wretched month with its extra bills and too little money. I did so with some unexpected and unsolicited help from my grandparents. Don’t let it get out, but every once in a while those crazy people will get a wild hare to cut each of their grandkids a check for no good reason. And this time their timing could not have been better, as far as I’m concerned. It took such a load off, I can’t tell you.

So anyway, here comes another month. Maybe this time I won’t be quite so strapped halfway through.

This weekend will be all about stocking up at Costco and our quasi-monthly date night. Yay!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm sorry boss, I have to go home early...

It is 86° degrees outside right now (20° below normal). In July. In inland SoCal. This is unheard of.

I think I may have just come down with something.

Cough, cough.

Getting the words out

It’s been almost a week since I actually wrote some words. I like to share music when the words aren’t with me, but I know other people’s choices in music are never as good as our own, so I’ll spare you, for now.

Austin is still crying when I drop him off at daycare. My heart is still breaking over it. My husband is still telling me to shake it off.

Yoga… I should write about yoga. But I don’t think I can. That is to say, I am not a worthy enough writer, or an experienced enough practitioner. All I can say is, on the days I go class, I am so very, very glad I have gone.

Maya has been OBSESSED with the idea of going to Disneyland for several days now. She talks about it all the time. She makes lists about what to take with her and what rides to ride. Suffice it to say, she is making me crazy. Now, I love Disneyland. I know not everyone does, but I enjoy it. So I was actually considering taking her in August (even though it will be fucking hot). But part of me doesn’t want to reward her for her constant nagging. Know what I’m saying?

So, alternatives to Disneyland may include taking her to her first non-church related concert, either Dave Matthews Band or Ingrid Michaelson maybe. I’ve never been to see DMB and I would LOVE to, but it’s much more spensive than Ingrid’s show. Decisions…


Okay, one more song... Everyday by DMB

I miss LeRoi.

Still letting the music speak for me...

"Embedding disabled by request," really chaps my ass.

Home by Marc Broussard, in keeping with my recent theme.

With My Own Two Hands by Ben Harper, watch it if for no other reason than to dig on his huge back tattoo. I had an accoustic version of this on the baby mix I made for Austin when I was pregnant.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New York State of Mind

In honor of my bloggy friends who are there now, or headed there soon.


KT Tunstall is one of those singers that gets me up and dancing in my living room with my kids.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lover, you should've come over

My kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder.

That is maybe one of the best lines from a song ever.


The Randy Newman song I posted before sparked a theme. The first lines of this one speak to me of a recurring dream I have.

Home by Paloalto

Feels Like Home

The first time I heard this song it was the Linda Ronstadt version and it stopped me cold in my tracks. Beautiful.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Using my words

Just when I thought this parenting gig was getting too easy, I got a phone call from Austin’s daycare/preschool. He had a bad day yesterday. There was hitting and scratching. My sweet boy was the perpetrator.
They think he was acting out of frustration. His speech isn’t as fully developed as some of the other kids, and he sometimes has trouble communicating his needs. (Other times he communicates his needs just fine, but has a hard time taking no for an answer. But that’s another conversation all together.) They think that when the summer is over, I ought to call the school district and see about getting him into speech therapy.
And that is where I get the wind knocked out of me.
See, my daughter Maya, most of her “issues” center around communication. She spent years labeled DHH and is now labeled MR. And while I like to claim that we waited so long to have another baby because we had no money, her troubles were a factor too. I was very afraid to subject another child to the struggles Maya has faced. I didn’t want to inflict any more pain and difficulty onto another child than life offers under the best of circumstances.
As Austin moved from infancy into toddlerhood, I watched with baited breath. He walked younger than she did. He talked better than she did. I thought we were in good shape.*
So. Speech therapy. Speech. We will do whatever we need to. My goals for Maya, for both my children, have always centered around their eventual self-reliance and, hopefully, some happiness too. They need to have the tools necessary to face this world and to know that their family is always there for them. That is the best I can do.
Even if I would rather hold them in my arms, curl up in a ball and never leave the house again.
*I still think we’re in pretty good shape. I know that each child is different. Speech therapy is not necessarily a life sentence. I was just hoping. You know?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Like mother like son

Yesterday I had to take Austin to the dietitian. We got there a few minutes early but big surprise, we had to wait about an hour to be called into the room. I was prepared to keep him busy and had toys, crayons and a notebook, but even those things only work for so long. By the time we got called in I had a death-grip on his arm to keep him from climbing the walls, under the furniture and out the door.

One of the first questions the nice lady asked was whether Austin was active. My frizzy hair, sweaty brow, and smeared mascara must not have been enough to clue her in, so I said, "oh God, yes. He is active." We talked some about what he eats, which is mostly just a lot of everything. Austin can out eat many adults I know. He likes good food. Like he really enjoys food... a lot. Thankfully that includes fruits and veggies. He has a surprisingly rounded, balanced diet.

In spite of that, he is just on the cusp of 60 lbs. At his age and height, the charts say he should be closer to 40 lbs. That is a very large difference, 50% more than what he "should" way. That said, they actually discourage weight loss at his age. Something to do with bone strength, or brain development maybe, to be honest, I didn't ask why. They recommend we try to maintain his weight, avoid weight gain, and let him grow into it. Which, at his weight may take, oh 2 or 3 years maybe.

We talked some about his father's and my size. The hubs is 5'10" and somewhere around 240 lbs. Not too bad. Me? I weighed myself there in the medical office and was very disappointed. I thought I was losing weight over the last few weeks, but not so. I am 5'5" and 278 pounds. My target weight should probably be somewhere around 140, but fuck if that isn't the most intimidating thing ever. The thought of needing to lose half your body weight.

I told the nice lady that I know that I am an emotional eater, and that I have been concerned about passing that trait onto my son who is so like me in so many ways. I told her that I am in therapy and that my addiction to food is one of the things I'm trying to figure out and work through.

She gave me a sample diet for Austin and we talked about avoiding juice, sodas and sweets, nothing I didn't know already. Hell, I could have gotten the same information in 30 seconds on the Internet and saved the $15 copay and the 40 minute drive, each way. But you have to play the game and be open to new ideas, if and when they come.

Knowing what to eat and what not to eat isn't the problem. I've spent the last I-don't-know-how-many years educating myself about food, but putting it into action is the hard part. And I don't know whether it's harder to discourage my desire to overeat or Austin's. In my own head it nags at me endlessly throughout my waking hours. What can I eat next? I can't wait to eat X. And I can fight and fight and resist all day, but it only takes one moment of weakness to slide and eat something I know I shouldn't, or even just eat too much of something that isn't even bad.

But with Austin, he asks me, and he tips his head and turns on those baby-blues and I say no; no baby you've had enough; no, you're done; no, no more. Over and over until I have to step outside and get away from him, his voice an echo of my own internal dialogue.

I just can't get over the feeling of having so much work ahead of me. Both for my son and myself. They say setting short-term goals can help keep you from feeling overwhelmed, so... my goal for myself is to lose 15 lbs. by my birthday [October 11]. That may seem like a pretty modest goal, but October will come quickly. As far as Austin... the goals will have to be a little different, getting through each day, watching portions and limiting sweets.

The dogs and kids need to go outside, so more later...

No Sunlight

I'm not feeling quite as dark as this song might lead you to believe. It just strikes a chord in me. It's one for the Lori playlist.

"No Sunlight" by Death Cab for Cutie

When I was young
Lying in the grass
I felt so safe
In the warming bath

Of sunlight
Of sunlight

Vast open sky
Could do no harm
Like an embrace
From mother's arms

In sunlight
In sunlight

In sunlight
In sunlight

With every year
That came to pass
More clouds appeared
'Til the sky went black, and there was

No sunlight
No sunlight
And there was

No sunlight
No sunlight

And it disappeared at the same speed
As the idealistic things I believed
The optimist died inside of me

No sunlight
No sunlight

No sunlight
No sunlight

And it disappeared at the same speed
As the idealistic things I believed
The optimist died inside of me

No sunlight
No sunlight

No sunlight
No sunlight

No sunlight
No sunlight
No sunlight
No sunlight
No sunlight

Monday, July 20, 2009

Black letters on a white page

I have something that sort of resembles a story rattling around in my brain. It started as a dream a few months back, not long before my whole perception of the world went all sideways and wonky. The feelings and details of it are familiar to me, but I wouldn’t even know how to begin a large project that maintains a singular voice and thread of thought over the long haul. Where… how… do you begin such a thing?

The funny thing is, I don’t even like fiction anymore. Why the hell would I want to write it?


One of my strongest memories from childhood… I was very young, not yet in school. My mother and I were at some friend’s house. I didn’t know them well and felt shy. I wandered into a room where a boy who must have been about 12 was working on his homework. There were books and papers with those markings all over them that were familiar to me, but not something I could decode on my own yet. I remember thinking how very lucky he was to be able to read and write. I could tell he didn’t appreciate it, but I couldn’t wait.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A hot, dry wind

A hot, dry wind blows in hard from the south, then the west, whipping dust up and across the landscape.

Leaves on tall trees rattle and wave, echoing the ocean that is too many miles away to be heard by human ears.

Most sentient beings find a shady place to avoid activity. Birds quiet. Dogs pant. Lizards dart. Rodents disappear. Only the ants and spiders are unfazed.

Cool evenings find themselves temporarily unavailable. Heat stored by the earth radiates through the night so even the sun's absence brings no relief.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I should really learn to turn off the TV and GO TO BED

It's early in the morning and I've been up for a while. I didn't go to bed early, so I didn't get enough sleep, but I can't resist a quiet house at sunrise.

The hubs and I watched 300 last night after the kids went to bed. That is some violent, bloody, intense shit. It's also pretty sexy and surprisingly interesting. I didn't really know what it was about before I watched it, it's almost historical, or something like it. The only thing I remember about Sparta from school is that it was a warrior city-state, as compared the the philosophical/academic city-state of Athens. And in spite of the more intellectual nature of Athens, Sparta actually afforded women more power, or at least more autonomy. Someone had to be trusted to take care of things while the men were off making war.

While not as violent as 300, but still somewhat so [mildly so in comparison] we watched There Will Be Blood staring Daniel Day-Lewis last weekend. I don't want to give away the ending, but it was hard for me to watch. My brain doesn't really need any more raw material to help me imagine killing on a more personal level than the deaths seen in the battle scenes of 300.

It's time to watch something a little kinder and sweeter, I think. One movie I haven't watched in years but want to see again is Still Breathing staring Brendan Fraser. I don't know why I even bring it up here, Netflix doesn't have it and DVDs of it aren't being manufactured anymore... but I will most likely buy it used somewhere. It's one of those odd romantic movies that kind of stick in your head.

This isn't the post I sat down to write, but it's the one that came out.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I was mean to my husband yesterday. For no good reason other than I was hurting and I wanted him to hurt too. I didn’t say the words out loud, no; I sent him an email of all things. So he still has it there in black and white instead of just memory and vapor. Lucky him.

We’ve talked and we’ll recover. It’s just one more item on the list of things that can’t ever be taken back or forgotten. And we’ve had our share, the two of us. Both of us. And I am sorry.

Between that and being broke (which doesn’t help) and Austin getting up during the night and a new letter from Lori yesterday, I got almost no sleep last night.

Lori said good-bye. She said she is not suicidal, but that she cannot see any relationships surviving her circumstances. She’s right, no relationship could come out the other side of this looking anything like it did before, but I wanted to be there for her if she needed me. Part of me wants to write her back and say, “bullshit. I’m still here.” But I think this must be part of putting it behind her, and if keeping contact with people who remind her of what she’s lost only serves to hurt her then, well it’s not my job to punish her. And I don’t want to.

And maybe letting go of any contact with her is the best thing for my family.

Dear God

Get ready for some really bad lip syncing. Good song though.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

When they're born they're perfect, but then they end up like... me

When my little boy was just a little baby, his great-grandma told his grandma that his eyes "had the same sadness in them that Stephanie’s always did.”

My little boy had a bad night last night. He couldn’t be comforted. He cried that he wanted his mama even as I held him. The little girl in me curled up in a ball and remembered her own bad nights and it scared her to see this small boy, this mirror image of his mama, feel the same pain.

This little girl used to sob until she hyperventilated. Her mama tried to hold her, but was pushed away angrily. The feeling was never understood, only ridden out. It would come on sudden and there was no stopping it once it made its way through the door. It just had to be cried out. As if she was possessed by pain and sadness.

So I know all too well what my little boy felt last night, and I wish he had been spared this piece of his mama.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Baby It's Hot Outside

Yesterday, 1 PM, the thermometer read 115° F.

Note to self: never buy another metal thermometer. The plastic one by the kids' room read 105°. Which is still really freaking hot.

The baby wisteria. Started from a $5 bare root in February. Should be pretty awesome a few summers from now.

The baby lemon tree. We kept her in the pot too long, so she's been recovering for the last couple months.

The mystery "tomato" plant. Maya decorated a dixie cup pot and brought this plant home in said dixie cup from her church a couple months ago. We were told it was a tomato (no idea what kind) but it is a lot fuller and darker green than our other tomato plants. Also, it has flowered, but not even the beginning of any fruit yet.

The "real" tomato plant. These tomatoes just don't want to turn red... and the longer they are on the vine, the more likely Austin will steal them and run away laughing while we yell at him. The little shit.

I've never grown cantaloupe before, much less in pot. Wish me luck.

The hummingbird feeder. You gotta keep an eye on this thing. When the weather starts to get really hot and dry the juice goes quick. They were flitting around impatiently while I filled and hung it yesterday. I make the juice myself and skip the food coloring. It is full here.

Lavender is on the short list of plants that can tolerate the heat and the effing rabbits around here. Not to mention the frost in the winter.

Other items on the short list of things that can survive the heat and the rabbits:

  • Lily of the Nile (we used to have a ton of them, but the hubs removed them. Jackass.)
  • Roses (though, depending on the type, the rabbits may get those too.)
  • Oleander (which is purdy, but poisonous)

Told you it was a short list. Items not on the list include jasmine and cilantro. Rabbits really like cilantro. Or maybe we just have Mexican rabbits.

Fucking rabbits. Don't even get me started on the squirrels.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Will the Randomness Never End?

I tagged my newest online aquaintance, Porscha, after the fact for that meme. Go read it and say Hi!


We didn't go see Up after all [TOLD YOU]. Austin fell asleep just a few minutes before we were supposed to leave and I didn't have the heart to wake him up, so Maya and my parents went to see Night at the Museum 2 instead. Meh.

A friend from work asked me to go see Public Enemies with her this weekend, and I said maybe, but there are two problems. 1) I'm broke like fucking always. 2) I almost never go out when the kids are home, I can't stand to leave them. I should go though, right?

Maybe I should set up one of those Paypal donation thingies for a Send Steph to the Movies Fund.


I'm thinking of changing my online handle. I set myself as Steph to save on typing... good reason huh? Stephanie is just too demanding to type out. But there are quite a few Stephs out there, so... I have a southern coworker who calls me Miss Stephanie, which I think is cute, but doesn't translate well, OR, my late cousin Jason used to call me Stephie Dog just to piss me off. At least that would be unique.

What shall I call myself online? Stay with Steph or switch to Miss Stephanie or Stephie Dog or ??? Thoughts?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

He is gonna kill me for this :D

I have to post something before I fall into a vodka induced coma over the weekend. I used to be a tequila person. That was just a few short days ago, actually, but our neighbor Lenny introduced us to Smirnoff’s Tuscan Lemonade and
Oh. My. God. Put me on the liver transplant list now.

Anyway, let the randomness begin!

Men I want to marry when the hubs kicks the bucket:


Me, the kids, and my parents are supposed to go see Up tomorrow. The hubs said he would go too, but I’ll believe that when I see it. He never goes to the movies.

Ooooh! Ooooh! I have to tell you how we met. I was 18. Eighteen for crissakes. I worked in the box office at the movie theater in Lake Elsinore, CA, the meth capitol of the world. The [then future] hubs brought his niece to see Ace Ventura 2 [he has excellent taste in cinema]. The first thing I noticed was his hands, very strong and rough and… oooh I get all tingly thinking about it. Then I looked up and met his eyes and I swear the words “oh shit,” went through my mind. I knew I was in trouble [wink, wink].

Anyway, he played it cool [at first] and they went into the lobby. He came out a few minutes later to smoke a cigarette [he quit smoking in January 2008] and he struck up a conversation. Nothing earth shattering, no great pick up line, just light, get-to-know-you stuff. We exchanged numbers, and he told me I should come watch the movie with them when my shift was over. I decided to play [a little] hard to get and went home instead. He called me two days later; that was November 30, 1995. We decided to go out the next afternoon. We had ice cream and he did card tricks for me that made me laugh [stop rolling your eyes] then he asked me if he could kiss me.

I said yes.

I few weeks later I lost my virginity. Three months later I was pregnant. Our daughter, Maya, was 14 months old when we finally got married.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Shooting People from the Roof

... with a camera of course.

I live over that a way...

Dry dry, dry dry dry.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these guys!

Ghost in my pocket

I cannot go where she is, but she goes with me.

I take her with me in my pocket. I take her outside to hear the birds. She’s there when I take my kids to the park.

When I’m in therapy, she’s just outside the glass door, where I can see her.

She sits with me at the dinner table, silent amongst the loud voices. I go out and feel the evening breeze on my skin because she can’t.

I lay down with my little boy while he falls asleep and she sits on the pillow, just the size of a doll. Hot tears find my cheek and my throat tightens.

Luna Sea

That bitch the moon is starting to get to me. It feels like it has been weeks that her full, fat face has been staring down at me. She screws with my dreams and makes it hard for me to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

She thinks she’s so powerful, dictating the tides and whatnot. Well, guess what? I know how to do shit too. I’ve made two babies. I’ve supported my family for more than 10 years. I’ve tended to plants and animals and a house.

All she has ever done for me is make me even more crazy than I already am. Just 'cause she’s beautiful and mysterious I’m supposed to be all enamored, but right now I’m just ready for her to move the fuck on with her phases, thank you very much.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Just for fun

Johnny Depp in Public Enemies

The naughty little school girl in me really loves this poster. I would have loved to have been in the design meeting when they said, "let's put his name right there."

And no, I have not seen the movie yet... theaters are too expensive for me, gotta wait for the DVD.

Overall, a good weekend

My house is relatively clean again for the first time since Easter. I need to host family dinners more often.

On Saturday I discovered that I have somehow developed a ridiculous tolerance to alcohol. There was tequila. Then rum. Then vodka. Each drink taller than the one before. I still managed to get up at 5:30 AM on Sunday. My bladder hates me. I got up to pee, then the dogs wanted to go outside. Then I realized I was hungry. Then Austin woke up and sleep was no longer an option. I took the kids to the park at 9:30 in the morning and it was so freaking hot we barely lasted a half hour. So we went home and holed up inside until sundown.


I woke from a horrible dream this morning, the kind you have to remind yourself wasn’t real. I’m so relieved it wasn’t real that I feel I’ve had a stay of execution. I am renewed like Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas day.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Home Sweat Home

Last night the kids and I walked up to my parent’s house to pick fruit with my stepdad. Apricots, plums, and a couple apples, but it’s a little early for the apples. We got all sweaty and dusty, climbing and reaching, sliding on the rocks, finding bugs.

I haven’t always had an easy time opening up to my stepdad. Too much pain tied up with my bio-dad. Too much awkwardness when my mom remarried when I was 16. It had been just me and her for 15 years, and she hauled off and got married, like she’s supposed to be happy or something, sheesh!

Anyway, like I said, I haven’t ever been able to treat him like a dad, really. But this place, this place is something we have in common. Not just that we live here, but that it is home to us in our hearts. I knew this place was my home the first time I set foot on it more than 15 years ago, when I went to see the place where my then future stepdad lived. I didn’t actually live here until a couple years later. By that time I had a six month-old daughter and a fiancé. The house we lived in then was tiny, cold in the winter, hotter than hell in the summer, but it had a great front porch, and that made up for a lot.

That old house is gone now. It broke my heart a little when it had to be removed. It was home for nearly seven years. Now our house is bigger, though not big, and my parents have their own house a couple hundred feet uphill from us. My cousin camps there too.

The kids ran around exploring while my stepdad and I walked slower. I teased him about his worn out t-shirt and thought about this being what he had wanted, before I even knew I needed it. He had always envisioned a family compound of sorts with gardens and trees and dogs.

We’re getting there.

Sagebrush in June. The whole place would be covered in this stuff if people weren't here.

Oh What a World

Such a beautiful version of the song. I need this DVD...

Deep Breath

First, go watch this. Seriously. Don’t worry, it’s short. I’ll wait.


Now, isn’t that just the best way to start the day ever?

Turns out I should educate myself before I go crying about things that don’t need to be cried over. According to the people in my life who know more about cars than I do (which is everyone), the catalytic converter does nothing for how the car runs. It only makes the exhaust less toxic. Well, that’s not an only. Obviously that is important. But I already had to pay two car registrations and car insurance out of a check that was $400 short this month. This repair will just have to wait until next month. Why is it always the damn cars?

Okay, enough about that. We will survive this month just like we always do. July should have a decent rhythm to it. My mother-in-law will be out of state all month, my husband is taking a night class at the college, and my daughter is starting summer school. So everyone should be sufficiently occupied to not drive each other crazy.


Well, it's a sunny day
I feel brand new…

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A promise is a promise

Rainbows and Butterflies
Originally uploaded by sea turtle

Don't read this, just move on with your day.

If there is a better day than payday for the engine light to come on, I don’t know when it is. It’s the catalytic converter. We didn’t need to eat this month anyway. We were driving home from our bankruptcy hearing when the light came on. Of all things.

So we stalked up on tequila, cause I’m gonna need it.

The houseguests leave tomorrow. My mother-in-law threatened to call the police on my husband last night. It’s my blog, so I don’t have to tell you why.

I was “this close” to hanging it all up this morning when Austin cried and yelled and threw his backpack when I dropped him off at daycare. He had been home for two days with a fever and neither of us has recovered from our sleepless nights.

The taste of vomit is semi-permanently lodged in my throat.

I promise that my next post will be nothing but butterflies and rainbows up the butt.