Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Friday

It’s a lovely day over here in my neck of the woods. The weather has found that sweet spot between warm and cool and everyone is in a good mood anticipating the holiday weekend. And for me and my people at work, it’s payday. Awesome!

Tomorrow is the final exam for my class and I’m doing my best not to stress about it. I know what I know and I’ll do my best. It will be good to get it done.

I went to get a smog check on my car during lunch (do you folks outside of California have to do that?) and the car passed! (I had my doubts.) So that means there are no repairs needed before I renew the vehicle registration! Ya-fucking-HOO!

Made some nice purchases on etsy today… one was a teal colored vintage glass bottle (I have a thing for glass. What is it about glass anyway?) all the way from Slovenia, where my grandpa’s parents were born and raised. The base has a little star mark; I thought that was a neat detail.

I also got a(nother) pair of silver earrings… I love me some silver earrings.

My flatware is also hammered. I guess I have a thing for that too.

Have a great weekend out there! Eat something cooked over an open flame!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Greetings from Planet Stephanie

“She is in her own little world,” they would say of me. I don’t hear people when they call my name as I walk through the parking lot. I don’t recognize people I’ve known for years when I meet them on the street.

I am in my own little world.

Or. I am my own little world. My own planet.

My body feels so heavy lately. I exercise, but even a short period of exercise takes all I have to give. There is an inverse relationship between my mass and the speed and which I can move through space.

Gravity is the means by which objects with mass attract one another. I lose objects when sitting on the couch because they roll toward me and rest where my thighs meet the cushion, out of my line of sight.

The force and sound of my breath rivals a hurricane.

There is no spring in my step, only a thud.

I wonder when I will reach critical mass and implode, becoming invisible. A black hole. Antimatter.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

trust me on the sunscreen

I hadn't heard this in years... I still like it. Story here.


Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of '99... wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be IT.

The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

You are NOT as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts, don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't, maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't, maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else's. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance. Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings; they are your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography in lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you'll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

my horizon

That right there is the color of the sky right now. I don't have my camera, I just used the color picker in photoshop to make that... it's the RGB color #6699FF for any of you who are familiar with that sort of thing, as I have to be for work.


Yesterday when I got home from work Austin was asleep on the couch. He is working on outgrowing his naps, but it is hard work. If he doesn't nap, the afternoon becomes very difficult. If he does nap, waking up in sufficient time to not sabotage our night's sleep is VERY difficult.

I used to have a no-waking-him-during-nap-time policy. If his body was telling him to sleep, LET HIM SLEEP. But last week that backfired on me worse than it ever had before, and I ended up getting only about 3 or 4 hours sleep one night before going to work. I'm too old for that shit.

So last night we woke him for dinner. And he cried and cried and leaned on me and wanted to be held and cried some more. Sometimes I think any and all anxiety that boy has during the day gets bottled up until I get home. And then he sees me. He sees soft, comfy mama and it all gets let loose.

He never really did eat his dinner. We went out to swing on the swingset and ended up having an impromptu picnic of wheat crackers, swiss cheese, blueberries and banana with water to drink. We listened to the birds and the wind rustling the leaves on the trees. We watched the sky turn color and discovered bugs on our blanket. Maya joined us for a few minutes before going to her room to play quietly by herself. The splotchy redness drained from Austin's face and we breathed with the earth and felt our weight on the living ground. It was good.

to each her own

It amazes me how different we each are. In a post by Ms. Moon she mentioned in passing that she cooked dinner just hours after giving birth to her second child at home. Cooked dinner! With food grown in her own garden! On the day she gave birth! Gave birth IN HER HOUSE.

Now in contrast, and no judgment here, I work with a woman who complains if her frozen Lean Cuisine requires she stir it halfway through being "cooked" in the microwave. She doesn’t want to get up from her desk that extra time before it’s ready.

No slamming woman #2 in the comments! It just amazes me what each of us finds worthwhile.

Friday, May 21, 2010


  • Yesterday I turned on the air conditioner (in the house) for the first time this year. Last year it was April so I think we're doing pretty good making it to the second half of May!
  • Why does the movie The Big Chill get such flack? I have always enjoyed that movie. Am I a freak? Well, we know I am, but am I more of a freak for liking that movie?
  • Last night at the dinner table, out of nowhere Maya (13) said, "and suck my balls. AT THE SAME TIME." Dan and I just looked at each other, then looked at her and said in unison, "what did you just say?" I reminded her what and where balls are and said that might not be something she should just go around blurting out. Apparently that phrase is all the rage in middle school. Charming. The words and inflection she used made me laugh (AFTER THE FACT) but still, I can't allow myself to encourage such a habit in someone I am still responsible for.
  • And just for contrast, I'll leave you with this:

    I do so like
    Green Eggs and Ham.
    Thank you!
    Thank you, Sam-I-Am.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Home by Jack Johnson

I've had a thing for surfers and that lifestyle for as long as I can remember. Recently I've been listening to one of the soundtracks for the surfing movies Jack Johnson has made over the years and it gives me a sort of sad feeling for the road not taken. Sometimes I'm tempted to ditch this life for one less landlocked. (Nevermind about not swimming.)

And if I didn't already love him enough, there's this:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oh, the Reads You Can Read!

Between work being crazy and my class nearing its end and the kids and and and…

Let’s just say I’ve been busy, and will continue to be for the next four weeks for sure. But I have to get this written out before I forget.

I read to Austin every night at bedtime, just as I did when Maya was his age. And every night it’s the same. Green Eggs and Ham. The Cat in the Hat. Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! And then maybe a Horton book as a bonus. These books are at his request, mind you. It used to be all Thomas the Tank Engine books. I always turn the book toward him enough for him to see the pictures and get familiar with what the words look like. And for a while now, there has been one or two spots in each book where he would take it from me and really study the pictures for a minute. Kitty O’Sullivan Krauss, with her big balloon swimming pool over her house…

But on Saturday night, he took Green Eggs and Ham from me right away and started reciting a line or two off of every page. And then the same with The Cat in the Hat. And Think Think. Now, he’s not reading, but memorizing. But that is a critical step in learning to read. And he didn’t memorize the whole the book word for word, but the lines he said were all on the correct page – the one that he was looking at.

I was so stinking proud of him!

It happened again on Sunday, and I was still proud, but I sorta just wanted to read the book myself so he would fall asleep already! But I let him do it. Hopefully he’ll let me read to him again, someday… (Insert deep mommy sigh here.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Which Way Your Heart Will Go by Mason Jennings

good reading

Fed Up With Lunch: The School Lunch Project: Guest blogger: Being an overweight kid

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

off-key and off-balance

Did you ever have one of those days when you feel like you shouldn’t have access to car keys or the checkbook? I feel like I am moments away from doing something regrettable. I’m not talking about having an affair or anything like that. I just mean that I feel like I’m seeing myself from the outside, and that my judgment right now just isn’t what you’d call… good. I should just stay where I am and not make any big decisions. Or any decisions at all for that matter. Whether, yes, it is okay to turn left right now, or I’ll have a burrito for lunch, everything just seems a little… off. And then I tell myself that I’m being too hard on myself. And a few minutes later I’m really beginning to question my sanity.

Maybe I just need a day off. And a hammock.


I dreamed about my (bio) dad last night. He was coming to visit and I was terrified. When his car pulled into the driveway, I suddenly felt very exposed and very, very fat. I woke up before we exchanged any words.

I woke up a little bothered by the dream, but then quickly became very relieved that it wasn't real. I was very happy that I didn't have to actually see him. There may have even been some skipping and humming. I can only guess that I dreamed about him because his birthday is coming up (a week from today) and subconsiously I was aware of that. I'm not even sure how old he will be... maybe 66. I wonder how long he will be alive. I wonder whether I will feel anything other than relieved when he is gone.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Family by Zach Gill

Monday, May 10, 2010

mopping, mothers and tests

Time keeps on slippin slippin slippin into the future.

I swear I just blinked and 3 more days have gone by. I don’t know if I like that feeling yet.

I mopped my kitchen/dining/living room on Saturday night (that’s how I party) because it had gotten too bad to leave it, and then on Sunday one of my cousins (David) came by before we all headed up to my mom’s, and my MIL and her dog got there at the same time, and poor Bella got so excited to see everyone that she piddled little puddles every couple feet around the house. Sweet David took it upon himself to grab some paper towels and clean it up. (Side note, David is 28, single, tall and handsome as all get out. Seriously. Oh, and straight. And Jewish. What else would you like to know?) So, the moral of the story is… mopping is a total waste of time.

My dear mother cooked for 14 people on Mother’s Day. Yes, I am ashamed of myself for letting her host. But there is still crap EVERYWHERE in my house and I just didn’t have it in me to do this one. I did bring strawberries, two kinds of bread and two kinds of wine, so I contributed. A little.

I got flowers from each of the kids, flowers from David, flowers from my aunt, a card from my mother and some special favors from Dan. It was a perfectly wonderful weekend full of laughter in spite of the fact that I had a test on Saturday morning for my class… can’t wait to see how I did on that. Though I know for a fact I did not get 100% this time... C’est la vie.

Friday, May 7, 2010


I want to see this movie!

Watch the trailer here. Highlights include a goat drinking a baby's bathwater (while the baby is in it), a rooster "this close" to an infant (in the house), and babies grinding some kind of root on stones. Oh! And one on the back of a motorcycle!

I might die from the cuteness... and then go home and have my way with Dan.

No, Stephanie! No more babies for you!

Two Little Feet

"Two Little Feet"
written by Greg Brown and performed by Karen Savoca
featured on the CD
Where We Live

I got two little feet to get me 'cross this mountain
two little feet to carry me away into the woods
two little feet, a big mountain
and a cloud comin' down
and a cloud comin' down

I hear the voice of the ancient ones
chanting magic words from a different time
well there is no time there is only this rain
there is no time, that's why I missed my plane

John Muir walked away into the mountains
in his old overcoat a crust of bread in his pocket
we have no knowledge and so we have stuff and
stuff with no knowledge is never enough to get you there

a culture exploded into knickknacks and memories
Eagle and Bear trinkets I don't think it's good
old man what am I trying to say it's a
it's a messed up world but I love it anyway

I got two little feet to get me across this city
my little hand to knock upon your door
my little thing for your little thing
and a big love to lift us up once more to the mountain
love will lift us up

tumble us like scree let us holler out our freedom like a
like a wolf across a valley like a kid lost in a game
no time no name gonna miss that plane again
and I'm gonna stay here with you baby and kiss you to a good dream
I'm goin' kiss you

I got two little feet to get me across this mountain
two little feet to carry me away into the woods
two little feet big mountain and a cloud comin' down
there's a cloud comin' down
a cloud comin' down

Love's gonna lift us up

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

hair extremes

Summer is coming and because it is what we do around here, we shaved the boy's head.

Yer not gonna get me with that camera he says. See those blue eyes? Blue eyes get me in trouble.

Arrrgh! Pirate face! Wiggle. Wiggle. Will not smile.

Holy crap! A smile. You should have seen the face I had to make to get that picture of him.

And just for contrast, and because Ms. Moon's question about cutting her hair off made me think of it, here's mine:

First: I really need to clean that mirror! Second: my arms are huge, I think there may be some muscle under there, but mostly it's that other stuff. There is natural curl in that hair (thanks to my bio-dad), but it gets a little twisted and jacked being up in a messy bun all the time. I had cut it short when Austin was 3 months old, and as it grew out it went through an awkward stage and I got in the habit of putting it up. And up it stays.

It's not easy to get a picture of the back of your own head (at least, not easy for me). The photo above was one of the rejects, but I kind of like it now.

countdown to 90

I was going on about my grandma in Ms. Moon's comment section a few days back, and she said I should blog about her more. Good idea! Grandmama (known to non-offspring as Ethel) will be 90 in about 50 days! Let's take this time to get to know her better.

The picture above has hung in my house since I stole it from my mother a million years ago. It was taken when Grandma worked in a beauty shop inside a hotel somewhere in Los Angeles where she had to wear a suit to do hair! (In the photo she is sitting in front of a picture on the wall showing an example of the hair styles the shop might do.)

Grandma moved out to California from Colorado with her first baby (Trina) in tow after her first marriage fell apart to be near her sister. This would have been sometime around late 1943 or early 1944. When she wasn't working in beauty shops, she did a stint at one of those aircraft plants out in Long Beach (I want to say it was Douglas) not unlike Rosie the Riveter!

Meanwhile, her future husband (my grandpa, AKA Charles) was a decorated pilot in WW2, mostly flying transport. I'll scrounge up some pictures of him in France and northern Africa another time. They had gone to high school together, and after the war ended he found out she had gotten divorced and he began to "woo" her, long distance. We still have some of the turquoise jewelry her bought for her while traveling back and forth between Colorado and California. They got married in a civil service in the fall of 1947. Grandpa adopted Trina and they had three more babies: my mom and her two younger brothers. This October will be my grandparents' 63rd anniversary (the day before my 33rd birthday, by the way.)

Speaking of me! I was their third fourth grandbaby, after Levai (who is now my neighbor) and Jason (who died in a car accident in 1995). And Ardele, I almost forgot Ardele! (She and I are closest in age.) I don't know if you can tell in this photo, but I am charming Grandma with a smile. I loved her instantly. And well I should. She's wonderful!

There were a few more grandbabies after me... David, Anthony, Jennifer, Kenneth, plus Anna by marriage. And then came the handful of great-grandbabies!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Keane ft. K'Naan: Stop for a Minute

Another K'Naan track here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

pajamas as daywear and futon lovin'

I am happy to say that my weekend was completely Chuck E Cheese free. The girl picked the mall, and the boy was fine with that. There are toy stores at the mall after all. Oddly though, he didn’t pick any toys (that I could afford this month; wait for your birthday, kid). He really wanted a Woody costume. The Woody costume cost $50. I did NOT buy the Woody costume. Thank all that is good in the Universe, Maya found him some pajamas that look just like a Woody costume. Well, the way those tuxedo t-shirts look just like a tuxedo. The pajamas cost $16. I kissed that girl right there in the mall.

Unfortunately, the boy now wants to wear those pajamas everywhere. I would take a picture and share it here, but the stretchy fabric really accentuates Austin’s… physical abundance. And I don’t want any such picture to come back and haunt either of us.

Austin’s new mate’s bed got delivered and built… but I probably won’t do photos until we get his quilt made. And through a chain of events too boring to type out, this necessitated the return of the futon to the living room. Now, I know the futon is not the most beautiful piece of furniture in the world, but I love that damn thing. There’s something about the angle and height of the back and the depth of the seat that is just right. And the arms are flat, level, indestructible wood of some kind, so you can put your drink RIGHT THERE. I really do love that futon. I may or may not have laid down on it and whispered sweet nothings to it about how I had missed it.