Saturday, February 28, 2009


Last night Max and Jack had their first sleepover with their cool older friend Liam. Since pictures say it so much better than words, this will be more a photo essay of their night together:

Homemade pizza for dinner. Max and Jack love Liam and how silly he is. They were in stitches the whole time he was here.

And Liam had his first experience with red pepper flakes on pizza. After a little drama and a slice of bread, he was fine.

After dinner it was time for pajamas, hot fudge sundaes with chocolate chip cookies, and a viewing of Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster. Then it was time for bed. Well, more like time for jumping off the bunk bed onto Liam's makeshift bed on the floor. They finally went to sleep at about 9 PM, and halfway through the night Jack got in bed with Liam, and Liam was nice enough to let him sleep with him. Jack loves Liam! And Liam didn't complain once.

Everyone was up at 5:45 AM, and then breakfast at 7 AM (after Steve and I had them watch TV while we slept just a little longer).

Breakfast was Danish Ebelskievers and Brown Sugar Bacon. Recipes tomorrow...

Then, one of the biggest indulgences of the overnighter, video games in the morning. Liam showed the boys how to get past the Pod Race on Lego Star Wars so he is now their hero (like he wasn't already).

Then while I went to yoga, Steve took the boys out to slide down the dirt hill behind our condo.

Some sword fighting with PVC pipe...

...lots of climbing...

...and a lot of sliding down the dirt hill.

The only downside (other than the dirt, but maybe that's just me): rocks in the shoes.

There was a lot of fun had by all, but not much sleep. That's what sleepovers are all about, right? We think Liam had a good time because he was trying to line up another sleepover for next weekend while we drove him home. We can't wait to have him back, but maybe not next weekend.

Friday, February 27, 2009

It's All Trish's Fault

Meet the newest addition to my Orla Kiely family: The Reflected Trees Maxi Sling Bag in Cappuccino. I have been eyeing this one on Ebay, but it was still way too pricey. And then Trish HAD to mention the other night at book group that she was at Nordstrom that day and she saw it marked down half price. As you probably already imagined, I was there just after they opened the next morning, walked right over to the table, picked it up, and purchased. But the best was yet to come: it had been marked down another 25% off the sale price, so I ended up getting it for less than $70.

Trish may be to blame, but I told her yesterday that I intend to give her a big kiss on the forehead for the tip.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home

Jack and I went to the airport today to pick up Steve after his trip to NYC. Jack asked every day he was gone if today was the day when we got to go pick up Daddy at the airport. When he asked this morning and I said yes he was so excited and couldn't wait to go. He was very patient with the errands and driving that had to be done before the airport, and when he finally saw Steve, he couldn't contain himself:


...and, finally, the first Daddy sighting. (Couldn't the guy in the green feed & grain cap have moved just a little bit to the right?)

The first hug is always the best...

...but lunch at Crownburger runs a close second.

By the way, I missed him too, and it never fails to make me tear up when he comes home and I see how much the boys love him. He's a total rock star in their eyes, and to be honest, I think he's pretty cool too.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Check Out Jack and I Living In The Moment

The last day or two I have been trying to take my last post to heart and enjoy my kids more and live a little more in the moment. Check out my progress:

Yesterday I was finally able to take a long delayed shopping trip to buy Max some new clothes since he's recently grown out of just about everything. We took a stop at the carousel at the mall to make the whole experience a little less excruciating for Jack. I got a wink and a thumbs up, which is Jack's sure sign of approval.

And today we were running around doing errands and going to babysit for Janell, and we were driving by one of these blow up guys and Jack said he wanted to stop and touch him. At first the scheduler in my head said "Maybe next time, we've got to go," but then I looked at the clock in my car and saw that we had five minutes, and so I did a quick turn into the parking lot. Jack was shocked.

He was a little nervous to go touch it at first, but I encouraged him to do it because he has loved these guys ever since he was a baby.

After he saw me do it, he gave it a try and then laughed, then started poking it, and then looked up at me and said "Mommy, I love you." Well worth the three minutes out of the schedule.

So, yeah, I'm pretty much a pro at living in the moment now. Except when I sat down to write this post Jack asked me to play with him and I said "Just five more minutes..." I guess like most parts of parenthood this learning to live in the moment thing is a process.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Who Stole My Babies?

The other night I went into the boys room to turn off their light after they went to sleep and found Jack grasping this photo of Max as a baby that he had found somewhere. I love this picture; it reminds me of when it was just me and Max hanging out at our old house and how we got to spend so much time together. I feel like I hardly see him anymore now that he's in first grade and at school all day. He might as well have a full time job.
I brought the photo into Steve and said "Who stole my baby?" It really felt that way to me, that this cute, chubby baby had been taken from me and that someone had replaced him with this six year old kid. He's a great six year old kid, don't get me wrong, but those babies...I miss them so much. And then I realized I am going to miss this six year old kid too, and then the 10 year old, the 12 year old, maybe not the teenage kid, and then he's going to be a grown up and he won't be a kid at all. This all made me think of an essay that my friend Mikilani sent me a while ago. I had never read it and it really hit home:

All My Babies Are Gone Now - By Anna Quindlen

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost adults, two taller than me, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets, and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves.
Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach. Berry Brazelton. Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages, dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relatives and the older parents at cocktail parties-what they taught me was that they couldn’t really teach me very much at all. Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can only be managed with a stern voice and a time-out. One boy is toilet trained at three, his brother at two. When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome.

As a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. First science told us they were insensate blobs. But we thought they were looking, and watching, and learning, even when they spent so much time hitting themselves in the face. And eventually science said that we were right, that important cognitive function began in early babyhood. First science said they should be put on a feeding schedule. But sometimes they seemed hungry in two hours, sometimes three, sometimes all the time, so that we never even bothered to button up. And eventually science said that that was right, and that they would be best fed on demand. First science said environment was the great shaper of human nature. But it certainly seemed as though those babies had distinct personalities, some contemplative, some gregarious, some crabby. And eventually science said that was right, too, and that they were hardwired exactly as we had suspected.

It is good that we know so much more now, know that mothers need not be perfect to be successful. I remember fifteen years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton’s wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil (see: slug) for an eighteen-month-old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China. Next year he goes to college. He can walk just fine. He can walk too well. Every part of raising children at some point comes down to this: Be careful what you wish for.
Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the “Remember When Mom Did” Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language-mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, “What did you get wrong?” (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald’s drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.)

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I’m not sure what worked and what didn’t, what was me and what was simply life. How much influence did I really have over the personality of the former baby who cried only when we gave parties and who today, as a teenager, still dislikes socializing and crowds? When they were very small I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I’d done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be.
There was babbling I forgot to do, stimulation they never got, foods I meant to introduce and never got around to introducing. If a black-and-white mobile really increases depth perception and early exposure to classical music increases the likelihood of perfect pitch, I blew it.

The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact, and I was sometimes over-the-top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world. That’s what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

This essay reminded me how important it is to appreciate my kids for who they are, to trust myself as a parent, and to listen and pay attention to my kids because they are the only ones on the planet that really know what they need. It also reminded me of the constant battle I seem to be waging against the idea of "doing things" vs. "getting things done." It's so much easier to get things done, and I find myself very bad at the doing things, like art projects, playing with Playmobil Pirates or Indiana Jones Legos. It was a good reminder for me that these kids aren't going to be around forever. It also reminded me of a time a couple of years ago when I was at the zoo with the kids and we ran into one of our neighbors I really respect who is a Grandmother. She told me that she was happy to see me enjoying my children, and I think about that statement often. Sure, I love my children, but do I really enjoy them? All their energy, enthusiasm, joyfulness, honesty, humor? I know I don't as much as I should, so this is a reminder to me that I need to start living in the moment more, and worry about the dishes sitting in the sink less. Not easy, but I'm going to work on it, and hopefully I'll get there before they're packing up to move into their college dorm.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Does Max Like Writing Assignments? Not At All.

Yesterday Steve told Max it was time to do his writing assignment that was due today at school. Max didn't want to do it, so he told Steve he hates writing. Well, we both know that Max doesn't hate writing, but he kept up the protesting until we pretty much had to force him to sit down and get it done. This week he had to write about going to the dentist, and his negative attitude was pretty apparent as he started his essay...

...but I was glad to see that it had improved dramatically by the end. This one made us laugh out loud, so I had to make a copy of it before he turned it in to save for posterity. It's nice that Max can always find his way to a good mood somehow, whether he wants to or not.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I Told You I'd Get It

While surfing the net yesterday, I found out two very disturbing things. First, that the Orla Kiely Two-Tiered Serving Tray was not going to be offered online, and that my local Target had already got it in and sold out sometime in the 24 hours I hadn't been there doing my Orla Kiely surveillance. Well, you can imagine what that did to me. In desperation, I searched all the stores in my state and found that there was one store that had "Limited Availability" of the tray and luckily it was only about 20 minutes away. Well, I jumped in my car, drove to the store, and feverishly started looking around for the lovely Orla Kiely display. After about 15 minutes of searching, I pulled aside a sales clerk who seemed to think I was speaking a foreign language when I asked about the "Orla Kiely Stuff," but then referred me to an incredibly helpful worker named Heather. She and I looked, checked her little scanner thingy that tells her about items, and then finally we ended up at Customer Service looking The Tray up on their website. We found it, and then checking her scanner, she found they had it, but it was still in the back room, which is probably the only reason they still had it (thank goodness they're slackers at that particular Target). After about another half hour she came out of the back room with a box and when she opened it, my heart skipped a beat. It was even better than I had imagined, and it was all mine! I was thrilled to find it, and a Target sales clerk that didn't let her minimum wage stop her from being incredibly accommodating. I even had to wait and tell her manager how pleased I was. So, I can rest easy now; no more insane searches of Target for that Orla Kiely display. I have the apron, I have the tray, and I have a few other things I hadn't planned on getting.

And one more thing I will be getting: professional help for my OCD.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Taking It Easy

Today I slept in until 8:30 AM, laid around and did nothing until 9:30 AM, went to the easier, beginner yoga class (that starts at 10AM), putzed around Target for a while and bought some more Orla Kiely (4 mugs, 6 tumblers) came home, ate lunch, wrote this blog. Sometimes it's pays to take the easy way.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pizza, Delivered Cold, Not Totally Fresh, And In Just Over An Hour. But Totally Worth It.

I had a brilliant idea this morning. Since Steve and I had to cancel our over-nighter in the big city, I decided to make a run for the border and pick up what we were planning to eat for dinner; an Extreme Veggie pizza from The Pie Pizzeria. We used to order one of these every Friday night when we lived in their delivery zone, and we still find ourselves eating one in their deep, dark dungeon of a basement restaurant when we go to the city, even though we have so many other great options. It's a mix of garlicky tomatoes, red onions, spinach, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, and a little mozzarella. And then there's the crust. I personally think it's the best pizza money can buy (unless you can go get one at Lombardi's in NYC, but we're working in the realm of reality here. Although Steve will be there next week. Maybe he can pack a pizza and canolli in his carry on). But for right now, this beauty is now sitting in our fridge waiting for the kids to go to bed and to be warmed up on my pizza stone. It won't be quite as good as having it in the dungeon, but I'll take it!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sick Days

Since I worked for 10+ years after college and before having children, I was used to personal days, paid vacation, weekends and holidays off, and sick days. I remember the first reaction that I had to parenthood after being in it about seven days is "Wait, you mean I don't get weekends off?" Of course, I knew that going in, but you really don't realize how 24/7/365 parenthood is until you're smack in the middle of it.
But I still get sick days. They're a little different now than they were back when I was working 9 to 5 (cue the Dolly Pardon). Now sick days consist of a lot of sitting around taking care of other people and watching way too much Scooby-Doo vs. resting comfortably in a serene, quiet apartment with no real responsibilities that can't wait until work the next day. Or even the next day if I wasn't quite feeling up to it. My last job was with the Salt Lake Olympic Committee, and I loved it for a lot of reasons, but I think I loved it most of all because of the extra cool boss I had who suggested sick days if you just weren't feeling in the mood. She was a gem, and the best boss you could ever ask for.
This week as been full of sick days. As I mentioned before, Max had strep for the second time in a month, and this morning at 4 AM Jack woke up with a fever. I figured he had strep, so I made an appointment with the pediatrician. As we were driving to our appointment this morning he started throwing up while I was driving on the freeway, and by the time we arrived at the doctor's office his puffer coat was half full of vomit. As I took it off in the parking lot (luckily we had another one in the car), all the vomit got in his hair, and face, and even in his ear. I did what I could to clean him up, and the receptionists were nice enough to give me a big roll of wipes when they saw the state we were in as we walked through the door. In the end he didn't have strep, but some other lovely virus that we just have to wait out. The worst part of all this, other than seeing Jack so sick, is Steve and I had planned a weekend getaway to the city tomorrow night while the kids slept over at their cousins, so that's off. I was majorly disappointed, but at the same time, sacrificing for them somehow makes me love them more, whether I want to or not.
So now on sick days I work. And part of the work I did today was a spring redesign of my blog template, which I'm sure will receive a few tweaks over the next few days. I've been learning how to customize templates lately, and thought I'd try my hand at making my template look a little more springy, (thanks to Orla Kiely, who's stem print I stole. It was stolen out of utter love and devotion though, so I'm sure she won't mind). I'm dreaming of spring for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is no more winter + no more school = less sick days. Hallelujah!

The Diabolical Plan To Overthrow The Early Morning Dictator

Steve and I have been planning a early morning coup for quite some time now. We just couldn't take any more of the 4:30 AM wake ups, which if you know me or have been reading this blog, have been going on with Jack for waaaay too long. Actually, Steve just couldn't take it anymore because he was the one getting up with him every morning so I wasn't totally spent by noon. But it was killing him, and killing me to see him fast asleep next to me by 8:30 PM every night. We both knew something had to be done. The trickiest part of the whole thing was overthrowing his regime without him realizing we were doing it. He may be three, but he wasn't born yesterday.
So, we hatched our schemes and made our plans. Here was the strategy: We would make a bed next to ours and when he came into our room we would make him lay back down and sleep until at least 6 AM. We figured if we could get him to sleep a little longer we could maybe, just maybe, break him of this hideous sleep schedule he has been on. So we took a deep breath, made the bed on the floor, and said a little prayer.
The next morning Jack came in, not at 4:30 AM, but at 4:00 AM. I told him that he had to lay down next to us and go back to sleep. You can imagine how well that went over. The dictator was not going down without a fight. He cried. And cried. And CRIED. I told Steve not to respond to him because it seems to fuel the fires of his tantrums, so I just kept saying to him, as calmly as I could "Lay down Jack, you need to go back to sleep." More crying. Then louder crying. Then, screaming, at the top of his lungs, "DADDY, WAKE UP!" within about twelve inches of Steve's ear. We were holding each other's hands beneath the covers, practically crying ourselves.
A very painful half hour later, Jack finally laid down. He must of been exhausted, because once his head hit the pillow he slept until about 6:30 AM. Now, that might sound early to some of you, but when you've become accustomed to waking up at 4:30 AM almost every day for months and months, it feels downright decadent. I couldn't believe it, the energy I had. But I was dreading the same scene (too early) the next morning.
The next morning, 4:30 AM, Jack comes in again. I was expecting more close range screaming and prolonged crying, but I just said "Jack, lay down and go to sleep," AND HE DID! WHAT? That's all it took? Why have we been putting up with this stuff for so long? Live and learn, that's all I can say. Now he is usually sleeping until about 6 AM. In his own bed. So we can give up naps and have a normal night's sleep. Let me tell you, the world looks much better at 6:30 AM vs. 4:30 AM. Just ask Steve.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The Orla Kiely goods arrived at my local Target. I was a bit nervous about getting the stuff I wanted because I saw a whole slew of the Orla Kiely for Tartget stuff on Ebay but hadn't been able to find them in the store. But thank goodness I went the day I did, because the little they had was already picked over, and they only had one of the aprons left.

But I am happy to report that I got my apron. And my tea towels. And my tablecloth. And my oven mitt. But I stopped at that. Although I could have spent hundreds more. Still couldn't find the tiered serving dish. You'll be able to find me skulking around the housewares aisles until I find it. It will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine.

I love the apron the most. I love the print, I love the cut, I love the color. The only thing I don't love about about it is it's not a dress, although if I threw on a cute ruffled shirt like the model in the photo, maybe I could pull it off. Maybe not.

It's about time that shopping at Target way too often paid off.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Loose Tooth Becomes The Lost Tooth

Almost every night when I go to turn off the light in the boys room after they've fallen asleep, I look at them longingly and then come in and tell Steve that they have to stay exactly like they are now and they are not allowed to grow up any further. He rolls his eyes and smiles at me, but I know he feels the same way.
Well, for all my wishing, they are growing up anyway, and I was reminded of this yet again when Max came home a couple of weeks ago saying one of his teeth were loose. I couldn't believe it so I checked it out for myself, and indeed the thing was wiggling.
Ever since Max has been wiggling and wiggling his tooth and showing it to everyone who would look. The other night I looked at him and it was almost horizontal in his mouth. Check it out:

I decided then and there it was time to apply the old dental floss tooth removal method used by my, and probably every other, Mom. Here's how it went:

First Steve tried but his fingers were a little too big to get the floss in a loop and around that tiny, baby tooth. I tried my hand at it, but the floss kept slipping off. Max was getting frustrated because he was way too excited to get this tooth out and experience this major rite of passage.

Finally I got it around and told Max that it might hurt a little bit. I tugged, the tooth came out, and I asked Max if he was okay, and he pouted a little bit because he thought I had once again let the floss slip off, but when I told him it was actually out, he was overjoyed. So overjoyed, in fact, he had to call both sets of Grandparents to tell them.

One of the reasons Max has been so excited about losing his first tooth is because of the little tooth holder we bought for him on our trip to Belgium in October. It says "Milch Zahne" or "Milk Tooth" on the box and it is really for saving baby teeth (good thing Mirjam could translate and explain this all to us), but we decided to use it as a place to leave the tooth for the tooth fairy.

It was almost killing Jack to not have any of the attention, but he found his way into the action.

I went right to my wallet to see how much money Max would be getting from the Tooth Fairy, and found I only had a $10 bill. Well, long story short, Max got $10 for his first tooth because we were to lazy to go out and break it, but we told him that you get a lot more for your first tooth than for the others, and he seemed to buy it. He was also very generous with his Tooth Fairy profits, and went directly to Toys R Us to buy some new Bakugans, but bought Jack a Hot Wheels car too and then saved the last two bucks and change in his bank. At least he's not getting to greedy in his old age.

And I'm just hoping I don't get sick from having my hands in his strep infested mouth. Fingers crossed.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Personal Strep Test

I am being tested. Max had a fever on Friday and cold symptoms, so I decided to keep him home from school. It broke my heart because it was Valentines and he was so excited to pass them out to all his friends and give his teacher a big heart shaped box of chocolate. Well, after a couple of days of his fever hanging around, we decided to take him into the after hours pediatrician on Sunday. Steve took him in, and just before it was Max's turn to go in the doctor was called away on an emergency, so we decided to wait until today. Steve took him in and they were quick to find he has strep. Again. He had it just about a month ago, and I was so surprised that he could catch it again so quickly. But elementary schools are amazingly efficient petrie dishes, so I shouldn't be surprised. The good news is the rest of us were tested today and we're all negative, so only Max was the lucky one. Hopefully. Steve has a business trip coming up, so if all goes as it usually does, we will all get it as soon as he leaves. Oh, the joys of parenthood.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

4.7 Pounds

I am proud to report that after two weeks of really hitting the eating right hard, I am now down to only 4.7 pounds above my ideal weight. I don't know what really made me get serious, but I am glad I did. I feel so much better eating right. Probably the biggest thing I changed is drinking water instead of soda. I'm a total diet soda addict, and I have cut down my consumption by half, and my body is thanking me for it. I drink at least six glasses of water a day, and I can really feel a difference in my energy level and my body just feels more balanced. I heard a lot about Aspartame Poisoning a few years ago, and I'm really starting to think there's something to it. All I know for sure is it feels much better carrying a premature newborn around with me 24/7 than it did a full term newborn. And I'm really looking forward to the day when all I'm carrying around is myself.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Can't See What Anyone Sees In Anyone Else

I love Valentine's Day because I feel so lucky to love Steve way more after 10+ years of marriage than I did the day I married him. I heard this song today, and it reminds me of how love like this feels:

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Arctic Monkeys

I love the Arctic Monkeys, and if you haven't discovered them, you should. They really speak to my inner 14 year old punk rocker, who's fun to have stop by a visit once in a while. Check it out:

I know it's a song about prostitution, but it's a really good song about prostitution. And I love British bands that don't hide their accents. You gotta love a song with the Northern Britishism "Sommat" instead of "Something", and it rhymes with stomach to boot. Brilliant.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's Good To Know I Have Friends That Have My Back (up).

I received an email from my friend Alison yesterday. She and I have been friends for close to 10 years now and we met while Steve and I were living in London. Alison still lives in London, so I rarely get to see her, but we have been pretty good at keeping in touch, and we have seen each other at least every couple of years on a variety of trips.
When Alison heard that I lost all my photos from my hard drive last week, she immediately started sending me photos from some of the trips we've gone on together, including my trip to Paris in the Fall. It was so thoughtful, and I am so grateful that at least they are good at backing up. Thanks, Alison, you made my day with this cute photo of Jack and Ivy:

And just because she's just about the cutest girl on the face of the earth, here's Ivy all grown up. Check out the hat, Alison knitted it herself, while watching 90210. I think you can see why we're friends:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Blik. Rhymes with Ick.

Okay, maybe all of you out there are way cooler than me and already know about Blik Surface Graphics, but I just discovered them today, and I am in love. I am going to have to get one of these for the kid's playroom in the new house. And maybe one for us grown ups too. The picture is just of one of my favorites, but really, there's just too many to choose from.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

CRASH! The Final Chapter

Well, the final chapter of my story is filled with a lot of agony, a little ecstasy, and some crying thrown in. That's right, crying. I was really surprised at how deeply I was effected by the loss of my computer. Really, it was the loss of our family photos from the last 2+ years. It's not like I was sobbing constantly, I mean, I'm not a basket case, but I will admit a few tears were shed.

But again, I digress.

Let's go back to Wednesday morning, right after I experienced CRASH! Part Deux, and arrived at yoga. I always get there a bit early because I have to drop the boys off at school and I don't really have time to do anything before class starts, so I usually end up at the yoga studio about 15 minutes early. I don't really mind because I enjoy chatting with my friend and yoga guru Amy before class starts, and when I arrived I made the BIG MISTAKE of telling Amy I was having a bad day. In her usual, calm, chakra-aligned way she asked me about it, and I told her about the car, and then, ANOTHER BIG MISTAKE, I start telling her about the computer crash of the day before. Well, I thought I was in control of myself enough to talk about it calmly, but as I'm telling Amy the saga, I get all teary and had to apologize. I was able to pull myself together, but had to leave yoga early because I just couldn't focus with everything on my mind.
Fast forward to Thursday, and I head to the big city to take my car to the only Volvo dealership in my state (one hour away) and to go get the diagnosis of my sick MacBook. Well, after getting the bad news at Volvo, I headed to the Apple Store to meet my fate. As I walked to the store I was still feeling a little on edge. With the car news tacked on top of it all, I was feeling a bit fragile and was afraid of another emotional meltdown when I had to explain what happened to my laptop to the Mac Genius I had an appointment with. As I walked up to the store I kept telling myself "Do not cry to the Apple guy. Do not cry to the Apple guy. Do not cry to the Apple guy."
And then I arrived. I hadn't been into the Apple Store for quite a while, and I had forgot that, in my opinion, the Apple Store is about the closest thing to heaven that can be experienced on this earth.
First of all, there's all the pretty computers flashing candy colored images in a beautiful, minimal, clean room space. And then there's all the cool people hanging out there. If Apple was really smart they would keep the Apple Store open after hours, dim the lights, serve drinks, and call it Club Apple. I'd go. But best of all, there's all those cute geeks who work there running around with wireless devices looking very smart and very busy. I don't know how Apple does their hiring, but I think they must require that not only you be smart, but look like some derivation of Justin Long to get the job. And if you wear hip glasses, they pay extra.
Needless to say, surrounded by all of this I was feeling a bit better, and a little less emotional (although I may have been experiencing some other emotions that weren't so bad). When it finally got up to the Genius Bar to talk to my very cute tech, Sean, I was feeling I could do this, and told him the story, including the fact that I had most likely lost all my family photos due to my laziness when it comes to backing up. No tears. Hallelujah!
But, Apple Store euphoria aside, the news was still not good. Sean did everything he could and still couldn't get my hard drive to respond. I think he could tell I was fragile, so when he finally had to deliver the bad news, he said "Yeah, um, well, I don't think we're getting anything off this hard drive." I could tell he was waiting for something, possibly tears, possibly yelling, and I think I actually saw him take a step back from me as the words came out his mouth. But I don't think he expected me to say "Sean, you know what would really help? If you would just give me a hug," and then he took me in his skinny geek arms and I knew everything would be alright. Well, okay, maybe that last part was just in my head, but there's something about a cute guy telling you that your hard drive is toast that really softens the blow.
Sean did give me a card telling me of some place in California where I could send off my dead hard drive to have it disassembled in a clean room for only $1,000. I don't mean to sound callous, but losing my family photos might make me cry, but it's not going to make me spend $1,000 on the off chance they can be retrieved. I guess I'm not that sensitive after all. We did take the dead hard drive to a local place to see if they could retrieve anything, so in a week I will know for sure.
In the end Apple didn't replace my computer, but put in a new hard drive so it seems new. That's both good and bad. I have to rebuild my whole iLife, which isn't fun, but I can do it at much greater speed now that my computer isn't bogged down with all those photos of cute kids opening presents on Christmas morning. 
So, it was a terrible week, but now it's over. There is a moral to this story, and please, take it to heart. BACK UP, PEOPLE! Don't learn the hard way. Actually, you should be backing up right now instead of putzing around on the Internet reading blogs, so go. Do it now. GO! GO! GO!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Just Another Day On Earth

I am happy to report that nothing really happened today. Nothing that good, nothing that bad, and I loved it. After the tumultuous week I had last week, I was happy just to go to yoga, go to a school program at Jack's preschool, go to lunch with my amazing three year old, run some errands, and come home. And my yoga class was unbelievably peaceful today, and one of the songs that came on during the class made me feel even more grateful for the everyday rhythm of things, and made me feel even more at one with my ordinary day. It's a long video, but I think you'll enjoy it:

I'll go back to next week tomorrow, or perhaps I won't. Either way, life goes on.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

CRASH! Part Deux

If you have ever considered buying a Volvo Cross Country, you may want to take the following into consideration: If you ever accidently hit a garbage can, going less than 15 mph, this very well may happen...

...and it will cost you $650 to fix it. Oh no, that's no typo, that's six hundred and fifty big ones.

But I digress.

The story actually begins with what I am now calling The Great Crash of 2009 on Tuesday morning. My head was still reeling about that big fiasco on Wednesday when I left to drop the kids at school and hit yoga so I could finally unwind. I had been especially been looking forward to it since Jack had school off on Monday and I didn't get my yoga in then, and with the hard drive fiasco, my chakras were a real mess. Anyway, get the boys in the car, pull out of the driveway (by the way, did I mention that Wednesday is trash pick up day?), start heading down the street to school when all of a sudden, BAM! I looked over to see what I had hit, and there was my poor passenger side mirror, hanging like a dislodged eyeball dangling from it's socket. I was surprised since I've had some minor hits on it before and since it's hinged it usually just knocks it forward. Well, once we got to Max's school I got out and got the bad news, this mirror was beyond repair I could handle, and since it's got an electrical system in it, I knew I had to leave it to the professionals.

Thus the $650.

I know Mama said there'd be days like this, but weeks? COME ON!

The saga of the week from hell continues tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I got to my hair appointment about 15 minutes early today, and I'm just sitting here at my salon surfing the net on my iPhone while I'm waiting and thinking about how I don't really have any downtime anymore. Before my iPhone, if I got somewhere early I would just take a mental break, but now that I have the option to "get stuff done", I seem to never stop. What do you think might be the effect of never stopping? Am I heading toward a mental melt down, or my maximum potential? Sometimes these two things seem dangerously close together.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Mac Prognosis

It's not good.
I'll write more later because if I write now it will just turn out cranky, and who wants to read a cranky post? Not me.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lentil and Kale Soup

I've been promising some friends that I would post this recipe for Lentil and Kale Soup since we're all trying to eat healthier, and we all can use a new recipe from time to time, right?

Lentil and Kale Soup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 5 cups organic chicken broth
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 bunches (about 1 1/2 pounds total) Kale, stalks removed, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Bread, for serving (I love LaBrea Bakery's Multigrain Bread)
  1. In a large saucepan with a lid, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened and browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, oregano, and thyme; stir to combine.
  2. Add lentils, chicken broth, and tomatoes with their juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes. Add kale; season with salt and pepper, and cook until lentils and chard are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in lemon juice; ladle soup into bowls. Serve with bread, if desired.
I love this soup, and it is the best on a cold winter day, not only because it's warm comfort food, but also because the brightness of the lemon juice feels like a little bit of sunshine in a bowl. Mirjam thought it would be great with chicken sausage thrown in, and I couldn't agree more. It's healthier if you ditch the bread, but come on, you gotta have the bread, and the soup is virtuous enough (3 points per cup), you don't have to.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Our Ibiza- Chapter 10: Pendant Light Poll

Right now I am trying to stay ahead of the decisions I need to make about the finish work on our house because I know they are going to be fast and furious all at once, and I don't function well under pressure. One of the most important decisions we need to make is on what pendant light we are going to use over our dining room table. Because the house is minimal and the space is large, we need something modern with a lot of presence. Here's a 3-D image of the space :

If I had an unlimited budget, I would choose this one by Droog design, but, alas, I don't have $3,700 to spend:

I love this one because I saw a show at the MOMA in New York of Droog stuff, and they had this one on display. But it is a little industrial, and way too expensive, so I've been searching other options. I am putting the top three I have found to this point on this post, and I'd love it if you'd leave a comment on which one you like best. Here they are:

This one is from a company called Norman Copenhagen, and I love the sculptural quality of it. It is called the Norm 69 because it is made up of 69 pieces and has to be assembled, and then the socket and cord kit comes separately. It is definitely modern, but it reminds me a big of a pine cone, which gives it a bit of an organic quality.

This one is called the Nelson Saucer light, and it is a classic of modern design. It has stretched fabric over it that makes it look like it is made of paper, and it glows when it's turned on. I love this one because it definitely has a mid-century modern vibe, which will work perfectly with the Neo-Mid-Century look of our house.

This one doesn't have a fancy name, and on the website I found it on they just call it an acrylic hanging light. It is the most traditional of the three, but I really like the minimalism of it. This house also has a lot of angles, so I like the linear simplicity of it.

So, there you go. Please cast your vote, and I will let you know what I decide.