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January 2012

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Stupid %@(#*%( Computer

A photo of my 1-year-old(!) playing with her birthday present. To ease the pain of this post. (taken by Sara)

There is so much to share about Alexa’s birthday weekend. Photos, stories, memories. My dad flew in for the festivities. We ate cupcakes and went to the Santa Monica Pier. We are all sick again. Unfortunately this post is about none of this.

This post is about how my beloved 2006 Macbook is dying a slow, painful death. (Painful for me, not it.) I’ve been hanging onto this old friend for longer than I should’ve, I know, but we have a history. I can’t imagine blogging without him. But even as I type this I know that at any second the power cord could go out, the screen could go dark, and I could go cursing into the depths of Twitter … on my cellphone, obviously. I’ve been in denial for a long time.

We’ve obviously outgrown each other. I mean, 55GB of storage? Wow, that’s small. 1.83GHz processor? Wow, that’s slow. The wireless connection can’t connect half the time. Wow, that’s lame. I can’t update my web browser because my computer can’t support the latest version. Wow, that’s old.

Right now the power cord is the only thing keeping the Macbook alive. The battery became a lost cause years ago. If the Macbook isn’t plugged into the wall, it is dead. Problem is, the power cord somehow got severed and is now held together with duct tape. That’s right, we MacGyver’ed it.

It really is time I just cut the cord once and for all.

The perfect solution would be to buy this laptop and revel in its awesomeness. I’d like to stick with a Mac. I love the OS, the ease of use. I have PSE for Mac. I have an external hard drive that is formatted for a Mac. But the pricetag. Yikes.

If I were to get a PC laptop, I could save some cash. But I would have a hard time transferring my files. I’d have to buy a new version of Photoshop. And I don’t know the first thing about which PC brands are the best.

What would you do if you were me?

Happy Birthday, Baby

Dear Alexa,

A year ago today I heard you cry for the first time. I gazed into your eyes for the first time. I held you in my arms while you slept for the first time.

I never fully understood how people could say “time goes by so fast” and “they grow up so fast” — until now. Those excruciating hours breastfeeding that I never thought would end? They became short days. Those long days away from you at work that I never thought I would endure? They became short months. Those long months awaiting the “next stage”? They became a short year.

And now you’re several stages past the first one. You went from a squishy newborn to a cooing cutie to a sitting duck to a leaning wonder to a crawling curiosity to a cruising troublemaker. You went from nursing every hour to holding your own bottle to eating hummus and pita.

Today we will eat cake and celebrate you, baby girl, and all the stages that have yet to come. There are so many more, and I fully intend to enjoy them because they are all so short.

Xoxo,
Mommy

Me, on my first birthday, nearly 32 years ago. I still make this face when I see chocolate.


So That’s Why She’s Been Waking Up Screaming

This adorable little girl doesn’t look like she can scream like a banshee, does she? Well. She has you fooled. Because for the past few nights she’s been waking up around 10 p.m. and shrieking at the top of her lungs.

Our first line of defense is to check her in the crib and make sure she has her binkie. Sometimes that’s all she needs. But no. Binkie is in her mouth, and she is standing up, bouncing up and down. Is her diaper soiled? No. Is she hungry? Negative.

As soon as I hold her, the calms down. So I try to rock her to put her back to sleep. Oh, if only it were that simple. The entire time I’m trying to lull her back to dreamland, she’s kicking her legs and talking up a storm.

She doesn’t appear to be teething. She doesn’t have a fever.

If there’s one thing that drives me more batty than a screaming, kicking baby, it’s not knowing WHY I have a screaming, kicking baby.

Just when I’m about to have an aneurysm trying to figure out this brain teaser, a baby development email arrived in my inbox. Lightbulb moment.

“But the period of time before your child takes her first steps might not be so much fun for you. Just before they walk, toddlers-to-be often start waking up at night every four hours or so. Try not to become frustrated by the break in routine — the big achievement your child is preparing for will be worth it.”

Whew, mystery solved. But wait. Does this mean I’ll have a walking terror on my hands ANY DAY NOW? Omg.

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Winter in Wichita

The next installment of our Midwest trip continues …

We left Kansas City early New Year’s Day to make it back to Wichita for a gathering at my Aunt Denise’s house. We had a blast catching up with myriad aunts, uncles and cousins we haven’t seen in a long time because we haven’t been able to make it back for the reunions. Living far from family takes its toll.


When we first arrived, Alexa clung to me and wouldn’t let go. She slowly warmed up as family passed her around and played with her. Before too long, she was cozying up to my Aunt Linda and asking her to read an Eric Carle book.

After leaving the party we met my best friends from high school for dinner. Afterward, we brought the party back to Dad’s place, where we stayed up giggling and chatting until the wee hours. Sadly I don’t have any photos of our get-together. I was having too much fun gossiping!

The next morning we had lunch with more family: my uncle, aunt and cousins on my mom’s side of the family.




There also was relaxation. We had lunch at a coffee shop downtown and did a little thrifting. My favorite place was an antique mall. One of the vendors had the best taste in midcentury modern furniture. I was bummed I couldn’t buy it all and store it in my massive new home on the outskirts of the city. (So many housing developments, all with prices that made my L.A. self cry in frustration.)





It was a blustery day. The wind in Wichita is one of those things you forget about when you’re not subjected to it on an everyday basis, but let me tell you. It’s nothing to mess around with. We’re lucky we didn’t blow away. Forget about doing your hair, mmkay.

A few shots where the wind seems blissfully absent:


Alexa enjoyed spending time with her Grandpa (or as she calls him, Baba).

To be continued …

The It List

Five things I’m lovin’ right now …
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  1. Sandwich art by Low-Commitment Projects. (This one is Mondrian-inspired.)
  2. This interview, in which Julian Casablancas chats with Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek of The Doors.
  3. Quilt pizzas.
  4. “Crossed,” by Ally Condie. The “Matched” sequel is besting its predecessor so far. Love!
  5. The colorful dinosaurs in Mandy’s terrarium/aquarium.

As always, you can see more things I’m lovin’ over at Pinterest.

True Colors

Ten more things you may not (want to) know about me …

(71) I have this bad habit of hanging my purse over a kitchen chair when I walk in the door. I’ve tried to put it straight into the hall closet. This worked for, oh, a month.

(72) I do the same thing with the diaper bag.

(73) OK, fine. Any bag. Except not plastic grocery bags, but only because those handles are too small.

(74) The extent of our child-proofing has been to plug the exposed outlets and to remove the toxic chemicals from beneath in the sink and onto a tall shelf. I figure we will play this by ear. I don’t let Alexa roam freely into mischief … yet.

(75) I found a choir stole in one of my high school memory boxes last night. I have no memory of stealing it.

(76) I’ve purged many a book to Goodwill to keep my collection lean and mean. Some authors who still remain on my bookshelf: Jack Kerouac, Bret Easton Ellis, Hemingway, Arthur Nersesian. Plus my mega collection of Beatles books.

(77) I also keep the old books. Mostly paperbacks from the 1960s that belonged to my mom, including my favorite: Confessions of a Hitch-hiker.

(78) Some chick lit authors I love: Jennifer Weiner, Jane Green, Emily Giffin, Sophia Kinsella, Stephenie Meyer. I do not keep their books because I doubt I will ever read them again. Sometimes I pass them along to friends, sometimes I donate so another person can enjoy them. I also adore the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger and The Hunger Games series (all of which I’ve borrowed from a friend).

(79) I read and loved a huge sum of Agatha Christie books. I do not own many of them because I checked most of them out of the library when I was in college. I also read and loved all the Harry Potter books. I do not own them because I read my mother’s copies when they first came out.

(80) I worry that my recent addiction to reading books on Kindle will lead to the stagnation of my physical book collection. But I can’t help it! It’s too easy to lie in bed and scroll through pages on a smartphone. I no longer get arm cramps from reading in awkward positions. It’s revolutionary.

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This is part of a series of confessionals. Mad props to Deanna for the inspiration.

Steppin’ Out





What I’m wearing:
Cardigan: TJ Maxx
Blouse: Lane Bryant (part of the capsule wardrobe)
Jeans: Target
Shoes: LifeStride (part of the capsule wardrobe and sooo comfy)
Necklace: F21

What Alexa’s wearing:
All: Janie and Jack, gifted from Sara

It was some kind of weird day here in the South Bay. Cloudy and raining one minute, stupid sun peeking out from behind the clouds the next, wind gusting like it’s the Midwest or something. These kind of schizophrenic days really play a number on my psyche. Plus it’s kinda difficult to know how to dress when it’s 20 degrees cooler in the shade vs. the sun. Still, most locales have to deal with schizophrenic weather more often than L.A., so I should quit my bitchin’.

Yesterday Alexa was scratching her eyes violently, and I realized it was because her bangs were too long. So I pinned them up with a barrette and chopped. I could feel that my scissors were slipping. I knew it would end haphazardly. I KNEW IT. But I still went with it. Sometimes being a mom means always wearing your poker face. So I present to you Alexa’s first asymmetrical haircut. I’m sure it won’t be the last. She’s a pretty edgy baby, wouldn’t you say?

You can’t see my necklace, I know. All these photos, and not a single one of the necklace. I’m going to fire the photographer (just kidding, H). It’s nothing terribly exciting, just a glass strawberry with gold seed accents. And by gold, I mean the appearance of gold (because it’s from F21 and cost $5.80).

A big shoutout to Sara again this week. Without her Alexa would be naked and I would be topless and shoeless. (Hardy har har har.)

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New Year’s Eve, Part II

Taking a peek back at New Year’s Eve in Kansas City. We came indoors in the afternoon and enjoyed a few quiet hours.


Alexa fell asleep in my arms and I transferred her to the corner of the couch, where she slumbered for another few hours, take comfort in the murmuring voices and small movements from the rest of her family. Paranoid as always, I built a fort of pillows around her to keep her safe.


The aroma of glazed ham filled my brother and sister-in-law’s impeccably styled 100-year-old home as dishes appeared on the table and Lola emerged during her wakeful period, her eyes open and alert. She couldn’t keep the paparazzi away.






At last we sat down for a wonderful feast. It’s only been a few weeks since I went meatless, and looking at my last meal of ham has me salivating.

Alexa joined us at the table, her pigtails askew, just in time to help us clean off our plates.

Afterward we toasted s’mores on the patio and watched New Year’s coverage on TV that made me feel older than the hills. The new parents retired well before midnight, as did Alexa, but H and I stayed up with Dad … just long enough to say “Happy New Year!”

Part 1 of New Year’s Eve here.

100 Movies: 86, 87

And the countdown continues in my quest to watch and find something inspiring in every single one of Yahoo’s 100 Movies to See Before You Die.

Y’all, I’ve been doing this list so long I’m pretty sure the link the above paragraph is broken. Yahoo is even over this list.

Still, I trudge on …
100 Movies to See Before You Die: 86-87 • Little Gold Pixel
Let me tell you what I went through to procure a copy of this film. First, it doesn’t exist on Netflix. Second, the DVD is obscure and outrageously priced. So I started asking around, and finally I found a colleague who owns the Apu Trilogy and agreed to lend it to me. I have been hoarding it for the past three months. I really should return it, but I haven’t gotten around to watching the other two movies (and I’m told I really ought to).

Back to the movie. A story about a would-be unemployed writer in Calcutta who goes to a friend’s cousin’s wedding on a whim. Before the ceremony, the bridegroom steps out and the writer’s friend somehow convinces him to step in and marry this beautiful woman. Against all odds they fall in love and get pregnant. His wife dies in childbirth and Apu is so devastated he wanders the earth for years, letting his parents-in-law raise his son in the meantime. I found his behavior deplorable. The only bit of sunshine arises at the end, when he returns to his son and they walk off together, Apu smiling like he hasn’t in years.

Sorry, did I give away the ending? Well, so does the photo above.

Anyway, I’m inspired to be a better parent than Apu. And if I ever think I’m not being a good enough mom, at least I could say I never abandoned my child!

100 Movies to See Before You Die: 86-87 • Little Gold Pixel

Jim Stark: Nobody talks to children.
Judy: No, they just tell them.

I actually really like this movie. I can’t believe I haven’t seen it more than twice in my life. James Dean, Natalie Wood, teen angst. What’s not to like*?

There’s a chickie run that ends in a death. Jimmy tries to do the right thing and tell his parents, but they’re not listening. He tries to go to the police, but the thugs threaten him. So he does what anyone would do: go to an abandoned mansion with a pretty girl and hide out for awhile.

I’m pretty sure I had a little crush on Jimmy the first time I saw this movie (I was 17). What really appeals to me at this point in my life is to find my own abandoned mansion and pretend it’s mine for one night. I would prefer to avoid the chickie run beforehand, though.

*Something not to like: the fact that both Jimmy and Natalie ended up dying violent/bizarre deaths at a young age.