Monthly Archives

November 2012

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The Night Your Daddy Hulked Out

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Dear Alexa,

Let me tell you a story about how your Daddy became a superhero.

It was a Wednesday night. The rain started on my way home. A few drops on the windshield, and then suddenly the traffic slowed to a halt as everyone fumbled around to start their wipers.

When I walked inside, your Daddy greeted me as usual; we talked about the rain, about how long it took me to get home. Really normal stuff. Nothing unusual. Then he said he was going to take out the trash.

“Oh, and I had to break Alexa’s bed,” he said nonchalantly.

“What?!” I rushed up to your room.

I opened the door, and you jumped up in your crib with a surprised “Mama!” There was a slat missing. As I swept you into my arms, it all was explained.

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Your leg got stuck between the slats while you were sleeping. You woke up, screaming, and Daddy ran to your rescue. He tried to dislodge your thigh, but it wasn’t budging. So, in a fit of rage, he transformed into the Hulk and snapped the slat from the crib without a second thought, freeing you instantaneously.

Let me reiterate: He snapped it from its slots like a twig.

When I raised my eyebrows at this show of muscle, his reaction was simple. “My baby was in pain!”

You wouldn’t stop talking about what happened. Of course, we couldn’t understand half of what you were saying, but by the way you kept name-dropping Daddy and pointing at him, it was clear that you were his biggest fan.

Love,
Mama

P.S. It’s time to take down the rest of those slats, my sweet baby girl, and sleep in your toddler bed. It’s been time for awhile. Are you ready?

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On keeping a real diary

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Sometimes I think I don’t need a diary because I have this blog. This is flawed thinking, though, because I don’t necessary want to air every single thought I have in a public forum like this one. Some of these things are too personal. Some of them are too emotional. Some of them I choose not to talk about out of respect for others’ privacy.

So perhaps I should blow the dust off my old journals and put my rusty penmanship to paper. I imagine it will hurt a little. I’m talking hand craps here from the act of physically writing. I’m also talking about the soul-wrenching realizations that come out when connecting thoughts into strings of words onto a lonely piece of paper. There’s a certain understanding there. A “this is between me-and-you,” if you will, a secret between you and that diary, which will never talk back or even bother to form an opinion. There are no comments, no audience. In fact, no audience allowed! Isn’t that why I used to buy those diaries with easily unlockable locks on them — no trespassing!

Did you ever keep a diary as a child or teen? Do you still keep one now?

Is there still the unadulterated jubilation when you write about something exciting that happens to you, the equivalent of getting an A on your research paper or falling in love or finding $20 in your pocket that you had forgotten about? Where you wrote WOOOOHOOOO with nine exclamation marks because you didn’t need to temper your excitement to spare anyone’s feelings. Where you bragged without fear of being called a braggart. Where you boasted without worrying about coming across as smug.

Is there still the overwhelming sense of relief when you write about something terrible that happens to you, the equivalent of being grounded or experiencing a breakup or the death of a loved one? Where you write THIS EFFING SUCKS with nine exclamation marks because you don’t have to apologize to anyone for your emotions. Where you pour tears as well as words onto paper because no one is judging. Where you pour out your darkest fears and name names and place misdirected blame because, dammit, you just need to.

And because it’s a secret. Between you and the diary. Your eyes only.

No offense, blog, but I think I’m crazy for not writing in my diary for the past four years.

Would you ever horseman?

I was at work when the IM popped up.

Colleague: Have you ever heard of horsemanning?
Me: Wha-?
Colleague: You know, horsemanning.

Which, I guess, is a thing now, and it has its own page. Much like the planking that made the rounds last year (or was it two years ago?), this fad has people going around taking photos that look like they’ve been beheaded, like its namesake of the Headless Horseman.

Apparently this was a popular gag back in the 1920s.

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1920s girls getting their creep on via Horsemanning.com

My research led me to other, more random photo memes. Like Teapotting. Owling. Batmanning. And then Milking.

Behold the glory of milking:

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via The Sun

Social media. What does it do to us? The next thing you know everyone will be Wining, but only with white wine because red stains like a bitch.

It all makes me long for the original photo meme:

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What about you? Have you ever planked or milked or horsemanned? If so, please share in the comments.

Trimming the tree.

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Last night we turned down the lights, played some festive music and trimmed the tree. T-shirt- and diaper-clad Alexa got really into it, pointing out her favorite ornaments and asking when she could hang the “balls.” She proceeded to precariously pile several of them on one weak branch at her eye level, announcing “uh-oh!” when one toppled over and inexplicably shattered on the carpet.

This was after spending the afternoon cooking Thanksgiving dinner and feasting together as a family of three. My menu consisted of turkey breast, goat cheese potatoes, green bean casserole, honey carrots, pumpkin bars and rolls. Pretty ambitious for two and a half mouths, huh? Not to mention I somehow turned off the oven for about 40 minutes and three of the dishes sat inside, not cooking. But the eventually heated through, and the food was delicious. A fact I will be reminded of for the next week of leftovers.

Everything about our Thanksgiving was perfect.

And yet, this blurry Instagram photo is the only photographic evidence I have.

I’m going through one of those phases where I want to be less behind the camera and more in the moment. It’s a delicate balance when you love photography as I do: to know when to put down the camera vs. adjusting the settings to get just the right shot. Sometimes it’s easier just to walk away from it all and snap a craptastic image with my cellphone.

I’m typing this as I sit next to H, sipping moscato and enjoying the calm of the day after putting Alexa to sleep. I want to remember this weekend in real time. How she pulled every board book off the shelf and brought them individually to read to me tonight. How she “rawrs” when we see a picture of a leopard or lion or tiger or jaguar. How she dumps her bucket of crayons directly on the ground at any given chance. The rhythmic clicking on our laptops in the glow of the Christmas lights as H and I search for the best holiday gifts for each other online. How we give each Netflix movie 10 minutes before declaring it crap and starting a new one.

I fully intend to finish this wine and make a garland of snowflakes out of coffee filters. Just because. And I may or may not photograph it when I’m done. Either way, it’s OK. Either way, life happens. We should all make sure we’re taking note of the now — in our minds, in written word, in photographs, however — before it passes us by.

Different city, different beach.

Santa Barbara Beach Day • Little Gold Pixel

In Santa Barbara most of the buildings look the same. The same Spanish architecture, discreet signage that makes it a little more difficult to ascertain a courthouse from a grocery store … or a gas station. True story, when you don’t know your way around and your GPS is mysteriously saying you are in Temecula, every building has the potential to be a gas station. Until it doesn’t.

And no one seems to know where a gas station is. “Um, maybe drive that way?” said not one but two pedestrians. Silly us for asking pedestrians. They don’t need gasoline to walk.

The good news is that driving “that way” led us to the beach, and that is never a bad thing, especially when it’s 80 degrees in November.

Santa Barbara Beach Day • Little Gold Pixel
Santa Barbara Beach Day • Little Gold Pixel
Santa Barbara Beach Day • Little Gold Pixel
Santa Barbara Beach Day • Little Gold Pixel

We have learned a few things living in Southern California for seven years.

1. There are great things in every direction. A two-hour day trip can do wonders for the L.A. blues.

2. Always keep a bag packed with beach towels and sunscreen in the back of the car. Just in case.

3. Also, keep some beach tennis supplies in that bag. Fun times!

4. Kick off the shoes and get sandy. It comes off in the shower/wash.

Santa Barbara Beach Day • Little Gold Pixel
Santa Barbara Beach Day • Little Gold Pixel
Santa Barbara Beach Day • Little Gold Pixel

Oh yeah, I’ll tell you something.

I’ve been scouting Christmas gifts for those on my list. Online shopping, that is. I haven’t gotten very far down my list because I keep getting distracted. Links turn into links, and before I know it I’m searching Etsy for Beatles-inspired stuff. Why? Got me. I’m the only hardcore Beatles fan on my list.

‘Tis not the season to buy things for myself, but far be it from me to deny my dear readers the pleasure of my Beatles jackpot. I do have a history of finding cool Fab Four stuff. Remember Beatles Week?

And perhaps you have a Beatles maniac on your list? (Ahem …)

(Click on the + beneath each photo to go to the store.)

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Fish! Water! Boat! Beach!

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It had been a while since we woke up, rolled out of bed and drove straight to the beach, before breakfast, even. Back when Alexa would wake up at 6 a.m. this was one of our weekend traditions. Now that she sleeps until 7ish, it doesn’t happen that often. So I decided to surprise everyone in the middle of our morning snuggles this Saturday when I said, “OK, bundle up, let’s go to the beach!”

A few hoodies and jeans later and we were on our way, bedhead and all.

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We took a brisk walk on the pier, stopping to watch the surfers and to check out the tiger sharks in the aquarium. Alexa is officially obsessed with everything related to the ocean.

Fish! Water! Boat! Beach!

All regular words in her rotation. She asks me to draw boats for her on a daily basis. One time she drew a few lines in a sort-of oblong shape and declared it a boat. I added a sail and a stick figure person to validate her work of art.

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I love to see her enjoying the beach as much as H and I do. The sight of the ocean used to bring her to tears, and let’s not even talk about getting her feet wet. It’s amazing how much her attitude has changed. Practice makes perfect.

A video for your Sunday afternoon.

Just a little video for your Sunday, inspired by listening to Breakfast With The Beatles this morning. Gah, I love that show. My Sunday commute wouldn’t be the same without Fab Four trivia and obscure tracks.

I love how awkward the staging is in this recording for The Ed Sullivan Show. And I can appreciate how hot it must’ve been when you see sweat sliding down John’s neck. Imperfections are the best.

The Internet is INSANE. Especially after an election.

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Let me repeat: THE INTERNET IS INSANE.

Yes, I know this. Everybody knows this. It’s the reason for those obnoxious CAPTCHA words that look like letters melted together by aliens. Some people are bigger crazy magnets than others, usually because they say crazy things themselves or maybe by definition you get crazier comments when CAPTCHA is on (a bizarre self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps).

At any rate, the Internet is even more insane when it comes to politics and religion.

There is a reason I grew up to respect the saying: “Never discuss religion or politics in mixed company.” It is not because it’s impossible to have a civil conversation about these things. It’s that it is impossible for most people.

Back when people used to spend time together and talk about these things (remember, before social media?), it was easier to get into a passionate debate, drink a few beers, laugh it off and say, “Agree to disagree, friend.” It’s a controlled chaos; full hazmat gear is on and everyone follows safety protocol.

The Internet does this, but there are no beers. And there are no polite hugs at the end of the evening, either. The Internet takes off the gloves, fondles the contagions with wild abandon and spreads the virus like a zombified wildebeest.

I can’t count the number of debates I’ve seen today on Facebook and Twitter and, for crying out loud, in the comments sections of legitimate news articles, most of which are down-and-out fights, name-calling and other nonsense. The number of people “praying” and flailing in desperation. I mean, really. The world did not end. Life goes on.

Are you going to look back at your heat-of-the-moment Facebook comment later and regret how reactionary and ignorant you come across? DO NOT POST IT, THEN. Some thoughts are meant to stay internal. Are you arguing things based on pure emotion, with no fact or reason to back it up? Common sense says maybe you should just vent to your significant other about these things, not the entire world wide web.

I’ve read the argument that we should go wild with our thoughts, speak openly about our feelings on those who oppose our particular religion or politics. After all it is our right as Americans to say whatever we want, no matter how incendiary! (Because historically this has worked out so well!)

But here’s the thing: No minds will be changed. Do people really think that yelling until their faces are blue (or until their all-caps key is broken) will make any difference? The reason religion and politics are taboo is because they are personal. They are beliefs that are not easily compromised by just any asshole on the Internet.

It can be entertaining to watch, I’ll give it that. But even if you try to argue respectfully online, you will walk away from your keyboard frustrated, irritated and wanting to enact some kind of intelligence test in order to comment online. It is a guarantee.

So that is why you’ll find me quietly biting my tongue and simultaneously popping popcorn as the Internet cannibalizes itself with crazy. I will not join in on the crazy, no matter how much I want to defend my views, because I do not need to.

My views are my own. I respect your right to your own views, so I will not try to convince you that mine are right. Besides, if my candidate couldn’t convince you, I sure as hell won’t be able to.

If you have a beef with the U.S. government, please go through the proper channels to complain. Contact your congressperson or write a letter to the White House. Please resist the urge to fight in the New York Times comments sections or on Facebook. No change is happening there, only headaches.