When Mama's Happy Everyone's Happy

I feel bad for admitting this, but before I had kids, I thought that women with children consciously gave up when it came to their looks. I would look at the greasy hair that was long overdue for a color touch up, the ragged nails, the cracked heels, the stained clothes, the stretchy pants, ugly bras and granny panties and think I'd never become that complacent. Then of course one day, a few months after giving birth I looked down at my feet, usually soft and neatly polished, now rough and dry, my pedicure so old the polish had grown almost all the way out. I had at least clipped them from time to time only for the sake of comfort. I was in sore need of a haircut and color and my brows had resorted back to the shape I had in 7th grade before my mom relented and let me tweeze them. I wore what really amounted to pajamas now considered clothes. No wonder I felt like a mental patient, I certainly looked like one. Of course I had figured out that no one consciously gives up, you just get tired and busy doing other things, more important things(because our things don't seem important) until little by little we turn into that woman we promised ourselves would never be us. I looked in the mirror for the 1st time in a long time, I mean really looked and I hardly recognized myself. I marched out to the garage where my husband was tidying up. “ You need to leave, and you need to take the kids with you,” I demanded. “Ok,” he said cautiously, “where do we need to go?” “Anywhere, I don't care but if you ever want to have sex again you need to go somewhere for at least four hours and let me salvage this,” I said, now almost in tears,” this,” I choked out, motioning contemptuously from my head to my feet. “I need to feel like a girl again.” “Ok,” he said stepping back. As soon as the last of them had their shoes on and the door closed behind them I went about it. I'm a beauty professional(la di da) so I can do most of the work myself, I usually entrust my own stylist but today I didn't have time for appointments, I just needed to make this better. I touched up my roots, I soaked, scrapped, sawed, buffed, and polished my feet until they looked like mine instead of extras from the Lord of the Rings. I hopped in the shower, I shaved my legs, deep-conditioned my hair and exfoliated. I got out and got my eyebrows back in order, put on a little makeup and put on the nicest thing I had that actually fit. This whole process took almost the entire four hours. I still didn't feel completely like myself, but I was a lot closer. These days, with three kids, it's still a struggle to carve out time to take care of myself, be it hair appointments or doctor's appointments, and yes, I still feel selfish sometimes. Thankfully, my husband reminds me to see the doc and encourages me to make time for the things that make me feel good about myself, always saying the same thing, when mama's happy, everyone's happy.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Spa Tips From Spa Chic #2 You'll Be Sorry

With a sunny weekend in the cards for many of us, I thought it was time for Spa Tip #2.

I know it's naggy and anyone who has access to the computer is already aware that you should wear sunscreen but I am confronted with a steady stream of clients who STILL aren't doing it, so I know some of you aren't either.

Let me say this, one time, very clearly: If you don't wear sunscreen consistently(that means every day), YOU'LL BE SORRY.

Now you can call me a sunscreen nazi, pout and say wearing sunscreen in the sun is no fun which is akin to men saying they can't feel anything with a condom or motorcyclists refusing to wear helmets. Nevermind the worst case scenario, skin cancer, unprotected sun exposure is the #1 factor in premature skin aging. The sun adversely affects collagen production in the skin, and without collagen, your skin gets all loosy and saggy. It also causes uneven pigment, liver spots, wrinkles, and rebound acne(this is basically when dead, dry skin from sun exposure clogs your pores causing a breakout). There is also the risk of melasma(uneven pigment caused by hormonal changes due to pregnancy, the Pill and things like that), not to mention permanent stretching of small blood vessels, giving your skin a mottled, reddish appearance.

Now I don't want to get all down with the sun because it does some great things, like warmth, food, and Vitamin D production. Go out, have fun just protect yourself. A sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher is required for your face, and you need to reapply the cream every 2-3 hours. I know the idea of getting in a swim suit all pasty, spongy ultra-Casper white is unthinkable for most of us. A little color hides cellulite, veins and a myriad of other percieved defects. So here are my suggestions:

1. Go get a spray tan, they are reasonably priced and most look very natural and last about a week.

2. Invest in a good bronzer to add some subtle glow to your face(apply it to forehead, cheeks, nose and even a little on your decollette--same places sun gets).

3.Try one of the newer tan-in-a-can home spray tans, I've used the Neutrogena one with good results.

And for those of you wondering about tanning beds? Ick, so 1993. Tanning beds are great if you want to look like an old-timey leather suitcase from the movie Out of Africa and I can't wait to sit next to YOU at the 30 year class reunion.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Performance Review For My Wife

Ok, I'm breaking from tradition and allowing a guest poster. In response to his performance review, my husband sent me the following:

Performance Review for My Wife

Areas Requiring Attention
1.You had the baby seven months ago, no more risk of Toxoplasmosis. I think it's time you start changing OUR cat's litter box or is this duty permanently mine now?

2.I'll start putting the condiments back in the door after you stop clogging the garbage disposal with your diet coke-soaked lemons.

3.You don’t need to tell me what I can make for dinner when you're gone, don’t worry, if I can’t figure something out, I always know where the Spagettios and veggie hotdogs are.

4.OMG, can we watch something besides BRAVO, the Real Housewives, Top Chef, Project Runway, are you trying to make me gay?

5.Can we just once watch Star Trek without you eyes rolling back in your head. And I have to rub your back whenever we watch sci-fi, who made up that rule?

1.Do you remember the 36+ hours you labored with our last child(I'm sorry stupid question), yeah well, I could never have done that.

2.That thing you did on my birthday, that was good. More you say? Yes please.

3.Thank you for being an expert in the field of Brazilian waxing, really, thank you.

4.Your homemade pizzas are a source of extreme pleasure, I'm a man, my needs are simple.

5.Thanks for seeing my frequent groping of you for the affection it is.

6.Don't think for a minute that I don't realize that we'd all be naked, hungry and searching for the toilet paper(because no one else puts it on the roll)without you.

7.I love you more everyday -- you amaze me with your mommasity, smartitudes and cutipieness.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Performance Review for My Husband

Areas Requiring Attention:
1.Don't ask, "What's that smell?" when you smell anything that you believe I had anything to do with, be it candles, perfume, dinner or something coming from the bathroom.

2.Don’t tell me how much money we owe someone or how big our Visa bill was if I'm already cranky or I just woke up, it might provoke crying.

3.Don't stir my food when I'm cooking or turn down the heat on a dish, that's called supervising, you do it when you're in charge-in the kitchen, I'm the boss. And by the way frequent stirring ruins the carmelization(said in a snooty manner).

4.They are not MY cats, they're OUR cats.

5.Sure, I'll start putting the cordless phones back on the cradle, when you can get your clothes in the hamper and the condiments in the fridge door.

6.Don’t ask me if I want you to do something, as in do you want me to change her, do you want me to pick up dinner, do you want me to take the kids out so you can get a break, do you want me to rub your back-just do it(preferable) or reason with yourself to do it another time(less preferable) but when you ask I have a hard time saying yes.

1.You are a hero for traversing my moods and whims with nothing more hostile or sarcastic than the occasional confused look.

2.Your at least three times weekly full body rubs are sometimes the only thing I have to look forward to.

3.That thing you do, you know the thing I’m talking about. That is good, keep doing that.

4.After my grandfather's funeral, when we all went back to my grandma's and you sat next to me in the living room with the women instead of going and watching stupid sports with the other guys you added yet another permanent entry on the list of reasons I love you.

5.The stovetop popcorn churner was a great present, unlike the giant bread board-- I’m sorry, I know it’s confusing.

6.Thank you for never, not even one time, telling me that I'm just like my mother.

7.You are almost always the first one to make peace after an argument, I love that about you.

8.Thank you for being as funny, affectionate and adoring as you were when we dated.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Harvey Korman 1927-2008

Legendary comedian Harvey Korman died today. I had the opportunity to meet and talk to him a few years ago. My cousin and Harvey's daughter were friends who attended the same university and at their commencement, we sat with the Kormans. I tried to make witty banter completely overwhelmed by and eager to impress someone I regarded as brilliant. I remember saying something along the lines of, "seeing a girl with a boyfriend is like seeing someone with a perm, it looks good on someone else and then when you get one yourself, you're dissappointed." I said something else but I've blocked it out so it must have been embarrassing. He laughed genuinely and told me I was funny and that I should do stand up. As I've already freely admitted, I'm neurotic and suffer from crippling self-doubt so Harvey's endorsement is something I will never forget. I was so excited, I called my mom that night and told her I had gotten a laugh out of Harvey Korman. I guess I am funny, I told her. Of course she got irritated and said,"sure I've been telling you that you are hilarious since you were six and you've never believed me, but Harvey Korman tells you..." Harvey was 81 so it would be a stretch to call his passing a tragedy but comedy has lost a real heavyweight and a very good man.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Is That Pepper Spray in Your Pocket or Are You Just Glad To See Me

Okay so the baby finally went down for her afternoon nap and I was hoping to get a shower in because it's 3pm and I'm still in my pajamas all spit-up and stink. So I started the shower and got undressed when I realized that our front door was open and I didn't want to leave the door open while I showered. I went to go close it and just as I get up there, I see the mailman. OMG, I think my mailman saw me naked. I can't be sure because I dropped to the floor faster than you can say sniper fire. Kind of wishing my bikini wax wasn't so recent, that tile floor was cold. Now I know, you're thinking, why would I go to the front door nekid? I was lulled into a false sense of safety because our mailman always carries a little radio with him and I can hear the jammin reggae well before he reaches our door. No radio today, no sir. This is what I get for trying to fit a shower in and have a few minutes alone.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


The Upside of Depression

1. When you call to see a doctor and they ask why, when you tell them you've been feeling sad, they will get you in RIGHT away.
2. You finally did something to render your mother-in-law speechless for now, and just a little afraid of you forever.
3. Skimping on outfit changes and showers means less laundry, lower water bills.
4. Crying burns calories.
5. Suddenly, you're getting high fives for getting up in the morning.
6. Apathy and mood swings makes you feel like a teenager again.
7. Doing Nothing is a cheap hobby.
8. Your new expressionless face is eradicating your forehead wrinkles.
9. No one asks you why you are adding chocolate chips to your cheese omelet.
10. Once you are really feeling good, you can plan a 'bad day' every now and then just to keep everyone on their toes.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


The Fur Trade

I spend a lot of time around vaginas. By trade I am an esthetician(basically a professional face washer, pimple popper, brow shaper, hair remover) and my specialty, the thing I do better than almost anyone else, is the Brazilian bikini wax. I am university educated but chose to spend my workdays chatting with woman while I rip out various areas of body hair. I make a better hourly gross than I would have if I had gone to law school as originally planned and being around women of varied ages, ethnicities, economic and social backgrounds is good for my soul. It’s kind of like being paid to be a girlfriend, well, if your girlfriend was a dominatrix.

When people find out what I do for a living, I am usually pelted(pun intended) with loads(tufts?) of questions. The most frequent? Does it hurt? Hurt? No, more like a fierce, fire-anty kind of sting receding into what can only be described as a nuclear sunburn. I’m not advertising my spa services here so I can be honest. Another frequent question I get is, how can you look at vaginas all day? To which I ask, how can you look at those ugly kids of yours all day? Ok I am totally kidding, I forgot to take my pill today. I also get asked, by women only, whether or not I think vaginas are ugly. Ugly? Don’t we already have enough to be insecure about without worrying about whether our cha chas need Botox. I have seen hundreds of vaginas and I have never seen an ugly one. Actually, there was one, but in all fairness to said ugly vagina, it had pushed out 10 children, I think it had earned the right.

I love what I do, it's like getting paid to have a girl's night out but my real love is writing. The spa gives me time with neat women, great material, a chance to escape my kids and a write-off for all of my beauty addictions. I talk to women all day and my clients tell me things they won't tell anyone else so I have some good stories to tell. They cover the spectrum: juicy, poignant, sad, hysterical and more and yes, stuff about me too-- I can't wait to share them with you.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Crazy Bandaid Lady

Yesterday I had ten moles removed from my face, two of which were on my lower eyelids. I went to a plastic surgeon specializing in eyes because I didn’t want just anybody poking around my peepers with needles, scalpels and cauterizing guns. Doc offered to remove another eight prominent moles on my face and since she’s the expert at cosmetic removal, I threw caution to the wind and told her to go for it.

I was excited at the prospect of the one insurance co-pay to ten mole ratio but I had not thought about the fact that I had to pick my daughter up at her 1st day of her new preschool, ship my mom’s forgotten wallet back to her, meet my husband for lunch and run a sundry of other, very public, errands. Two hours and 10 moles later, my face was a sea of Neosporin and little round bandaids. Of course my dear husband told me it wasn’t that bad, even though the injections of Lidocaine had bruised my eyes making me look like a short, blonde prizefighter. We ate lunch as I assessed the damage by the looks on the faces of the people looking at me. No one asked me what had happened but it was apparent that my face was arousing a degree of curiosity. I almost heard people nicknaming me crazy bandaid lady in my head. Each look was the same, someone would look at me, almost imperceptibly cringe, focus on looking directly at my eyes to keep from obviously scanning my face while simultaneously trying to figure out what was wrong and was it contagious. Maybe here in Southern California we are just so accustomed to seeing post-operative plastic surgery patients running around that we’re one part curious one part nonplussed.
It was at the end of the day when picking up my daughter from school that I was reminded why I like kids so much. I went into her new classroom to see how her first day went and every kid I crossed paths with asked the same question, “Hey lady, what’s wrong with your face?” Some asked out of mere curiosity, some asked out of a little fear, like there might be a lion somewhere they needed to avoid, and some asked with a level of caring and concern I would not expect from 4 year olds. Instead of them thinking I was crazy bandaid lady, I got to tell them what happened as they sweetly asked, “Did it hurt?” Yes. “Did they give you a sucker when they were done?” No. “Are you ok?” Yes. “How long is it gonna look like that?” Not long. Crazy, but instead of feeling self-conscious, I felt a little special, like a ten year old with a fresh cast from a daring but disastrous stunt.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Putting the Bleep in Blog

Today I stumbled upon a blog referencing a made up 'article', urging fellow bloggers to refrain from using profanity because,

“we have to remember that our blogs are published in cyberspace, and anyone, of any age, can (and may) read them. That means, a seven year old could be reading your blog…. it could be your own child, or grandchild. Have you ever thought that a seven year old may be reading your blog? “

Wow, I certainly hope we don’t all start writing our blogs with seven year olds in mind. There’s millions if not bazillions of patently offensive, grossly inappropriate content out there. In a sea of all the bizarre fetishist pornography, my seven year old running across the f-word is the least of my worries. He has already heard ‘the big seven’ at school and expressed some curiosity about ways in which he might use them. My husband and I have made sure he knows that these words are inappropriate, offensive to others and therefore should only be used in your treehouse with your boy buddies or around great grandma who can’t hear anything that isn’t Italian anyway. Of course, if he learns Italian profanity we might have to amend that last one.

So I say, by all means, block my website from your kids–please. I don’t want to limit what I write because someone else is too complacent or ill-informed to help their child navigate the dangers inherent in such an open forum. As a parent, do you really want a bunch of wierd bloggers essentially babysitting your kids? The internet is no different from any other medium. We don’t produce movies, television, music, art, books, or newspapers exclusively for a general audience. Expecting authors, comedians, commentators, and the like to do it is irresponsible as far as free speech goes and just plain lazy parenting.


Stumble Upon Toolbar


Tina Fey Is a Fucking Rockstar

I think I might have a girl crush on Tina Fey. With a middle name like Stamatina, it’s no surprise she gravitated toward comedy. She has written and acted in some of the funniest sketch comedy that SNL has produced. Remember Mom Jeans(below) or how about the Seasonale parody(above). She also writes, executive-produces and stars as Liz Lemon in NBC’s "30 Rock," While “30 Rock” is not a ratings whore like “Deal or No Deal”, it’s arguably the smartest show on network tv. Its greatest ratings liability is that it may be ‘too smart’ for the average television viewer and we all know that above-average smart people don’t watch nearly enough tv. Beyond these accomplishments, achieved in a field largely dominated by men, Tina Fey is a dish.

She is beautiful, smart, funny and the perfect balance of insecurity and feminist bravado. If she’s right and bitch is indeed the new black, then she will continue to pave the way for those of us who’d be happy to write her Christmas cards if it meant we could collaborate with her.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


We Would Be So Much Cooler If We Didn't Have Kids

There are days I envy my friends who don’t have children. Kids are very expensive and most of the time they're pretty gross. (I’ve always wondered about the moms who eat off their kids plates because frankly, I wouldn’t eat anything my kids fingers have been all over. I’ve seen the noses those fingers go up and frequently, it’s not just their own.) My husband and I, after a very long week of shouting parent stuff at the kids, like to, in the solitude of the two of us, wax on about what our lives would be without the three moffets that rule our house.

We envision last-minute jaunts to New York, two weeks in Italy(no one, not even your own parents will babysit that long), weekends spent doing nothing, sex anytime of the day, anywhere in the house, as noisy as we like and more disposable income than we could ever imagine. We wonder what it must be like to make risky career moves without the weight of the responsibility for those little mouths that need feeding. We consider the significantly lower cost of a mortgage in the less kid-friendly, award-winning school neighborhoods we'd be happy to live in were we childless.

The truth is we probably wouldn’t do most of the things we imagine. My husband and I both love to travel but are essentially homebodies. In reality we would probably sleep in more, play video games(him) or download pirated music and write for more than 15 minute blocks without getting someone juice or settling some sibling dispute(me). We'd see more movies in the theater, I’m certain I would read more, as I did before the kids and our vacations would be more spontaneous as would our sex life.

But then my four year old tells me I'm beautiful and says, “Happy birthday mom, I love you” even though it’s not anywhere near my birthday, just something she’s been saying for months. And my son, very unbigboylike plants his 7 year old hieny on my lap, his eyes pleading to be held for a few minutes, and my baby shrieks with delight to see me after only an hour apart. And the moments when all of us are together whether it’s laughing at the dinner table or huddled together watching a movie and I look at my husband and he looks at me and we know, this is how it is supposed to be for us. Not for everyone but for us.
But it’s good to dream, and those spontaneous trips to New York, the anytime anywhere nookie, I’ll save that list for the days our kids are gone and we find ourselves shrugging our shoulders wondering what will we do without them.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Spa Tips From Spa Chic #1


Forgo the dated French-tip acrylics(trust me, they are) and invest a little cash into this feature that often goes overlooked. Brows can polish your look, create an instant eye lift and be great ‘makeup’ for the busy mom or low maintenance woman. Overly sparse, incorrectly shaped brows can make you look old, angry and dated.

This is one area I say skip the DIY and go pro. Yes, there are tutorials online and wierd stencils available, but your best bet is to find your local ‘brow expert’(yes, we’re out there). See a woman with great brows? Ask her where she gets them done. Don’t be shy, woman who spend the money and time will appreciate the compliment. If you can’t afford to see your local eye brow diva regularly, plan a series of visits to get your brows in shape and then watch her carefully. The average non-professional may have a hard time creating a great brow but if you’re careful, you can maintain it.

A word of advice for women whose brows are starting to gray, don’t tweeze the grays, unruly may they be. If you do, over time you will have no brows. Go to the brow expert and have them tinted and trimmed. Tinting is also a great option for blondes whose brows are very light or if you alter your natural hair color and would like brows a similar shade.

You don’t need expensive products to maintain your brows, but you should have the following:

Good tweezers - Tweezerman Wide Grip Slant Tweezers are my favorite. They retail for about $20. I have had the same pair now for 4 years and have done thousands of brows with them.
Brow powder or eyeshadow in a color that blends well with your brow. Using shadow in the right shade is fine just make sure it’s shimmer free. Steer clear of pencil liners, they typically look less natural and are greasy therefore smudge easier and spread on naturally oily complexions.

Angled brush - To apply powder to brows, a good mid-priced brush will do.
Clear mascara to brush brows into place and set.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


I Hate This Part

It’s 1am and I am a wreck. My husband and I have been up and down with our 7 month old baby who, it would seem, has an ear infection. We have tried Motrin, rocking, walking, a warm shower, which worked for awhile, probably more a distraction from the discomfort than relief. She finally fell asleep in my arms, still taking the gaspy breaths we all do after a hard cry, only to wake up just as miserable when I tried to lay her down in our bed. There is nothing like hearing your child keen and wail in pain. I felt like someone wrenched my heart from my chest, threw it to the ground and did a flamenco dance on it until it was a bloody mess. I am spent, my chest is aching from anxiety. I am scheduled to work tomorrow so my husband has taken her and camped upright on the couch, trooper that he is, because she seems to feel better this way. So I am fairly certain tomorrow morning we’ll be taking child #3 on her inaugural trip to urgent care. Ugh, this part never gets any easier.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Dirty Jobs

My husband and I were watching television recently when a commercial for the Swiffer Wet Jet floor cleaner came on. I watched nonplussed as the gleeful woman traded in her dirty, ineffective mop for a super clean, Swiffer with pre-moistened floor cleaning pads.

“Doesn’t that make you angry?” my husband asked. “What?” I asked, intently watching to see how the floor looked before and after. “That,” he said pointing to the tv contemptuously. “You mean all the disposable, wasteful stuff they try to sell us?” I asked “No,” he said,” the fact that it’s always a woman doing the work in cleaning commercials.”

It had never occurred to me but my radar primed, I started noticing all the commercials for cleaning stuff. Sure enough, one after another were filled with impeccably dressed, serene and satisfied looking women happily scrubbing toilets and mopping floors.

There were no men in site. Were the men conspicuously missing in these commercials to trick us into thinking that if we clean really good with their product, absent the men, our houses will stay clean. Oh wait, let me not forget the one man, the only man who does make an appearance in the world of cleaning product commercials, Mr.Clean. Mr. Clean, standing there with his arms crossed like some maniacal taskmaster or hypercritical foreman, watching you clean.

Maybe I’m so conditioned to accept that ensuring the house is clean is my sphere, that I don’t balk that every product is directed at me. I brought this up at lunch with a few other women. “Why do you think they don’t show men cleaning in these commercials?” I asked them. “Because men don’t clean and if a woman saw a man cleaning in the commercial, she would immediately see the hypocrisy and be even more pissed that they were getting credit for doing something they don’t do.”

But my husband does the floors a lot I thought. “Because women buy these products,” another friend offered. It’s true, women account for the majority of cleaning product purchases, but why do I want to see a well dressed, serene woman Swiffering her floors? Even on the Swiffer website, they show a picture of a women cleaning in white pants. White pants? Really? I can tell you, I have never cleaned in white pants, maybe white underpants because it’s a warm day or I’m waiting on the laundry. That is just not what happens in my house on cleaning days. Contrary to the halcyon depiction in tvland, on my commercial, you’d see a harried, unshowered woman in her nightgown getting poopy cat prints and 3 days worth of the children’s breakfast spillage off the floors before her mother-in-law comes over and reports her to child services. And if women are indeed the marketing target, why don’t they appeal to women’s desires? How about a little wish fulfillment here.

I can see it now, the commercial starts and on the screen we see the husband, furiously cleaning the floor, mopping the sweat off his brow as he wipes the prints from the refrigerator. He scuttles about putting toys away and hanging up his wife’s coat and dispensing with a weeks worth of mail. He white gloves the mantel making sure everything is just so. This tv husband knows what you go through and unlike your real husband, he feels the work is anybody’s to do. Why shouldn’t he do it, it needs to get done. Or find some hunky man’s man that appeals to both men and women to endorse a few cleaning products. Get Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs to brandish a Swifter and I’d bet men and women alike would be filling their carts up with Swifters galore.

Or target the men. This time the man has a toolbelt full of cleaners and every gadget and gizmo to make the house his bitch. We hear keys in the door, the door slowly opens and from floor view we see a woman’s legs in a sexy pair of pumps and she rests her briefcase on the sparkling floors. Camera pans up and the hot woman eyes the room with a look of awe and appreciation. Her husband sits on the couch waiting for her. She seductively walks over to him, takes off her glasses, shakes out her hair and sits on his lap, planting kisses all over his face. “Did you make the bed,” she asks, her voice charged with innuendo. Fade. Now don’t you think that would make men want to help around the house a little more? It sure works in my house.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


The Girl Gestapo

I was reading “O”prah magazine this morning while the baby slept and I came across something that irritated me. I wanted to blog about it, it wasn’t something egregious, just something that bothered me. I started this little diatribe in my head while I finished cleaning the kitchen pondering how I was going to write about it when I realized something very important. I am terrified to blog about Oprah. Now the overly optimistic part of me(the one that also believes I still have a shot at becoming a professional trapeze artist or play cello for the symphony though I have never touched a cello in my life)thinks someday I am going to do something worthy of being on Oprah’s show, like the lady who invented Spanx or Betty Broderick who killed her husband. Saying something bad about her would ruin that aspiration. I imagine her inviting me on pretending she’d never read the snarky thing I’d written and then she’d confront me in front of her studio audience who would gasp in horror and then throw their favorite things at me. Plus, I wouldn’t be able to meet Gayle or Dr. Oz. The other part of me is consumed with a genuine, deep-seated fear. I’m afraid of Oprah. I think Oprah Winfrey could make someone disappear. Look at James Frey, he made her angry and have we heard from him since? Note: I am in no way suggesting that Oprah would actually murder anyone, Oprah did you hear that, seriously don’t pick up the phone to call your ‘people’, I have three children who need a mother. So for the time being, the only thing I’ll be blogging about Oprah, is not blogging about Oprah.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Isabella Rosselini Likes it Snail Style

Have you been as anxious as I have been to hear Isabella Rosselini utter the words, “I would die without my penis," or, "If I were a firefly, I would light up my ass at night"? It seems lately that everything is green and eco-friendly, now, sex goes green too. Specifically insect sex. Isabella Rosselini, in her directorial debut, has created a series of shorts for the Sundance Channel. Green Porno, as it’s called, is lewd, rude and surprisingly captivating. This is one of the weirdest ways to learn about nature. Click on the Green Porno link to witness this orgy of Anthropods, this porn for parasites. My favorite is the bee because for the first time, I really understand how all this drone, worker, queen bee stuff works and the snail for it's extreme lechery.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Out of the Frying Pan and Into My Bed

I have a mad crush on Gordon Ramsey. He is the chef responsible for the BBC show Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares and Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen. His foul-mouthed arrogance and short fuse make me want to do bad things with him. I want him to boss me around, I want him to yell at me, tell me my food is shit and remind me that uncooked chicken kills people. I think I secretly want him to break me down and build me back up, work me over and then praise the resulting transformation. He is mmm, delicious. What is wrong with me? It is so masochistic. I told my husband about this fantasy of mine but perhaps in part by our lack of proximity(Gordon isn’t our next door neighbor after all) he doesn’t seem to be the least bit threatened. Anyhow, I know he thinks Nigella Lawson is a sex pot so we’re even. The only way the show could be any better is if Chef Ramsey was allowed to spank you when you screwed up. I wonder if they are casting for season three yet.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Boys are gross

My husband and I frequently employ the use of apology letters when our seven year old veers off track. It’s a semi-lazy way of provoking some personal insight. Plus, they totally entertain me. Below is a recent example of how gross boys are.

I have a stash of these saved for the day he questions our parenting techniques. While I'm writing out the check for his therapy, I can at least show him what we were dealing with.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


The Vocabulary of Parenthood

If you spend much time around our household you would definitely get the impression that my husband and I operate with a pre-programmed, limited vocabulary that recycles itself, like a talking doll, at least when it comes to the hours spent with our children.

Don’t touch things that don’t belong to you.
Get that out of your mouth.
Eat over your plate.
Put the cat down.
Get your finger out of there.
Leave the poop alone(we said that at least five times yesterday at the park, in all fairness to the kids, there was both cat poop in the sand and dog poop on the grass that they were entertained by).
Get your hands off the walls.
Use your napkin not your shirt.
Use a tissue not your sleeve.
Use the hand towel not your pants.
Did you wipe?
Knock it off.
Go cry in your room.
Go to bed.

I didn’t make the mess, I’m not cleaning it up.
If you cheat, I'm not going to play anymore.
Is that where that goes?
You’re hungry? Hi hungry, nice to meet you, I’m Daddy.
Not until you finish your dinner.
Not until your room’s clean.
If I told you that you could have candy for breakfast, I bet you’d be able to remember that.
Be nice to your brother.
Be nice to your sister.
Go apologize to your father.
Go say you’re sorry to your mother.
Don’t even think about it.

If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.
Do you want to rephrase that?
I can’t understand you when you’re whining.
How do you ask for something?
What did I say?
What did you say?
I said no.
How many times do I have to tell you?
I would advise you to remember who you are speaking to.
I will not tolerate lying.
No one likes a tattler.
We don’t talk like that at the dinner table.
Please just stop talking.

Catch us at our respective jobs or after the kids go to bed and really, we can be interesting people who can carry on real conversation and not just grunt commands and recriminations. Just make sure you don’t sniffle or we’ll tell you to go blow your nose first.

Of course there is the other phrase, the one that all the others stem from, the one we hope they always know, the one they ultimately remember long after they’ve mastered wiping and don’t cheat at Monopoly anymore, I love you.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Grrr, Ugg, Hmmp

Two weeks after our youngest was born, my mom and Grandma came to visit. The kids were so glad to have the Grandmas around, since the baby had been consuming most of our time.

Between weekends at my husband's moms, a visit to two of the great grandmas and then my mom and grandma staying with us for a week, it was a veritable Grandmapalooza.

By the time they came out to visit, my husband and I were both reaching maximum density as far as sleep deprivation was concerned, so it was a huge relief when mom and Grandma took the baby for the whole night. A perfunctory kiss goodnight and we both passed out cold until morning. We were both starting to resemble the living dead and they gave us a much needed, uninterrupted night of rest.

They took the baby a second night and better rested, we were able to watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report without interruption. Real adult conversation took the place of the grunts and groans we had used to communicate as we became more and more tired. “Grrr, “ meant, go make me a bottle, if I move or get up, she will no doubt cry. “Ugg,” meant, you must take her now, if I have to listen to her scream for one more minute, though I love her, I cannot guarantee I won’t throw her out window. "Hmmp", meant, go snuggle up with the cats, I’m going to sleep. Dare I say if mom and Grandma had given us one more night alone, there might have been a locked bedroom door with the muted sounds of Barry White escaping out from underneath.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Moniker Schmoniker

Ok, so why the Formerly Fun moniker you ask. You didn’t? Well, somebody did.

Let me explain. I am one of the world’s most positive, glass totally full, let’s not just make lemonade out of lemons, let’s make a fucking lemonade stand, and franchise it, people you will ever know. However, with the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in my grandfather, the only unambiguously loving, solid, stable, constant male in my life with the exception of my husband, the birth of my youngest daughter, the subsequent death of said grandfather, the tenuous balancing of a business, two other delightful children who love and need me and a husband who deserves adoration, frequent sex and a good hot meal every night, I became frighteningly, paralyzingly sad.

I, who could juggle knives while reciting the Bill of Rights while also painting my toenails, became overwhelmed with simple tasks like taking my kids to the dentist, arranging for summer activities for the days I work, and other important stuff like getting out of bed and not crying for hours at a time. It was crushing and humbling. I have always been sensitive, self-doubting, insecure and marginally paranoid but I have this wonderful internal therapist, this better me who operates on a kinder scale of judgement than I do and she can always talk me off the ledge and put things in perspective. Sometimes I will even visualize this voice as myself, years older and wiser, embracing the current me, reminding myself things will work themselves out. This inner voice, this more reasonable, less ego focused me, she totally checked out. I don’t know if I wore her down or what but I was absolutely stranded in a place that I, even now, just a few short months from, cannot totally remember. I walked around feeling like a shell of my formerly fun(there’s that name), playful, light self.

With the assistance of the gentle, kind words of my OB, the total non-judgemental support of my husband and modern pharmacology, I set about returning to my formerly fun self. I also returned to regular writing, abandoned since the 48 hour+ labour of my third child and the months of sleep deprivation that followed. A frequent vehicle of mental clarification for me in the past, I’ve set about writing weekly, daily, hourly if needed. It seems to be working, the glass is half full again and I’m sure will be brimming in the near future.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Being A Parent is Incredibly Humbling: Mushrooms, Metal & Oreo Cookies

I will admit to a certain degree of smugness with the fact that my kids don’t know who Ronald McDonald is and watch tv or movies only a couple of hours a week. My husband and I have made a concerted effort to fill their free time with play, reading, arts, physical activity and family time that we hope will spark their imagination, strengthen their bonds to us and each other, nurture their budding intellects and in part shape the adults they will become. We resist against the convenience of fast food, Cartoon Network and Playstation, though at times it would certainly make our lives easier. So it continually amazes me when the outside influences seep in where we least expect them and that in spite of our attempts at ‘molding’, they are, even at their tender age, their own people.

Take for instance a recent example where our children’s dietary choices have been unwittingly compromised by television. My seven year old son remarked the other night that he would like to abandon our vegetarian diet and start eating meat. “I’d like to be a carnivore,” he said, “and I think I’ll start with a turtle, a nice, fat, juicy turtle and throw it right on the fire.” It sounded a little sadistic to me, I wasn’t sure if it was eating the turtle or the idea of a turtle in the fire that excited him. The very next day I caught my three year old daughter collecting mushrooms in our backyard in what looked like preparation for a stew. “Don’t eat those honey,” I said, shaking my head “they’re poisonous.” She replied, “But the man on tv did.” It was then that I remembered two nights previously when out of exhaustion, the husband and I turned on the television for them and retreated on our own for an hour. They watched Survivorman on the Discovery Channel. If you haven’t seen it, a guy gets dropped off in some remote local and has to make his way back to safety and civilization relying on his wits and the surrounding environment. Not at all mindless or consumerist but nevertheless, he cooked a whole turtle and foraged for wild mushrooms and our children were influenced by what they saw.

And when my son recently expressed more interest in music, we put a cd player/radio in his room so that he can listen when he likes. A few days ago, I was in the back yard weeding when I heard Night on Bald Mountain, a dark, looming orchestral piece booming from his bedroom window. I went into the house, to his room and found him drawing at his desk, the music playing in the background. It seemed so intellectual, enjoying classical music while he sketched. The cd was a Halloween-themed one my mom had sent him and the only one he had. My husband and I decided that we would give him a box of some of our cds so that he could widen his musical tastes. We gave him about 50 cds of all different genres. He could have chosen another classical artist, or even the eclectic and folky Bob Dylan or 10,000 Maniacs. I thought maybe he would pick something more techno since he seems to like his music fast and loud. Instead he chose Metallica, specifically the song Enter Sandman, and he played it non-stop for more than a week. If you are not familiar with this song, it is not a quaint lullaby. Lyrics, which I now know almost by heart, include lines like:

“…the sandman he comes, sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight, exit light, enter night, take my hand, off to never never land, hush little baby, dont say a word, and never mind that noise you heard, Its just the beast under your bed, In your closet, in your head…”

Peek in his room while he’s playing it and you will see a seven year old version of headbanging and yes, even air guitar. So I am now the proud mother of a seven year old metal-head.

And then there was last week when we went out for icecream. We have a Baskin Robbins walking distance from our house that we go to once a week or so during the summer after dinner. My son is relatively adventurous with his ice cream selections, trying new stuff almost every week, searching for that elusive perfect flavour. My husband shifts between a few select favorites, I usually get the same thing, three child-size scoops so I can get my coconut, chocolate and Daquiri Ice fix, clearly, I cannot make up my mind. My daughter is a predictable chocolate or strawberry girl. So it was a surprise to me when upon entering the store, she went almost hysterical requesting cookie icecream. “That one, that one, that one,” she said in a high pitched dolphin-like squeal, jumping up and down and pointing feverishly at the Oreo Cookie ice cream label. Thinking it was a whim that would make her unhappy once she got a scoop of something other than her usual choice, I asked her “are you sure you want that?” I won’t exaggerate and say she went into convulsions on the floor while her eyes rolled back into her head but it was a pretty close approximation. It was so unusual a choice for her and she has never shown that level of excitement over ice cream in general that I mentioned it to my husband as we sat eating our icecream how weird I thought it was. “Honey, look around,” he told me, motioning all around us. It was then that I saw what I had failed to notice before. All around the store, at her eye level, were signs with Oreo cookies and ice cream on them. There must have been more than 25 sign, placards, hanging mobiles and the like. No wonder she went nuts. Damn you Nabisco for seeking to establish my three year olds brand preferences.

Being a parent is incredibly humbling. So many of the decisions we make are called into question. We question ourselves in late night reflections wondering if we handled something right, were we patient enough, kind enough, tuned in enough. We are questioned by our peers and we question them in kind, dabbling in what I call comparative parenting. Why do they do that, don’t they know they shouldn’t do that, maybe we should do that, oh, I’m glad we don’t do that. Whether its grades, sleep routines, video games, tv, athletics, protectiveness, eating habits, discipline, any number of things, we look quietly to those around us for some clues to what works and what doesn’t. Maybe we also look for validation that we aren’t the only ones that lose our temper, give in too easily out of exhaustion or occasionally desperately count the minutes until their bedtime. We are questioned by our families, many of whom were raised and raised us on a different set of conventional wisdoms. Try explaining to someone who never put their infants on their backs to sleep for fear they’d spit up and choke why it’s the only way we do it now or why your 1 ½ year old can’t have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and you’ll invariably hear the “I did it for you and you turned out fine.” So much of our children’s personalitites, coping skills, sensitivities and interests seem preset. Maybe none of it matters as much as we might think.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


One reason to blog

If you want imaginative, playful, compassionate, inspiring and sometimes enigmatic horoscopes, check out Rob Brezney's Free Will Astrology http://freewillastrology.com/

As usual, his celestial musings motivate me, my most recent 'scope is a big part of why I'm blogging here.

My songwriter friend Darius has created some fine music, but he periodically goes through phases when everything he produces sounds contrived. It's not writer's block he suffers from. During his bouts with bad composing, he's often teeming with ideas. The problem is that he gets caught up in a vortex of too much thinking. He can't stop his mind from tinkering endlessly with every raw impulse that wells up. Recently he joined the Immersion Composition Society, an organization that helps "talented basket cases" and "tortured geniuses" cut through their tendency to over-analyze and thereby reconnect to their pure inspiration. One technique: Musicians agree to take on firm deadlines that compel them to create songs wicked fast. I hope you find the equivalent assistance for your own field of expression, Virgo. The time is ripe for you to dissect less and build more.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Is this right for me?

The other night I was watching television and there was this commercial for Asmanex and it got me thinking, is Asmanex right for me? See, I don’t have asthma so right out of the shoot I thought, this can’t be right for me. Then the guy on the commercial, he looked like some kind of expert because he had a suit and lab coat on and walked across an all white background very authoritative like. Anyhow, he started listing symptoms that might indicate that Asmanex is right for me and I thought yes, I get tired sometimes. I thought that it’s because I have a new baby and she wakes me up a lot but maybe it’s undetected asthma or something like it that would require asthma medication. He also mentioned feeling winded and you know, I get winded sometimes, like when I walk uphill for awhile. I’m not completely sure but this Asmanex, this could be exactly what I need. In fact next week, as directed in the commercial, I am going to my doctor and asked him if Asmanex is right for me.

I thought that was the only thing I was going to have to ask my doctor about(besides the weird new freckle on the bottom of my foot) but the more I paid attention to the commercials, the bigger the list has become. Now I have to ask him about Allegra, Allevert, Advair, and Ambien. Not to mention Claritin, Flonase, Nasonex and Seasonal. We’ll have to consider Celebrex, Miripex, Valtrex, and Flomax. I’ve been up all night worrying about Ambien, Lunesta, Lyrica, and Requip. And I’m very anxious about Paxil, Prozac ,Zoloft, and Zyrtec. My husband told me Flomax is a prostate medication. I don’t have a prostate but you can’t be too careful.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Ajax CommentLuv Enabled fc364964f7fd2cca9729ec8fc1ef9641