May 28, 2004
What’s Going On

What was the last ...

…meal you ate?

Breakfast—a sourdough English muffin with real butter and half a banana cut in small circles (same as kids’), with a small glass of 100% Cran-Grape juice. I still need to take my vitamins.

…thing you did online?

Visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium website, since I’m taking the girls there next week. They were excited to see that the jellyfish exhibit is still there.

…television show you watched?

The season finale of Law & Order that we taped from earlier this week. *Spoiler* Ladies, if you’re going to help each other out by killing each other's husbands, make sure the contract between you is clear, k?

…purchase you made?

Sterling silver hoop earrings and bangle bracelet from Bluefly. This is a dangerous site for online shoppers, lots of discounted designer stuff. I'm giving you the link anyway, since I'm such an enabler.

What do you currently…


The television show Stanley downstairs (click link and you can hear it too), my five-year old coughing (allergies), the humming of the computer.


A very messy desk, a tall blue plastic cup full of cold water, several laundry baskets in the hall, full of folded clothes to be put away(sigh).


I can sort of smell my coffee. Not much else...there was a fire near our neighborhood yesterday and the smoke was so bad that I had to keep the windows closed.


Pretty good…we’re just about to start a 3-day holiday weekend.

What’s on your…


“Dancing in the Isles” polish by OPI (see color here). Remember I told you that I won the whole Greek collection?


A high ponytail with a black band.


What should I have for lunch? (It's always about food with me!)

~ How about you? ~

May 26, 2004
People I Haven’t Thought About in Years

The other day we ran into the mom of a boy from the daycare where my girls used to go. My five year old (J.) and Max were close friends—they held hands in the double stroller when they were babies, played together everyday for four years, and even talked about getting married when they grew up. On her last day of daycare, he gave her an “I love you” card that he made at home.

His mother mentioned how much Max misses J. these days, and I told her that J. talks about him a lot too (she even drew him a picture for me to mail to him a few days ago). Realistically, we won’t see much of Max anymore. We live in different towns, he’s a grade older than J, and she’ll be going to a different school when she starts kindergarten this fall. We may get together at a park or something, but the kids will grow up, make new friends and move on.

It got me thinking about childhood friends who were a big part of my life at one point in time, a time long past. Isn’t it strange that someone can be a huge part of your everyday life and then—poof!—they’re not anymore? It’s called life, I guess.

I haven’t thought about these people in years:

In elementary school, in Reading, Pennsylvania, my next door neighbor Erin was a good friend. She was a year younger than me but we played together almost everyday. I remember that she had all of the Fisher Price Little People toys, and we made a whole town out of the buildings and people, playing downstairs in her basement for hours. We also played kickball outside with the neighborhood kids (she was very athletic and competitive, and even played on the boys’ baseball team). We watched The Monkees on TV at my house (we knew the episodes so well that she and my two sisters and I each had part. I was Mickey, cause I always go for the funny guy). I also remember telling Erin that there isn’t a Santa Claus (she asked!) and her mother came over and yelled at me until I cried.

In middle school, in Ithaca, New York, I rode the bus to school with Tricia. She and her older sister Dawn were pretty and popular—and also more promiscuous than most girls our age, probably due to their situation at home. We didn’t talk about it, but somehow I knew that their dad was abusive. I remember being at their house after school or on weekends, and there was a palpable sense of fear in the air. I also recall that their mom would come home from work at a bank and frantically start making dinner from scratch, which he apparently required. Tricia & Dawn shared a tiny bedroom and they had a poster of a shirtless David Lee Roth on the wall. We listened to a lot of Van Halen and other heavy rock music.

In high school, in San Jose, California, I had another troubled friend named Melody. We were crazy for Duran Duran and we went to the concert together, where, having made our way to the front row after the first encore, Simon LeBon actually smiled at me (very cool, but bassist John Taylor was my guy). She and I cut school together but even still, I got straight A’s that year and she got all F’s. I remember one time when her mother drove us somewhere and the song “Every Breath You Take” by the Police came on the radio. She said to us, “That’s what divorce is like.” Melody and I sometimes smoked clove cigarettes.

Isn’t it weird how people come and go in our lives? One day, they’re everything to us; later on, we’ve all but forgotten them. But even if we haven’t thought of them in a long, long time, the memories are still there somewhere in our brains.

May 24, 2004
The Power of Writing

Over the last few years I’ve kept a journal. It’s interesting to look back and see how, over time, I've clarified my goals and molded my life into what I wanted it to be. I can review the pages and observe how—as I began to articulate a vision of what I wanted and how I wanted to feel—things came together. I’m fascinated by the whole thing.

I write about the things I want, both big and small. One of the biggies for me was a desire to leave my job and stay home full time with my kids. I can track in my journal how the idea moved from a fanciful wish to a real possibility to something that I was actually making happen.

There’s a great book called Write It Down Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want and Getting It by Henriette Anne Klauser. She says that if you write down your ideas and goals, you will be taking a big step forward to realizing your desired future. It works because you pay closer attention to and think in greater detail about the particular subject that you write about. This makes you more aware of opportunities and options that you may not have previously considered.

I found this to be true for me. As I review my journal, I can see how writing down my thoughts helped clarify what I wanted and led me to take the necessary actions to make it happen. At first, it was me dreaming out loud on paper, envisioning a life that I didn’t necessarily think was possible. On the journal pages there are income calculations and lots of “What about this?” and “What about that?”—basically, me working some thoughts out on paper.

Next, there was a period of further organizing my thoughts and coming to realizations (some painful) about what’s really important to me:

“I do what I do because of the salary, the health benefits, the flexible schedule. I am giving myself—my soul, my happiness—in exchange for this security. It sucks something out of you.”

And a little bit later, still processing my feelings and leading up to a final decision that it was time to make the change:

“The math says that it can be done…When I envision life without it [my job], there’s wonderful lightness and joy.

Is this just me having a bad day? Or am I finally facing the truth?”

Around that point, I was freaking out a bit. However, my journal shows that I was having nighttime dreams related to survival, but with a message of faith. The entries discuss this:

“That’s what I’ve been thinking about lately—how, if I take this leap (to stay home with the girls, a financial risk), that things will work out. The Divine will take care of me, even if it’s in ways that I can’t know right now.”

For kicks, I opened my journal to see what I wrote one year ago today. By this time, the decision to have me stay at home had been made, and we were getting some financial things in order over a period of time before actually making the transition.

“The 2nd day home with the girls, this time taking a full sick day. J. is recuperating from bronchitis. It feels right being home, not thinking about work. I want this life. 6 to 8 more months seems like a long time to wait. In the grand scheme, it’s hardly any time though…

…the girls seem really happy at home. I can tell both are pleased that I’m here with them and they have been quite affectionate. I love to see them content. It’s the way it should be.”

It feels weird for me to share all of that, but I believe it shows a little of how journaling can help lead you toward your ideal life. I’ve seen how writing things down helps you to determine what it is that you really want and to stay focused on it. In Write It Down Make It Happen, Klauser says, “The written word keeps the image steady, unwavering, like a lighthouse beam, steady on. It keeps the goal, the intended consequence in mind.” That's how it felt to me.

Do you write down what you want? Have you found that some of your wishes are coming true?

May 21, 2004
25 Things To Be Happy About

1. Summer is coming soon. Sunny days ahead, allergies behind.

2. Season 6 of Sex and the City is now available (sorry, this is the only R-rated thing on the list).

3. I made a decent cup of real coffee this morning. With warm milk and vanilla syrup.

4. I’m not at work (I resigned in January of this year).

5. The girls are playing nicely together. They have box of colored beads to go crazy with.

6. I’m baking lemon bars today.

7. Bright pink toe nail polish (a shade from OPI’s Greek collection called “To Eros is Human”)

8. I recently won the whole above-noted OPI Greek nail polish collection from a contest in the back of Lucky magazine.

9. It’s Friday!

10. Then Saturday! My favorite day.

11. I have Twizzlers in the pantry. My favorite candy.

12. I’m still in my pajamas.

13. It’s not an exercise day for me.

14. Next weekend is a l o n g weekend. (Memorial Day).

15. I’m not doing any laundry today. First day this week I can say that.

16. I still have a Mother’s Day present to use: a day at the spa. I just need a free Saturday to go do it.

17. We get to watch the season finale of Without A Trace tonight (which we taped last night, as 10:00p.m. shows are past my bedtime).

18. I have a crush on Martin (Eric Close) from the above show (yes, K. knows all about it).

19. I enjoy making lists. I’m a list-making fool.

20. I’m thinking about taking the kids to see Shrek 2 next week.

21. I’m giving myself a break from my to-do list today.

22. My five year old found my missing gold hoop earring in the car yesterday.

23. My three year old just came up to me and said, “Mommy, I wuv you,” and patted my arm.

24. I’m reading a really cool book right now called Writers Dreaming. Well-known writers talk about their dreams and how they use them to create their art. (Note: Stephen King dreams some scary sh**).

25. New neighbors are moving in next door. At least I hope that’s something to be happy about. Looks like they have a cute kid anyway.

26. (Bonus item) I’m meeting such nice people in the blogging world.

...See? I’m easily pleased. What are you happy about right now?

May 19, 2004
Simon Says Read This

Being home full time now gives me the opportunity (I use that term loosely) to play games with my kids. With some activities I can get away with minimal involvement, like the Pet Shop they made yesterday with about 50 stuffed animals—all grouped by species—that I toured upon completion. With other games, like Go Fish, I’m playing along the whole time.

Usually I take part in these games for them, to make them happy. Aside from the quality time with my kids, these aren’t activities that I would choose to be doing (unless I had a lobotomy). Yesterday, right before I needed to get dinner started, they wanted to play Simon Says. By this time of day I’m pretty tired but I said ok.

My three year old and I got our turns being Simon first. When she gets to be in charge, you can see her delight in having some power over her mom and big sister. Her eyes widen as she watches us follow her commands. When it was my turn, she was very easy to trick though. She usually does what I say even if I don’t preface it with “Simon Says.” You know, “Touch your nose!” and she does it. But she’ll still smile and giggle when she loses (She’s a good sport, unlike her dad. Heh, heh.)

So then my five year old, perhaps more intuitive than I gave her credit for, gets her turn being Simon. She’s directing her commands primarily at me:

Simon Says, “Lie down.”

[I like this already.]

Simon Says, “Close your eyes.”

[Thank you. Now this is a game I can get behind.]

Simon Says, “Get comfortable.”


Simon Says, “Do whatever you want.”

[Could this game be getting any better?]

Simon Says, “Tell somebody that you love them.”

[Awww. But good advice, no? I suggest that you do this last one too.]

May 17, 2004
To warehouse, to warehouse

As a follow up to the post about my trip to the Farmers Market, and in the interest of keeping you fully informed about my shopping habits, let’s talk about my weekend visit to Costco. I got out of there for $291.24—a bit higher than usual, but probably typical of what happens to most people. (Has anyone ever left a membership warehouse club for anything less than $100? Really? Let me see the receipt.)

So, how does one rack up almost three hundred dollars of purchases? And how does one rationalize such a total? Well, there’s basic household items that we needed, like shaving gel for K., two-pack loaves of bread for the price of what one costs at the grocery store, and a super-sized box of laundry detergent. Then, there’s…

… the vat of Flinstones vitamins for the kids. Since taking them daily, they don’t get sick much anymore. (Or maybe that’s because their immunity is set after getting sick biweekly while they were in daycare).

…a fat, warm rotisserie chicken. I mean, what can’t you do with this for dinner? Serve it warm with potatoes and a veggie, or chop it up to make a chicken Caesar salad or Chicken soft tacos, make soups or casseroles out of it. If you need even more ideas, you can buy a cookbook called Rotisserie Chickens to the Rescue! (tagline: When you have a rotisserie chicken, you have possibilities!). I’ve only made one thing from it so far—a fabulous Chopped Barbecue Chicken Salad. (Let me know if you want the recipe. That’s what I’m here for, to serve you. Well, not really, but I’ll do it if you ask nicely.)

…a case of Scotch tape. Because my kids go through rolls of it. They attach every drawing they make to the walls and doors of our house. Right now, I can see fourteen hearts of different sizes that they cut and colored and taped to the wall next to the computer. Like Valentine’s Day threw up in here.

…a 6.5’ psychedelic looking beach umbrella. Because last summer, vacationing in Santa Cruz, the wind took our old one away. Of course, we’ll need another one, so that the kids can build sand castles without getting completely fried. Good to be prepared.

…linen Calvin Klein ankle pants for me. Well, because. Plus they were only the second most expensive item that I bought (after the Roundup weed killer).

Can you see how my membership dues are paying off for me?

- - -

In other news-

Did you hear that actress Gwyneth Paltrow named her new child Apple? What the ****? The baby weighed 9 pounds, 11 ounces, so maybe she should have named it Watermelon. Ouch.

May 14, 2004
To market, to market

I have new way to get my kids to try fruits that they would otherwise refuse: go to the Farmers Market. They had samples of cherries, oranges, apricots, peaches, and strawberries. We also tried some special hormone-free, $11 rotisserie chicken made with secret Swiss spices and of course, the kettle corn. Can you say “spoil your appetite for dinner”?

We went with some friends from my daughter’s ballet class, the other mom being a very attractive woman from Switzerland. I was starting to wonder why she was talking so long with the cute chicken guy (a little flirting going on too long?), but it turned out that they were both from the same place in Switzerland. Oh yeah, the chicken had secret Swiss spices--I should have figured that one out.

We also bought some giant bagels from the bread vendor and we had them for breakfast this morning. Carbs? Bring ‘em on!

Now, at 9:45a.m., I’ve got to get some rest. So far this morning I’ve played nine rounds of “I spy” with my three and five year olds, been covered with Care Bears while trying to enjoy a hot mug of fake coffee, and have been asked repeatedly to locate a missing toy that seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth (a daily, whiny request). You know what? My job title is not The Finder of Toys. You played with it, you find it!

I think I detect a momentary reprieve for me. They’re making a “galaxy of happiness”(?) with legos, playing together quite nicely. Let me go warm up that coffee before they need me again.

May 12, 2004
Childhood Clues

I received a giant Office Depot catalog on my doorstep yesterday (I think it was too big for the mailbox, so the postal carrier brought it there). Does anyone else get excited by office supplies or am I just weird? A whole book of pens, paper, colored folders, binders, organizers and other goodies. Perusing the catalog doesn’t have quite the same effect as being in the actual store, though, where I’m happily delirious amongst the rows and rows of supplies that beckon my creativity.

Career experts always suggest that you think back to your childhood to help define your interests and determine what jobs you might be suited for. I remember playing “office” or “business” as a kid, with my own desk, rolodex, stapler, paper, pens, and phone. I think it was called Rentek (my then-last name spelled backwards) Enterprises. I was too young to know what this company did, I just liked planning and organizing things, the idea of a professional environment, and the office supplies. Interestingly, I went on to get a degree in Economics and worked in the corporate world for many years.

I remember two other childhood activities that may offer some clues. I played “school” with my little sisters. I was the teacher, of course, making lesson plans, offering chalkboard instruction and administering tests. They were good little students at first, then they would balk at the assignments and somehow escape from my classroom. I’ve considered teaching as a profession, but decided it isn’t for me (my mom is a teacher and one of my sisters was until recently, though). I love learning new things, sharing information with other people, offering guidance and training—the essence of teaching—so perhaps my childhood play provides some meaning.

The other activity I recall is writing. As a kid, I made up newsletter, wrote a little mystery, and created a play for my sisters and I to act out (that I also directed), which my dad filmed. Only now in my thirties am I making writing a regular part of my life, however. I’m journaling, blogging and taking a Creative Nonfiction course. It gives me tremendous satisfaction.

What did you enjoy doing as a kid and does it offer any insight into your interests or aptitudes?

May 11, 2004
Breakfast of Hellions

Someone please remind me that when I break down and buy my kids the Lucky Charms that they beg for in the grocery store, that by 10:00am on the day that I allow them to eat this magically delicious cereal, they will be insane. There is some kind of time-released madness inside the colored marshmallows. When I’d had enough of their obnoxiousness and told them that I believed the cereal was the cause of their behavior, my five old said, “Mommy, we’re not going to eat Lucky Charms ever again.” Mmm-hmm.

P.S. Yes, you're in the right place. I have a new look!

May 07, 2004
It's time for the Friday Five

Did you hear that the Friday Five has officially ended? Well, here’s one from the archives.

1. What was the last song you heard?

My husband listens to music every morning while eating his cereal before he leaves for work. Today, he played Aimee Mann’s CD called Lost in Space . She has a beautiful, haunting voice and it’s a tad melancholy for starting your day. (She did the soundtrack for the movie Magnolia.)

2. What were the last two movies you saw?

At the movie theater? We have small children--we rent DVD’s mostly. We’ve been busy for a couple of weekends, so we’re a little behind there too. The last two were probably Something’s Gotta Give and Matchstick Men. Two thumbs up from us for both movies.

3. What were the last three things you purchased?

Yesterday, I bought some facial sunscreen online from SAGE, since I’m almost out of it. Expensive, but it’s good stuff and does not cause breakouts.

On Wednesday, we bought medicine for my daughter’s pink eye at Raley’s. Her doctor said that her throat looked sore, so we also purchased popsicles and lollypops. (She’s doing a lot better now, fortunately).

Finally, from TJ Maxx earlier this week, I bought several things. The main beneficiary of that trip was my husband, for whom I purchased four shirts.

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?

Clean the house up. Just put things away, I mean, not really clean it. I’m embarrassed to say that my sanity rests greatly on the tidiness of my house. Alas, K. has a very high tolerance for disorder. I, however, cannot get Zen with the chaos.

Exercise, both mornings. We have an Ellipse machine that we do for 30 minutes each. Too bad we like eating so much, because we’re lucky if we can break even on the calories in/calories out deal.

I really should look at the materials from a course I’m taking that I am way behind on. It’s self-paced, but many months have passed since I turned I an assignment (and there is a deadline for completing the whole course). Really, I need to get on that.

Finally: Have fun on Sunday, Mother’s Day! I know that I’m having some good food prepared by K. and the girls. The girls have also hinted at something they’re making or getting for me. Hugs and kisses would be fine!

5. Who are the last five people you talked to?

Husband (K.) about a few things before he left for work. He tried on one of the shirts I got him and asked me how it looked. We both liked it and he’s wearing it today. He has casual dress on Fridays and wears business suits on all of the other days.

My sister Kim on the phone last night. She hates her job and needs to figure out how to move on.

My dad. We had lunch together yesterday at a restaurant as he was passing through town on a trip. My three year old, who usually insists on sitting by me at restaurants, pouted until we all switched places so that she could sit next to Grandpa.

Other kids' parents, yesterday at my 5 year old’s weekly ballet lesson. We all sit in a tiny room with windows that look into the dance studio. Three of the people are having surgery in the near future so we talked (read: I listened patiently) about their medical problems.

Probably the local librarian, as we checked out books and movies. I’m a library regular.

May 06, 2004
Forecast: cloudy

It’s true what they say: The only person who enjoys whistling is the whistler.” -Pickles cartoon [Ed. Note: So, shut the **** up.]

It seems like everything is annoying me today—more so than usual. I’m generally a positive person, so I’m even bothered by my state of bothered-ness.

I’m not talking about any real problems. Just little things… Like the lady today who gave me a dirty look for no reason other than her own unhappiness…bickering children…being very tired…a messy house... a messy house and not feeling like dealing with it… needing a manicure. Stuff like that.

My horoscope (Virgo) tells me, “Don’t expect anything to run smoothly and you will be prepared to deal with whatever comes your way today.” The low expectations approach to living.

But then someone walks in the room and tells you, out of the blue, “I love you very much mommy.” That can cheer you up for a moment.

Even still, I’m feeling crabby. Tune in tomorrow for your regularly scheduled cheerfulness.

May 05, 2004
e-i-e-i-o: A gross misspelling of the word 'farm'

Ok, maybe it was a mistake to buy the girls a toy saxophone at TJ Maxx yesterday. It plays eighteen familiar melodies that they want me to sing along with, just enough to drive me insane. They’re having so much fun though, that I will grin and bear it for a few more minutes.

We’re off to see the pediatrician now. My three year old appears to have pink eye, so we need to get a prescription. She also seems to think she’s pregnant—she walked into the room with a toy bear stuffed under her dress and announced that she’s having a baby. I don’t think we’ll talk to the doctor about that.

Between the caffeine that I stupidly had with dinner and my five year old’s two bad dreams during the night, I got about three or four hours of sleep. So I’m dragging. Do you think if I ask nicely they’ll let mommy rest this afternoon? Oh yes, I’m sure that will happen.

May 04, 2004
Is this thing on?

Blog*Spot’s been having some trouble recently in that it’s not actually working. So I’m just checking if anyone out there is able to read this. Hello?

May 03, 2004
More This and That

-Friday was wonderful, thanks for asking. I had a great time with my work friends, chatting over salmon dinners and chardonnay. We talked about possibly meeting for dinner every other month.

-I made a rare trip to the mall this weekend and was quickly reminded why I usually shop elsewhere. First of all, the gene pool could use a little chlorine, if you know what I mean. Plus, the hired help always manage to make me feel weird—like I’m infringing on their time talking to each other or counting down out loud how many hours they have left in their shifts—while I’m looking around at the merchandise. I guess that’s why I do a lot of online and catalog shopping.

-I stumbled across another blog called The New Jan Brady, tag line: “One middle child’s need to be heard.” The site has a slightly anti-Marcia vibe to it (it’s all about Jan over there). In a recent post, the author jokes about having someone else start a blog called “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” Well… I actually considered using “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” for my blog name! So I had to write to The New Jan and tell her that…and also that I am, like Marcia Brady, the oldest sibling in my family.

She wrote back to me and is really very nice, not at all hateful to me because of my name (ha, ha). I even plan to go back and visit her blog from time to time. I forgot to tell her, though, that my college boyfriend’s name was Greg. Obviously destined not to work out.