October 28, 2004
Champion Charlie Brown!

Lately, we’ve been watching old Charlie Brown movies, which means that I have a couple of new expressions I can use when stifling the urge to swear (due to the presence of children). You may hear me saying “Good grief!” around the house or “You blockhead!” while driving. There are few movies that offer good, clean fun with practical application for parents, but Charlie Brown videos fit the bill.

I enjoy watching these movies with the girls (ages 3 and 5), unlike most of the other shows they’re interested in. It’s also fun to hear S. referring to Snoopy as the “Easter Bagel” (instead of the Easter Beagle), to watch her new habit of dragging a blanket around the house to copy Linus, and to listen to both girls go on and on about Marcie cracking the eggs into the pot of hot water (instead of boiling them whole) when trying to make colored Easter eggs (“Marcie! You made egg soup!” Peppermint Patty screams).

As we watch the videos together, the girls have questions and observations, such as:

Why is Lucy so mean? Why does she always pull the football away from Charlie Brown?”

“She said a bad word!” (stupid)

“Why is he like that?” (about Pigpen)

“He can play the piano really well. He’s a lot older than the others.” (about Schroeder)

Also, while listening to classical music after dinner, J. proudly informs her daddy that “Schroeder has a closet full of Beethoven statues.”

“Why do the grown ups talk like that?” (mwa-mwa-mwah, mwa-mwah…)

“He has a lot of things in his house.” (about Snoopy)

“He’s not an ordinary dog.”

“Why does Marcie call Peppermint Patty ‘Sir’?”

As for me, my biggest problem now is that I cannot get the “Champion Charlie Brown” song—the one they sing when he wins a spelling contest—out of my mind. It comes to me at odd moments throughout the day and I’ll sing it out loud to the girls while pointing at them liked a crazed lounge singer. That’s what happens when you revisit the Peanuts gang. Check your local library for availability.

October 25, 2004
On the Q.T.

I am not the kind of person who likes to draw attention to herself. Some of the people in my town, however, are making it hard for me. Is it just where I live that all the indiscreet people work?

For example, at my doctor’s office, they take you to an area next to the examining rooms in order to take your blood pressure and weight. The nurse loves to shout out—and I do mean yell—the weight measurement. As she screams the number, oblivious to me sitting there, horrified and exposed, I wonder how she can be so tactless. I want to clarify, for all the people sitting within earshot, “I’m tall…that weight is not so bad if you're tall!” You’d think a kind nurse would recognize the delicacy of the situation and lower her voice a bit.

There’s also a wacky lady at the library, a place that I frequent. Most of the librarians are great, but this one person has an interesting check-out style. I’ll hoist my stack of materials onto the counter and she’ll peruse them, flip them over, have a look—as if she’s contemplating purchasing them herself. I stand there uncomfortably, mentally willing her to just scan the items, because I know what’s coming next. “What’s this book about?” she asks. I pause a few beats, hoping she’ll understand that I don’t really want to get into it. But she’s clueless so I fumble for a quick explanation, wanting to actually say, “I haven’t read it yet. If you’ll just let me have it, I'll give you a book report when I come back”. Then she continues to go through my pile, examining all the titles that reveal my personal interests. I feel like she’s holding up my underwear for inspection in front of the other patrons until finally I escape.

Then we have the pharmacy, a busy spot inside the local grocery store. When you pick up a prescription, they take it out of the bag to show it to you before you pay, to make sure it’s the correct medicine. That’s fine, but there’s nothing subtle in their technique. They open up the bottle or package inside and brandish the medication at you and all the people waiting within three feet of you. I’m nodding quickly, with a panicked look that says, “Can’t we do this a bit more covertly?” Too late. Now the nice older gentleman with whom I was chatting over the tomatoes knows which form of birth control I use. Great.

This is part of the reason that I have never wished for fame (Fortune? Sure. I've got no problem with that). I just want what’s “my business” to remain with me until I decide to share it. That sounds fair, doesn’t it? Or maybe I could do my errands in your town instead.

October 21, 2004
Say Something

This is my Public Service Announcement for the day: Bloggers like receiving comments. I will go out on a limb here and say that bloggers adore comments. Many of us have even affectionately referred to ourselves as comment whores. Nice, huh?

Seeing a new comment on a blog entry is a highlight of my day. Well, maybe not a highlight, but a pleasant surprise. Perhaps it’s a bit like an attention-starved celebrity who confuses applause with love, but I’ll admit to liking some feedback.

Can you expect constant interest and approval from your readers? No. Once in awhile though, a post will generate a lot of comments and it’s hard not to get that Sally Field “You like me! You really like me!” feeling. However, it’s dangerous to care too much about whether other people respond or not.

What I’ve learned is that you have to be happy with your work for its own sake, whether or not other people react publicly to it. If you know that it’s a solid effort, then that needs to be satisfaction enough. Otherwise, you’ll feel bad when there’s no reason to.

With that said, if you’re a new or visiting reader, feel free to leave some feedback. If you got here via Blog Explosion, let me know that you stopped by. If you’re feeling shy, if you think it doesn’t matter whether you say anything, or if you want to make my day, let me make it clear: Please chime in. Go ahead, it’s fun.

October 19, 2004
Ambivalence, Rain Down On Me

I love hearing the rain drumming on the roof when I’m cozy inside. I hate sinus pain triggered by the change in the atmospheric pressure.

I like seeing the girls’ excitement about their raincoats and umbrellas. I don’t like having my head hurt so badly all night—even with two Advils—that I can’t sleep.

I appreciate my new friend Tara, who smuggled some drugs onto the elementary school campus (OTC stuff from Safeway, don’t worry) that she swears will help me. I could do without useless medical websites informing me that weather-health connections aren’t real; that sinus pain tends to worsen as you bend forward or lie down (yes, I’m well aware); and that storm-related sinus headaches are probably migraine variants (please, no!).

I’m (secretly) glad that the preschool field trip to the pumpkin patch was cancelled due to the weather. I’m sorry that S. didn’t get to go, but she didn’t even mind. (It was her turn to bring the class refreshments and the snack-bringer gets the honor of snuffing out a candle. She did not want to miss her chance at this, pumpkin be damned.)

I’m fond of hot chocolate on a rainy afternoon. But I might ask you at some point to smash open my head to relieve the pressure inside.

October 13, 2004
Things I Wonder About

~Does Sandra Lee of Semi-Homemade Cooking fame really eat the stuff she makes on her show, as she pretends to do? Or does she just taste her concoctions on camera, cooing about how wonderful they are and then feed the rest to the crew? Because unless she has the metabolism of a crack-addicted hummingbird, there is no way she is eating such fattening creations everyday and wearing those cute little outfits, ok?

~Do the hosts on the home shopping channels have to sign a contract relinquishing their souls before going on-air? When they tell you with such sincerity that each and every item they sell is absolutely fabulous, and they use it themselves and it's truly life-altering…are they able to go home and sleep at night? (Asked by someone who has bought a few things from these people; that’s how good they can be.)

~If you’re watching the TV-edited version of Sex and the City while you exercise, when they dub over the dialog, is it OK to each time shout out the bad words that were actually said? “Hey honey, she really said #@$%&!”

~How do Marg Helgenberger and David Caruso (Catherine and Horatio on CSI and CSI Miami, respectively) act their parts with straight faces? How many takes do they need to speak in that way, to spew out such swaggering, over-exaggerated confidence? And in Caruso's case, to use his sunglasses as a ridiculous prop in every opening scene?

~Also, does it bother anyone else that Crime Scene Investigators are performing actual police work? Why are these science geeks interrogating suspects and arresting people?

~Did you ever notice that when a known actor guest stars on Law and Order, that, even if it’s made to seem like he or she has a peripheral role, he always turns out to be integrally involved in the crime? As in, oh, there’s Jane Krakowski (from Ally McBeal) so at the very end of the show, despite several red herrings, the twist will be that she is the killer.

~Does it drive anyone else crazy when impossibly beautiful people are cast to perform real-life jobs for which someone like themselves would hardly be taken seriously? Does every assistant D.A. or firefighter have $500 blond highlights or perfect brunette ringlets? Would a policewoman show such cleavage at a crime scene? Do most male doctors look as though they could moonlight doing GQ covers? (Well, that could be nice.)

~Is it okay to pine over TV characters that you have a crush on (for example, Martin on Without a Trace) as long as your husband is aware of it? Particularly if he believes that Martin’s love interest on the show, Samantha, is pretty hot?

October 11, 2004
It's Picture Day

Here are a few photos from events that I’ve blogged about. It starts sweetly, but ends with a couple of pictures that probably won’t make my mom’s wedding photo album...

the girls in their flower car at the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk

the first day of kindergarten|

preschool bike-a-thon|

my sisters in the limo, pre-wedding

"models" on the runway, with bride (my Mom) and groom to the right

the bridesmaids ask the limo driver to pull over for a photo at the crazy S.F. 49er house

(note: click on any picture to enlarge)

October 06, 2004
The Princess and The Mouse

I am the kind of mother who dreads Halloween.

For two reasons, mainly: the costumes and the candy. The problem with costumes is that I’m not interested in making them, but I also refuse to spend much money on something the kids will wear one night for two hours. The outfits should also be warm enough for walking around outside on a dark, chilly night (there goes half of the cutesy girl costumes).

This year however, my prayers have been answered. We have two brand new costumes that cost $6 each, which the girls picked out themselves and are committed (no mind-changing allowed) to wearing. The simple costumes, a princess for J. and a mouse for S., came from Old Navy’s online catalog. The princess set is a pointy pink hat with some ribbons coming out of the top of it, a pink skirt and a wand; the mouse set is a headband with mouse ears and a tail that’s attached to an elastic belt. We’ll add in the rest with things we’ve already got, like long sleeved tops that go with the outfits and warm bottoms (tights for the princess, gray sweats for the mouse), plus I’ll use makeup to draw a nose and whiskers on the little mouse. Done!

The candy dilemma is a bit trickier. I want to minimize the amount of candy that I consume before Halloween, while also having the goods far enough in advance that I’m not squeezing in a special candy-shopping trip at the last minute. I’ll also mention that we need A LOT of candy. We live in the middle of two elementary schools and easily pass out five bags worth of candy on Halloween night.

I know that an easy answer would be to shop early, but buy something that I don’t like, so that I don’t eat any candy. Don’t get logical on me. For some reason, I have this need to pass out “good” candy (like Peanut Butter cups, M & M’s, Snickers, etc.). I always see nice combination packages at the store that seem just right.

After stocking up, there are plenty of goodies in the house—certainly enough that we can each have just one or two pieces after dinner for a few nights. But you and I both know that once the bag is opened, it’s over. Before you know it, my ass size has increased by two pounds per cheek before we hit daylight savings time.

I’m considering passing out some kind of Halloween trinket in lieu of candy this year, like the novelties you find at The Oriental Trading Company. Would the kids groan as I fill their loot bags? Do I care? These are the questions I need to ponder.

October 05, 2004
A Very Short Wedding Recap

My mother got married on Sunday—a full blown 200 guest wedding in which my aunt and my two sisters and I were the bridesmaids. I’m still tired!

I’ll let the girls tell you their favorite part about the wedding.

S: “The cake.”

J: “The dancing.”

Enthralled by their mommy’s and aunts’ crazy dance floor antics, the girls joined in for “Love Shack” by the B-52’s and other wedding reception classics. They also learned the motions for “YMCA” by the Village People—a skill they’ll use for many years.

I myself enjoyed the champagne limo ride. I could get used to that.