Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Confession

I admit it, I am a sucker for bubble gum rock. To me there is nothing better than a catchy song that makes you want to roll down the car windows and sing along at the top of your lungs. I hate to say it, but I prefer a fun melody to the more artistic works of say, Bob (will this song ever end?) Dylan.

"Big Girls Don't Cry" (Fergie), Love it.
"We Belong Together" (Taylor Swift), Turn the radio up.
"Jesus Take The Wheel" (Carrie Underwood), Singing it my head right now. (And oye vey, I'm Jewish, what can I say?)

It makes my husband cringe. He likes music with soul, music with cryptic lyrics and complicated instrumentals. He admires talent. And so do I, really I do... however there is something about some tunes that just make you feel good.

But I have gone to far. Truly I have. This is a big confession.

The song, beyond unintelligent, borders on offensive. Shall we begin with the (miss)spelling of Gurls? Is this suppose to be clever? And who can relate to these bikini clad ladies in "California Gurls"? I myself would prefer to be seen in a parka on the beach these days, anything to avoid exposing my midriff. And really? The line about the Popsicle. Bad.

Yet, I simply cannot help myself. I like it. I want to hear it. When my husband reaches to turn the radio dial, I slap his hand away, and instead turn up the volume.

For your reading pleasure.....the lyrics, folks:

California Gurls
We're unforgettable
Daisy Dukes
Bikinis on Top
Sun kissed skin
So hot
We'll melt your Popsicle
ooooh oh ooooh
California Gurls
We're undeniable
Fine, Fresh, Fierce
We got it on lock
West coast represent
Now put your hands up
ooooh oh ooooh
Ahh... Thank you Katy Perry, Dylan ain't got nothin' on you. Genius.
Please don't forget to enter my blog contest. Winner gets a pair of beautiful Gabby Goo earrings!
Enter here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Great Give Away-Beautiful Jewlery from Gabby Goo!

Who doesn't like a good farmer's market? All that fresh fruit, the free samples, homemade jams, musicians and local artists... Well my son Zachary, that is who. He senses us approaching a weekend farmers market and groans.... "But I want to do something fun! Not boring!" We try to reason with him, "This is fun Zack! Don't you want to try some berries? Look- fresh cheese curds and wine tasting... er, I mean juice tasting! Fun!" Zack might stuff a couple Mandarin oranges in his mouth but he isn't fooled, this is way too grown up.
Except, we have learned how to scope out the markets with...da..da..dah.... bounce houses! You can't go wrong with a bounce house. The boys get to jump around for few minutes and then we get our share of people watching and fresh produce. Except. Except when there is not a bounce house. This is when we pull out the big guns. The bribes. How about a brownie? A muffin? Ice cream? Yes, we are those kind of parents. Guilty as charged.
This is what happened last weekend. We visited a park and played endlessly on the equipment, and although fun, I was ready for something a bit more grown up. On the way home, driving through a neighborhood we were not totally familiar with, we stumbled upon a small farmer's market. It spanned only a few blocks. Ignoring protests from the backseat we pulled over and dragged the kiddos out. "Only for a few minutes guys! We will find you a treat". It was pushing 1:00, and the vendors were tearing down their stands. It was really just a few fruit and veggie stands and we passed by quickly. Out of the corner of my eye I caught site of a table showcasing sweet homemade baby blankets, the most adorable bunny stuffed animals ever, bibs and mama treats. Yes, mama treats. Purses and jewelry. I had to stop. Of course I did. But sensing that I was on a very short leash, (neither the hubby nor the kiddos care for this type of shopping) I quickly picked up a business card for Gabby Goo and hurried my kids to the ice cream stand before it shut down.
On my way back, scoop of blackberry ice cream in hand, and two happy kids in tow, I made one last swing through Gabby Goo, and spoke with the owner, Barbara. She is a bay area mama, and sells her sweet baby products, jewelry and purses at farmers markets and a couple of local shops (Kid Dynamo). I asked her if she would be willing to donate a product for a blog giveaway and she enthusiastically agreed....
So-you (lucky you!) have a chance to win a pair of Gabby Goo's beautiful earrings! (pictured above) I love these birdie earrings and will have a hard time relinquishing them to the winner, but I can't win my own contest.
What do you have to do to win?
Easy-peecy, lemon squeezy.
1) You must be a follower
2) You must comment to this post by Saturday July 3
3) You must check back to see if you are the winner. The winner will be selected at random using my highly technical name from a hat method. The winner will have until July 6 to respond with their mailing address, or another winner will be selected.
4) Bonus, if you post a link to on your Facebook, Twitter or Blog and let me know, I will enter your name twice!
That's it.
Good luck!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Mind/Mama Heart

Clip clop, clip, clop, high heel shoes clacking on the pavement.

I am bracing myself against a stiff city wind as I head to the office.
Down Battery street, past the coffee shops and the hurried business folk chattering into cell phones.

My mind is back home. Back at the county fair, basking in the sun. Spinning around the memory of my sticky-sweet toddler loving on an ice cream cone.

Get your mind in Monday Rachel.
You have interviews to do today.
You need to find more candidates

I try to get myself back in that space, that worky place of organization and creativity but my mind drifts back.

To the pile of laundry that still needs to be done
To the bills that I need to remember to pay
To what the heck are we going to do on the 4th of July.

Get your mind back in Monday.
You have reports to create
You have to remember to decline last week's candidates

Funny Evan, climbing to the top of the Super Slide only to beg to be carried all the way back down.
Memorial Park - great place to host Zack's fifth birthday party. Need to remember to reserve a spot.
Forgot to tell the nanny to put sunscreen on the boys

Get your mind in Monday Rachel!

Clip clop, clip clop heels on pavement, the first light I have seen since morning.
Heading home in a hurry, marching toward the train. Running late.

I need to determine what is on the menu for tonight. No more pizza. Those boys are going to turn into giant pepperonis.
I guess we can play outside, the weather is nice.

I should have found more prospects today.
I still need a good VP candidate

Get your heart at home Rachel!
Aren't you excited to see your boys?
You bought chicken at the market, you are suppose to make casserole, will it take too long?

Did I remember to send an update to my boss?
Maybe I can log on for a few minutes once I get home to check.

Get your heart at home Rachel!
You need to fill out preschool paperwork for next year.
You need to schedule a check up for Zachary


You need to love your boys.
You need to hug them
To play with them
To give them undivided attention.
Get your heart at home Rachel!

Sometimes my Monday Mind and Mama heart get all mixed up.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Back in time

Fingers sticky with the pink residue of spun sugar

The smell of cow dung hangs in air that hums with the twang of the Dixie Chicks

Hips stuffed into daisy dukes too tight


Teenagers gitty with new found freedom

A kiss stolen on the ferris wheel.

Only 25 cents a throw folks, step right up!

Mama can I have it please?

A faded Metalica T-shirt stretched wide over a middle age belly

Turkey legs and pickles on a stick

Cheap stilettos and cowboy boots

Sunburned shoulders and crying babies

A child's eyes wide gazing at Bessie, the enormous prize pig

Flirty girls in skin-tight jeans and halter tops, clutch plastic cups of Miller Light

Henna Tattoos and Caricatures

Pizza on a stick?

A terrible 80's cover-band

Shrieks of self-imposed fear from rickety ancient carnival rides.

Mama can I have it please?

A laughing toddler marveling at her mylar Spiderman balloon

The sweet aroma of funnel cakes and Kettle Corn


A family photo

An old fashioned pie-eating contest

An elderly woman sits on a bench fanning herself with a park map and sneers at the boys wearing their pants too low and their hats the wrong way.

Free cheese samples in the dairy hall, come and get it!

Blazing sun and lemonade

Mama I said can I have it PLEASE?

A day at the Fair

A memory

Nearly unchanged across decades.

Step right up......

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mama's Boy

"I want mommy do it!" No sweeter words to my ears.

Maybe it's a bit mean and a tad selfish but I get great satisfaction when Evan shows a preference for Mommy. Zachary never did, save maybe two days when he was around three months old. Nope, Zachary has always been, well all about Daddy. He loves the way his father rough houses and gets wild with him. He likes that Daddy can still haul him around on this shoulders and throw him into a swimming pool. He is a sucker for Daddy's sense of humor. I have never been able to compete, and it has been a source of sadness and jealousy for me.

But Evan. Sweet Evan is an entirely different story. To begin with he is far more timid than his older brother. He doesn't enjoy the rough play as much and is less likely to accept the attention of perfect strangers. And he likes his mama best. At least for now. I realize this will likely be short lived. Once he is ready for little league I'll probably be cast aside. So I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Last night Evan wanted me to carry him to the car and buckle him in his seat as we headed out for dinner at the Circus Pub. Once we arrived at the uber kid-friendly English style restaurant, he began to cry when we left him in the kid's play area to enjoy our beers at the dinner table. He was only soothed once I picked him up and placed him on my lap. He remained there for most of the duration of the meal, marking my freshly washed white jeans with oodles of sticky ketchup prints. But I hardly minded, what kind of moron am I anyway for even purchasing white jeans? I would be better off with plastic overalls. And they were the needy fingerprints of a mama's boy hands. I should frame them for later years when he is off playing golf with dad.

So yes, I love the preferential treatment. Even if it means he would rather have me change the dirty diaper, and wipe his snotty nose.

These moments are fleeting.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dear California,

Dear State of California Customer Service Department,

California, with all due respect I am extremely disappointed in your service. I moved out here in October with the promise of a snow free winter and your beckoning wine country. California, I am disappointed.

Let's talk about this winter. Okay, no snow. Fantastic. Except. Except there were days upon days of endless rain. Rain that came down in sheets all day. Not stopping. Endless. Forcing me to take my children to germ infested indoor "play areas", which by the way bored me to tears.

And the pay off? This "summer". This "summer" which requires me to wear long pants and a jacket every day. This "summer" which has our nanny arriving to the door in the morning clad in a wool cap and cupping a steaming cup of hot coffee. I am sorry. Let me clarify... this is summer right?

In addition I am gravely disturbed by the housing situation in this fair state. I left a 3000 square foot home in a beautiful Denver neighborhood and moved into a little home in Berkeley. Yes, I mean little. L-i-t-t-l-e, little. A third of the space, for a third more per month... you do the math. I am not happy. At first, I thought it was sweet. I tried to make the best of the shoe box we call home. I went to the Container Store and bought boxes of various sizes so I could get organized. But you try shoving 3000 square feet into 1200. No amount of handy plastic contraptions can contain that mess, we are busting at the seems. And P.S. I hate it.

What else? You think I am done? California I am not. I am sick of your money grubbing state employees. Your meter maids that patrol the streets, waiting hungrily for the very second my meter expires. Placing your $50 ticket upon my windshield as I walk to the car, pushing a stroller and shoeing my preschooler towards my vehicle. Too late, they smirk. Your vile BART worker who sneers at me as I try to explain that I lost my brand new $30 ticket on the train. He stares with beady eyes "$5.50 for a lost ticket!" He demands, accusing me of trying to snake my way into a free trip. Hello, do I look like I am looking for a free ride? All dressed up with my laptop slung across my tired shoulder. Please.

California, you are a snob. Yes you have the ocean. Yes you have the bridges. Yes you have the tourists, and the endless fresh produce. But... I want my summer. I want to park my car for free. I want my Denver back. The sun beating down and baking my skin to a golden brown. The perfect summer nights, just the right temperature for a scoop of gelato at my beloved Red Trolley. My beautiful house with space to move and room to spare. I want my Denver back.

California, I'm mad. You have some explaining to do. I am waiting for my refund.

Your new resident,


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Behind The Music: Jam Master Z

Born Zachary Paul Kargas in 2005, Jam Master Z grew up in the heart of Denver Colorado. At the tender age of 3 months Z was sent to a downtown daycare center where he quickly learned to hold his own amongst gangs of violent toddlers. His first single "My Truck!' in 2007 showcased his frustration as he struggled to assert his independence and survive in a troubled environment.

Mine! Yo! That's Mine.

My My My My Truck!

Take your hands off it bro! I know it's fine.

But that truck is Mine!

Although the song did poorly with the critics it resonated with his peers, and Jam Master Z was an instant sensation.

Z topped the charts in 2007 and started to hit the playgroup circuit which took it's toll. Months of late afternoon birthday parties and chocolate milk binges left Z in a dark period, suffering from debilitating acid reflux. His song "Playground fool" was a clear call for help.

I'm a playground king

But the names do sting.

Running around

Like a sonic comet

til' I start to vomit.

Used to be the cool kid in school, now I'm a playground fool

His parents listened to his plea for help and intervened sending him to a specialist and ultimately moving him across the country to California where they could start anew and help Z further his career. Z enrolled in a Jewish preschool and found religion, releasing his newest single in late 2009, a holiday song, Shalom, it's Christmas Time. The song topped the charts at the Berkeley JCC and Jam Master Z career seemed to be in full recovery.

Today Z looks to the future with a new found hope as he draws on his own volatile childhood for artistic inspiration, he hopes to inspire other youngsters in daycare centers and preschools across the country. His future is once again bright.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Routine

On the way in to the city I read the paper. An indulgence that I have not known for a good four years. Yes folks, I can now read the paper sometimes even cover to cover. Of course by that I mean skipping all of the boring stories (an ancient shoe is discovered in a cave preserved with sheep dung!), the stories I simply don't care about, although I probably should (Poland heads into runoff for President), and the ones I can no longer bare to read about (Suicide Bomber Kills At Least 33 in Iraq) and I read the ones that hold my attention. (AKA: Fluff)

On the commute home I read a novel. Over the past several months I have completed Love The One Your With, Still Alice, The Things We Do For Love, We Need To Talk About Kevin and I am just finishing up The Prayer Room. It has been fantastic. I haven't read this much since I was forced to in college.

This is The Routine. Don't mess with The Routine.

But today, The Routine got screwed. I forgot my book. Forgot it. Left sitting useless on my dresser. Collecting dust. Unloved. Alone.

And I, realizing the error of my ways at the office was disappointed, yet hopeful. Perhaps I can pick up an Us Weekly on the way to the train and find out how much more weight Jennifer Hudson has lost or how many more kids Angelina and Brad are planning to adopt. Hurray!

But no. No. You see, it must be assumed that the working people of San Francisco do not read. Unlike the busy streets of Manhattan where one can find a news stand that conveniently sells everything from the New York Times to Playboy every 2 feet, there are none to be found in the the city by the bay. None. In fact on my entire ten plus block walk down Battery Street I could not even find a 7-11 type shop that would per chance sell a periodical.

So I was forced to face the long train ride empty handed. And I was pissed. PISSED. This you see, is my time. My precious time alone. Time I can't avoid and is mine all mine without an ounce of guilt. And I want to use it well. I want to read my book and lose myself for 35 blessed minutes in another place. And I screwed it up.

Now left without any form of reading material the 35 minutes seems utterly wasted. What am I to do? Strike up a conversation with the stranger next to me? Tattooed covered and rocking out on his Ipod. I think not. There is nothing to do. Nothing but time to stare at my own hands, count the stops until I am home and compose, in my head, the lovely blog post that you now have the privilege of reading.

Lucky you.

Next time don't let me forget.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Who would have guessed it? How could I have possibly known that the 18 year old boy who's idea of a good first date was an around the world party at a buddy's dorm, would turn out to be my husband of nearly 11 years and the father of my children?

As a freshman in college, Dave was typical. He probably spent a good 75% of his time intoxicated and participating in adolescent frat pranks. This is the boy who I fell in love with. And I thank my lucky stars.

Okay, so he isn't perfect. Would I like it if he wanted to snuggle up and watch the Real Housewives with me? Yes. Do I wish he liked to shop and go to the spa with me? Sometimes. But that aside, he certainly he is a catch.

Anyone who observes Dave with his children for 15 minutes will agree, this is one amazing dad. He puts his all into it. He rough houses, and tickles. He sits on the floors and plays trains for hours, he has the patience of a saint. And he loves it. He loves every minute of it. He loves it more than I do, and that is hard to admit. I believe he is the better parent.

Zachary in particular adores him and has almost always preferred him. It stings at times, (hello? mama, here, gave birth to you, remember?), but yet, I feel my heart swell with pride when I watch David running after the kids at a picnic while the other parents sit at the side lines sipping cocktails. We are all in awe.

And dear husband, your children feel your love. They will be better people for it, and someday better Fathers.

Happy Father's Day David.


Your Wife

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Keeping Score

Player 1: I got up 15 minutes earlier this morning and made breakfast (2pts)
Player 2: I got up 15 minutes later, but then cleaned up the disaster you made in the kitchen while you went for a jog. (3pts)
Player 1: I got up at 1am to deal with a blanket and a monster crises (3 pts)
Player 2: I changed four dirty diapers yesterday (3pts)
Player 1: I clean the litter box every day (3pts)
Player 2: I took two unruly kids to the grocery store yesterday (2pts)
Player 1: I let you watch the Real Housewives of New York Reunion show when I wanted to watch basketball (3pts)
Player 2: I did 5 loads of laundry this week (4pts)
Player 1: You spend too much money at Banana Republic (Player 2 deducts 5 pts)
Player 2: You went to Las Vegas for a guy's weekend (Player 2 deducts 8 pts)
Player 1: But I won money (4 pts)
Player 2: I clean the bathrooms (8 pts)
Player 1: Thank you (1 pts)
Player 2: I manage our social calendar (3pts)
Player 1: I go where you tell me (10pts)
Player 2: I make appointments for the doctors, the dentist, the haircuts and play dates (3pts)
Player 1: Thank you (1pt)
Player 2: I buy the kids shoes, clothes and toys (3pts)
Player 1: You spend too much (both players deduct 5 pts)
Player 2: I vacuum and sweep almost daily (2pts)
Player 1: I make sure we pay the rent, the mortgage, the utilities and your credit card (15 pts)
Player 2: I make sure we don't all die of boredom watching golf on TV ever Saturday afternoon (10pts)
Player 1: I make sure we don't go bankrupt. (15 pts)
Player 2: I plan the holidays, the parties the birthdays (10 pts)
Player 1: I go where you tell me. (pts already awarded)
Player 2: I listen to you snore! (5pts)
Player 1: I let you keep the house at a million degrees all winter long! (5pts)
Player 2: I put up with all of your bad music! (3pts)
Player 1: No you don't
Player 2: Your right. (deduct 3pts)
Player 1: I work long hours and hardly ever complain. I wear old clothes so you can have new ones, I put up with hours of reality television while missing my most beloved sports! (25 pts)
Player 2: I CARRIED your CHILDREN (50,000,000++++pts)
Player 1: I got nothin
Player 2: Damn straight.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's good to be shabby

You showed so much promise, arriving in a box all fluffy and new. So cuddly, so plush, so very clean.

But you lose Moon Dog. Mr. Brown Doggie imposture. It turns out that you simply can't fool a boy who truly and deeply loves his stuffed pet.

Sure you lack the gaping holes, and you still have a bright green scarf wrapped around your scrawny neck. You smell good yes, and have yet to be peed on. But alas, you have no personality. You have no history. You have no... soul.

So there you lie sad little doggie abandoned on the playroom floor, while a boy sleeps upstairs in bed with a far older version of you tucked lovingly under his arm.

Don't worry Moon Dog, you have a great deal of company. There is a whole basket of unfavored stuffed animals beckoning to you. The bear wearing a Brat Fest T-shirt nana sent from Madison along with Bucky Badger, the tickle-me elmo that never really tickled, the sweet little lambs that went unloved, they are all there waiting for you.

I am sorry Moon Dog, but it's time to face the music. You are second rate at best. Garage sale material my dear.....

The Velveteen Rabbit Experiment worked. My boy passed the test. Sometimes it pays to be shabby.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


There is one thing that all parents of small children have in common. We are tired. Tired, with a capital T. It's easy to spot. The circles under the eyes. The miss-matched socks, and slumped shoulders, the irritable grimace. The mega cup of Starbucks, a constant accessory. I apologize to my readers who do not have children in advance, but I must get this off of my sleepy chest.... you have no idea. I realize you have tiring, difficult days. You may pull long hours at the office, you may wear yourself out running marathons and competing in triathlons. You may ache from a difficult day in the garden or a late night party, you may work your tush off at a thankless volunteer job. But, I feel it's different. Because eventually you have a break. You might veg out in front of the TV on a Saturday, or read a book on the beach all day. You may take a REAL vacation.

I can say that with the exception of a six day vacation when Zachary was 11 months old, and a weekend in Vegas for our ten year anniversary, David and I have been on the go for nearly five years. Five years of getting up with the sun, and sometimes before. Five years when the best we can do was a hire a babysitter and steal a couple hours on a Saturday night for dinner. Five years of juggling a baby on one hip, a basket of laundry on the other, with a phone wedged between shoulder and ear making a doctor's appointment for the son with an ear infection. Is life enjoyable? Yes. I can't complain and our days are filled with family fun. Yet, how my body longs for true down time. Time when I am not a) working b) commuting c) cleaning d) playing referee to two squabbling kids e) cooking or even f) blogging in a hurry.

I just want quiet. Pure peace. Days of nothing. Days of no one. Waking up without a plan and nobody to report to or look after. Hours alone with zero guilt. Reading and writing without a ticking clock. I want a break.

I want to not be Tired.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Recruiting Tales

Today I was inspired to write about work. This is not something I typically blog about, but I certainly could. The life of a recruiter is far more interesting than you might have guessed.

We all have the stories. The one about our worst hire. Mine was at the beginning of my career. I hired a candidate who recently suffered a debilitating brain injury out of pity. He ended up involved in a love triangle, stalking a fellow employee and being arrested on the premises. Yeah. Good one. The one about the bigoted client who refused a candidate because although totally qualified and charming over the phone, when he interviewed in person he was too fat. The one about the amazing CFO candidate hired, but then fired one week later after the results of his credit check came through, yes it was that bad.

We also hear a lot. Anyone in HR does. We are the human side of employment. We have to ask the tough questions about salary, about terminations, about gaps in work history. We often learn more than we have a right to know, because people talk. And talk. Candidates offer up unsolicited information about their sexual orientation (Do gay people fit in here?), tragedy (How good is your insurance? My wife has terminal cancer), and their criminal history (Are you going to run a background check? I was arrested for shoplifting lip gloss at Kmart 15 years ago).

So we have the gossip. But that is not why I am writing.

Today I was baffled by an email that came through on a recruiting networking list I belong to. A fellow recruiter wrote to the group asking for advice on an upcoming interview. Apparently the individual was told that they were to conduct a mock interview with a "Diva" candidate as part of the selection process. The employer wanted to determine how this recruiter would win over a less-than-willing candidate. If I understand the word Diva correctly we are talking about a Mariah Carey, a demanding starlet who insists on green m&m's in her dressing room and screams at her stylist for a misplaced hair. Awesome can't wait to work with that everyday.

Honestly, it doesn't seem to make sense. Yes, we recruiters sometimes need to "sell" a job to a highly desirable candidate, but yet do we really want a "Diva" on board, no matter how "talented"? Unlike a used car salesmen, you are stuck with that employee after you have "sold" him or her on your company. More than likely a candidate who is demanding and egotistical during the interview process is going to result in an employee who is equally as entitled. They will want a bigger cube, they will need top billing on every project, they will need everyone to know that they are hot-sh*t. My assumption is that an employer that wants to attract Diva candidates is a company full of not-so-nice-people.

Would you really want to work there? Just wondering...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Speaking of hangovers....

My little brother's party was killer. The guest of honor was pretty much MIA the whole time, rumor had it he was playing the role of the diva and wanted to be inside. Whatever, more raisins for us. The crowd was 100% VIP. I think mom may have hired a bouncer for the front door. The juice was flowing. I know I should not have had that last Caprison, a second hit of cake, or that final shot of Smarties...but it was too much to resist. I am in a world of pain today. Well it was worth it because I had a raging good time.

I am a little fuzzy on the details, but somehow all of us boys ended up stripping down and hangin' in the bounce house in our underwear. The girls didn't want to take off their frilly sundresses, but that's cool. Their loss. I heard there is video footage of me mooning my dad mid-jump. There goes my shot of every being elected president.

I probably should have eaten something more substantial for dinner, maybe a bit of the five pounds of potato salad we have left over in the fridge. (Hint to mom-if you want people to eat non-finger food it might be a good idea to give them forks.) Guess we will be eating potato salad for a long time.

At least I held it together until the whole things was over, half of my brother's friends were passed out before the party ended. Their parents had to carry them out. Humiliation.

Dude, the place looks like a bomb went off too. Teddy bear party-hats and half empty juice boxes strewn across the lawn, wrapping paper and deflated balloons lying all over the place.

Someone should really clean that up. Yo, Mom?


Friday, June 11, 2010

Not today sweetie, mommy is hungover.

Okay, let me preface what I am about to say by telling you that this sort of thing doesn't happen all that often. Those of you who know me will be less than shocked to hear me say that I like wine. Red, white, sparkly whatever. But hangovers, those are fairly rare. As a parent, a night of over indulgence is rarely worth the consequences. The 6am wake up call from the peppy (hungry) 4 year old at your bedside, staring at you expectantly. The child with endless energy and little empathy for the fact that mommy has a headache and the dry heaves.

So we learn to be responsible and to wave the waiter away after two or three respectable cocktails. We make sure to eat a nice meal with our booze, to absorb the alcohol and strengthen the reserves of our digestive system. Asleep by ten, we wake up fresh faced and ready to face the demands of parenthood.

Well usually.

Last night was, ah hem an exception. Last night things didn't go quite according to the routine. Why? Because I went out with a group of, for lack of a better word-SUPER-COOL mama friends! And we got our drink on. Oh yes we did.

A little background.... these are all brand new friends. We met because I basically placed a personal ad on the Berkeley Parent Network requesting friends. Not play dates, friends. Girlfriends. Women who I might like beyond our common bond of motherhood. I was very clear in my posting. I described me. A mama who likes her kids but craves a separate identity. A woman who might not fit the Berkeley mold. I feed my kids mac & cheese, they are allowed some tv and sometimes I go for cheap rather than organic because I am on a budget. I like shopping and I am not ashamed of it. I like to get glammed up and gossip over cocktails. There it was for the world to judge-the good, the bad and the ugly. A lovely experiment to see whom I would attract. The result...well in part, a hangover. But in full a bloody good time.

By some stroke of luck, this group is honestly awesome. We are a diverse collection, spanning age ranges and nationalities. Some of us work, some are full time mothers. Some are introverts, but most are happy to be in the lime light. All are warm, witty, funny and craving the friendship of a group of wine drinking chicks letting their hair down once and a while.

And although I have no hair to "let down" I certainly let loose. I over shared and over drank. Didn't eat enough, and laughed a ton.

Today of course was pay back. Early morning, breakfast to be served. Errands to run, and blazing sun. I craved sleep. It had to wait. I cursed myself. What was I thinking?

Would I do it again? Probably. Will I do it again tomorrow night?

Most definitely NOT.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

You will always be my baby

You are turning two on Saturday, and I am not ready. So many changes will occur in the next 12 months. The year that spans from two to three will transform you from a squealing toddler to a little boy, and I am not ready. It is so hard to say goodbye to the baby.

Over the course of the next year you will give up diapers, the crib will be packed away and replaced with a child sized bed, your chubby little thighs and kissable feet will melt away to reveal the skinny gangly running legs of a confident preschooler. Your blond hair will inevitably darken to a dirty light brown. And I am not ready.

I can't believe it has been two years since you were born. Of course I remember that day as if it just happened. You entered the world eighteen days early, and quiet noisily. You cried for what seemed like hours before settling into infant slumber. Those first days in the hospital were filled with the quiet moments of midnight nursing and round the clock snuggles. "Don't sleep with the baby in your bed", the nurses warned, but you were irresistible.

That first summer was not an easy one, you were colicky and difficult to sooth, but we eventually found our rhythm. Our daily walks, accompanying your brother to the playground, you snuggled up against me in the baby bjorn, the weight and the warmth of you with me always. Our middle of the night feedings, which I welcomed. Our special time alone basking in the moonlight that streamed through your nursery windows. The sweet little outfits, the teddy bear onsies, the choo-choo train overalls which provided endless excuses for photographs. You were beautiful. You are beautiful.

But you are growing, and you will continue to grow- away from me. It is a difficult fact of life that all parents must face. The longer we hold you, the longer we know you, the more we love you, the more we crave you, and the more we need you. But as children grow, they begin to move away from us. They seek independence, and they transform in front of our eyes into an individual one that we can no longer lay claim to as "mine". Babies once a part of their mother's body, quickly grow and become their own person leaving us with a mix of emotion. Pride, joy, entitlement and perhaps loneliness.

I am not ready. But you are sweet Evan. I can see it in your mischievous eyes. The world excites you. Each new milestone achieved is a thrill. The way your legs have learned to "run" in a clumsy sort of way, the way you emphatically pick out your pirate socks every morning, the way you assert "I don't like that" when given an offensive food. You are ready.

The next year will be a busy one, and by the time you turn three I will look back and wonder where the months went, where the baby went. There you will be my little boy, running, talking, loving and making trouble. And while there will be little trace of infant left, you my dear, will always be my baby.

Happy Birthday.



Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Clean Freak

You taunt me, you super-human-domestic-goddess with your sparkly-clean-pottery-barn house. Your counter tops gleaming, basking in the sun that shines through freshly cleaned windows, somehow devoid of the sticky finger prints that plague my own home. Your hard wood floors, polished slick and free of pet fur. You lie to me. "Oh my house is a disaster" you coo into the phone. But I know better. You embarrass me as you blush begging forgiveness for the solitary water glass and a lone pair of tennis shoes that mar your pristine living room. Even your children's playroom on a bad day somehow still lends evidence to the fact that you are a self-proclaimed "neat freak". The toys all look shiny and new, there are no missing parts, no broken pieces. How do you do it?


Please tell me. I would love to know. I long to be you, but I am failing miserably. I want nothing more than to have a home like yours. One with a refrigerator that I am not ashamed to open, one where the linen closet houses neat rows of fluffy color-coded towels, one that smells of citrus and pine trees. I try, I really do. I am in a constant battle with the other inhabitants of this home.

Please pick up your toys.

Please wash your hands.

Please don't eat in the living room.

Please put away your socks!

I sweep incessantly. I use Windex like it's going out of style. I have hired a cleaning person to scrub down the house every other week, and yet for the most part my house is usually in a condition that has me avoiding inviting over guests.

So please Ms. Becky Homecky-tell me what is your secret? Do you have a *clean* gene that I am just simply missing? Do little leprechauns visit your home and wave a magic wand? Do you stay up to until 3am cleaning each day? Did your strike a deal with the devil? Please for heaven's sake tell me.

My house is dying to know.

Monday, June 7, 2010

True Colors

I never seem to tire of documenting my daily BART adventures. I truly believe that we could learn a great deal about human nature through our observations of people's behavior on public transportation. I think one's true colors come through when traveling underground on a train full of strangers. There is anonymity in knowing that you will likely never see any of your fellow commuters again, and thus one can act in ways he or she might not ordinarily behave under different circumstances.

Sometimes we see the best in people. There is the kind man at the back of the train who notices that none of the other seated passengers are standing up to give a spot to a frail elderly woman. He waves her to his seat, and though she politely objects, he insists. (As we all should). Then there is the teenage boy who stoops down to help a frazzled mother, babe in arms who has just spilled the entire contents of her diaper bag. He picks up the bottles, the cheerios and calls her mam. She is obviously grateful for the help of a stranger.

Sadly, more often we see the very worst in people. I can think of countless examples. Just last Saturday on a crowded car coming back from the A's game, a loud, rowdy teenager took up two seats. When another passenger tried to take the outside spot, the teenager looked at him like he was crazy, shook his head "no" and laughed loudly. I was irate. Who did this punk think he was? I had to bite my tounge, because as my husband wisely pointed out, this kid didn't look like the type to shy away from a little fist-fight. Last week, during the rush hour home, I saw a girl chomping away at a Subway sandwich. She was well dressed, had manicured finger nails, and looked oh-so professional, yet she left a pile of crumbs on her seat, and exited the train leaving her trash behind her. I guess someone else was going to pick that up. There was the cranky old woman turning around every two minutes to scowl at a noisy toddler, probably thinking that kids don't deserve to ride the BART unless their mouths are duck-tapped shut. Lady, if you want peace and quiet then you are going to have to take a cab.

Generally people ignore one another. Plugging into Ipods, reading the paper, looking down at their laps, avoiding any interaction. We are tired, we are running late, we don't want to sit next to that one guy who is sweating profusely and smells like a sewer. We just want to get to our destination and be done with it. This is all just fine and dandy, but does it hurt to smile? Should you not act as you would in any other situation and pick up your trash?

You may think nobody notices, but they do. I do.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

And The Winner Is....

I must say what a quite bunch you are! I suppose it makes the odds of winning that much greater for those of you who throw your name in the hat, or er...bowl. Yes, I would like you to know that I have a highly sophisticated method for randomly selecting contest winners. (And yes mom it was random, even you had a chance of winning, but you didn't). I wrote each of your names on a piece of paper, put them in a bowl and let Zachary select a name. So you can blame a 4 year old if you didn't win!

So without further adieu, the winner is: Krumpled Whiskers (Paula)! Please email me at with your address so I can mail your signed copy of A Prayer Room.

Congrats Paula. I am close to the end of the novel, and I am enjoying it, I think you will too.

Stay tuned for future contests!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It isn't a Wedding...

But it is a birthday. And birthdays need to be celebrated. I have always been a big believer in the BIRTHDAY. Especially mine. Hello world, let's commemorate me. I like presents. I like parties. I like cake. I like birthdays.

And now I have my children's birthdays to celebrate. I can't go half way. I know I border on crazy. I have friends who don't make parties for their children. It's just a quite affair with the family. A cake, a present, the end. Dear friends, I mean no offense, but truly, this strikes horror into my festive little heart. I know what you are thinking... Evan is turning two. He isn't even going to know the difference. Well, true, but I will. So who exactly is the party for then? For me?

Maybe. And I am okay with that.

In a few years my kids will want to make their own decisions about their birthday parties. I won't be able to get away with having a teddy bear picnic theme. They will want Sponge Bob, or Transformers, or worse... no theme at all. They will select which guests to invite and what kind of food to eat. They may choose to exclude me altogether. But right now, I run the show. Oh and I put on a show.

Every child's birthday must have a theme. Zack's first birthday was barnyard. There were barnyard plates and napkins, an enormous blue gourmet birthday cake with a black spotted cow on it. (Almost) too cute to eat. There were oh a mere 50 guests or so, it was a catered affair, with a Keg and a case of wine. I know that I had a good time. And the pictures, they sure look good in Zack's baby book.

Evan's first birthday was a bunny party"Hoppy First Birthday". I had a local musician (Anya & The Music Train) come to entertain the troops. I scaled back a bit on the food, but the cake was still over the top and of course I did not leave out the adult beverages. Whats a party without booze? Oh a kid's party.... right.

This year, Evan's birthday party happens to also be the very first large-sized event we have hosted in our new small-sized Berkeley home, and I am trying to do it right. The evite, much like a wedding went out over a month ago. My guests must believe me to be over-the-top-prepared, but I get excited. As previously mentioned the theme is Teddy Bear picnic. There will be teddy bears for all the kids, picnic baskets for the dinners. Blue and white teddy bear plates and napkins. Sandwiches cut with a bear cookie cutter. A big ol' cake with Winnie the Pooh. A bear pinata. A bounce house. And of course drinkies for the grown ups. And yes, I am crazy.

As one can imagine hosting such a party takes planning, energy, organization and cash. In short, this is not the time of my life I should be putting on a fiesta like this. I should have had a small gathering at a local park, purchased a few drink boxes, a balloon and cake. Done.

But I want a party. I want to celebrate my son, even if he's too young to understand it all. There will be evidence. I will have the pictures. Someday I will taunt my daughter in law with the photographs and memories, smirking at her lame party.
My boys will remember mom was the party queen.
And they were my princes.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

U Know Your 2 When....

You know your child is two when they

  • Master the Art of The Temper Tantrum

  • Develop a refined palate (preference for buttered noodles, cold cereal and raisins above and in exclusion of all other foods.)

  • Learn to manipulate adults by acts of cuteness.

  • Exceed one's expectations in their genius ability to attract food stains and become generally filthy.

  • Show a keen appreciation for the word "No!"

  • Often refuse the stroller, but do not actually want to walk on own two feet.

  • Show a keen appreciation for the word "Uppy!"

  • Instinctively select the most expensive personal items and subsequently destroy them.

  • Become very particular about fashion. Refuse all clothing items except those with pictures of Spiderman or Sponge Bob.

  • Learn to selectively mimic adult conversation. Usually drawn to phrases such as "Oh Damn It!"

  • Determine that naps are optional.

  • Determine that listening to grown- ups is optional.

  • Determine that having one's diaper changed is optional.

  • Can melt a heart of stone by three simple words "I wuv you".

Yup my Evan is DEFINITELY TWO!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pass it on

It is Tuesday. Pissy mood. The long weekend, gone to memory. Sun splashed, toddler laughing, strawberry eating, sticky fingers, sandy toes forming the glittery images that so quickly turn to a murky past. Present day. Tuesday. The BART. Tried on three different outfits, pants too snug, eyes tired, face hanging. Walking to the office. Tuesday. My throat hurts, my shoes need a polish, I would kill for a couple hours more sleep. Tuesday.

To the coffee shop, line too long, too slow, I am going to be late. Impatiently tapping my toes, checking my watch. Five more minutes and I am going to be tardy for Tuesday. Damn it. I lost my security badge, and forgot the rent check. What the hell is taking this woman so long to order her skinny-no foam-half -calf-sugar-free-vanilla latte? Just move along. Go. Go. GO! Bloody Tuesday.

The barista smiles, so perky. She takes my money. No my name is Rachel. No Rachel, not Michelle. Rachel, R-A-C-H-E-L. Got it, she winks, inking my cup. I turn to take a spot in the waiting line. A tentative "Wait!" comes through glossy lips. "May I ask?" Timid. " Where do you get your hair done? I want mine. Just. Like. That". The gloomy drugery of the day smashed by human kindness. I smile, flattered. I choose to believe she was genuine, and yes I leave her a tip.

Give a compliment. It could change someone's Tuesday.

Please don't forget to enter my blog contest!