Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Middle Son

On any given day the following comments might be made to my 4.5 year old "middle" son, Evan.

Zachary has sleepovers because he is seven, when you are older you will have sleepovers too.

I push Julian in the stroller because he is just a baby. You're a big boy. You can walk.

When you are older you will lose teeth too, and the Tooth Fairy will leave money under your pillow. You are too young now. 

Please share that toy with your baby brother, he is crying  and you are old enough to know how to share, Julian doesn't know any better.

It must be hard to be the middle kid. Not old enough to do all the cool things your older sibling does, but too old to be babied. I can imagine he must feel like his life just isn't fair. I came from a family where I had only one sister, so I have not experienced this dynamic. I have been thinking a lot about it, and I have decided that while it is very hard to be the middle child now, someday Evan will see the advantages. Being in the middle isn't always bad.

The best part of an Oreo cookie is the creamy filling that holds the two cookies together.
Without the middle a sandwich would only be two dry pieces of bread. 
The middle of the novel is when the story starts to get good. The plot thickens, you're invested in the characters, and you don't have to say goodbye yet. 
June is in the middle of they year. It is Evan's birth month and the start of summer. It's the beginning of warm weather, sprinklers and barbeques. 
The middle of the night brings deep slumber, starlight and dreams.

My wish for you Evan is that you benefit by learning from your older brother's successes and mistakes and that your baby brother will teach you patience, compassion and leadership.

There are six years that separate Zachary and Julian, I believe that Evan will be the glue that holds my three boys together. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kiss My....

Last Sunday I ran 7.25 miles. My goal had been eight, but I miscalculated the distance around the lake, and by the time I had circled it twice I was in no mood to try and add an additional .75 miles, so I quit. I was not disappointed . I was proud.

7.25 miles is the longest distance I have run since I gave birth to Evan. My pace was also decent. 9'15"/mi. It honestly wasn't even that hard. I am feeling strong, and beginning to believe that perhaps some day in the not so distant future I will actually reach my goal of completing a half marathon.

I am self motivated but I also have a fair amount of pride, so I figure if I put it out there on my blog and Facebook, I will hold myself accountable.

So to all the kids who picked me last in gym class, to the girl who never thought she could... you can kiss-my-you-know-what.

I am going to do this.

Watch me. Run.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Me & my crime fighting mama, after a big evening on the job
This is a follow up post to my last post "Humiliation" In that post I shared the story of how my wallet was stolen by the infamous San Francisco con artist, Alan Young. It gets better. I caught the son-of-a-bitch. Sort of.

The night after my wallet was swiped I went for drinks and dinner with my parents blocks away from where I had been the previous evening. I joked to my folks that perhaps we would spot Alan. We had a window seat at a bar on Powell and had just taken the first few sips of wine when my mother blurted "That looks like him" (I had pictures of Alan on my phone, and she had spent a good amount of time reviewing them earlier in the day.)

I looked in the direction she was pointing, and sure enough, it was him. He was even wearing the same damn suit. I sprinted out the door and called after him "YOU STOLE MY WALLET!" He turned and looked at me, mumbled something and continued walking. I ran to catch up to him. My adrenaline pumping. "YOU STOLE MY WALLET" I shouted again. People on the sidewalk were turning to stare. "I stole your wallet? I did not." He answered. I laid into him. "You're all over the f*cking Internet!" (yes I used that language.) "You're a known criminal! You are an asshole who preys on nice people. That's some life you live." I blubbered on, then took out my phone and told him I was calling the police. He told me to go ahead. He didn't seem to mind much at all. He didn't run. He just continued to walk slowly away. At that moment I saw a cop car driving buy. I waved frantically for him and he stopped.

I blurted out what had happened, and he asked Alan to stop and talk to him. He had him wait at one end of the car while I stood at the other rehashing the story. Several times I exchanged choice words with Mr. Young all the while my mother was trying to shush me from behind. She was afraid that our criminal would get violent.  I had no fear, only anger. 

We stood at that street corner for nearly a half an hour. The kind officer was exchanging calls with the investigator on my case and Mr. Young's parole officer. Finally I was told that Alan had been arrested over 100 times. He has been in and out of jail and is currently on parole. As I stood there the manager of the restaurant I ran out of came over to tell me that he recognized Alan as well, and that Alan had skipped out on a hefty dinner bill a month ago. Clearly we are dealing with a disturbed man. I was told that Alan would not be arrested that evening because my charges were for misdemeanor theft. He could not pick him up without a warrant, unless he had committed a felony. If Alan had grabbed the purse off my arm, he could have gone to jail that night. But because he sweet talked his way to our table, led me to let down my guard and then swiped the wallet out of my purse which was sitting on the floor he was free to go....for now.

A warrant has been put out for his arrest. Whether or not he will go to jail I do not know. It doesn't matter. It will only be a matter of time before Alan is back on the streets, hitting dark nightclubs and charming his way with another group of pretty women, then stealing their belongings and trust.

I looked at Alan in the eye that night. I tried to convey to him my anger, and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to do so, but I got nothing in return, merely dead eyes. He had no emotion. I don't know what is wrong with that man, but my anger has turned to pity. Pity for a man who has to make up grand stories in order to get the admiration and attention that he craves. Pity for a man who will likely never have a real relationship with another human being. Pity for a man that is clearly broken.

Friday, January 25, 2013


The Before Picture. I'm not showing the after. It was suppose to be fun.

It's just about midnight. I'm sitting at my desk in Hello Kitty pants. My hair is a mess as I have run my hands through it one too many times. It was sleek and pretty at the beginning of the evening.  My cheeks are damp with tears and my eyeliner is smudged. Only hours before I had stopped in to Sephora to touch up my make up and make sure that it was picture perfect.

It was suppose to be a good night. A much needed night out with girlfriends. Drinks, appetizers music. Fun. I wore a skirt which was reserved for nights such as this.

The outing was scheduled at a bar I had never heard of in the mission. I made my way from Powell Street Bart to the restaurant. I held my purse close to me, but it was a lively atmosphere, and I wasn't afraid. The restaurant was not what I expected it was posh and elegant. It was quiet, not like the funky bars we have visited in the past. I was early. I found a seat at the empty bar and ordered a drink.

Everything went down hill from there. I hesitate to outline the details of  the night because they literally make me blush with shame. I feel sick to my stomach. SICK.

He was an older African American man in a fine suit. He claimed to be 71 years old and in remission from cancer. He annoyed me at first. I found him to be overbearing and disingenuous. Something bugged me about him. But he was joined by a younger awkward man who looked much like my husband. A normal fellow who was clearly wooing a client.

The older man continued to try and make conversation with me, I tried to shrug him off, but felt rude and uncomfortable and eventually joined the two men at a table. The younger man "Nick" is an artist who had been contacted by the older gentleman "John" to consign some artwork for a new building John had recently purchased in Chicago. The story got grander and grander. John said he was in fact a famous Motown songwriter who had penned some of most historic music to come out of a generation. I believed him.

My friends arrived and I left John and Nick to their business meeting. Later the two joined our group and John told me that because I was so "sweet" he was going to give me some music. He asked me to request "Mack The Knife" from the band and dance with him. I did. He was a sweet older man, who was a rock-and-roll legend and cancer survivor. I danced two dances with him. He spoke about his wife and grandchildren and charmed me, my friends and even Nick.

As the night wore on I grew tired and wanted to go home. I was saying my goodbyes, but John begged me to stay so that he could introduce me to his granddaughter who was downstairs. He asked Nick for a few bucks to tip her limo. He went down the stairs and vanished.

I went for my purse to pay my portion of the bill. My purse was under the table. Right were John's feet had been. My purse no longer held my wallet, but my BART card was on the table. At least he left me a way home.

Our group slowly began to put the pieces together and we realized we had been duped. He had taken my wallet along with about $60 that was on the table.

The cops were called and they came to take our statements. I had a picture of John on my phone, which I am incredibly ashamed of now. I thought he was a celebrity.

The police knew him in an instant. He was just released from jail three months ago. He has been telling this story for years.

 He mostly prays on women who are nice enough to listen to him. Who think it is sweet that a 70 year old man is talking about his wife as the "love of his life." Who are flattered that an aging celebrity wants to teach them to swing dance.  As I told my story to the officers one of them chuckled and said "I can't believe you bought that."

I nearly lost it. No I did lose it. Tears came quickly to my eyes.  I told the officer that was a terrible thing to say to someone. I told him I felt stupid enough as it was. I told him I was humiliated. And I couldn't stop crying.

After speaking with the police I returned back into the main bar area to get my jacket. Two men were sitting there and saw the tears in my eyes.  One of the men said "Ruff night. I see your crying. Why don't you let my buddy dance with you? That should make you feel better." I wanted to throw up. I glared at them and told them I had no interest.

Clearly shaken, Nick walked me back to the BART. Nick was also conned. He thought he was getting an art deal. We chatted about the nights events and parted ways once I reached the station. I took my BART card which was all that John left me and got on a train.

I cried all the way home.

I wasn't attacked. I wasn't hurt. It should not be that dramatic. Yet I feel violated. Taken advantage of and stupid. I fell for it. I honestly may have preferred it if he had punched me in the face and snagged my purse. That would have been out of my control.

But now I am the silly girl. The silly girl the cop laughed at. The silly girl who should have known better . The silly girl who should be consoled by the advances of any old man. The silly girl who is nice to strangers.

And so here I am, after midnight. I look like hell. I fell like hell. I have taken a left over muscle relaxant in hopes that it will bring sleep which feels so far away tonight.

I'm not sure what to take away from this evening's experience. I want to be trusting. I don't want to believe that everyone is out to get something from me. Yet, sadly tonight, I am starting to feel a little jaded.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mama is strong and fast

When I was a kid I hated gym class. Hated it. Hated it because I wasn't good at any of the sports. I was afraid of the ball. I was afraid of the monkey bars. I could barely do a cartwheel. It was humiliating.

Things only got worse as I got older. We actually took couples dancing in seventh grade. Can you imagine my horror when all the boys lined up on one side of the room and all the girls lined up on the other? One dance would be boys choice, the next the girls. Either was intensely embarrassing. It was one thing not to be picked, it was another to see the look of disgust on your potential partner's face as you approached him. Seriously?

Then there was swimming in high school. It's pretty cruel to make a freshman girl wear a swimsuit in front of her male classmates. Let's just say very few of us were confident in our changing bodies at that age.

Even track sucked. When it was time for track, we were forced to jump hurdles (I couldn't) and do relay races, that way one could let their entire team down because of short legs that didn't go very fast.

I decided very early on that I was not athletic. At all. I have always believed that. I have never wanted to join the work softball team, or play beach volleyball. I have always been embarrassed by my clumsiness and shear lack of ability.

I still do not excel at group sports and I avoid them at all costs, however somewhere around college I decided that I needed exercise in order to maintain a cute figure. So I ran. I did the exercise bike. Solo aerobic workouts and it suited me fine. I never pushed it, I put in my three or four miles and called it a day.

I have three boys now. Three boys. I'm pretty sure that there is going to be a lot of sports and athletics, and I do not want them to grow up thinking that girls are weak because their mama is. So I'm not going to be weak anymore. I'm going to run more miles and build stronger arms. I'm going to believe I can do it. 

Yesterday I took Evan to the gym with me, they have cheap childcare there. We arrived before the daycare opened so I had Evan help set up my station  for "Body Sculpt" He was so excited. He helped me set up my bench, lay down my mat and select my weights, which was his favorite part. We looked at weights that vary in color based on pounds. "Which ones do you think I use?" I asked my son. He pointed to the largest set. I laughed. "No Evan, I can't lift those."  His response? "Yes you can mommy. You're strong and fast."

Why yes I am.

Monday, January 21, 2013

I went to Sundance and all I got was this Stupid T-Shirt

What can I tell you about Sundance? It was a whirlwind. A gluttonous universe of overindulgence. Beautiful people. Money. Fashion. Celebrity. Genius. Arrogance.

Mojitos way too early
My trip was amazing for many reasons. Top of the list might simply be a weekend without kids, but in addition I was lavished with free drinks, food and many, many water bottles. I rode in a car with Nate Ruess. Nate Ruess. For those of you who don't know who I'm talking about, he is vocals for FUN. I fell in love with the band this past spring when a friend introduced me to their unbelievably catchy tune "We Are Young." I shook his hand, made fun of his last name and rode in a freaking car with one of my favorite musicians. Unbelievable.

Me & Nate Ruess. We are so BFF now

I met John Popper of Blues Traveler. I spotted Michael Cera. Stevie Nicks. David Grohl.

I watched my husband at his finest, putting on the amazing CatDance festival. We drank cat cocktails, watched cat videos, wore cat ears and got temporary cat tattoos all while listening to some famous D.J spin tunes. It was a blast.
Cat Tatto!

We saw a couple of amazing movies. Sound City and Blood Brothers. Blood Brother was particularly memorable and moving and I encourage everyone I know to see this when it comes out. It was an ironic movie to see while at Sundance. The film is a documentary about Rocky, a regular guy, who gives up everything to live and work in India at an AIDS orphanage. It was a room full of privileged wealthy people viewing  a movie about people who have nothing. Talk about juxtaposition.

I wasn't ready to come home. Who would be? While it was a bit grotesque to see rich people collecting free designer boots and bags while the rest of us slops got nothing, and the pace was hard to keep up with it was a wonderful escape from reality. For one weekend I lived and breathed the same air as the rich and famous. I was "on the list" and wore pretty clothes. I danced and drank and slept in late.

I'll never forget my weekend at Sundance...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Working From Home: The Glamour Of It All

Today I had a latte delivered to my office. My parents are visiting and they were kind enough to play gopher for me. As I sipped my medium low-fat-caramel-latte I realized that I never do this. I never drink fancy coffee while I am working anymore. Never.  I miss it. I love my $4 coffees. Sue me.

I never go to lunch with a friend either.  I eat Trader Joe's Chinese chicken salad at my desk.

Happy hour? Not even close. That isn't to say I don't pour myself a generous glass of wine come six o'clock, but I drink it in my kitchen with a backdrop of children demanding dinner and fighting over the Ipad. It isn't quiet the same as hanging out at the local pub and gossiping with your coworkers over beers and wings.

Nobody stops by my office for a quick chat. Well that isn't entirely true, but the conversation is usually about lost shoes, diaper rash or the injustice of our television rules.

I work in yoga pants and t-shirts. I often don't shower until 4pm. Closets full of cute shoes and skirts go unworn.

At one point in my life I had an office with the view of downtown Denver. It was tidy, and quiet. The only sounds were people talking in low, respectful voices to one-another. Now I share my work space with a litter box and a cluttered closet and listen to our lovely nanny try to negotiate through the temper-tantrums downstairs.

No, I don't have a commute. I am so lucky that often times I hang up from my last call of the day, and walk down the stairs to be immediately greeted with World War Three between the boys and cat puke in the kitchen. Forget about time to unwind.

Yes, yes, I am terribly lucky to have the flexibility to work from home. It is convenient and allows me to attend school conferences, doctor appointments and even workout. I don't have to worry about the expense of the commute or flat ironing my hair every morning. Given the sheer value of time when running a household of five, this is a true blessing. But I wouldn't be Rachel if I didn't complain, and the truth is, working from home has it's downsides.

Perhaps someday I'll be back in the "real world." Perhaps someday I'll have lunch with coworkers and wear grownup clothes again. For today, I am just loving on my latte.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful

The camera loves me. How could it not? Just look at me. The picture of messy, beautiful imperfection.

That applesauce crusted in my hair? It shows my zest for life. I love food so much I would roll around in it.

My crazy random long hairs, curled around my sticky face? Angelic.

The diaper peaking up out of my pants, which ill-fitted, hang just a bit off my tush? It's a fashion statement. All the cool toddlers are doing it.

The ketchup stains on my hand-me-down-all-my-mom-got-me-from-vegas-was-this-stupid-tshirt? They are there because I'm simply too hip for a bib.

It's clear I am gorgeous. Why else would people whip out their cameras whenever they are in my presence?

So go ahead snap my picture. I'll smile and say "CHEESE!" at the top of my little lungs.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Surprise Friendship

A few nights ago I reconnected with a childhood friend, Kristi and it was actually really, really fun. This is a woman who I have not spoken with in at least twenty years. She lives in South Carolina and has two beautiful girls who "cheer." One would think that I would have little in common with her now, and yet, I spent well over an hour on the phone with her, while nearly polishing off an entire bottle of wine.

Growing up, Kristi was one to be envied. Nobody in our neighborhood had money, but Kristi had the nicest house on the block. She had a microwave, a formal living room and a "family room" with a color T.V. Need I say more? Her pantry had treats like rice krispies and cookies. After school we would settle in front of the Brady Bunch and polish off an entire box of Fudge Stripes. Krisiti was blond, pretty, outgoing and popular. She was all the things I wasn't, so I envied her.

Kristi set me up with my first "boyfriend." I didn't know how to talk to boys, but she did, and facilitated the whole note exchange which resulted in me "going with" a boy named Eli for two weeks in the sixth grade. If it weren't for Kristi, I might have been well into highschool before getting a first kiss.

We grew apart over the years. We were very different for all of the reasons I mentioned earlier and primarily because she was self-confident and popular and I.... was not.

I reconnected with Kristi over facebook. It's funny her children fit the image I have of her locked in my head forever. Blond, athletic, confident, beautiful.  Of course Kristi has grown up. We have exchanged emails and texts messages, and to my utter amazement she shared that she was envious of me as a child. I could not believe it. All of these years it was so perfectly clear to me that she had it all, that she was perfection and that I was simply inferior. We talked a lot about that during our phone call. Each of us jealous of the other. Each of us having no idea how we were percieved from the outside. If only. It also became evident that even though we still appear to be very different, we have a good deal in common. She is still blond and beautiful,   has two gorgous girls and lives in the suburbs. Then there is me. A working mom of three crazy boys living in the heart of Oakland. And yet we reconnected and re-kindled an unexpected friendship, chatting about our past and filling eachother in on who we are today.

From awkward pre-teens to grown women, from the outside we never had much in common, and yet sometimes the people who you think you wouldn't like you end up loving the most.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year's Post

2013. A new year. Perhaps I should be writing a "year in review" post, or documenting my new year's resolutions. The truth is, I just don't feel up to it. 2012 was a fine year. Unlike others, there were no major moves, pregnancies or births, but rather more subtle changes.

I no longer have a baby. Gone are my days of slings, bouncy chairs, and nursing. I will never see those days again. My children will continue to grow and pass through the different stages of maturity, yet I will never again nozzle the fuzzy hair of my own newborn child. Yes, it makes me a little sad. Yet, I am looking forward to the freedom that will come as each of my children becomes more independent.

This year I started to re-prioritize. I am no longer passing out my phone number to every mom I meet on the playground, desperate for the company of a new friend. I have made friends in the bay area, only to hug them goodbye or lose touch with them. It has been exhausting. This year I re-focused my energy. I started exercising again, which has been amazing. There were set-backs with my ankle fracture, but that lead me to try new things, which has opened up so many new options. I have gained new self respect and confidence in my own physical abilities. (Yay me!)

I'm working, spending quality time with my family and  I have generally kept pretty busy. Too busy to do much with this blog. I have read over some of my posts from the past year, and to be honest I am disappointed with my lack of inspiration and the overall quality of my writing. I started Getrealmama a few years ago because I needed an outlet, I needed a hobby. Perhaps I don't need this little blog as much as I once did. While I am not quiet breaking up with blogspot, I am admitting that my commitment is waining.

Thank you to every one of you have taken time out of your day to read my silly blog. Thanks even more to those of you have actually left me comments, I love them. I hope you have had a happy 2012 and that you are looking forward to the changes that will surely come in the new year. I know I am.