Friday, July 25, 2008

Some days are all about the Bathroom

What you should know before you read on is that Ducky is a creepy yellow duck that the man at the throw-a-dart-and-pop-a-balloon booth at the fair gave Silas last nigh,t even though we neither played or payed. I say creepy because the duck, whom Silas cuddles, adores and calls "ducky", has full arms and legs and looks like a mini flying human in a duck suit.

This morning all of the sudden I heard panicked screaming from upstairs: DUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! blah blah bah (couldn't understand) POTTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So up I went and sure enough, Ducky had "fallen" into the toilet. Silas stood at the top of the stairs saying "wet, wet" trying to wipe off Ducky with his hands. All it took was for me to look sternly at him and say "oh no" and Silas was keeled over, on his knees holding Ducky in his lap sobbing (at least I've taught him that things shouldn't go in the toilet, but really). SO, I washed the cheap, poorly made Ducky in the sink hoping his orange beak wouldn't bleed into the rest of him.

As I was washing Ducky, Silas left the room. A minute later I heard, "Yook Mama!" and Silas paraded in wearing his blue bulldozer well-peed-on potty seat on his head. Clearly, the teaching about the toilet wasn't that clear.

Next we went to a park where we were meeting some people I don't know very well. At one point, I moved to the other side of a double-sided bench to change Eden's diaper. I had forgotten wipes, but not a crisis with baby's watery, non-smelly poop. Her dirty diaper, however, was huge, but I was managing fine -- I had her almost completely clean and into another diaper when all of the sudden, poop rocketed out of her small behind all over my skirt, the bench, the clean and dirty diaper, and her leg. I kept smiling and talking with the stranger-woman who couldn't see my side of the bench, as I used every clean diaper I had to mop it up. 5 diapers later there was a huge blotch on the front of my (thankfully dark) skirt, and lingering orange poop on Eden, her clean diaper, and the bench. It was clearly time to go. So we did.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Fair, oh how I love it, the fair!

Growing up I knew nothing of county fairs. When I was in high school, I only heard rumors of them: My friend Cassie and her family always went to the Montgomery County fair. I remember there would be no talk of it or build up, and then all of the sudden out of the blue she'd tell me she'd gone to this place called the fair and produce various prizes and tickets and stories. I could only half-believe in it -- a huge mysterious fair right outside of Washington DC that sounded like the fair in Charlotte's Web, replete with greased-pigs, farmers boasting giant produce, tons of rides, stuffed animal prizes and delicious circus foods??

10 years later I moved to Costa Mesa, and that first July the glorious world of the county fair opened a mile from my doorstep! As Ben and I watched the carnies (is that word wrong to use?) building the precariously tall and rickety rides, we decided we'd opt for life -- we'd visit the fair but not ride hand-assembled rides that had arrived in parts on a truck .

That first night we walked into the fair, into the smell of corn dogs, grilling corn on the cob, BBQ, and funnel cakes, with primary colored lights flashing all the way to the sky, everything changed. We couldn't refuse the sirens cry and rode everything (and never have I prayed so hard that bolts wouldn't come loose and send us sailing off across the fairgrounds to our death). And we ate everything: Australian fried potatoes, giant turkey legs, corn on the cob, corn dogs, funnel cake -- we even bought a friend snickers bar and friend Twinkies (do not recommend that...).

And here we are again in July, month of the OC FAIR! I made my 2008 fair debut on Saturday night with Annemarie, Silas and Eden. And after muscling our way through the initial crowd (we literally could not push the stroller, the crowd was so thick), it was all I had hoped for. The highlight, besides the paper tray of hot mini-donuts, was watching two-year-old Silas absorb -- he gazed and gazed, shell-shocked and dazzled and nearly speechless.

With Eden strapped to my chest in a fitful sleep, her newborn hair soaking up the smoke from the giant grills, Annemarie was Silas's champion fair-ride-rider. Here are a couple of pictures of her with Silas (doesn't her face say FAIR LOVER!). And of course, a picture of the mini-donuts.

Summertime Tomatoes

One sweet thing about summer, besides the smell of cookouts wafting from people's patios in the evenings, is what comes out of the ground, especially peaches, vidalias, corn, and tomatoes. Some of my sweet childhood memories are watching my dad standing at the kitchen counter meticulously making a tomato sandwich -- carefully spreading the mayonnaise, layering the tomatoes, sprinkling the salt, cutting it in half, and sitting down to revel in its goodness. That man loves tomato sandwiches, just like his mom, and just like his daughter learned to.

It has been a long while since I've had a perfect summer tomato. Though California bursts at the seams with produce and sells it much cheaper than Washington-- especially avocados and mangoes -- it lacks the summer-sweet tomatoes I've known. But on Saturday, after walking through the farmers' market in Corona del Mar with Eden, Annemarie and Silas running ahead, I came home with a little bag of sweeeeet tomatoes. After 6 years of living here, I finally have the missing taste of summer, and tonight we will eat them with bits of basil, olive oil and balsamic, sprinkled with salt. And maybe tomorrow I'll make a little sandwich and think of home.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I love Jey-Jey, the french techtonik dancing man
(my definition:) techtonik = rave dancing+pop lock + Napoleon Dynamite

Eli, my brother, this IS your dance

Thursday, July 10, 2008

These are the Days

There were a few great things about the morning: the day began cool and overcast; I walked to Starbucks for an iced hazelnut latte; I took Silas to the park; and Eden, as usual, slept on her tummy in the stroller. The less great things about the morning were that I breastfed in the park, which in the morning hours is apparently filled not with children but with a smattering of leering homeless men, one of whom peed on a tree not far from me. Halfway through our time at the park, I looked at Silas's feet and saw that his tennis shoes were on the wrong feet. This is a common experience for children who dress themselves; however, I got Silas dressed... And during the walk home, I watched my darling Eden turn into a human geyser and fountain gallons of spit up into the air, all over herself and blanket and throughout the stroller. What does one do when this happens mid-walk?

After a couple hours of noodling toward nap time at home (which involved soapy sponges inside the stroller and laundry), Silas and I gave Eden a bath, which of course evolved into Silas's taking a bath -- a more and more common midday activity in our house because it keeps Silas contained, occupied and happy. At one point during the bath, I was feeding Silas a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to make-up for the lost calories of the lunch he'd rejected downstairs. At that moment, Eden starting screaming from her bed in the other room, Silas started yelling because he dropped his sandwich in the water and it was deteriorating, I jumped up, grabbed Eden, and smelled that the second batch of wild rice I was cooking (had burned the first) was, indeed, also burning. As I ran downstairs with screaming Eden, maintaining a call-and-response conversation with soggy sandwich Silas to make sure he was above water, and stood scraping burnt rice out of a pot just in time to hear "Potty!!" I thought -- yes, these are days of being fully alive.

In 10th grade I loved that 10,000 Maniacs song "These are the Days" and knew without a shadow of a doubt, as Annemarie and I belted it out, that the words were perfectly about us right then at 16. The other day, the song popped into my head, and as I sang it, I was sure, without a shadow of a doubt, that the words are perfectly about us right now at 30, despite (and really because of) the fountains of spit up and fullness of our days and hands.

These are days you'll remember.
Never before and never since, I promise,
will the whole world be warm as this.

And as you feel it, you'll know its true
that you are blessed and lucky.

Its true that you are touched by something
that will grow and bloom in you.

These are days you'll remember.
When may is rushing over you with desire
to be part of the miracles you see in every hour.

You'll know its true that you are blessed and lucky.
Its true that you are touched by something
that will grow and bloom in you.

These are days.

These are the days you might fill with laughter
until you break.

These days you might feel a shaft of light
make its way across your face.

And when you do you'll know
how it was meant to be.
See the signs and know their meaning.
Its true, you'll know how it was meant to be.
Hear the signs and know they're speaking to you, to you.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

some more pics

this baby is a sleeper!

on the 4th of July

a tent

It is full blown summer at the beach. Traffic backs up the 55 and down the hill, cars and vans jammed full of families with their coolers, umbrellas, tents, people who come in droves to set up camp for the day.

Silas looks longingly from our small rumpled bed sheet flung on the sand at the bright tents scattered around and asks to go in. The other day I casually told him for consolation that we could set up our camping tent at home sometime. A promise that we could look for the tent in the big deep closet became an incentive for days that would make him leave any place in a heartbeat.

Finally yesterday I told him we would find it. So after lunch, I crawled into the depths of our huge closet of death, precariously leaning over a bag of golf clubs (ben last golfed 3 years ago), an unused bedside table, folding chairs, a camping stove -- still no tent. Finally I gave up and told him we'd wait until daddy came home. But really, what message is that sending? So I ralied and plunged further into the dark closet using a camping lantern to see into the very back as little Silas peeked over my bent back, and waited with mounting anticipation until -- the tent!!

I pulled out the little green bag of folded tent and poles and up to his room we tromped. As soon as I pulled it out of the bag, I realized that the friendly arm-sized bag was deceivingly small and that a tent outside under age-old trees looks much smaller than it does in a little boy's bedroom. To lay it on the floor, I had to shove over chairs and a small table and it took up more than the entire floor.

Then came the unweildy tentpoles... Their length multiplies beneath an 8 foot tall celing. I alwardly shimmied the poles through the narrow sleeves and cursed quietly as they refused to arc and sprang up in straight lines that nipped the ceiling and again snapped out of their snug little anchors.

But since there is something delicious about being a 2 year old's hero, so I couldn't stop. And finally, I got it up. Here is a picture with Silas inside and an unsure Eden in the chair:

Sunday, July 06, 2008


These photos are from Imagine looking out of your boat off the coast of Mexico and seeing this!:

The spectacular scene was captured as the magnificent creatures made one of their biannual mass migrations to more agreeable waters.

Amateur photographer captures stunning Golden Rays massing off coast of Mexico

Gliding silently beneath the waves they turned vast areas of blue water to gold off the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Sandra Critelli, an amateur photographer, stumbled across the phenomenon while looking for whale sharks.

Amateur photographer captures stunning Golden Rays massing off coast of Mexico

"It's hard to say exactly how many there were but in the range of a few thousand.

Amateur photographer captures stunning Golden Rays massing off coast of Mexico

Measuring up to 7ft (2.1 metres) from wing-tip to wing-tip, Golden rays are also more prosaically known as cow nose rays.

Amateur photographer captures stunning Golden Rays massing off coast of Mexico

Despite having poisonous stingers they are known to be shy and non-threatening when in large schools.

The population in the Gulf of Mexico migrates, in schools of as many as 10,000, clockwise from western Florida to the Yucatan.

Breaking News in the OC

I forgot to post this article from our local newspaper, The Daily Pilot, last week. These are the urgent matters at hand...

Police seek intruder who danced, groped woman

Newport Beach police are looking for a man who entered an unlocked Corona del Mar apartment, performed a dance and groped the owner before he left.

At about 10 a.m. Sunday, a man appearing to be in his mid-30s entered an apartment in the 1700 block of Marguerite Avenue. The man told the resident he was on a scavenger hunt and had to dance for her.

When he finished, he placed his hands on her buttocks before running away. Police said he fled after hearing someone else approaching in the house.

Police described the intruder as a heavyset white man, 5-foot-10, unshaven and wearing a blue or white T-shirt, shorts and white tennis shoes.

Anyone with more information about the suspect is asked to call the Newport Beach Police Department at (800) 550-NBPD.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

it was the best of times too...

What can you say when your golden-haired two-year old, who has just ridden beautifully in the stroller all the way to the market, walked around the store without picking up, eating, or throwing any fruits or vegetables, and then ridden home without a complaint, squats down to peer under the stroller at the groceries, picks up a fat little piece of ginger, looks at it thoughtfully and then says to himself, "It yooks yike a hippo"?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The best of times, the worst of times

Remember the rhyme, “there was a little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good she was very good, and when she was bad she was horrid”? Well, it turns out this is about Silas.

Yesterday the first 45 minutes of my day went like this:

Silas greeted me with a series of “NO! NO! NO! – GO OUT!” and proceeded to throw sippy cups, balls, books and whatever else he could grab across the room, run over to my bag sitting on the chair, gnash his teeth and bite it repeatedly (better the bag than my leg, which was 2 days ago and did NOT happen repeatedly…). Once downstairs he pushed over the metal trashcan with a clatter and ran out of the kitchen despite my demands to “come back here right now!” Once I reigned him in and got him to the table, he scooped up handfuls of scrambled eggs and grits and rubbed them on the table, refusing to eat. Then, so as not to declare peace too quickly, he yelled “I NOT GO POTTY!” and peed in his pants and on the rug. Twice.

That was all before 8:15 AM. The entire day wasn’t like this, but I should add that it escalated to an afternoon tantrum during which he stood on the stairs screaming and banging his head against the wall over and over.

This morning, standing in my milk-soaked bra, trying to corral Silas into his room to get dressed, Eden peed all over me. The low point, though, came later in the morning as I drove south to Mandy’s house, when all my pride flew out the window as I drank iced tea out of a bright pink sippy cup. (A non-spill sippy cup was the only way I could get a beverage down to the garage while holding bags, Eden and Silas’s hand). As I tried to sneak a sip, I heard Silas peering at me from the back seat say, “What you DOING, mama?” A fair question.