December 4, 2008

My son the artist.

I just love the little surprises Erich leaves for me. For example, last year, a week before Valentines Day, he made a little heart shaped poo in his diaper. (Naturally we used the photo for E-valentines to our closest friends.) He's also been known to store his little toy treasures behind the sugar or inside the pots and pans. And today, he left me a slug in his apple.

I love him!

December 3, 2008

"At Last, a Tween Movie With Teeth"

It's about time I said something on here about Twilight (loved it).
I enjoyed this equation/"explanation of Twilight" courtesy of this week's Newsweek:

Start with the achingly pretty,
irresistibly sexy Brad Pitt from
the 1994 movie
"Interview With a Vampire."


Add Leo DiCaprio and Claire Danes
in Romeo & Juliet," in which the
young paramours know that their star-
crossed love is dangerous.


Multiply by "High School Musical,"
not for the singing and dancing
but for its utterly chaste take
on adolescence.


And there you have "Twilight,"
the most wholesome,
bloodless vampire story this
side of the Count on
"Sesame Street."

November 22, 2008

Interview about Bilingualism

I was recently interviewed by the owner of Alphabet Garten, an online German-language bookstore for children. For anyone interested in our efforts in learning German and teaching teaching it to Erich, you can read the full text of the interview here, at her blog.

November 9, 2008

Amazon's Top 10 - Because I pretend to care.

I subscribe to emails because I like to believe that I'm a "reader". Sadly though, I am not. At least not anymore; I definitely was in my pre-parenting days. I do have a couple books I've been working on slowly (i.e. a parenting book I started this summer and a book club book from last May... I haven't been to book club since.) In my view, reading is a luxury I simply can't make time for - except for the Twilight series. I somehow managed to make time for that.

At any rate, I thought I'd share this:'s top ten books of 2008. Not only haven't I read any of them, but I haven't even HEARD of any of them. I feel so out of touch right now.

Top 100 Editors' Picks Out of the thousands of new releases that came into our cubicles this year, we've chosen our 100 favorites, from an elegant pop-up alphabet and a deliciously dishy guide to fragance to an enthralling biography of an iconic leader and an encyclopedic history of a sport and the world that plays it. Here's our top 10:

The Northern Clemency 1. The Northern Clemency

Hurry Down Sunshine 2. Hurry Down Sunshine

Nixonland 3. Nixonland

The Forever War 4. The Forever War

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle 5. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

The Likeness 6. The Likeness

Serena 7. Serena

So Brave, Young, and Handsome 8. So Brave, Young, and Handsome

The Lazarus Project 9. The Lazarus Project

The Ten-Cent Plague 10. The Ten-Cent Plague

November 3, 2008

One Day More

Even though things didn't turn out so great for Marius and the revolutionaries, I couldn't resist posting this. (Thanks, Annie! :) )

October 22, 2008

Kenny G. in the making?

Erich loves his new recorder. Check out his mad skillz!

October 15, 2008

20 Reasons Why I Suck

Even though I'm not an Anderson (honestly, I don't know if I'm cool enough, and I certainly don't blog enough to even apply, but I sure do love watching from the sidelines), I've decided to
join the revolution. I've made a list of 20 reasons why I suck, and in the process I've decided that I really do suck. Was that the point?

Now I don't feel really great about this, but I'm going to post my list anyway -- all under the assumption that admitting my weaknesses will only make me stronger. So here's to a tougher backbone:

I feel like I never come across as sincere even when I am. I just get the idea that the person I'm talking to thinks I'm full of crap. I am sometimes, but definitely not always.
2. I have a terrible attention span as a result of putting too many things on my plate. I can't finish anything quickly because I constantly feel the need to move on to and work on other projects. This is also why none of my million-dollar ideas have come to fruition. (This is also explained by the fact that I haven't put any effort into any of them.)
3. I have a lot of trouble remembering things that I don't write down. Tasks to do, groceries to buy, promises I made, lines from movies, names of movies, if I've ever even
seen a particular movie, where I put the keys... And then I often forget what I wanted to write before I get to a piece of paper. I'm amazed some days that Marc trusts me alone with our child.
4. I yell at Jaeger for whining when I know perfectly well that all he needs is a walk. And on the same note, I wanted him because I knew he would force me to exercise every day, and I often resent him for it.

5. I usually don't even try to remember the names of people that I don't think I'll see again. Which makes things a little awkward when I do see them again.
6. I don't wear sunscreen, like, ever, except for the piddly amount in my face lotion. I never burn OR tan, so I don't even think of it. It's just plain stupid of me, really.
7. I'm terrible at keeping in touch with people. If you don't live within a 10 mile radius of me, consider yourself special if I've called you once so far this year.
8. I only have about 5 stations on Pandora and they all play basically the same music, but I still listen to them interchangeably because then I feel like I'm getting something new. I'm perfectly happy with this.
9. I forget to wash Erich's hands before feeding him meals most of the time.
10. I'm one of "those people" that got a Chinese symbol tattoo and didn't know exactly what it meant.* This is only embarrassing every time the conversation turns to tattoos, because you can always count on someone scoffing at "those people".
*Sidebar not intended to demonstrate my suckiness: The tatoo is really small and I got it when I was 18, but the actual meaning ("someone who doesn't fight") is very close to what I originally thought ("peaceful"). I still like it and I'll never get it removed. And rather than wish I'd never gotten one, I only wish I had gotten something else.
11. I don't like like being Poked on Facebook because I think it's a cry for attention, and I feel like I'm obliged to poke back. I don't respond well when I'm forced into playful aggression (like tickling for example, just ask my husband). But, ironically, I haven't removed the application from my page, because I still like knowing that people are thinking of me, even if they'd rather throw an Obama at me than initiate a conversation.
12. I leave clean clothes in laundry baskets throughout the house, and I only put them away when I need the baskets for more laundry. And the cycle goes on and on...
13. I'm an aggressive driver. I cut in and switch lanes at the last second. I'll even run the occasional red light if the coast is clear.
14. I can't stand basketball and complain whenever it's on TV. This makes Marc very sad.
15. I slouch while giving massages and then tell my clients to watch their posture.
16. I'm really picky about my chicken, especially in soups and Chinese food. If it looks remotely fatty or twisted, I'll pick it apart or give it to the dog.
17. I'd estimate that my grill cost $10,ooo, and yet I will still open anything with my teeth. I'm also a lazy flosser.
18. I almost always fall asleep reading something non-fiction - even when I'm not tired.
19. I don't really like listening to classical or jazz music (with the exception of live performances) and I'm afraid that means there is something wrong with my soul.
20. I censored this list. There are at least a dozen things I could've put on here but ultimately decided that they were either too embarrassing to share, or that I don't want to be encouraged to be better. Besides, now you all know about my tattoo and that's more than enough honesty for me.

There, I did it. And I dare you all to do it, too.

September 29, 2008


Time: During McCain/Obama Presidential Debate.
Setting: In the car on the way home from dinner. Listening to the debate via NPR.
Players: Me (Moderate. Obama supporter.), Hubs (Depends on the setting; in DC: Moderate. In Utah: Hard-core liberal. Obama supporter.), Opa (My pops. Republican. McCain supporter. Listens to Rush Limbaugh "for fun."), and Lil' E (Undecided).

Earlier in the car ride, while passing the White House, Marc successfully trained little E to say "Bush" on command. This brought Opa great delight, and it was so dang cute, even the "liberals" had to smile. Marc wouldn't let this stand though, and tried to rectify his doings before things could get ugly. He was too late.

Marc: Erich, say Bush!
E: Bush!
(cheering and laughter ensue)
Marc: Bush!
E: Bush!!
Opa: Erich, say McCain!
E: Cane!
(cheering and laughter again, and Marc cuts in)
Marc: Erich, say Obama!
E: Bush!
(we look at eachother, laughing with our jaws on the floor)
Marc: Erich, say Obama!

We couldn't help it, we were all roaring. Of course, little E thought he was quite the comedian and laughed right along, repeating his punch line a few times to see if it still worked.

I just love that little man - even if he is a Republican.

September 20, 2008

Quintessential E & J

Poor dog.

And yes, E was victorious in his refusal to sleep, so we let him stay up to watch America's Got Talent. Go Nuttin' But Strings!

September 14, 2008

Fey Nails Palin (on network tv)

Just in case anyone hasn't seen this SNL clip of Poehler/Fey as Clinton/Palin, I'm posting it here for your amusement. It's absolutely hilarious - Tina Fey nailed it!

And was I the only one convinced that Amy Poehler was pregnant after she covered her belly with a pillow in that "ugly children" sketch (and during her closeups on the Weekend Update)?! (Her face looks smooshed - I wonder if it'll be a girl!). Hubs confirmed my suspicions this morning, and apparently she's 8 months along. She didn't look THAT pregnant, but I defintely think she carried the weight better in Baby Mama. That's some pretty dang good breeding though, and you gotta admit with Poehler and "Gob" Bluth as parents, this kid is going to be pretty rockin'.

August 29, 2008

Obama Mocking the Bible Ad = Pile of Garbage

I recently saw a commercial titled "Obama Mocking the Bible" which really rubbed me the wrong way. Go ahead and watch it if you must, but I guarantee you'll be vomiting 10 seconds into it. At any rate, I realize my blog is thus far entirely A-political, and I have decided that, at for least today, it's time for change. Yes we can.

For starters, that video is so full of bile that I think I'm going to throw up. Everything in it is a complete distortion and mischaracterization of the truth. The very first thing I did after watching this piece of garbage (I really can't emphasize that enough) was to read the entire speech online. (Find the video here.)

It turned out to be a pretty great speech, about pluralistic democracy and how by acknowledging and respecting the diversity of religion and interests in our society, we can bridge the political divide along religious lines. I'm very glad I was guided to read it in order to learn the truth behind the appalling accusations listed in the "Sermon on the Mount" ad. His speech (the whole thing, not just 20 cut & pasted seconds) enlightened me with a greater understanding of how to heal that divide and ultimately, a greater respect and appreciation for Barack Obama and his spirituality. So, I'm grateful I was exposed to this piece of trashy sensationalism. It significantly helped to solidify my vote.

By the way, the organization that produced that video claimed on their website that they are "hoping to become the 'Swiftboat' 527 organization of 2008". Purely aspiration: nothing at all on their site about what's good for the country, just efforts to take down the other team no matter how unethical or dishonest the attempts become. I find it incredibly ironic (and quite horrifying) that the driving force behind this ad is the very religious/political divide that Obama's speech was trying to heal. And it's so full of lies! (Certainly makes you wonder if they've been reading THEIR bibles, now, eh?)

If you haven't already, I urge you all to go to the source and decide for yourselves. At least then you'll know the truth and not what someone else is telling you to believe. This commercial will be aired after the Democratic National Convention, and I really hope people don't fall for this crap.

August 4, 2008

My Little Mowgli and Baloo

I couldn't have planned something this cute: little E, stripped down to a diaper after lunch, watching The Junglebook (Das Dschungelbuch) for the first time, cuddling with his own big 'ole dumb bear.

July 31, 2008

Cloth Diapering 101

For those interested in learning more about cloth diapering, this is a really great blog. (Scroll down past the nursing stuff and you'll see it, I promise.) The author is what I would call "normal" and really knows her stuff. She certainly taught me a lot - and made me wish I'd seen this a year ago. It's really nice to learn from someone else's trial & error rather than your own (really messy) T & E.

July 26, 2008

Erich Speak

(I should probably just go ahead and rename this blog to "The Erich Days" since that's all I write about lately...)

To track Erich's progress in learning German (and hopefully to translate at least a little bit of his gibberish for everyone else), I've documented all of his current vocabulary. As you can see a few English words have slipped in there - 'no' being his favorite. I only wish I could include some recording of him saying these words, but this kid simply refuses to be a trained monkey. So I just wrote the phonetically spelled version of how Erich says the word, then the correct German word and the English translation in parenthesis.

  1. Mama
  2. Papa
  3. Opa (Grandpa)
  4. Oma (Grandma)
  5. Mimi (other grandma)
  6. Nummy: Yummy
  7. Eye: Eier (eggs)
  8. NEIN!
  9. NO!
  10. Uh-oh
  11. Mehr (more)
  12. Buh-bye
  13. Oosh: Tschuss (bye)
  14. Ball (same in German)
  15. Baby (same)
  16. Koo: Kuh (cow)
  17. Eckie: Eklig (yucky)
  18. Po (bum - he says this and "eklig" when he poos)
  19. Weevee: Revie (his friend)
  20. Zah: Saft (juice) or Wasser (water)... He doesn't seem to distinguish between the two but that could be because cup is "Tasse" and he's just saying that.
  21. Ahssee: Kashi (as in Kashi's Heart to Heart cereal, his favorite)
  22. Ooo-cow-bah: Hubschrauber (Helicopter - TONS fly over our house)
  23. Duh-kah: Danke (Thank you)
  24. Entee: Ente (duck)
  25. Ah-pee: Affe (monkey)
  26. Nana: Banana (banana)
  27. Bah-dee: Bade (Bath)
  28. Shauw - Schau (look)
  29. Yay-gah: Jaeger (our dog, not the drink. Also his first word.)
  30. doo, dee, die: (combo of one, two, three & eins, zwei, drei)
  31. Auf (up)
  32. Aus (out)
  33. Auto (car)
  34. Kop: Klopf (knocking on a door)
  35. Ahn-dee: Handy (cell phone)
  36. Bibi (his Aunt Rebecca)
  37. Zee: Ziehen (pull)
  38. Shoo: Schuh (shoe)
  39. Bauw: Bauch (Tummy) or Baum (tree) -- Depending on what he's pointing at...
  40. Neh-mo: Nemo (yes, THAT Nemo. And this is to describe every fish of every color and size, by the way.)
Just yesterday, he said: Pipi (yes, as in 'peepee'), Tiger and Erdbeere (strawberry). We'll see if they stick!

And finally, he makes these noises with the corresponding animals:

Dog: Arf

Cat: Meow
Cow: Moo

Rooster: Ar-OO-oo-ar-Aroo
Chick: Peep, peep
Pig: back of the nose snort
Bear, Tiger, Lion, Crocodile, Giraffe, Bunny, Frog: Grrrrrroaawwrrr!

(We're still trying to teach him that the last few don't actually roar. He prefers things his way.)

I was so surprised while putting this together how many words he actually says! I've been telling everyone he says a dozen but apparently I've been a stinking liar. I'm thinking now I should print out copies and pass them out to all his friends, neighbors and nursery teachers. By memorizing this list
, you could probably have an entire conversation with Erich and he'd be your best friend forever.

The pressures on, though.. I'm going to have to up my studying - this kid is catching up to me quicker than I thought.

July 23, 2008

Binkie Boot Camp

Much to my chagrin, today marks the beginning of the end of binky use in our house. No binkies will ever be allowed in Erich's mouth again. My once beloved and trusted soother and scream stopper has slowly been doing it's dirty work on my son. I felt so betrayed by my little assistants when the pediatrician told me today that they have given E a pretty significant overbite. Ah!! Stupid me - of all people, as someone who wore braces for 3 years to repair the damage of my own finger-sucking, I should have known better. But he is so young and it's something that I never really considered, especially since he really only uses them at night (and occasionally as the previously mentioned screecher plug).

So that's it: I say they're OUT! Wish me luck, though, because this could be a looong couple of nights. And because I'm going to try to (gently) nudge Erich's teeth back every chance I get. (He'll thank me in 12 years when he doesn't have to wear head gear to school and be teased by his siblings.)

July 15, 2008

Erich's New Trick

Sorry everyone for being away the past few weeks. Every once and a while I have to go anti-internet and focus my energies elsewhere. Just something that keeps me sane.

Hoping you'll forgive me, here is one of the latest things my adorably awesome kid has been doing. Regularly, I might add. I seriously doubt anyone else's child does this and I couldn't be more proud.

June 23, 2008

Another "Parent of the Year" Moment

Have you ever thought to yourself:

1) This is not how I want my child to act in public, and

2) Maybe he's getting mixed messages when I tell him to stop from behind the camera?

For me, this was one of those moments.

June 8, 2008

Lies, Lies, Lies

If you know my husband fairly well, then you are well aware that I have been stalking you for the past 6 months. In January, I began shaping my thoughts: what to say and how to say it. In February, I sent you the first email. The first of many, many, many emails. I begged and pleaded with you to send me something, anything, about my husband's younger days. I compiled all of these entries and created a 100 page book and an hour long video; my goal: sum up Marc's 30 years on this planet. And, if you know my husband fairly well, then you are well aware that this is no light task.

I believe I emailed about 500 people. I never officially counted, however the list of email addresses filled 6 pages in Word... so I estimated. To compile these memories, I emailed everyone in Marc's inbox - it was the ultimate in Bohnspam (I did learn from the master, after all). It was quite an adventure: the secret email account, the phone calls, and having to obsessively cover my tracks. After quite a bit of nagging, I received a tremendous response and found myself swimming in memories. Actually, drowning is more like it. I was in over my head.

For the past 5 weeks, I have devoted every spare (and not so spare) second to this project. To say the least, my domestic, wifely, and motherly responsibilities have suffered greatly. My dog has gained weight, my husband has been forced to wear dirty underwear more than once, and I fear my son's attention span has been shortened from all the cartoons I let him watch (even if they were in German). And on top of all this: a thick, woolly blanket of Lies, Lies, Lies. ("Oh, we didn't do much today, hun.. we just went to playgroup and hung out for a couple hours." or "I had to babysit the neighbor's kid all day - it was crazy!" or "I had the worst cramps, I couldn't do anything but sit on my butt.")

I actually have one of those uncommon husbands that asks how my day went, so my defense is that he pressured me into it. However, I knew that if I just picked one or two events to discuss in the evening, I wouldn't be asked to detail the entire day. I soon started making quick jaunts to CVS seem like they took hours. Little did Marc know that I never kicked my rear in gear until I saw him sign out of Google Talk - then I knew I had half an hour to clean, start dinner and move things around (laundry/papers) as though I had actually been productive. Oh, and then make up stories about my daily activities.

I was a bit of a basket case, people. My insides (psychologically and physically) were knotted up for weeks, but the hardest part was concealing all of my stress from Marc. I was smiling my way through hypertension and hair loss. It was worth it, though, and as I wrote in the forward to his book:
"Now that my mission is accomplished, I'm entirely resolved on two things:

1) I could never be a double agent. Leading a double life is absolutely miserable, and
2) I'm married to the most wonderful man in the world. . ."

The project turned out amazing, and each story and picture I surfed through gave me a deeper understanding of Marc and the experiences that shaped him. And when I finally presented the masterpiece, he was blown away. He loved it, and I was even able to throw him a little surprise party/movie screening (even though I got lazy in the end and he sensed something was up). He was also pretty surprised that I was able to find the doll he had as a boy that his parents threw away, "Penny" - a 40-year old antique that I've already had to give stitches to twice. (She's still wet in the picture from her 10 hour Oxy Clean bath.)

SUCCESS! All my hard work paid off, as well as the mountains of help from countless others. (Especially of note are Marc's parents and my wonderful friend, Maryanne, who sacrificed two weeks of her life to work on my video!) Thank you everyone, and I promise not to stalk you again for at least another 30 years!

Happy Birthday, Marc, you old man! Ich liebe dich!!

And that's the story of why my blog has sucked lately. As a special treat, here are some pictures of Erich at his Papa's party. We stripped off his chocolate cake smeared shirt and he decided to wear this ribbon all day instead (of his own volition). This makes me think I shouldn't watch so much Bravo around him (you know, the channel that women love because it's focus group is gay men)...

May 22, 2008


... for my new diaper bag!

I really like these Reese Li bags, but my husband is NO help. (He hates them both.) Help me!

May 20, 2008

Bloody Sippy Cups!

And I don't mean bloody in the I-scraped-my-knee way, I mean bloody in the I'm-censoring-my-blog-slightly-from-what-I-really-want-to-title-it way.

I actually made it to Erich's music class this morning! Unfortunately, we didn't make through in the door. For the record, I've decided that this class was a total waste of money. We only made it to half the classes and when we did, all Erich wanted to do was play with the weights while I sang The Wheels on the Bus to whatever other kid was next to me. The only entertaining (and equally annoying) part was this mom that kept talking in a loud baby voice to her son - and following each comment with a guttural "Nanny" laugh. And I've never seen so many "stay at home moms" wear business attire on a regular basis. It was just weird I tell ya.

Anyway, when I pulled Erich out of the car I felt that his butt was soaking wet. I saw the sippy cup next to him, realized what happened, and decided to go in anyway. By the time we got to the building my arm was also drenched, so I put him down and evaluated the damage. The kid looked like I hadn't changed his diaper in days (or a cloth diaper in 6 hours, but that's another post). The entire butt and sides of his light blue jeans were deep blue, so I decided to go back home - fuming at those cursed sippy cups.

I'm curious to hear what others would have done. Would you go home or stick it out? I feel totally comfortable stripping Erich to his diaper or just telling everyone "don't worry, it's only juice!" in playgroup
(and indeed I have), but these weren't pals of mine. And no, the Rec Center doesn't sell clothes; I checked before throwing in the towel.

And another question: does anyone know of a sippy cup that does NOT leak? I probably have about 10, and of those, Erich will only drink out of 5. They are all straw cups and they ALL leak. It drives us crazy. Marc even threw one away in a fit of rage last weekend after it soaked his pants. He felt guilty after I told him it was Erich's favorite cup, so he fished it out of the trash and we gave it a good washing when we got home. But how pathetic are we that we keep these cups that bring us so much misery just because Erich refuses to drink from anything else? I keep thinking I'd like to all of the cups with some that don't leak, and make Erich deal with it, but... do they exist? I'm doubtful.

May 13, 2008

Best Mother's Day EVER

Okay, so I know it's only my second one, but this Mothers Day weekend was pretty freakin' great. It almost made up for my husband ditching me the last several months. Well, okay, I suppose it did.

Thank you Hubs for the night at the Ritz, the fabulous restaurant, the couples massages, the 11-hour slumber, the crepe breakfast, and the
amazing ("Mothers Day, birthday & a little bit of Christmas") gift!! I was so spoiled and it was sooo awesome! In return I believe I didn't complain once about our bratwurst dinner and having to spend the entire afternoon watching the Jazz game. Shoot, I didn't even think about it!

You've set the bar high, babe. I don't know how I'm going to top this next month...

May 11, 2008

English Nursery Rhymes in German

I'm not sure if any of my readers will be interested in this besides me, but after an exhaustive search I was finally able to find German translations of some of my favorite English nursery rhymes. Up until now I've been singing my own rough and pathetic versions to Erich. (Reason #27 that I may have already screwed up my kid before his second year.) Boy am I excited to actually be saying them correctly! You may notice though, that most of these aren't literal translations. This isn't uncommon. I suppose the charm of lines like "the old man is snoring" must get lost in translation. How unfortunate.

For anyone interested, I found the translations here. The site also translates nursery rhymes into a bounty of other languages, so it's a definite keeper for any multi-lingual families. And while we're on the topic, this is also a fabulous site. Pick your language, and pull up pictures. As you scroll over the picture, you see and hear the word. Erich loves this and we do it almost every day!

Bruder Jakob (Are you sleeping?)

Bruder Jakob, Bruder Jakob,
schläfts du noch, schläftst du noch?
Hörst du nicht die Glocken, hörst du nicht die Glocken,
Ding Ding Dong, Ding Ding Dong

Funkle, funkle kleiner Stern (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)

Funkle, funkle kleiner Stern,
was du bist, das wüßt ich gern.
Stehst hoch über aller Welt,
ein Diamand am Himmelszelt.
Funkle, funkle kleiner Stern,
was du bist das wüßt ich gern.

Tickedi tickedi tack (Hickory Dickory Dock)

Tickedi tickedi tack,
die Maus läuft die Uhr auf und ab.
Die Uhr schlät eins,
die Maus rennt heim!
Tickedi tickedi tack

Es regent, es regnet (It’s Raining, It’s Pouring)

Es regnet, es regnet,
es regnet seinen Lauf.
Und wenn's genug geregnet hat,
dann hört's auch wieder auf.

Ringel, ringel, Rosen (Ring-around the Rosie)

Ringel, ringel, Rosen
Schöne Aprikosen
Weiß und blau
Vergiß mein nicht,
Alle Kinder setzen sich.

Das ist der Daumen (This Little Piggy Went To Market)

Das ist der Daumen,
der schüttelt die Pflaumen,
der hebt sie auf,
der trägt sie nach Haus,
und dieser kleine Lümmel ißt sie alle auf!

Die kribbel-krabbel Spinne (The Itsy Bitsy Spider)

Die kribbel-krabbel Spinne kriecht in Wasserrohr,
dann kommt der Regen und spült sie wieder vor,
dann kommt die Sonne und trocknet das Wasser ein
und die kribbel-krabbel Spinne kriecht wieder ins Rohr hinein.


A, B.... Y, Z, oh weh, jetzt kann ich das ganze ABC!

May 8, 2008


It took us two years to finally realize we could (and should) store stuff in our attic. Now, whenever I can get my rear in gear, I'll pack up a couple tubs of junk and leave them on the landing for Marc to throw up there. (I've never actually been up there myself-small, dark, musty spaces weird me out.)

My latest project has been organizing the closets in Erich's room, better referred to as the old attic. After packing numerous tubs of baby clothes, I reached two forgotten boxes on the top shelf with my name on them. My theory is that they got there when my mom drove down from Wisconsin after Erich was born. I don't remember seeing them or putting them up there, but then again I was on a lot of Percoset back then...

I realized these were memorabilia boxes encompassing my middle through high school years. Sweet!! Naturally, I took a break from organizing and indulged in this unexpected treat. Right away though, I found something a little, um, "sweeter" than I'd expected. Tucked under the lid of the first box was a bottle of Royale Deluxe Chambord Liqueur! The bottle was pretty dusty and sure, I had some wild times in my youth, but I certainly didn't remember this keepsake! You had better believe I have my suspicions, though. (Um, did you forget about something, little brother?? We'll chat later!)

This was truly a blast from the past, complete with diaries, pictures, cards, yearbooks, awards, trophies, art projects and bulging bag of notes folded into every geometrical shape possible. I got quite the kick out of it all. I had love notes in there from a guy I refused to date until I was 16, and journal entries about how much I "loved" the guy I secretly dated when I was 15. I know, I was quite the heartbreaker. I even got emotional when I found a printed copy of a virtual "Happy Hanukkah" bouquet my best friend Dave sent me saying "Did I make you smile? If so you should put this on your list of things that make you smile." Apparently I was making a list.. I wonder what happened to that?

I made a crazy chair in art class my senior year that was symbolic of the dueling good/bad angel on each shoulder. My good/bad angels were represented by Oscar the Grouch in a black can and Elmo in a flower pot (I had something of an obsession with Elmo for about a year); they were attached to each "shoulder" of the chair and each half of the chair was painted and "decorated" to match (interpretation: glued on flowers and garbage). A lot of people didn't "get" my art, but I was really proud of it so I saved the Oscar and Elmo. Erich had a blast playing with them.

Then there was the journal entry I wrote about how my friend and I stole our teacher's AOL password (because my parents wouldn't give me theirs) and chatted with a bunch of guys, and one kept emailing us. I was convinced that we'd get busted because the emails took a few days to delete; now was that true or was I on crack?

There was so much more, but I decided to pack things up and postpone the rest of the flashback a little longer. At least it was nice to reconnect with the old me and see how I've grown. I'm proud of myself. I did a great job of documenting the shy, skinny, four-eyed, headgear wearing brace-face I was and the myriad of emotions that came with finding myself, making choices, and puberty in general. And although I still cringe when I remember it all, there are a ton of valuable resources in that box to help me deal with my own daughters' (because we'll have at least one if not more, Marc!) awkward adolescent stages. I'm hoping that by then I'll be able to completely shake off any embarrassment about who I was and just laugh about it. Because I think I turned out pretty good.

May 3, 2008

Erich Nesting

Apparently E was very dissatisfied with the way I organized the pantry. I'm not complaining, though. This kept him busy for about half an hour.

And after all that work, this is how he finally decided it should look:

April 30, 2008

Chocolate Love

My friend Nancy let me review some of her yummy chocolate. Mmm-mm! I could get used to this.

Andrea Bocelli Sings Elmo to Sleep

Erich has had a thing for Andrea Bocelli ever since we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton in Las Vegas this past Christmas. Andrea had performed a rare concert on Lake Las Vegas last summer, and the footage played constantly on one of the hotel's cable channels. And by nothing short of genius hospitality, the maids left it playing upon leaving the room. It was a delicious treat to walk into our clean room every evening, be greated by that flawless tenor, and see the breathtaking views of the desert sun setting behind him. I'm telling you, this thing was enchanting. Erich was completely entranced from the moment we walked in the room. By the time we checked out, we probably sat through that entire concert 10 times and I still wanted more. Even now when I play Bocelli on my iPod, Erich becomes completely still and stares blissfully off into the distance.

Now imagine our delight as I'm channel surfing today (yes, we watch TV on sick days, so sue me) and suddenly Elmo appears on the screen. Erich adores Elmo. He hasn't had much exposure to the little fur ball, but I can confidently say that it was love at first sight. So I pause a moment, and
wait! Who is that with him? Andrea Bocelli!! There he was singing our little buddy a bedtime version of Con Te Partiro. We both thought this song was so fabulous that I found the video on YouTube and E & I watched it several times over.

April 29, 2008

My Favorite Piece of Furniture

Erich's sweet little cousins (and Aunt Nicole!) just sent him this amazing PB Kids chair, and I have to say: it is AWESOME! It looks so cozy and stylish, and he absolutely loves having his own little space to chill and read his books. (Even though he becomes a deer in the headlights every time I lift the camera.) Did I mention I love it? I love it! Thank you, girls!!

April 28, 2008

Home Improvement and My Mom

I always love it when my mom comes to visit from Wisconsin. We get to hang out, play with Erich, go shopping, she washes my dishes.. and Marc's favorite: she fixes up our house. I'm telling you, this woman is a machine, a do-it-herself-er through and through. Unfortunately, I don't share her adeptness or desire for home repairs, but I swear I'm the best bucket and flashlight holder this side of the Mississippi! When she came out here a few weeks ago, our #1 project was the garden. It took a couple of years, but I think I've finally learned the difference between annuals and perennials. Here's finished product (I know, I'm terrible about putting the hose back!):

We then took a well deserved break to see the cherry blossoms in DC.

Then she and my dad spent a few hours digging a nail clippers out of the garbage disposal (I still call it wasn't my fault). Notice me holding the flashlight and covering my face like a pro.

Then we tore it up. The yard, that is. Because apparently dog urine kills grass. Actually, this is something we knew quite well, but laziness won us over far too often, resulting in a plot of dirt and dead, yellow crud. Marc & I finally got fed up with being the white trash of the neighborhood, so Maw & I removed all of the acidic garbage and gave the remaining dirt a good toiling.

But the sod came in a few days late, and my teacher had to go home, leaving me to finish the job.. alone*. And guess what: I DID IT! I bought and laid down the sod all by myself**. And if that isn't wild enough, I MOWED IT last week. I suppose I might have a little of my mama in me afterall.

* If you're asking why I had to do this alone, then you've never been married to a lawyer.
** Our neighbors leave a bunch of random stuff(i.e. a birdhouse, tiles, shoes..) on their front porch at all times. Please don't take that as a reflection on us.

April 26, 2008

Movie Review : I Am Legend

One word: "Blaherreguregrulah."
Translation: Creepy-nasty-grizzly-intense- yucky-yuck-yuck. Yuck.

This movie drove me out of my gourd. I'm still trying to exorcise the worms out from under my skin and the queasy knot in my gut. I've never been a fan of scary movies, and this one just barely crossed over my tolerance threshold. (I never said I was good at separating fantasy from reality.) I was literally jumping on the couch with a pillow over my face during the dog scene, and wedged into a corner during the rest of it. And in a very rare occurrence, I, the terrible woman who hates basketball, actually made Marc switch to the Jazz game about 10 times so I could relax. When it was all over, I went upstairs to cuddle with my sweet little sleeper and to feel peace again. (And to make sure he was safe!)

I'm not looking forward to my dreams tonight. And tomorrow night, I just may pack a switchblade when I take Jaeger to the bathroom.

April 22, 2008

The Most Depressing Post Ever

Does anyone else ever feel like we're living a story that is coming to it's end? I couldn't help but feel that way today as I was listening to a radio program about China's growing population and consumption of oil. The host was interviewing a scientist who believed that in 10-20 years the world would be scrambling for oil and it would cause all kinds of chaos. Frankly, I think he's right. But it's not only China that worries me, it's the culmination of everything in the media lately. It seems that all we hear about is the poor environment, global warming, melting ice, oil, wars, poverty, disease, etc. We're approaching the climax.

I think I've come to the sad realization that we can't save the Earth. We humans will never reverse our impact on the environment. We're not organized, united, or strong enough. Inevitably, our planet will capsize in our filth, and the best anyone can do is to slow things down. I only hope that we can put it off as long as possible.

So on this, our glorious Earth Day, I have to roll my eyes at the naive phrase "Save the Planet". Instead, I came up with a new motto:

Go ahead now, cry your eyes out. It'll probably make the polar ice caps melt that much faster.

April 17, 2008

i heart poop.

If you know me at all, you probably know that I have something of a poop obsession. So you understand why I have to share this post with you from my sister's blog. I've also decided that poop is funniest when it doesn't happen to you. I'm still rolling on the floor on this one!! (My sympathies are with you, C.)

p.s. - "Poopsucka" is an endearing term we call each other, created by my nephew (to the great delight of his aunts and mother) when he was learning his first words. The child is a comedic genius!

April 15, 2008

No, I'm NOT pregnant. Just hormonal.

A little while ago, I registered Erich for a weekly music class at the community REC center. I missed a chunk of the first class (although SO not my fault. It was all on Marc). Then last week, my mom was visiting and I just plain forgot. Finally, this morning, I arrived right on time for a class that I thought started at 10. We walked in to every one happily packing up their bags and strollers. I then remembered the class began at 9, and playgroup started at 10, and I - completely disgusted with myself - flipped a 180 out the door and prayed that no body saw us.

I felt like such a failure that I almost broke out in tears as we walked out to the parking lot. Seriously, is there something wrong with me that I can't make it on time to Erich's ONE weekly commitment*? Also, since this is a class I already paid for, it's just money down the toilet**. I was putting Erich in his car seat when I decided that I really didn't want to go home and admit defeat. I paused and thought about going to the store or somewhere else when I looked up and saw a playground. So off the pair of us went to climb and slide and have a pretty good time.

But here's the clincher, the real point of this boring post. On my drive home, on a narrow, two lane side street, I came across a really bad accident. Two ambulances, one fire truck, and 5 police cars all with their lights on. A smashed up truck and trailer were one side of the road, and a crumpled up sedan was on the other, surrounded by a stretcher and several men prying out the passenger. While my heart goes out to the victims and I hope they're okay, my thoughts are still pretty selfish and I can't help but wonder how long it must have taken for the response team to get there and how long they had been there before I drove past.. 20, 30 minutes? The same amount of time we spent at the park? And I know it's a long shot that Erich and I could've shared the same fate, but it still makes me wonder. And it makes me feel a whole lot better about being an airhead.

*Playgroups don't count because they're free. And everyone else is late, too!
**Sure, all the proceeds go to help fund community programs, but what about ME?

April 4, 2008

Paper... or Plastic?

Wouldn't you know it, even the lap of luxury has some dirty little secrets, and in this case, ignorance
is definitely not bliss. Where I work, there are two kinds of people: those who know... and those who don't. Those who know drink from paper cups in the cafeteria. The poor schmucks who don't know use the hard, plastic glasses.

I was one of the poor schmucks once, and I'm forever grateful to the wonderful, Columbian laundry valet who urgently whispered a grave truth to me in the recesses of the employee dining room:

"No, no, you shouldn't drink out of that cup! You see over there, how they have paper? You must drink only from the paper!" she implored in her hushed tone.


"The plastic cups, the Arabian men, they bring them to the bathroom so they can pour water on their [insert meaningful head-tilt-and-double-glance downward], you know."

Oh My...

"You see, they no use toilet paper. Only water. So they take cups into the bathroom and leave them there. Then, later, the cups are washed in here with everything else."


"So you must only use paper. If there is no more paper, you must ask for paper."

Truer words were never spoken.

I immediately switched cups and entered the club of those who know. Since that fateful day, over a year ago, I have been amazed at how this crude affair is shrouded in secrecy and always discussed in hushed voices - as though someone would be offended if they overheard. (Ooo, the nerve of someone wanting to drink from a poop-free glass!) Even more disturbing is that even now, a
random inspection of the employee cafeteria will still turn up tables littered with a sea of paper and plastic. To my knowledge, the Ritz hasn't equipped the mens room with any bidets, so either people don't know.. or they just don't care. And that, friends, is what troubles me the most.

April 2, 2008

Beware of this Binky!!

The RaZbaby Keep-It-Kleen Pacifier is a binky designed to shut closed when falling on the floor to, well, keep it clean. It's certainly a novel idea, so I bought one at CVS last year and decided it was pretty cool. Erich could pick it up off the floor, open the shields, and stick it in his own mouth with no hurried cleaning by mama. Plus it looked like Nemo and matched his hair. Suh-weet! Well, the honeymoon ended last week however, when I went to Erich's crib one morning to find his little security blanket shattered into 5 pieces... next to his head! Imagine my horror as I checked to make sure he hadn't swallowed anything.

I was unable to reach anyone by phone, but following is the email I sent to RaZbaby's customer service department.

Customer Service Agent,

I am very upset about your "Keep-it-Kleen Pacifier". When my 14-month-old son awoke in the morning a few days ago, I went to his crib and discovered your KIK Pacifier broken into 5 pieces right next to his head. I don't know how it broke, but the fact of the matter is, this product is too fragile and hazardous for children. I hate to think of what could have happened had he awoken and felt around him in the middle of the night or if I had waited longer to enter his room. This could have been a lethal situation had my son ingested any of those pieces. There were two pieces in particular that gave me tremendous cause for concern: the nipple, which would have blocked his windpipe instantly, and a small, sharp, metal ring. The ring is not much larger than a Cheerio, but the damage and internal bleeding it could cause is sickening. Hypothetically, if my son had ingested that ring and nothing else, I would have examined all other pieces and assumed that nothing was missing. If he began crying I would have had no idea what type of internal damage was occurring and may not have realized that he needed immediate medical attention.

The Keep-it-Kleen Pacifier that you have on the market is extremely dangerous and inappropriate for use by any child, especially infants. I plan to tell everyone I know not to purchase this product until the item has been recalled and all potentially hazardous parts have been removed.
Shattered Nemo:

Frankly, that email doesn't express the complete anger I felt, but I decided it would be more productive to portray myself as the diplomatic-yet-horrified parent as opposed to a psychotic enraged one. Well, one of the owners, Aida, emailed me back right away and then called me this morning. She was very nice and professional, apologizing profusely, saying they have never received a complaint like this, and went into great detail explaining their rigorous testing processes (these include stepping on, running over, and throwing the pacifiers against cement walls). She seemed to feel that my binky was defective and requested that I send it back to their company for testing in their lab, while she sends me a full refund. I told her I was still concerned that the nipple, ring and base weren't one piece, and that separately they still presented a choking hazard. Her response was that they recently updated the model and secured the ring into the shield so it wouldn't come out. But still... it's metal. And that nipple could soo easily block a windpipe. And, as sympathetic as she may be, after playing out the scenerio of 'what if's' in my head, my consumer confidence may never be regained.

Aida said she'll keep me updated on the labs findings. Overall, I'm glad she was so interested in examining the binky to figure out their mistake, but I still feel it's my duty to warn everyone I know about the possible dangers of using this pacifier. Sorry RaZbaby, but it's my responsibility; at least it's cheaper than your unlikely recall.

This is the only shot I could find of Erich sporting his KIK paci. (It also happens to be an excellent representation of his fly dance moves.)

March 31, 2008

I'll never call my son a monkey again...

Okay, my mom sent me this. It is totally disgusting, but so worth sharing. Thanks for the blog material, Ma.

"Monkey Pee, Monkey Eww"

March 26, 2008

My Rocky Relationship with Rachel Ray

I've never been a huge Rachel Ray fan, but I still like to keep an open mind about things, so I vowed this month to try as many 30-Minute Meals as possible. To start off, 30 minutes is a crock. My average meal meal prep time has been closer to the 90 minute range. (Rachel should try making a meal in half an hour with a dog & toddler underfoot - both looking for scraps - and The Office streaming on her computer. Now, that's real time!) I've only liked about 1/2 the recipes so far. My odds are much better with recipes from friends & fam and Epicurious, my most frequented resources. I think I'll stick with my old standards for a while and start eating food that I enjoy!

Here are my favorite "30 min" recipes so far (yes, I do love pasta):

Cauliflower Sauce with Whole-Wheat Penne

1 lb whole wheat penne rigate
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, cracked from skin and sliced
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 head cauliflower, stem removed and chopped
1 cup chicken stock
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
3/4 cup grated Romano, 3 generous handfuls
Salt and black pepper

Boil pasta. Drain and reserve 2 ladles of pasta water.

For sauce, heat a deep skillet over medium heat with extra-virgin olive oil. Add garlic and cook 3 minutes, then remove. Add onions and cook 5 minutes then add cauliflower, chicken stock and the rosemary. Cover the pan and cook 15 minutes. Uncover the sauce, add 1 to 2 ladles of pasta water and mash the cauliflower with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher. Add the pasta and cheese to the cauliflower and toss to combine. Season the dish with S&P.

You-Won't-Be-Single-For-Long Vodka Cream Pasta

1 tbsp butter
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 oz fresh pasta
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka1 cup chicken broth
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
Crusty bread (as side)

Boil pasta. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add evoo, butter, garlic & shallots. Gently saute garlic and shallots, 3-5 minutes, to develop their sweetness. Add vodka and cook to reduce by half, 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble, then reduce heat to simmer. Season with S & P.

Stir cream into the vodka sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove from heat. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Serve with crusty bread.

March 25, 2008

Welcome to the Monkey House

I'm seriously considering changing the title of my blog from The Salad Days to The Monkey House. I immediately clung to this expression when I heard Tim Gunn say it to Chris on Project Runway. After an entire season of examining Chris's wacky creations, Tim made the greatest analogy when Chris presented to him garments that used human hair as fringe. He told Chris in a very Tim Gunn way that only Tim Gunn could pull off, that he had been living in the monkey house for too long. His analogy goes something like this: So when you first walk into the monkey house at the zoo, what do you do? You cover your nose and think, "Dang this place stinks!" Then, after 15 minutes or so you start to think, "Well, I guess this isn't so bad." And then, after about 45 minutes you don't even notice it anymore. However, the place never stopped smelling like sh**; you just stopped smelling it.

If you're living in the monkey house, it means you that you no longer notice the mess all around you. If you stay there too long, then you begin to enjoy it or to make it your own. Abandon all hope if crap starts flying across the room.

I feel a lot of days like I'm living in my own monkey house. We spend a lot of time running around the house screeching and climbing the furniture naked. Besides that however, I realize that when the tasks get overwhelming, the blinders turn on. I let dog hair pile up and papers sit on the counters for weeks, my socks never match my outfit and aside from applying makeup on the drive to church (to which we are always late), I am seriously lacking any beauty regimen. I could go on and on about how often I (don't) shower, but I don't want to shatter too many positive assumptions people have made about me. Instead, rest assured that Erich gets a bath, clean clothes, a massage, and weird, organic health food every day.. while I sit in my own filth eating Peanut Butter Crunch.

Thankfully, not every day is a "monkey house" day. That is why I would never title my blog to reflect so. I certainly wouldn't want to embrace a lower standard of living than I have now! But life is an uphill battle to find balance, so I'll keep my scooper in hand and start shoveling that poo out the window. Into the yard- where it might actually do some good.