Tis’ the Season to Eat Sh*t on the Stairs

What is it about the holidays that seems to accentuate the possibility for bodily injury and harm?  Are we more merry, and therefore less inclined to be wary of potential hazards?  Is it the alcohol?  The parties?  Are we overly distracted by all that needs to be accomplished?  Or is it simply more notable because when you become injured over the holidays it affects the entire season with regard to how you enjoy it?

Two weeks ago I was attending a holiday party at a friend’s house and as I was walking through a gated entryway into a courtyard the entire world tipped itself over and I found myself crashing down onto both of my knees and then face down on the sidewalk.  What the hell just happened?  I sat up, but couldn’t get up.  The pain in my knees and shins was instantaneous,  yet after a few moments I knew nothing was broken.  After a quick assessment of how and why I fell, Dan hoisted me up and I hobbled to the front door.  It turns out there was a very tiny step, about three inches deep right where you entered the courtyard from the gate.  Apparently I missed that step.  My cousin visiting from Michigan was with us and at one point she said, “I’m not gonna lie to you, that wasn’t even a little bit graceful.”

After walking into the party and greeting the hosts, I asked if they had a security camera on their front walkway.  They said they didn’t, but they were curious as to why I would ask.  So I said, “Well, I just ate shit on your front step and I wanted to be sure no one was going to watch that on instant replay or put it on You-tube.”

About thirty minutes later I could feel my heartbeat in my knees.  They were throbbing terribly and stinging like crazy.  I excused myself to the restroom and discovered that I had skinned both knees pretty badly.  I was bleeding under my pants and the skin was already swelling and turning purple and blue with bruises.  I had to mostly sit during the gathering because standing was so painful, and I wasn’t about to draw more attention to myself by asking my hosts for a bag of frozen peas to help with the swelling.  Good times.

After we got home, I grabbed four Advil and two large therapy ice packs from my freezer and got comfortable on the couch.  Dan and my cousin weren’t done having fun yet, so they walked to a local bar to have a few more drinks.  About an hour later I got a text from Dan saying, “I ate shit on a curb in solidarity.  I’m ok.”  It turns out he missed the curb when he was walking home and did a full body yard-sale into the street.  His knees were also skinned and bruised.   We make quite the pair, don’t we?

It’s been two weeks since I fell and the bruising is almost gone.  The skin has healed, mostly, but I still have tenderness in my knees.  The other day I forgot about the injury and tried to kneel down on the wood floor to light the fireplace.  That was a mistake.  I ended up flopping over like I was having a seizure to take the pressure off the injury.  It scared the hell out of my son.

And yesterday, my neighbor texted me that she was at urgent care.  While walking down her stairs she missed a step and took a tumble.  Thankfully, her ankle wasn’t broken but they sent her home in an air cast.  My mother-in-law also recently fell and she did break her knee cap.  Just cracked her patella right in two.  She now has metal screws holding her knee cap together.

So seriously, I think I’m going to start a club.  I need help thinking of a name though, and more members.  A club has to have more than four members.  So if you’ve ever eaten shit on the stairs, we want to hear your story!

Happy Holidays!  🙂

Smoke Detectors Save Lives, Until You Beat Them Off the Wall with a Broom Handle

13133388_1073988239327584_5538104568739403685_n1I had a moment today where I was dangerously close to completely losing my shit.  No, that’s not true because I actually lost my shit for a tad bit at one point.

Around 12:30pm today my smoke detectors started going off all over the house.  There was no fire, but they wouldn’t shut off.  For an hour they were screeching their life saving song without cease.  For an hour my dogs barked, cried and shook involuntarily from the horrible noise that was hurting their ears and scarring the hell out of them.  At one point, my little Mavis just let loose and started pooping everywhere.  The noise literally scared the shit out of her.

It’s amazing what that kind of noise can do to you in an hour.  My heart was racing, my blood pressure was up, and I had this weird anxiety that I couldn’t calm even though I knew my house wasn’t on fire.  The noise was deafening, and grating, and it felt like it scrapped every fucking nerve in my body to the point of absolute insanity.  For an hour.

I googled what to do when your smoke alarms malfunction like that.  The internet said the most likely cause was dust in and around the censors.  Most of the detectors in my house are about 18 feet up the wall because we have vaulted ceilings in the upstairs bedrooms.  The only ladder we have is a ginormous beast of a thing that is difficult for me to carry and maneuver.  I couldn’t get up there to take the detectors down, so I drug a step-ladder and my vacuum cleaner all over the house trying to suck the dust out of the detectors with the attachment wand.  It didn’t work.  I tried to call the non-emergency line for the fire department hoping they could send a guy out with a ladder to take them down for me.  All I got was voicemail.  Can you believe that?  The fire department sends you to flippin’ voice mail if you don’t need to call 911!  When the fire department failed me, I actually resorted to trying to beat the damn things off the wall with a broom handle.  I had reached the breaking point and would have risked putting multiple holes in the walls to make that god-forsaken hell noise stop.

I finally texted my next door neighbor and begged for help.  Thank God he was home.  He was my knight in shining armor, and instead of a horse, he rode in with his bright and shining ladder.  He took all the detectors down for me and we both enjoyed a moment of blissful quiet.   When he left I was so happy I almost cried from the relief of it.  It actually took a few hours before I started to feel the effects of the physical and mental stress dissipating.

So I want to send a world-wide thank you to my neighbor, Mike!  Thanks for being home, thanks for having a ladder, thanks for saving my sanity, and thanks for being such a great neighbor!  🙂

That Time I Lost My Sh*t On the Dance Floor

It’s Saturday at midnight in the bar and I’m out with the girls enjoying a 90’s cover band and some ice-cold beer.  The 90’s is my favorite decade, and every song brings back memories of high school and college, in such a good way.  I felt nineteen again, and although I wasn’t drunk on alcohol, I was definitely drunk on memories and music.

You know that feeling, when all your favorite tunes are being played and your body has an almost involuntary reaction.  It becomes this sort of instinct and rhythm combined.  My nineteen year-old self was really into rock music.  Imagine some air guitar, arms in the air, hair being thrown in every direction, and a complete and total disregard for the other bar patrons around me, other than my friends.  It was just me, the band, my girls and the music.

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I don’t do Zumba, but you get my point.

Now picture a middle-aged woman, married with two kids, who drives the weekly car pool and volunteers in the PTA, throwing her long hair and rocking out to Alice In Chains, Metallica and Nirvana.  The dance floor wasn’t overly full, so I stood out.   I think at one point I might have screamed, “I’m with the band!”  Except, I’m not with the band.

Good times.

It was so fun, and in the moment I had no regrets.  It was a great night.  I mean seriously, when anyone plays Enter Sandman by Metallica, you throw your hair to that shit.  It’s just how it’s done.  I think the point where I really peaked and just let my shit go all over the dance floor was when the band played Man in the Box, by Alice In Chains.  One of my favorite songs, and when I became aware of my environment toward the end of the song, there were a few dudes thrashing next to me, so I guess it was good.

Except, in the light of day, when I woke up with a very stiff neck and a screaming headache, I had a moment of thought that said, you-are-too-fucking-old-to-act-like-you-belong-in-a- White-Snake-video-and-oh-my-God-you-are-such-an-asshole!  I woke up embarrassed.  I know we all like to pretend that we don’t care what other people think, but the truth for most of us is that to a small degree, we do.

Image result for dance like nobody's watching memeI’m a person who typically embraces the immediacy of a good time and enjoys being in the moment with my friends.  We’ve been at weddings where Dan and I are the only ones on the dance floor, while the other couples are engaged in far more dignified conversation and interactions.  Not shaking their asses to Baby Got Back.  I always look back later and self-consciously think, damn, did we take that one too far?  Shouldn’t we be past this sort of behavior yet?  So Sunday morning, as I reviewed the events of the previous night, I thought to my self, are you honestly going to be the crazy lady that loses her shit every time someone plays some AC/DC?

Fast forward a few hours, and Dan and I are in attendance at a lovely baby shower/brunch for our dear friends who will soon welcome twin boys into the world.  After a brief cocktail hour, where a few mimosa’s were going a long way to soothe my misplaced embarrassment, the father-to-be takes up the microphone and begins to welcome his family and friends to this celebration of babies, and also discuss some important events of the past nine months.  He said shortly after they discovered they were pregnant, he received a call from his doctor and learned he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

He said he spoke with one doctor who gave him “good odds” with a 60% chance of survivability.  He decided that wasn’t good enough, so he fired that doctor and got another one who told him with 100% certainty that he would live through this cancer.  That he could beat it.  And he did.  Over the past nine months, he fought his cancer while his beautiful wife managed a complicated pregnancy with unbelievable grace and strength.  They kept the cancer diagnosis to themselves, for the most part, telling only a few people.  Dan and I found out about a week ago, after he finished his last chemo and was able to share the good news with everyone that he was cancer free.  We were all so grateful for his outcome, and we celebrated his health as much as we celebrated the babies!

Image result for dance like nobody's watching memeA short while later there was a moment during the party and the DJ was playing some great dance music.  There wasn’t a dance floor, just good music playing to keep the party lively.  Dan and I were sitting by the bar and the father-to-be, along with another friend began an impromptu dance-off in the space next to us.  Then the grand-father joined in, and these three grown men began taking it to town in front of everyone.  It was crazy and awesome and hilarious and I started to cry a little.  I was actually laughing first, and then found the emotion behind the laughter.

Here he is, grateful to be alive, lucky to have two beautiful babies on the way, and he wasn’t embarrassed by his super sweet dance moves.  He wasn’t concerned about what anyone thought of him, or whether or not he looked silly.  All three men were simply enjoying the moment, making the most of the mood and the occasion and the love.  It was quite simply the most amazing celebration of life I’ve seen in a long time.

Image result for dance like nobody's watching memeI found my perspective and some unnecessary but welcome validation in that moment.   The truth is that I AM the mom and friend who will dance in the bar, or in my living room with my kids.  I AM the person who sings at the top of my lungs when the song is good and the company is better.  I AM the person who isn’t afraid to live in the moment and  doesn’t care what strangers think because my life is not about them or what they may or may not think of my Saturday night amateur rock show performance.  I’m done feeling insecure about this, and as we all know, insecurity is an asshole, and we do not choose to be friends with assholes!

So when I ask myself  if I’m really going to be that middle-aged mom who loses my shit every time my jam comes on?

Well, this isn’t me, but you get the idea!

Girls Trip 2016

Hello, world!

It’s been awhile.  I’ve been absent from my blog for almost two months now, in part because life is so busy and requires my complete and total attention, and also because for a while there I just didn’t have anything interesting to share with you.

However, I’ve recently returned from my annual high school girls trip and that is definitely worth sharing! Every year in the spring I go on a girls only trip with three of my great friends from high school.  Last year we went to Charleston, SC.   This year, my girls came here to Los Angeles.

LA is a big city, and for most of the vacay we wanted the feel of paradise.  Originally, we had planned to go to Catalina Island, but El Nino is an asshole and we couldn’t predict whether or not the weather would hold up for us.    So we opted to stay at a resort in Palos Verdes called Terranea.  It’s one of the most beautiful properties I’ve ever seen, and spending four days there was absolute heaven.  We hiked the trails around the cliffs of the resort, took a whale watching tour out on the ocean, laid by the pool and drank fun cocktails in the sun overlooking the Pacific.  We laughed, cackled at each other, talked and caught up on everything that’s happened over the past year.  Yeah, we know how to girls trip!

 

The view from our room!

The view from our room!

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From the pool, looking out over the Pacific ocean.

From the pool, looking out over the Pacific ocean.

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A Sea Cave!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hiking trails

Whale watching!

Whale watching!

 

Sea Lions!

Sea Lions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There were, shall we say, moments that weren’t so perfect.  But my annual girls trip wouldn’t be what it is without some mayhem and madness along the way.  As usual, each of my friends has elected to use the name of their alter ego to protect their privacy and what’s left of their reputations.  We come from a small town, so….you know.

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The first night at the resort was the most intense.  And by intense I mean absolutely, fucking, bat-shit crazy.  Belinda lives a very responsible life of dedication to her family and her community.  So during girls trip she likes to let go.  With us, it’s a safe zone.  Jasmine is slightly more tame than Belinda, but only just.  Piper is  far more restrained and likes to relax and rest during girls trip.  I’m somewhere in the middle.  I enjoy going out and having fun but I don’t want to feel like death for three days, so I try to balance my alcohol intake and late nights in a way that allows me to enjoy the entire weekend.

10346188_10204729490055839_5592960337039461547_n[1]After an afternoon of drinking by the pool, and then drinking at dinner, Piper went to bed to read her book while Belinda, Jasmine and I went down to the lobby bar for some live music and more drinks.  I was tired, so I knew I wouldn’t stay out long but wanted to experience the hotel and I love live music.  After one drink in the lobby I went back up to the room, leaving Jasmine and Belinda behind to no doubt wreak havoc on the other guests and each other.  (I later heard some stories about a male, Armenian ballet dancer???)

An hour and a half later, the girls staggered into the room.  I have no idea what Jasmine promised Belinda to get her to go upstairs, but  I have no doubt bribery was involved.  When intoxicated, it takes an act of God to get Belinda to leave a party.  Regardless, they had the brilliant idea to turn our spa-style bathtub into a “hot tub.”  Piper was sound asleep.  I wasn’t.  I laid there listening to them filling the tub with scalding hot water, sloshing water all over our luxury hotel bathroom.  The conversation was as you’d expect.  Drunk, nonsensical hilarity.  They didn’t have a candle for the ambience so they put Vick’s Vapor Rub in the “hot tub” water to make it smell like a spa.  And do you know what happens when you’re drunk and you get into really hot water, which then thins your blood even more?  That’s right, it heightens the sensation of being drunk, makes you dizzy and disoriented.  And do you know what happens when you’re drunk and become disoriented?

11889619_872407892795412_4534014423081678605_n[1]I heard Belinda say, “I’m not feeling so well.”  Annnnnd, here it comes.  I was actually glad she got sick.  That way she could expel all the alcohol from her stomach and she could just pass out and sleep it off.  A little while later she stumbled to the bed and fell asleep next to me.  I got up to use the restroom and spent the next twenty minutes cleaning up the bathroom.  Water and vomit.  Good times.

I tried to go to sleep.  It wasn’t happening.  I was so tired and I had Puky-McPukerson on one side of me and Snory-McSnorerson on the other side of the room.  Jasmine was sick with a chest cold, wasted and passed out, snoring like a damn freight train.  Somehow Piper slept through the cluster-fuck.  I laid there, forever, pissed off and contemplating the purpose of this nightmare.  Why was I awake and unable to fall asleep while everyone else caused havoc and then slept peacefully, unaware of how much I was hating the whole world in that moment?

Then it happened.

10570476_10152232302186751_7149028096365490249_n[1]I heard Belinda making a weird noise next to me and realized she had begun to get sick in her sleep.  I jumped up, rolled her over and ran to the bathroom to get a towel.  At one point Piper woke up, saw me standing there with a towel in one hand and a pillow covered in puke in the other.  Our eyes met and she registered what was happening.  She smiled a smile that said, “better you than me,” and she rolled over and went back to sleep.   Bitches.

I cleaned her up, made sure she was turned on her side, and tried to go to sleep.  I’d like to think I was awake all night because I was meant to save Belinda from an ugly, Jimi Hendrix style death.  But there was nothing I could do to stop Jasmine from snoring all night.  So I laid there in my expensive, fancy hotel room.  Hating the world.

I think I finally fell asleep sometime after 4am.  The last time I looked at the clock it was 3:45am.  Then at 6am, Jasmine gets out of bed and starts moving around the room.  She slams the bathroom door, twice.  She opens the heavy draped curtains and let’s a flood of light into the dark room that blinds me, even with my eyes closed.  She staggers to the phone next to me and starts randomly punching numbers in the dark, trying to call for room service.  Then she stage whispers as loud as she can, “I’m so sorry.  Did I wake you up?  I’m still drunk and I feel like shit.”  Then she says to the person on the phone, “I need a spoon!  Can you bring me a spoon?  I need a spoon for my yogurt.  Does this room have coffee in it?”

Are you kidding me?!  Awake….at 6am….for a spoon.

5430_1117012754976571_6374602042068399513_n[1]Much later in the day I was able to laugh about it.  After I had taken an afternoon nap and stopped hating everyone.  Belinda felt really bad.  She thanked me for taking care of her.  That’s what friends are for.  You should never worry about drowning in sick while in the company of life long friends.  And I know that if I was at my worst they would take care of me.  Probably.  If they weren’t all passed out drunk.  Except they wouldn’t write about it and tell my sad tale for the whole world to read, which actually makes them better friends than me.

Sorry, not sorry.   😉

One month

That’s how long its been since I posted to my blog.

Holy shit.  Time flies.

Part of me feels like I need to apologize for such a long absence, but the other part of me realizes that my life demands that I be present and in the moment.  My family and my other responsibilities don’t always accommodate the time I need to put together a decent blog post.  We’re all busy and we all prioritize differently.  So instead of apologies, I’ll just say, HELLO WORLD!  I’ve missed you!

21 kidsThe past month has been a whirlwind of activity.  I’ve resumed my volunteer work as the garden docent for my son’s Kindergarten class.  I was also suckered into being the room mom for his class as well, so now between the school garden and working in the classroom to help his teacher, it’s like I have an almost full time job.  The upside is that now I’m openly revered by twenty one small people who look at me with undeserved wonder and admiration, thrilled that I know all their names and tell them how great they are at drawing stick people and gluing pasta to construction paper.  It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

12019874_869646123089790_8745768548767870345_n[2]A few weeks ago, Dan and I snuck off to Chicago one more time for one last wedding among my college friends.  It was beautiful and amazing.  The weather was perfect for fall and the trees were just starting to change colors.  The bride was stunning and we were all a bit better behaved than at the last wedding.  I’d like to write a full post about it but I fear that I’d really just be repeating myself from the previous wedding post.  We drink a lot, we’re super badass, we love each other, we’re friends for life.  You know the drill.

And of course, there was Halloween!  Halloween is a big deal at our house.  We love it!  This year was especially awesome because the day fell on a Saturday, so instead of the usual week night rush to get dinner done, kids jammed into their costumes and start handing out candy to the toddlers who start trick or treating before dark, we had the time to really set up and participate in the evening.  My husband decorated the driveway with strobe lights, a smoke machine, black lights, and glow in the dark cobwebs all over the garage door.  What was super badass was my costume.  I was

Yup, I looked just like her.  LOL!

Yup, I looked just like her. LOL!

Maleficent.  When the kids rounded the corner of my driveway the first thing they saw was Maleficent standing in front of a strobe light surrounded by billowing smoke and eerie glowing cobwebs.  It was so fun!  The kids loved it and so did the adults.  Some of them asked to take their picture with Maleficent, which was a little weird for me but still fun.  We also driveway party with our neighbors on Halloween, so when the kids are done trolling the neighborhood, we all hang out in the driveway and drink wine.  At around 10pm a neighbor we hadn’t met came over to introduce herself.  She said she just had to come check us out because our driveway was the talk of the neighborhood the whole night.  Seriously!  I told my husband, “Did you hear that?  We’ve got a rep.  We’re the cool kids now.”  LOL!

Anyway, it’s been a busy and fun month.  With Thanksgiving coming I know things won’t be slowing down any time soon.  I look forward to catching up on all my favorite blogs and hopefully I’ll throw together some fun stories myself to share with all of you.  It’s not like I don’t have a ton of material.  Teaching gardening to a bunch of five year olds?  There’s a mountain of hilarity in there somewhere.  😉

Labor Day weekend, a wedding and a lot of wine!

chicago-skyline[1]Labor Day weekend Dan and I went to Chicago without the kids for a wedding.  One of my college roommates was getting married and we haven’t had a grown-up only weekend in almost a year.  It was fantastic!

When I travel without my kids everything is different.  I can drink wine on the plane, only pack for myself, and read smutty chic-lit on my Kindle instead of entertaining two kids for four hours with snacks, Ipad games and constant reminders to stop kicking the seat in front of them.  I relaxed, enjoyed the flight into my favorite city, and did my best to get over the fact that I had to sit in the suck-hump-middle seat in order to sit next to my husband on the flight.  No one likes the middle seat, on any airplane, ever.

Chicago was amazing, as always, and the wedding was so fun.  I’ve been blessed in my life with the gift of incredible, life long friendships, and my college friends are some of the most outrageous, hilarious, intelligent, dynamic, beautiful women I know.  We’ve all gone on to do different things with our careers and family, but when we come together it’s like no time has passed and we’re all nineteen again with fake ID’s trying to sneak into bars and pick up hot guys, except now those hot guys are our husbands.

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Here’s the recap, and nicknames have been given to protect the guilty.

On the way to the wedding, TSGHLM’s (This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like A Motherfucker-her requested nickname) dress split up the side.  Dr. Evil and I took turns sewing her back into her dress on the Uber ride into downtown Chicago.  Unfortunately,  Dr. Evil gets car sick, and trying to sew TSGHLM’s dress caused her to become extremely nauseated.  She managed to hold it together, I took over the sewing, and no pre-wedding car sickness occurred.  TSGHLM’s dress was repaired and I can now add car seamstress to my list of party tricks.

1338993291108_8649686[1]During dinner Dr. Evil kept trying to build a glass pyramid on the table with all the empty wine and champagne glasses.  The wait staff would calmly walk over and dismantle her pyramid without too much fuss and take the empty glasses.  She would wait until they walked away and we would drain our glasses so she could re-build her crystal masterpiece.  We had a lot of glasses.  When they finally reprimanded her for her inappropriate behavior, she responded by adding another tier to her tower.

Also, at some later point during dinner, someone who’s judgment was definitely questionable decided that the party favors on the table, which looked to me like crystal candle holders embossed with the bride and groom’s name and wedding date, were actually small wine glasses.  So they became wine glasses, and I’m still unclear on their actual function.

dirty-dancing-wallpapers-983074-2-s-307x512[1]During the reception, Trixie decided to re-create the Patrick Swayze/Jennifer Grey scene in Dirty Dancing by crawling across the dance floor, on her hands and knees, in her evening dress, toward another of our friends sitting at a table.  She completed the crawl but might have been too drunk to get back up.  I was laughing so hard I missed part of it, but I’m pretty sure she had to call for an assist.

Drevil_million_dollars[1]During an epic dance performance, I may or may not have allowed Dr. Evil to motor-boat my chest on the dance floor.   I’m super classy like that, and you may be realizing why we call her Dr. Evil.

The Bride, whom we shall call Ellie, got busted in the bathroom for smoking an e-cigarette.  The event staff had to reprimand her, at her own wedding!  She also had her sister cut the tulle out from under her dress during the reception.  Nothing says good times like vandalizing your own wedding gown on your big day!

There was a really beautiful moment when the DJ played Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper.  Our small, drunk army of roommates and friends gathered around Ellie and circled her on the dance floor.  We danced around her, singing at the top of our lungs while each of us took turns dancing with her in the center of our circle.  It was a complete and total love fest as well as a gesture of loyalty and solidarity that has remained unchanged for the past 23 years.

10375120_10152852902922819_24777841281501259_n[1]I’m pleased to report that there were no public displays of nudity or pressed ham.  And  believe me when I say that’s progress, folks.  At this point in my life, with this group of friends, I could never run for public office.  There is way too much photographic evidence of the good times we’ve had in life.  Dan showed me cell phone video of me rocking out with the ladies like a wannabe 80’s rock goddess on the dance floor, and I said, “Oh, that’s the wine talking.  That’s ugly dancing!  Delete that and we shall never speak of it.”

I woke up the next afternoon feeling like road kill.  We spent the day like we would’ve in college.  We laid on the couch, watched movies, ate good food and made fun of each other and our epically bad behavior.  We’re forty!  It’s like all maturity goes out the window when we’re together.  We egg each other on and enable each other for the sake of entertainment and bragging rights.   When I expressed this to Dan his most wonderful and appreciated response was, “I love your friends.”

Yeah, I love them too.

The most adulty-adult

birthday emoticonRecently, my family and I were over at a friend’s house for their son’s birthday party.  It was a party for a four year old, so there was a lot of fun stuff going on.  There was a clown doing balloon sculptures and face painting.  There were awesome little arts and craft activities and a bounce house.  Of course, all the kids LOVED the bounce house.  So, imagine lot’s of young children running around a picturesque yard with no shoes, squealing in delight over the endless fun of the afternoon.

And where there’s fun, there’s bound to be drama.

I was sitting on some patio furniture talking with friends when I see the hostess of the party run into the back door of the house with another mother and her child clutched in her arms.  They were frantic.  I could tell something bad had happened by the way the women were reacting and rushing the child into the house.  A busted lip?  A cut to the forehead?  Did the child need immediate medical attention?  Stitches?  Who knows….it’s not my circus, or my monkeys.  My kids were not involved, so I thought the best thing to do was to not over-react and let the adults in charge handle the situation.

A few minutes later, the hostess of the party (and I should mention she is a good friend and a great mother) poked her head out the back door and asked me to come inside.  I gave my husband the ‘uh-oh’ look and walked into the house, where I was met with complete chaos.

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Both my friend and the other mother were frantically rushing around and talking loudly in panicked voices.  The child that I saw being rushed into the house, a beautiful little girl about five years old, was sitting on the bathroom counter with her feet in the sink soaking in cold water.  She was crying uncontrollably.  I didn’t see any blood or immediate signs of injury.

cute beeMy friend says, “She stepped on a bee and we’re not sure what we need to do!  We took out the stinger but she’s still crying and it’s swelling!  I knew YOU would know what to do!”  There was a first aid kit on the counter with all kinds of gauze, medical tape and bandages spread out everywhere.

What?  They think I’m the most capable adult to handle this situation?  When did I become the most adulty adult?  When did I become the person you grab when you don’t know what to do?

I looked at the girl’s foot and there was no swelling.  There was a tiny red mark where she had been stung.  That’s it.  She was simply terrified and carrying on because the adults in the room were upset.  I guess I’m still surprised how many parents don’t realize that if you don’t lose your shit in front of your kids, more often than not, your kids won’t lose their shit either.  I realize that sometimes it’s hard not to freak out when your child is upset or in pain.  And it’s even harder to be objective when it’s your child whose experiencing something traumatic.    But kids need to have faith that their parents can handle anything.  They need to know that you are in charge and you are capable of seeing them through the tough shit in life.  And when you’re five, your first bee sting is some tough shit.  I guess my ability to keep calm in these situations is what makes me the most adulty adult.  Sigh.  That thought is so depressing.

I didn’t do anything heroic to save the day.  I asked the sweet little girl what her favorite song was and asked her if she could sing it to me so I could hear what I was certain would be a beautiful voice.  She immediately stopped crying, beamed her pleasure at me with a toothless grin, and began belting out Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  While she sang, I put a Band-Aid over the red spot on her foot.  All better.

Her mother threw her arms around me and hugged me so tight, thanking me for my help.  I left the room and went back outside to sit by my husband.  He asked what happened and after relaying the events to him I said, “That I’m the most adulty-adult at this party really scares the shit out of me.”  🙂

Vacation!

Hello, world!  I’m home!

The family and I spent nine days visiting with friends and relatives throughout the Midwest.  I call this trek our annual Midwestern Tour, as we hit Illinois, Indiana and Michigan in the same week. This time of year the area where I grew up is amazingly beautiful.  You wouldn’t believe how green everything gets.  Even the corn fields look beautiful when I haven’t seen them in a while.

We spent the first couple of days in Chicago, then drove south to central Illinois to visit my grandmother.  We then drove three hours north through Indiana and Michigan to reach my mother, other grandmother and various relatives who live in the area.  It was fast, organized, exhausting and incredibly fun.

Here’s the highlight reel…

10635748_10152955877379574_8811372455149121989_n[2]While in Chicago, my college friend hosted a house party and invited all of our girlfriends from school, along with their families.  We BBQ, drink, laugh and relive our glory years together while our kids run around and make new memories and form new friendships.  This year the adults sent the kids to the basement to play so we could play the game, Cards Against Humanity.  If you’ve never heard of it, it’s an adult card game of mostly vulgar and inappropriate topics.  If you’re not too uptight and appreciate a dirty joke, then this game is for you.  I will say that I did surprisingly well in the game, and my two most popular cards read, “Altar Boys,” and “Two Midgets Shitting in a Bucket.”  Feel free to use your imagination here as to what these cards may have been in response too.  🙂

We visited my grandmother, who is 94 years old.  I’ve always had a very close relationship with my Nanny and she’s an incredible woman.  She is in amazing health but starting to lose some of her short-term memory.  We looked at the same photo album about four times, and although it was new for her every time, I continue to be amazed at her ability to remember details about family history from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  Her own mother was born in 1897, and every conversation feels like a history lesson, but one you don’t want to miss.  When I ask her how it feels to be 94, she tells me, “getting old is not for sissies!”

St. Joe lighthouse

St. Joseph, Michigan

While in Michigan, we visited with several of my high school friends, my mother, grandmother, aunt and a few cousins.  I went to my favorite childhood restaurants.  We drove to St. Joe and took the kids to Silver Beach, which is on Lake Michigan.  My kids ran down the pier alongside the lighthouse, disbelieving that Lake Michigan wasn’t as big as our Pacific Ocean back home.  I found a lake house there I would like to buy for the low, low price of 1.6 million dollars.  What a steal!  LOL!  At one point Bryn looked at me, while having dinner outside on a patio overlooking a beautiful lake active with boats and jet-skis, and she said, “I can’t believe you got to grow up here!”

Yeah, I got to grow up there.  It’s funny how so often in life we don’t appreciate what we have until we can look back with some perspective.  Growing up, I didn’t appreciate the beauty of the fields, the lakes or the small community that looked out for each other.  I took it for granted and was more excited to see other places.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that the older I get, the more I appreciate where I come from, and this annual trip means more to me every year.  I want my kids to experience the things I loved about growing up in the Midwest.  Admittedly, my kids have opportunities that I never had as a child, and I’m thankful for that.  But I also want them to appreciate the simplicities of life.  The small things and traditions that add up to big things when you look back on your life and remember what you loved most about your childhood.

lake canoeingI want them to gorge themselves on strawberries while picking them fresh from the fields, and then bring the berries home to make fresh strawberry jam in grandma’s kitchen.  I want them to canoe the rivers of my hometown and camp under the stars, even if it’s just in their grandmother’s back yard.  I want them to catch fire flies,  sit around a bonfire in a field with their cousins, learn to water ski on the lake and marvel at the incredible beauty of the leaves turning in the fall.   I want them to know who their people are, and why, no matter what they choose to do in life, it will always be special that their family comes from this incredible place.

So yeah, it was a good vacation.  😉

 

 

Wanda Says…Great Laughs, Great Friends and Good Times in Charleston.

spring break pink car

Every year I take a girls only trip with three of my great friends from high school.  This tradition actually began when we were seniors in high school and we drove from Michigan to Florida for the week of Spring Break.

It was a big deal.

Everyone at our small school had their knickers in a twist over four seventeen/eighteen year old girls daring to drive fifteen hours to the heathen state of Florida for some fun in the sun.  We survived, had an amazing time, and made it home without one traffic ticket or incident of indecent exposure.

And we did it all without the aid of cell phones, GPS, or online internet maps.  We used real maps.  You know, the ones kids today don’t know how to read.  We called our parents to check in from pay phones.  And no one died because they weren’t able to reach us every second of the day.

We were totally independent, smart, capable, badass teenagers.

Fast forward twelve years of being sidetracked with college, jobs, boyfriends who became husbands, raising children, and some husbands becoming ex-husbands, we resumed our tradition of the annual girls trip.  Except now we fly instead of drive because we have more money and we’re scattered across the country.  We’ve been doing it now for about ten years, give or take a year off for unexpected complications.

Pineapple Fountain at Waterfront Park

Pineapple Fountain at Waterfront Park

This year we congregated in Charleston, South Carolina.

My travel itinerary wasn’t fun since I was basically traversing the country as far as possible from the west coast to the east coast, but once I got there I was completely charmed.  This was my very first trip to Charleston and I have to tell you, I was not disappointed.  It’s a fabulous city!

We stayed in the historic district and walked everywhere.  We took a carriage Red Brick and Stuccoride through the city and our guide detailed everything from minute details of residential architecture to churches and buildings of historic significance.  We shopped in the open market on Market St. and I bought Sweet Grass Baskets for my children as souvenirs.  We walked the waterfront to Battery Park, which has some of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen.  We toured Rainbow Row and marveled over the charm of flowered window baskets, burning gas lamps, and real wooden shutters that add an undeniable ambiance to the already weighty, historic feel of the city.

And the restaurants in Charleston are amazing!

I fell in love with the houses of Charleston!

I fell in love with the houses of Charleston!

One of my favorite restaurants was called Poogan’s Porch and they serve gourmet southern cuisine.  The food was fantastic and the service was incredible.  If you go to Charleston, plan to eat there, but make a reservation in advance or you won’t get a table.  I had the beef fillet with blue cheese dumplings, and it was to die for!

The other place I would highly recommend is called Kaminsky’s, and it’s a dessert bar.  It’s a bar that only serves alcohol and dessert.

Genius!

The line to get into this place was staggering.  Thankfully, we had stopped in there for hot drinks one afternoon when they weren’t busy and got to know one of the bartenders.  It was raining outside and we wanted to warm up with some spiked coffee.  The next evening we decided to go back to try their dessert menu as well, but there was a mob of people waiting outside to get in.   It would have been over an hour wait, but our dear new friend, the bartender, was able to snag us some seats at the bar and took excellent care of our dessert and cocktail needs for the rest of the evening.  The place is fun, charming and has some of the best dessert Martini’s, ever.  And I don’t like Martini’s, so that should tell you something.

Oak Trees in Battery Park

Oak Trees in Battery Park

Now, two of us, myself included, already had established alter egos.  I am, of course, Wanda.  One of the other girls is known as Belinda, but only when she drinks.  Not wanting to leave the other two girls without a fun, alter ego to enjoy the weekend, Jasmine and Piper were born out of much alcohol consumption and consideration of naming preferences.  I shall refer to my friends by their alternative names out of consideration of their privacy, and well, just because it’s more fun.

Jasmine received a chiropractic adjustment to her back, shoulders and neck by a local homeless man named Byron.  I’m not kidding.  We were walking down the street and observed this man cracking another man’s back while standing on the sidewalk.  Jasmine yells out, “I need some of that!”  Byron then crossed the street and began to work his magic.  I was shocked.  I was waiting for him to feel her up.  He was standing behind her with his arms across her chest, working her arms, back and neck.  At one point he said to her, “Lean back and put your head on my shoulder.  Trust me.”  And Jasmine said, “But I just met you.”  It took every ounce of self-control I had not to piss my pants right there because I was laughing so hard.  Jasmine decided to trust Byron, and he proceeded to give her, as she claims, one of the best back adjustments she’s ever received.  The look on her face was orgasmic.  She tipped him ten dollars.  He rode past us on his bike a few minutes later and shouted out, “You’ve been Byronized!”  Yes.  Yes she had.  (We found out later from our friendly bartender friend that Byron is a bit of a local celebrity, and every one knows him, loves him and he provides back cracking and adjustments free to anyone who needs them).

I love this house!

I love this house!

Belinda was good this year.  She managed her alcohol intake well and there were no incidents of ‘Girls Gone Wild’ this year.  We were really proud of her.

Piper just had a baby last year and is still breastfeeding.  It became fun for all of us to mimic the sound of the breast pump which occasionally made her boobs tingle trying to release the milk.  And we were treated to a special visit by her eight month old baby girl.  Piper’s husband drove down with the baby so she could meet her Auntie’s and enjoy an afternoon with us.  They live a couple of hours north of Charleston.  I’m not kidding when I say she is one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen.  I gave her a pink bear, which we named Flo, and she loved her, which means, by extension, she loves me.  So that means I’m the favorite Aunt.  Just sayin’.

Waterfront Mansion

Waterfront Mansion

As for myself, well, I had a Ross Geller moment while at dinner on Saturday night.  I wore skinny jeans that night.  I never wear skinny jeans because I find them to be tight and uncomfortable.  But, to shake things up a bit, I wore skinny jeans to dinner.  We walked to the restaurant which was about a mile away from our hotel.  It was warm outside and I was sweating slightly by the time we got there.  Do you remember that episode from Friends where Ross wears leather pants on his date?  And he goes into the bathroom of his date’s house to air out his pants because his thighs are so sweaty?  And then he can’t get his leather pants back up and uses baby powder to absorb the moisture on his legs, but the powder mixes with his sweat to form a paste?  Yeah, well, my incident was sort of like that but without the baby powder.  Skinny jeans don’t like to be pulled up or down sweaty legs.  I went to use the restroom when we got to the restaurant and got stuck in the bathroom for a while trying to get my stupid ass skinny jeans back up my sweaty legs.  Never again.

In short, we had a great weekend.  Great laughs, great friends and good times!

PS–We are considering options for next year’s girls trip, so if any of you have a suggestion for a destination in the US, I would love to hear it.  🙂

Wanda Says…Silliness, Shenanigans, and Good Friends.

This past weekend one of my lifelong friends and her daughter, who was celebrating her 21st birthday, came to visit me here in California.

After three days of preparing my house for the festivities and four days of entertaining, along with pee-your-pants hilarity, I am exhausted.

1338993291108_8649686[1]My friend T (names will be shortened to the first initial of first names) and her daughter K are very special to me.  T is one of those friends that it doesn’t matter how much time has passed since we last talked or saw each other.  Every conversation or visit takes place like its been mere moments since the last.  When I’m with her I feel nineteen again.  And sadly, we often act like we’re teenagers when life allows us to have these brief but special visits.

T lives in my home state of Michigan so we only get to see each other once a year, if we’re lucky.  We met when I was fifteen and she was eighteen.  I knew the very first time I met her that we would be friends forever.  We’ve been partners in crime for 25 years, and every time we’re together we seem to have these unforgettable moments that take my breath away.  Like, literally, I’m laughing so hard I can’t breath.  And there are tears running down my face.  And I may or may not pee my pants.  That may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re laughing that hard so often, it begins to hurt.  Joy can be extremely painful.  And embarrassing.

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I love you, T!

 

This past weekend was filled with laughter, silliness and varied shenanigans.  Here are my top five favorite moments from the weekend…

1.  In our attempt to find one drink K would like on her 21st birthday, T and I got shit-faced while drinking all her cocktail rejects. We ordered her ten different drinks trying to find one she liked.  We failed.  K remained sober while T and I partied like it was 1999.

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2.  T smuggled a Moscow Mule out of the bar in her purse.  Her excuse?  “That drink cost $12 and I wasn’t about to leave it behind.”  She pulled it out of her purse when we got home and gave it to my babysitter, who apparently loves Moscow Mules along with delivery bar service. (Yes, my babysitter is over 21 and is a part-time bar tender.)

3. On one of our cab rides, our cab driver ran every stop sign and attempted to channel his inner Mario Andretti with us in the car.  I think he was showing off for K, who is an extremely gorgeous young woman.  While we were clutching the arm rests and hanging on for dear life, my phone rings and it’s the dispatcher telling us that the cab we ordered has arrived at my house.  I tell the dispatcher that we are in the cab, but obviously this isn’t the cab that was supposed to pick us up.  Who is this cab driver?  Holy shit, are we being kidnapped?  I attempted to communicate my distress over the cabbie’s driving skills over the phone, but the dispatcher seemed to feel it was just a mix-up.  I wanted to use a safe word so the dispatcher would know we might be in trouble, but telling the dispatcher our cabbie was fucking crazy seemed like a bad idea since I didn’t know if he was a kidnapper or not.  The dispatcher then told me to have a good night and disconnected the call.  Thankfully, the cabbie dropped us at our destination before we all died in a fiery crash, or we ended up at the bottom of a well with cabbie man using our skin as a cape.  I’m only listing this as a top five moment because now that it’s over, and I’m not dead, kidnapped or skinned alive, I can laugh about it.

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4.  My birthday gift to K was tickets to the Comedy & Magic Club to see Jay Leno.  It was a blast and Jay was awesome!  We had good seats, great drinks, and it was an awesome night.

5.  We treated ourselves to massages at the spa, and it was one of my favorite activities of the whole weekend.  Since I started working out with my trainer three weeks ago, my body has been in a continuous state of soreness and pain.  Everything hurts, but in a good way.  I can feel myself getting stronger.  But I have knots in my muscles everywhere and no amount of stretching can work them all out.  So I paid to have a massage therapist, aka torture artist,  work them out for me, and while it was 60% pain versus 40% relaxation and pleasure, I needed it desperately.

Overall the weekend was amazing.  We laughed, we danced, we had girl talk and reminisced about days past and our epically bad behavior.  We laughed hard, played at the beach, ate amazing food at amazing LA restaurants and giggled as K stalked and fan-girled over the LA Clippers basketball players working out at the gym.

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I’ve missed these girls, and I cried when they left.  They don’t make women in California like they do in the Midwest.  We are a breed unto ourselves and having them here made everything more beautiful and more fun.  🙂