Saturday, October 06, 2012

TWO FUNNY THINGS!

Okay, hi.

Last weekend, we were desperately searching for something "new" for our kids to watch on television that wouldn't make us completely crazy. Because I can only see the same episodes of the same kids' shows so many times.

We picked, from "Free Movies" on Comcast, OKLAHOMA. A few minutes into the movie, we accidentally played the Gangnam Style song on one of our mobile devices. At which point we discovered that the synchronization was amazing. Like, Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz amazing. Same beat. Cheesy dancing. Happy cowboys. IT'S LIKE THE SAME VIDEO.

 So we morphed them. (Not that I get how to do anything technical, so this could have been done better...) (and now I think you can see it on mobile devices?)



But if for some reason you aren't interested in the above (I DON'T GET YOU) and want to hear my darling daughter say a bad word that she attributes entirely to my husband, please feel free to watch the following video as well.

 

 And that pretty much sums up the last two months of my life.

Friday, August 31, 2012

D. Duck

I read something at a funeral today.

I'm here in a hotel room, just having come from this morning's services. We were at the beach. It was gorgeous. 

I'm unexpectedly in Connecticut, in the town where I grew up, sitting in a hotel like a stranger who doesn't belong. My sisters are off running errands and we'll regroup soon to drink wine and tell stories because that's how we do things. We make a party out of everything, and then eventually we start singing. If you're following me on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter, there will be photos. 

We'll laugh. We'll play games. 

But I'm sad in a deep and profound way. Ugly-cry, gut-punched, I don't want to acknowledge a world where I can't hear Tom laughing kind of way.

So I'll just do what I do. I'll share what I wrote. What I read today. It's more for me than for you, because sharing makes me feel better.

I wish you could have known Tom. So, well. Here it is:

My dad, left. Duck, right. Healy's wedding, 2002.
In some ways, I wish I had the perspective to be able to talk about Tom the way my parents, John and Linda, would have.

In some ways, I wish I could share any of the many, many, MANY stories they’d tell. From the fun, to the funny, to the downright completely inappropriate. Because, from the time my dad and Tom became friends in grade school until his passing all-too recently, my dad AND my mom spent so much time with Tom -- gatherings and parties, vacations and the just-stopping-bys, and oh...the late-late-late nights, whenever they were together.

Yep. There are a lot of stories my parents could tell. And, even if heavily laced in sarcasm and swear words, there are also so many sweet, wonderful things my parents would say about Tom.  

But I can’t tell you what my parents would say. Not really. Because I was a very little girl when I met Tom.

Tom. I don’t know if I’ve ever called him that in my whole life. The minute he tried to win a two-year-old Healy over with his Donald Duck impression, she dubbed him DEE DUCK, (“Donald” was too hard to say). And that moniker stuck. Even years later, on wedding invitations, he was Mister D. Duck.
At my wedding in 1999. At the bar.
(My mother would murder me for this picture if she could.)
And that’s exactly what makes this hard for me. For us. D Duck -- or the informal, “Duck” -- was always and forever the really fun guy who encouraged us to be kids. He was playful, and encouraged us to be playful. The night of my father’s services, 26 years after being given the name D Duck, he gave my sister a piggyback ride.

We were always kids around him. And that’s the lens that we will always see him through.

So I can’t tell you what my parents would say. Or even what my grown-up self would say if I’d only just met “Tom” a few years ago. Because I can’t even imagine that version of him. I can only really talk about the Duck we loved so much as kids -- because that’s the only Duck we ever knew.

* * * * * *
The first time Duck visited us at our house in Darien, my mother was beside herself with nerves. She wanted to make a good impression on this “old school buddy” of my father’s. She had no idea she was meeting someone who would become her own lifelong friend. (If only in large part because it takes a really special guy to put up with my father for so many God damned years.)

I don’t know how the night went in general, but I do know that when Duck went to leave, he couldn’t. Because his keys had disappeared.


Imagine if you will, a dinner party where you’re meeting your old friend and his new wife and kids for the first time, and you end the night by explaining that your keys have gone missing. Awkward. Except also true.

I don’t know how long they looked or what sort of uncomfortable conversations may have transpired before they gave up and woke both me and Healy (again, aged 2) up to ask if we had any idea where D-Duck’s keys were. Of course, I found this baffling, but Healy, in a dazed toddler stupor, said yep. She knew.

Now, Healy was a very shy and very particular kid, but took a shine to Duck immediately. I mean, who doesn’t? And in her enamored toddler state, decided that she would take his keys and put them in HER own purse. Because D-Duck’s keys were just that awesome. And then, before going to bed, she decided -- for reasons never entirely made clear to anyone -- to hide her purse at the bottom of the hall closet.

Well. For some people, this might have just been a strange end to a pleasant evening, end of story. But I think the Sammis family was sending Duck a message that I’m sure all of you have felt at some point in your lives: we love having you in our home, and we don’t want you to leave.

It was that way always. A visit from Duck meant my parents would be happy. It meant good times. It meant jokes. It meant silliness. It meant music and laughter. It meant fun.
OMG 80s. Big, curly hair. Miller Lite beers and Tab cans. 
Duck was the ultimate “fun uncle”. Especially because he always brought cool stuff to our house, including the most amazing thing that had ever been invented in the history of the world ever: the car that would talk to you. “Listen to her when I leave my door open!” he said smiling while his immaculate car idled in our dusty driveway. Your door is ajar. Your door is ajar. “I think I’m in love!” he exclaimed. More than once.

Duck was the only person who could stop by, unannounced, and not rattle my mom. Duck was comfortable; he accepted us all for who we were. Our metaphoric “dishes in the sink” never mattered to him. He was there for the company.

And we loved it.

Duck was a fixture in our household-- something of a Sammis family constant. He was there on random Sundays, and the day I learned to ride a two-wheeled bike. He was there for egg-dyeing and swimming and on our Prom Nights. We sometimes called our guest room “the Duck room.”

I know it wasn’t a Christmas Eve, or even any party at all, until Duck arrived.
At a Murder Mystery party my parents hosted. (I wasn't invited.) 
Even when my parents passed away, he managed to make us all feel better, just by virtue of being around, and being him.

He was everything charismatic. He was the guy you wanted to sit next to. He had the laugh you could pick out from everyone else’s -- maybe because it was so funny, but probably because it was so darn genuine, and infectious. He didn’t just like to have a good time, he BROUGHT a good time. He WAS a good time. He was our good time.

So...I’ll share something personal with you now. Despite how I think of Duck, I’m not ACTUALLY still a five-year-old, looking for Duck’s keys...I’m really a grown-up with young kids of my own. And every time we have friends over, and I watch them interacting with my kids... I catch myself thinking: “Is this friend of mine going to be their Duck? I hope we can find someone to be like our Duck.”

He set the standard for ultimate family friend, and he raised that bar awfully high.

D-Duck has been such a shining beacon of joy in our lives for so long and for so many occasions, in fact, I kept accidentally looking forward to seeing him today.

“How will we ever get through this?” my family has asked, too many times.

“Well, D-Duck will be there.”
Also he was a Captain in the army and was handsome, apparently.
My family has come to expect that Duck’s smiling face and joyous spirit will be there to get us through anything. I know in some ways, he still will.

But, now, it’s our turn to try to return the favor -- at least a little. To try to bring a little celebration to him -- as much as we can.

(Ask Healy & Sam to come up.)

Music and singing has been part of our relationship with Duck since the beginning. And we wanted to honor that today, in a way that felt...authentic. That truly represented Tom, Duck, and how we knew him.

I was looking through old pictures, and suddenly had a vivid reminder of a New Year’s Eve party my parents once hosted. (I wasn’t invited, but I watched from the hallway), and I very clearly remember Duck singing this song.

My dad was at the piano, and Tom was singing with his disarmingly good voice -- at the top of his lungs and with gusto, the way he lived life.

Uh, a song we will humbly try to sing now.

To us -- as, I know, to many of you -- Tom (Duck) has meant love, and he’s meant family, and he’s meant home. He is what a happy home feels like.

And we hope he’s in a happy home now.

Show me the way to go home
I'm tired and I want to go to bed
I had a little drink about an hour ago
And it went right to my head
Everywhere I roam
On land or sea or foam
You can always hear me singing this song
Show me the way to go home

At his memorial services today. Overlooking the ocean.

Monday, August 27, 2012

REPOSTED: What If Fat Doesn't Mean Miserable


I originally posted this on January 22, 2010. Many things have changed since then, but many things...haven't.  It was time to revisit. You can still read the original post here.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am not fat because I am miserable. I love myself. But I don't like the way I look.

Those three sentences are the most important things I could ever write. I don't know who's reading this or who's in the same boat as I am, but nowhere, never, not once in my extensive and exhaustive research on weight issues have I ever EVER seen those three things addressed simultaneously. If at all.

Somewhere, somehow, the American psyche became convinced that either one of two things is true: either you are fat because you are miserable, or you've learned to LOVE! yourself the way you are. I don't know which is worse or further from my truth.

The latter, "Learned to LOVE! yourself the way that you are" infuriates me. I don't embrace my size. I deal with it, I just walk around with it. When I'm feeling up to it, I'll dress myself up and look my best. But I'm not fooling myself. I would look better ("better" by current general American standards, however they came to be such) if I weighed a lot less.

At NO point will I ever be happy with classifying myself as a "BBW." I am also not a "Diva." I am not "Large and In Charge." I am not "sassy." Yet these are the labels I get to choose from if I am going to go along with my larger size. I can't just passively accept it; I can't just exist as though I'm exactly the same as other women...just a few sizes bigger.

This is never made more painfully clear than when I'm out shopping. WHY do the styles have to be so entirely different for the plus-size shopper? Because, I guess, the moment I passed from size 14 to size 16, I suddenly became a "Glamazon!"

Ladies and gentleman, I am not a Glamazon! I'm not even a glamazon.

Yes, toned-down alternatives exist, but I am not appreciative of being called a "WOMAN," either; at least, not when that's what the plus-size area of a department store is calling me. And by the way: If I'm a WOMAN, what does that make those sized 14 and under? GIRLS? The implications of "bigger = woman" are humiliating for all parties involved.

Let's be clear. I don't disparage women who do, actually, like being big (or are at least comfortable with it), and I don't dismiss that there are men (and women) who love big women. I am just not one of them. We can blame my parents and the media, but I don't generally perceive overweight women as sexually attractive. Myself included.

Except I don't hate myself.

I don't wake up miserable every day.

No, I don't like the way I look, but:
1) That doesn't mean YOU can't like the way I look, and, more importantly;
2) SO WHAT?

So I don't like the way I look. Lots of people don't like things about themselves that they could change.

I've just put less emphasis on controlling my weight than on other things.

Other things, like my career, my financial stability, my emotional well-being, my family, and, you know, achieving my life goals. Oh, and speaking of life goals? "Being thin(ner)" is definitely on my list...it's just below "finding love" "having a family" "career satisfaction" and "getting published."

Hey, I get that we all have different priorities. I firmly believe that everything's a trade-off. I simply cannot work as hard as I'm capable at health, weight, career, education, family, extra-curriculars and emotional well-being all at the same time. I can find a balance that works for me, though; I can find compromise. And that's precisely what I've done.

But why is that so hard to believe? I chose (directly and indirectly) not to have my weight be my top priority. NOT because I didn't have other priorities. Not because I didn't care, not because I don't have a life, not because I'm not a worthwhile human being.

I keep thinking of Jillian on The Biggest Loser, screaming at contestants until they break and finally reveal the emotional scars that led them to their 400-pound selves. And of course, for some people, that's just it. They eat because they're unhappy. They try to fill an emotional void with food. They put other people first and don't take care of themselves.

Well, okay, fair enough. But what about the rest of us?

Because that's not my story at all. That's not my life at all. I feel like if I had Jillian yelling in my face, asking me why I've "done this to myself" I would have to yell back, "Done what? Let myself gain weight? Oh, well, sorry! I was busy trying to make myself a fulfilled human being!"

(I might ALSO be tempted to yell back, "Why are YOU so AFRAID of fat?" but that's neither here nor there and probably why I'll never be on tv.)

I care. I do care. I don't want to be this size, and I am not happy with my size. But with me overall? Well, my weight has taken a back seat to other, worthy priorities...priorities that make me feel like a whole person, and that make me feel confident with myself. My self-esteem is pretty well intact.

My self-esteem is not dependent on my size.

Correlated, yes. I would feel better about myself if I were thinner. But I would feel a lot worse about myself if the rest of my life were in shambles. (Trust me, I speak from experience.)

I just constantly feel like people who see me, people who meet me but don't really know me, wonder what's wrong with me that I am this size. Surely deep down I must be unhappy with myself. I think it's really hard for people who (subconsciously or consciously) link their self-worth with their weight to understand that not everyone does.

That I couldn't possibly love myself if I look like this.

Except I do.

But...so...then...what if I want to lose weight?

How do I find motivation to lose weight if I'm not coming from a place of broken? 

Most motivational advice I see/read/hear is based on the premise that fat = lazy, fat = uninformed, fat = unhappy. I need to find something better than this. I look to shows like Biggest Loser to inspire me, but the message I come away with is "If I just figure out why I hate myself so much, I will let go and start taking better care of me."

But that doesn't fit me and so I have no model. I'm not overweight because I'm lazy, because I have nothing better to do, because I'm unhappy. I'm not angry at the world, I'm not failing at life. I haven't let myself be held back by my weight. 


Instead, it's just the opposite. I have so much else going on, I just don't know how to make weight-loss a priority without giving up something else. Like, by virtue of math, I have to do less of something in order to do more of something else. 

I know people talk about making "lifestyle changes" but they always seem to just say that "eating well" has to be a priority and "eating crap" has to, well, not be a priority. They say that now you need to make time to go to the gym as though you were previously spending that extra hour or two sitting around twiddling your thumbs. As though it's apples to apples.

It's not.

I look at my life now and it is full-to-the-brim busy. I have two young children and a start-up. I spend practically every waking moment wrangling a child or wrangling an overflowing inbox, save for the occasional conversation with my husband. I have to schedule showers.

I know I need to reconfigure to give weight-loss a new, prominent position in my life. But.

But losing weight is hard. It's hard to stay motivated in general, but it's REALLY hard to stay motivated when being overweight doesn't bring you abject misery.

So I ask: What about those of you who DO work, who have active social lives, who do 8 billion other things with your bad selves and LIKE it that way and so can't quite figure out how to make "weight loss" one of your priorities? 

Is it because you are secretly miserable? Or is it because you're just...not?

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Disclaimers:
1. Absolutely no antagonism is intended toward those who are thin, who are in good shape, who care about their size, who are athletic, who enjoy working out, etc. I think that's awesome! I want to be more like you! 

2. It IS possible to prioritize working out and still balance millions of other things. However, *I* have not, PERSONALLY, been able to find that balance yet; not since I became a grown-up with a full-time job and certainly not since I had kids and started a company. This is MY cross to bear and to explain. 

3. For the record, I have NOT always been fat and I HAVE been in great physical shape -- just not since graduating college and getting a job.



Friday, July 27, 2012

Fun With Fridays, The Olympics, And The Word Penis!

I have so much fun stuff for you today! In fact, let's make a list.

1. Opening Ceremonies Bingo Cards!

This amazeballoons blogger created lovely Bingo Cards for tonight's opening ceremonies. You should print them out and play, especially if you have friends over and want to keep them (and kids) entertained.


Opening Ceremonies Bingo Game



2. Opening Ceremonies Drinking Game!

Perhaps even better (YES I KNOW IT'S ALL ABOUT PREFERENCE), I found this amazing drinking game for tonight's ceremonies and it wins.


Olympics Opening Ceremonies Drinking Game
Image from sbnation.com
Indeed, what London lacks in precision group drumming it will make up for with nods to British culture: British music, British literature, royal figures, and crumpets -- all of the crumpets! It will be either a grand tribute to England as the Games begin, or a hilarious Frankenstein of cultural history ("No, no, no! The 40-foot Voldemort is supposed to come out to the Sex Pistols' cover of 'God Save the Queen'! Don't cue 'Hey Jude' until the 30 Mary Poppinses start descending from the sky.") Regardless, the event calls for a drinking game.


3. Here is a video of the US Olympic Swim Team singing "Call Me Maybe":



4. What did my favorite Chinese Wholesaler send to my inbox this week? 

Another women's bag.

Was it gorgeous? Beautiful? Useful, even?


No. It was just decent.


5. Last but not least? The word PENIS. 

Once a million years ago, my a cappella group was at karaoke and Roe who is awesome drew a picture of the word penis for absolutely no reason. I thought it was "artistic"...so I had another friend upload it and color it in and here it is. I don't know. Happy Friday.



Penis.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hipster Toddler With BONUS! Sad Chinese Bag Girl

I don't totally understand where or how memes get started, but I'm pretty sure it's not from people taking pictures of their kids and then putting them on MemeGenerator and then blogging about it. Then again, maybe that's exactly how memes start.

Funny thing, this internet.

Anyway. I took the requisite* photo of toddler-wearing-oversized-sunglasses...

HipsterToddler

and then laughed at the result because she looked like such an over it hipster. So I decided to start this meme thing.

Hipster Toddler Digs Tacos

Hipster Toddler Is Over Your Tweets


You can create your own versions of Hipster Toddler here, if you're so inclined (if you do, let me know). Or go ahead and make your own! It's a fun thing to do when you're supposed to be watching your children.


This one is my favorite: 


Hipster Toddler Should Run Your Social Media
Because it's in direct response to a widely circulated, laughably stupid post by a recent college graduate called, "Why Ever Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25." 

::::BONUS::::


I got my Chinese Wholesaler email on Friday. Below was my favorite image... somewhere between "duckface" and abject misery.

Pretty Asian Girl Hates This Bag
"New Arrival Rivet Embellished Black Big Bag For Women"

Pretty and chic Chinese girl will buy your bag. But she won't like it.


*It's in the Parental Handbook. See also: Santa's Lap, Asleep In Carseat, Running Through Garden Hose

Monday, July 16, 2012

My Poor English & Shower Boobs

It all started with Pinterest, as so many internet adventures do.

I saw some totally cool item someone had Pinned, and I decided I should get it for my sister-in-law, Whitney, for Christmas.

In case you're wondering, this sells for the totally guessable price of $23.58.

Now, in an online-Christmas-present-buying frenzy, I didn't really pay attention to where this item was coming from. But at some point when I was going through my list of items purchased, I realized I never even received an order confirmation from this place.

I opened an account and issued a help ticket. The content of my inquiry was exactly as follows:
I Haven't Received Shipping Confirmation or Order Tracking info. I just want to be sure I receive this shipment in time for Christmas. Can you please update me on my order status?
And I awaited a reply, hoping that I hadn't given out my credit card to a fraudulent website, and also that the item from this Chinese Wholesaler wasn't actually being shipped from China. Two weeks before Christmas.

About a day later, I logged in and saw there was a reply waiting for me! Oh, happy day!
Hi, 
For you choose Flat Rate Shipping ,it will need 10-30 days to your country.you can't receive track information,but you can only know the send out time .The midway track information is blank.If you want get track information and want get it in time ,please choose DHL .bue you must pay us Additional postage. 
My English is poor ,so I can’t express myself well , if has grammar mistake , hoping you can forgive , thanks. 
Waiting your reply. 
Mandy
Well alright then.

I realized three things:

  1. Yeah. It was coming from China.
  2. No. It wouldn't be arriving in time for Christmas.
  3. Fantastic customer service, all things considered. And hey. They opened the door on this one, so I was going to pursue it...even though I knew no good could come of it.
Hi!  
I never received this reply via email. My email address is: kristysf@[gmail.com].  Yes, I would like to use DHL and pay additional shipping costs. Can you let me know what to do?

I anxiously awaited the reply.
Dear , sorry to tell you your order is shipped out 09/12/2011 .Tracking Number: [redacted] you can't receive track information,but you can only know the send out time .The midway track information is blank . if it get in time is ok ,and if it get out of time ,you can choose to refuse it and it will return to us . and you must tell me you refuse it ,when we received it ,we will give you refund . Sorry to tell you  that  My English is poor ,so I can’t express myself well , if has grammar mistake and misunderstanding , hoping you can forgive , thank you for your understanding and your patience. Mandy
I don't actually think her name is Mandy. Also, when I realized the "sorry about my grammar" sentence was cut-and-pasted, I felt way less special. I pushed on, though.

I just have one more question:   What is the midway tracking? What does it mean? Will I be notified when the product has reached the midway track point? 

Thank you so much, Mandy!
Mandy's response didn't disappoint.
For my poor english i can't express myself well , and don't know how to express ,it's so hard for me to explain , it means when it on the way , the express information will few and sometimes you will get no informations about it until you get it .  Can you understand?and can you tell me how to express in a word?
Of all the customer service experiences in my life, this had swiftly become my favorite. And you know what? It's really hard to get mad at someone who tells you "sometimes you will get no informations about it until you get it."

I replied saying thank you, I think I understand. And then Mandy sent the best answer of all.
It doesn't matter,your welcome  haha
WHY WAS MANDY LAUGHING AT ME?

Well, it's no matter and probably you're wondering about the boobs. So let me get there.

Not only did I eventually get the phone charger (first week of January), I also got added to the email list of Everbuying.com. And now I get weekly updates on Friday, and they are spectacular. In addition to selling the most random assortment of electronics stuff on the cheap, their Americanized advertisements are cultural vignettes unto themselves.

For instance, here was their Mother's Day promotional email banner:


I think -- think? -- whoever used this stock photo perceived the blond on the left to be the daughter of the man and woman on the right. Except um, no.

I think actually she is just the hotter neighbor-friend, and she's about to get some red wine in the face by this man's wife (who looks really, really pissed off).

On the upside, if you're ever at a loss for how to define "FAMILY"? Now you know.

I also had the opportunity to earn 8% off (???) by participating in a questionnaire, where I contributed to their further business life:



And yet none of this is anywhere near as amazing as what was in this last Friday's email.

Among Chinese-made tablets and cell phones and headsets, this set of product images...uh...stood out.


Popluar Shower Gel Sexy Breast Automatic Foam Soap Dispenser



You guys. Are you not amazed at the Gel Sexy Breast? And its foaming soap?

Well, before you purchase one (for the totally not-made-up price of $24.84), allow me to explain to you its many, many features, which I am not making up (although my commentary is in italics).

Main Features: 

  • Rubber breast attaches to flat surface with suction cups 
    Because you wouldn't want anything gaudy in your shower, like a hook. 
  • Novel foam soap dispenser 
    Yes. Novel. So very, very novel.
  • Sexy breast in the bathroom can make you shower more interesing
    AHAHAHAHAHA.
  • This is a pure soap security device 
    I was unaware that soap required security measures, but I don't know anything. "Quick! Hide the soap! Someplace they'll never look!" 
  • It is very creamy texture and soft touch 
    Can we agree at this point we're just talking about a sex device? 
  • Moderate size, it will not feel squeeze up a little uncomfortable 
    I have no idea what we're talking about anymore.
  • Can be hung in the toilet and the kitchen most of the place very easy
    YES! IN THE KITCHEN! For dispensing...soap? Or like, ketchup? Maybe mayo? 



So now I can't wait for Friday's emails. And if you're on my Christmas list? LOOKOUT.





Monday, May 07, 2012

My Son Accidentally Turned One When I Wasn't Looking

When Eve was born, and I was experimenting with the idea of being a "Stay At Home Mom," the first few months of her life seemed to last forever -- for better and worse. I was terrified (OMG I'M GOING TO BREAK THE BABY) and exhausted and confused and stressed and happy and hormonal and also bored, in the way only parents of infants can understand "bored."

I went back to work when she was about eight months old, and eased into it, and dealt with separation and still do.

Townsend is a different story.

He was born, I took leave, but it was totally unlike my experience with Eve. I wasn't quite as terrified, first of all, and by then we had the help of nannies. I wasn't alone with a baby every second of every day and night, worrying about when Ish or I would break the baby. My hormones were a little wackier, but I was a thousand times more relaxed, and days weren't endless.

There weren't months of endless/joyous/sleepless "terror-bonding" with Towns.

So while of course I love and feel close to my darling baby boy...it's just...it's just gone by so quickly.

How has it been a whole YEAR? Yeah. A YEAR.

Well, and since I don't know how to write a blog post about a baby that doesn't sound like every other blog post about every other baby on the planet, here comes the gushing (followed, naturally, by a video):

Towns is sweet and funny, cute and charming. He is a completely un-fussy kid. He pretend moan-cries when he's hungry, which is often. Every time he gets hungry, he behaves as though he has never been fed and might never be fed again. He is very dramatic this way. Whhhhyyyyyyyy won't annnnyyyyyoooonnnnneeee feeeeeeeeeed meeeeeee!??!

He also fake-cries when we close the baby-gate because he wants nothing more than to be allowed to scurry up the stairs and throw himself off of things.

He adores his sister. He is fearless, and is walking, and running, and getting up and down single steps without holding on to things. (Eve would sit in order to get down even just a single stair until she was nearly two.) 

Towns will dance at any HINT of music, including Eve singing. Or chanting "Let's Go GI-ants!"

He actually naps, which Eve wasn't very good at. He is more or less sleeping through the night, although we have lots of 5 a.m. wake-ups because he's just soooooooooo starving

He's shy around strangers, and actually the only REAL tears I've ever seen him crying have been because someone he didn't know said hello to him when he wasn't expecting it. But that's probably more because he's a year old than that he hates people. I think.

He is adorable because I say so, and I clearly have a totally unbiased viewpoint.

To prove this unbiased opinion, I offer you this video, which I wish I could say took the better part of a weekend to put together, but actually took about 17 minutes.  One year = two minutes.

Mahna-Mahna*!



I created this video using an app called Animoto (a Clever Girls client I decided to try out just for fun). And since I happen to know that they have a deal running right now, you can make a full-length video for free using code: CleverFL. It really takes no time at all. In fact, most of the time I spent was trying to decide which song to use. I am glad I had an excuse to try Animoto because I have a special loathing for iMovie and couldn't bear to use it.



*The Muppets movie is like my favorite kids' movie ever. I am a giant, GIANT Muppets fan, and this has only made my love stronger.




Monday, April 16, 2012

For All The Blog Detectives

Not long ago, I deleted a rude comment from an anonymous someone for maybe the second time since starting this blog. The comment stuck with me anyway, as they tend to do.

The gist was about how I'm not a real blogger anymore.

Which, okay. I suppose that's true. And it's not like it takes a BLOG DETECTIVE to note that I hardly post anymore, and that when I do it's mostly to post photos or pictures and write captions, not meaty, important things like about how I took the wrong bus or don't understand the refrigeration rules for mayonnaise. (Yah. I wrote about both of those things at one point in my blogging career.)

It's just...

My life is different now. Not just because I have two small children, although that would be plenty of reason right there.

GO GIANTS!

Guess who started walking this weekend? 


But my work, my company, makes everything different. I work ALL THE TIME. I love what I do, and I'm proud of the company we've built. Are building.

"Staff Meeting" 
But -- and I do feel like this needs clarification -- it's a real company. No, we do not have cubicles (YET), but we are really really real. Like with a real business plan and goals and infrastructure and clients and employees (fewer than half are featured above) and salaries and benefits. And even profits.

It's awesome, but it's incredibly stressful because of all the reasons owning your own business is stressful.

And, obviously, whenever I'm not working, I'm spending time with my family. I make every effort to be fully attentive to my children during the parts of the days, evenings, and weekends I'm with them.

Someday, maybe I'll add my own entries to the already-everything-has-been-written-about-it canon of "working mother guilt/not-guilt" blog posts.

The point of this entry, however, is to say that after the kids are in bed and it's somewhere between 8 and 9 p.m., I am not a lot of good. I use that time to have grown-up talk with my husband, catch up on one or two shows on television, maybe, and mostly zone out playing Draw Something. I don't have it in me to start blogging at 9 p.m. I don't have it in me to do much of anything after 9 p.m.

If I socialize, it's either with the children or after they go to bed, and both of these things require planning ESPECIALLY if a sitter is involved. Which, again, isn't anything new or different from how ALL working parents live, it's just that there are only so many hours in a day. Blah blah blah.

I'm not complaining. I have chosen this path and I am making the most of it. But everything is a compromise. I had to quit my BELOVED a cappella group. I "joined" a book club about a year ago and I have attended precisely none of the once/month meetings. Not one. My husband got me a gift certificate for a massage for my birthday (LAST JULY) that I haven't made time to redeem.

And then someday. Someday, once this company is bigger and more successful and different and it's not taking every ounce of energy I have that isn't going into being a mother, then I will write. Again. And the cool thing is that then?  I'll have a lot to say.









Friday, March 16, 2012

"sunglasses"

"sunglasses"
#MarchPhotoOfTheDay

So before I got married (the first time), my BFF put together a lovely scrapbook featuring photos from our years of being friends which was all of them. Literally. Our parents were friends before we were born, and we've been friends since before we can remember. 

Someday I will post the entire scrapbook here because it is a colorful homage to friendship and fashion, where by "fashion" I mean "I can't believe I left the house dressed like that from ages 11–20." 

If those aren't the worst sunglasses ON BOTH OF US, well. I DARE you to find me a picture of what worse sunglasses could possibly look like. 

For the record, my sunglasses folded up completely and fit into a tiny square box. OH MY GOD 80'S ARE YOU SERIOUS?

"car"

#MarchPhotoOfTheDay
"car"

Those stupid fake flowers in the background of this and the "loud" photo are hilarious to me. I bought them as an "impulse purchase" from Pottery Barn about 13 years ago. I stuck them in a little metal pot in the den of my first house with my first husband. I liked the way they looked then, and I still do. They have come a long way.

Just thought I'd point that out.

Oh, also? My son looks exactly like me.

March Photos of the Day: Days 9-14

I am just going to have to cram all kinds of pictures into this post, because I haven't been keeping up with blogging even though I have been taking my monthly photos diligently!

Given that I once tried to participate in National Blog Posting Month and failed after like 4 days, I think I should get a prize.

Here are some pictures from my life, completely out of order.

Day 13 - A Sign
Probably people got really creative and artistic and inspirational with this one and instead I took one because the "THICK & ROUGH" made me giggle. The store was out of my regular oatmeal, and, well, I don't know. Probably this isn't funny to anyone but me. Those are just some really assertive adjectives for oats.

Day 10 - Loud
This is a photo of my Sonos. It is a speaker, kind of like a BOSE, that allows you to play music from any portable device. It integrates with your iTunes library and with Pandora. IT IS AMAZING. My Sonos app is totally easy to use, and it's just magical. Here, let me swipe, touch, and then listen to all the music ever. 

Day 11 - Someone You Talked To Today
This is my parents' favorite picture of my parents. It hangs on my wall wherever I go. They were, quite evidently, groovy and hip and happy. And while maybe not aloud, I definitely talk to them everyday.

Day 12 - Fork
Over the weekend, we hosted a very small, potluck dinner party based on The Hunger Games, somewhat on the insistence of a very particular 13-year-old boy. It ended up being quite a feast that included (because of course it did) lamb stew with dried plums, Katniss' favorite.

The bowl was for the stew. The napkin was filled with goodies, kind of like a parachute. The orange card had quotes on them, and we each went around guessing who said what.

It was quite a nerd-fest: real or not real?

Day 9 - Red
I've had a love/hate relationship with my stylist since moving to Napa. She is a little on the nutty side and I think she's a hoot...but every time I visit her and ask for something "funky" or hip, she gives me slightly blonder highlights or slightly shorter bangs. This is a soccer mom kind of town, and I don't think she gets that I am clinging desperately to a stylish version of myself (that maybe never even existed) that could pass as a city-dwelling internet startup person.

So I wound up going to the local beauty academy to get the funk I have been seeking.

This was happening when I walked in. It's as if he knew the photo-prompt of the day was "red." TOTALLY AWESOME.

But actually, the "red" photo I wanted to take was/is this:


Yep. I'm now totally Gwen-esque platinum save for a crazy hot-pink streak. And I love it.


Lastly, because that's six whole pictures that don't feature my children, I present to you "Day 14 - Clouds":

Running in the rain. To clarify, she's gleeful, not furious. Fine line. 






Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"window"

#MarchPhotoOfTheDay
"window"
This is the view from my bedroom.

The last apartment I lived in in San Francisco overlooked an alley where crackheads would yell at each other and, for a brief couple of days, play the harmonica. It almost made it Steinbeck-y, with the harmonica, until the drugged-out profanity-laced yelling wars took over and the guy with the harmonica left.

I miss the city a lot. I do.

But this isn't so bad.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

"something you wore"

#MarchPhotoOfTheDay

I don't think I've ever written about Jason.

I dated him when we were sophomores in college. He attended the Naval Academy, and he was sweet, and cute, and one of the nicest, most good-hearted people I've ever known.

We talked about getting married but I wasn't serious and he was and when we broke up, it was harder on him than it was on me.

He is the only friend request I've ever made on Facebook that's gone unaccepted.

Jason and I were together while I went through an epic body transformation, the first (and only) (ahem) time I've lost a LOT of weight. It's hard for me to separate my emotional memories of our time together, which was totally wonderful, and my emotional memories of Life As A Thin 20-Year-Old, because it was so different and...novel. I guess the upshot is that I remember those months vividly.

I have hung on to a few small vestiges from that era. My "skinny jeans" collection, if you will. (Except I know better than to save jeans that don't fit.) Instead, I literally have four t-shirts folded in my closet, taking up a tiny bit of space, reminding me of what I once wore and maybe someday will again. And as utterly ridiculous as this sounds, each t-shirt has its own story.

This t-shirt was Jason's. He loaned it to me while I was visiting him over the one summer we were together, and I loved it so much I asked to keep it. Selfishly, I loved it because it was really flattering -- even if, on a hanger in a closet 3,000 miles and 15 years away, it's not much to look at. But I also loved it because it was his. He was my boyfriend and he was cute and he worked out and had a stocky wrestler's build and the more big and masculine he was the more petite and girly I felt.

And I liked feeling that way.



Tuesday, March 06, 2012

"5 PM"

"5 PM"
#MarchPhotoOfTheDay
Where the magic happens.

Someday, there will be stuff on the walls and everything I do/use/look at won't be crammed onto desk space.

Someday.

Monday, March 05, 2012

"a smile"

Ask a toddler to smile...


"a smile"
#MarchPhotoOfTheDay

"bedside"

"bedside"
#MarchPhotoOfTheDay

Maybe someday I'll post real pictures of the inside of our house, like when everything we own isn't a complete hodgepodge of furniture covered in baby toys and cat hair. You know, in like two decades.

Here's what you're looking at for the photo inspired by "bedside."

This is Ish's side of the bed, exactly as I found it on Sunday morning at 7:38 a.m.

A. We have textured walls throughout our house. This is sort of an homage to...I don't know? Adobe style homes? Napa is weird. Eclectic. There's agricultural influence, so some "farmhouse" style, and outside/inside decor, and "barrel room," and general "California." And also Mexico? I really don't get it, but the creamy yellow is nice.

B. This is Ish's pile of books, in front of Ish's pile of New Yorkers. Your first question is going to be, "Did you read Infinite Jest?" And the answer is no. Did Ish? No. He started it months ago, and refuses to give it up. He just keeps chipping away at it the way a man makes his way through a 32-ounce steak. His lack of enthusiasm does not inspire me. Perhaps you feel differently?

C. Baby monitor.

D. This is what we use as our bedside table; there's one on each side of the bed. They are a pair of "dressers" from Ikea that Ish got for his "Bachelor (Again) Pad" in SF. They are made of very durable cardboard with a layer of textured plastic stapled over it. Better Homes & Gardens will be calling any moment.

E. This is Snow White Barbie. I don't know why she's naked. I don't know why her head is turned 180-degrees from where it should be. I don't know why she's laying atop the radio in some sort of ├╝ber-creep stiff Exorcist-like repose.

F: Fun-Fact! BOSE radios can only be operated by their remotes. When you have things like "children" you lose things like "remotes." I suppose we could order a replacement remote, but what's the fun in KNOWING what hour it actually is? I prefer to be perpetually confused and surprised.






Saturday, March 03, 2012

"your neighborhood"

#MarchPhotoOfTheDay
Today's prompt was "your neighborhood" and, in case it's not ridiculously self-explanatory, here is a picture I took while walking with Eve. Through our neighborhood. Because sometimes I don't need to get creative with interpretations.

"fruit"

"fruit"
#MarchPhotoOfTheDay
Taken at the ever-lovely Ma(i)sonry in Yountville, CA


Last Saturday, I got to go on a wine tasting tour with Ish, all because of this crazy blog.

Not because some company came to me and asked, but because the funniest, sweetest, cleverest woman with the best taste in bloggers EVER found this little website several years ago and, well. We became internet friends. And then Kristin had this brilliant idea to visit Napa during a girls weekend in San Francisco, and she invited Ish and me to tag along with her and her two super awesome girl friends.

Which of course we did because wouldn't you?

The trip was amazing. And I'm not just saying that to be nice. I'm saying that because I've done a lot of stuff around here -- from the super-touristy to the super-hidden -- and this was absolutely awesome.

Next time you're thinking of coming to Napa, please consider using Vin Ambassador as your guide. We had fantastic wines...
Round Pond Winery

...great views...

O'Brien vineyards

...a "hidden" private lunch catered by Napa Style (Michael Chiarello's shop & sandwich place, a side-shoot of Bottega) that involved truffle potato chips...

The sandwiches were great. But.

 and a guide you will adore with the best stories ever.

Andres!


Happy Kristin! (Not the best portrait ever, but I think it captures the moment.)




Friday, March 02, 2012

"Slut Shaming"

In case you don't want to read my opinions on the matter, scroll down to watch the most jaw-dropping video ever, of an adolescent girl discussing "slut shaming."

I've long felt our country is bi-polar when it comes to ideas of sex and sexuality. Boiled down, I think that our overwhelming philosophy is that sex is dirty and bad and sinful, until or unless you're having sex with your spouse. Whereupon, magically, sex is supposed to be loving and wonderful and magical and -- maybe, on occasion -- fun.

We have unhealthy and unrealistic views about what's okay and what's not, and everything is made a thousand times more complex by how media represents "sexuality." 

Mostly, it seems to me that women who are openly sexual are not respected. Are found to be unworthy of respect because of their sexuality. 

I have wanted to blog about this forever, but I get in my own way. I seem unable to be articulate and unclear about what my point is. 

Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut sort of pushed me to the edge, though. 

Here's an excerpt from today's HuffPo:

Rush Limbaugh doubled down on his incendiary comments about Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who was denied the right to speak at a contraception hearing, during his Friday. 
The conservative radio host sparked outrage on Wednesday when he called Fluke "a slut" and "a prostitute." He alleged that she was "having so much sex" that she couldn't afford contraception.
He went further the next day, adding, "if we're going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch."

And, since I discovered this video several months ago, I'm glad to have a reason to post it. It shocked me. SHOCKED. I don't know how a 13-year-old becomes so poised, so articulate, so confident as she is about such a tricky subject, but I was blown away. 

And probably when you watch you will be a little uncomfortable, because I was. Because I'm not used to any of these topics being discussed openly at all, let alone by someone so young.

In fact, my gut reaction was "But she...she shouldn't know these things!" Except what I really wish is that 13-year-olds didn't know enough to call each other "sluts" in the first place...which simply isn't the case. 

And so.