Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Long Story I Cannot Cut

Every joke has its foundation in truth.

When I joke around about how miraculous it is that my son has lived to see his first birthday, it is because for a while there I really didn’t know if he had any sense of self-preservation. He would try to launch himself down the stairs instead of climbing carefully down each step; he would run full speed without looking up to see he was headed straight for the sharp corner of a table; he wouldn’t wait for my help before running straight to the deep end of the pool with all his clothes on. I guess for boys his age this behavior is pretty normal.

Somehow Asher gradually became a little more cautious. He got nervous around the top of a flight of steps and slowed down his aimless running. I guess I started letting my guard down. Well, after last night, it is back up with a vengeance.

We were in the middle of enjoying a delicious spaghetti dinner made by Dan (a rare treat). Asher was strapped in his booster seat at the table, and he must have gotten his feet to where he could “push off” because he caused his entire apparatus to topple backward toward the sliding glass door. As I play this event back in my mind, I’m pretty sure the whole thing happened in slow motion. His head made contact with the metal door frame, and then there was crying and a lot of blood.

Because there was so much blood Dan called 911. There were four men with blue rubber-gloved hands in our home in less than 3 minutes. I hardly saw their faces. I had been applying pressure to the back of Asher’s head with a large white towel, which is now in the garbage, and the bleeding had stopped. (I might add that this was not an easy task since Asher was squirming and screaming and generally freaking out.) Somehow after the four angels got there I was very calm. They strapped him to some kind of kid-sized stretcher; he couldn’t move a muscle. He was still crying as they loaded him into the back of the Ambulance.

We live close to the hospital, so it was a short ride. I stayed with him and my eyes never left his face. I sung him his lullaby and talked to him in an upbeat voice. I touched his face, his arms, any part of his body that was not covered in braces and velcro. He gradually calmed down and he stayed pretty brave and calm, despite being unable to move, throughout the long time at the hospital. A couple times his lips started quivering, but I would reassure him and touch him and Dan would turn on an episode of Charlie and Lola on his iphone. Asher always needed to be holding one of our fingers in his left hand, and whenever a nurse or doctor came near he would watch them with intense suspicion.

Asher needed two staples in his head. They didn’t shave his hair, they didn’t numb the area, they didn’t give him any medicine, and there were no scans or x-rays. I guess he was functioning normally and he didn’t show signs of trauma in any other area. We are supposed to watch him and take him to his pediatrician for a follow-up tomorrow. Currently, the most traumatized member of our family is me. Once Asher was asleep last night the calm left me and I started feeling like I had millions of crazy tense hormones floating around every muscle in my body. I’m feeling them now. I’m also still smelling Asher’s blood on my hands, despite scrubbing them numerous times in the last 24 hours. I feel like Lady MacBeth.

At one point in the hospital, our doctor tried to joke with us by saying “Don’t worry, he’ll be in here at least 50 more times before he’s five.”

Ha.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Punk Rock Asher


Oi! to the world...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dear Santa

I was never a boy scout.

I never feel prepared for the holidays.

We just finished our Christmas cards this morning.

I have only wrapped two gifts.

My house is a mess.

Santa, all I want from you this year is a magical transformation of our apartment (with little effort from me) from a messy dirty jumble to a clean and bright abode. And some new pillows. And please get rid of my cough.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Seasonal

Last night I made dinner, fed and bathed my child, got him ready for bed, and did the dishes while Dan put our boy down. After Asher was asleep I started getting myself ready for my Christmas caroling job.

Once I was all makeupful and festive-looking, I hopped in my car and headed to a street by In-n-Out where I met a gaggle of girls dressed in hoop skirts and velvet capes. It took me approximately one and a half minutes to get my outfit out of the back of my car and "don my gay apparel" over my white shirt and black pants. I was then informed by the singer in charge that I would be singing soprano instead of my usual second. Hmmm... I thought as we walked into the house, I probably should have warmed up higher on the way here...

This December I am singing with the Nightingales, a group that started me caroling when I was 19 years old. I was the oldest in the group then, and that fact hasn't changed. (Last night I sang with former students of mine that are still in high school.) I usually sing with my own Christmas Caroling trio, or at least I have for the past five years, but this year I didn't have the drive to make it happen and my usual singers have moved out of the city. When the Nightingale's director asked for my help I thought, Sure. I already know all the arrangements and I don't have to do anything but show up. No managing, just a little extra cash. I have only contracted to do 5 gigs and last night was my second.

We weren't as good as my Sugar Plums trio, but it was fun. The fact is I would rather be caroling with the Nightingales than not caroling at all. Every year I am just struck with the miracle of it all; in December people pay me to sing about Jesus. I mean, any other month of the year it simply would not fly. I would receive scowls instead of smiles, threats instead of money. I wonder when people will start protesting songs like "What Child is This?" I mean, I've already sung at parties where we were under strict orders not to sing any "Jesus songs" and focus on songs like Winter Wonderland and Santa Clause is Coming to Town.

I busted my voice last night. I really should have warmed up better before I sang, but if I am going to lose my voice singing anything, I don't mind going out on Silent Night.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Five Minute friend

I had a "first" today: about the last five blocks of my jog a girl who was just standing on the sidewalk asked me a question. The question she posed was, "Can I join you?"

I was surprised, but I bewilderedly and breathlessly replied, "sure!" I jogged for five minutes with a stranger. Well, she isn't a complete stranger anymore. During our little run I found out that her name is Jeanette (sp?) and she is a massage therapist from Hollywood. She has an employed boyfriend who lives in town, and she is not a very experienced jogger. She asked to stop twice, and I'm no Olympian. She ran with me to my house, and probably walked most of the way back to her boyfriends'.

I have been pondering this singular experience all day. It was pretty unordinary... so does it mean something? Was I supposed to say or do something when we parted ways? Will I see her again? Was she supposed to somehow be important in my day... or life? Is she going to rob my house tonight? She seemed really nice and normal, but who does that? I don't know why these thoughts are dancing around in my brain.

Maybe this only happened to preoccupy my mind so I would forget about the creepy grunge guy who was standing very still, openly staring at me, and radiating bad vibes as I passed the blue house. Well... almost forget.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

HELLth

As part of my typical Tuesday/Thursday routine I went jogging this morning. It has been four days since my last little outdoor exercise experience, and what a difference four days make! I'm not talking about my body's usual Tuesday protest against running, I'm talking about the weather. All of a sudden I feel like I live in Utah. It would not have surprised me to see snow falling from the sky while I ran, it was that cold.

I'm a wimpy jogger. I can only run about two miles and I'm done. But I really have come a long way in the ten months or so that I have been exercising again: I don't spend my time wishing to die when I run, I get through a whole session of Tae Bo without cussing out Billy Banks and quitting, and my body feels better in general. But I still have a hard time deciding to exercise.

I'm not sure if the new frigid temperatures will help or hinder me. On one hand, it is kind of uncomfortable to jog when it is cold. I feel like I'm inhaling millions of particles of ice. Also, when I get home and step into my warm apartment, it is like stepping straight into the fiery pits of Hades. It is stuffy and hot and I can't breathe... but I don't want to open a window and freeze my child. On the other hand, while I am actually in the groove of running cold weather is nice because I don't feel as tired somehow. I feel like I could run forever, or at least for three miles instead of two.

At least the wind, rain and cold has made exercising a little bit different. It is nice to be thrown a curve ball every once in a while, because in case you haven't caught what my attitude is about exercise, it is not my favorite pastime.

Friday, December 12, 2008

paste

Today I purchased a "5 Senses toothpaste kit" made by Go Smile. My opinion is that the "5 Senses" name makes 5 minus 5 sense(s) because it only affects one or two of a person's actual senses. (Speaking of sense, how'd you like that sentence?)

The kit conatains 5 differently flavored toothpaste tubes and a travel toothbrush. Years ago Dan and I discussed the possibility of any toothpaste flavor other than mint being accepted by the general public. There is something about mint that just makes your mouth feel clean, and because of this strange psycological phenomenon we wondered if flavors like lemon or lavender would ever get off the supermarket shelves, if they were ever conceived and ushered into the world. (Lavender is an herb too, right?)

Well we don't have to wonder anymore. Right in front of me I have five exotic flavor choices: Mango Paradise Smile, Ginger Cookie smile, Lemonade Smile (our idea first), Peppermint Candy Smile (Ok, this one is not so exotic), and Aloha Tropical Smile. These are being marketed at Sephora, so you can bet your Juicy Couture jumpsuit they are flying off the shelves right along with invisible hair ties and humungous false eyelashes made from peacock feathers.

Oh, and just so you know I've tried Aloha and Lemonade. They are quite tangy... it sorta tastes like you just spit out a stick of flavored gum. The lemon flavor is a bit weak, but heck, this stuff made me brush my teeth twice in one night, so I have no quarrel with Go Smile.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Disneylight

Last Sunday I went to Disneyland with my mom and my sister as an annual one-day-a-year employee. Over the past 10 years or so the Candlelight Christmas program has become somewhat of a tradition for the three of us, and I felt that this year was especially wonderful. Here are some highlights:

-Singing unashamedly in public about Jesus Christ through the streets of Disneyland and looking upon hundreds of smiling faces, some of which were singing along. (It is so nice to occasionally be freed from the stifling bonds of "political correctness")

-Asking my Jewish friend why he has come to participate in this event for 8 years and having a great discussion about beautiful music, inspiration, and respecting the faith of others.

-The Disney orchestra.

-The Harold trumpeters! (I get goosebumps just thinking about them!)

-Singing, with 999 other people, the most beautiful Christmas arrangements I have ever heard.

-The silliness and exuberance of our guest narrator, John Stamos (who, by the way, touched and spoke to my mom).

-The absurdity of this moment: "And it came to pass, in the city of David..." "I LOVE YOU JOHN!!!" (Who screams that out in the middle of a bible quotation?!? Silly girls.)

-Singing around people who knew their music and being in a location that didn't make me hot and claustrophobic.

-Seeing Violet and Jon Williams and his fiancee.

-Seeing a poor high school boy who looked enough like Rob Pattinson to cause a stir.

-Being paid in tickets to Disneyland instead of money.

-Being in the "Merriest Place on Earth" with my mom and Tracy!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Carbs

Never underestimate the deliciousness of a freshly toasted whole wheat buttered English Muffin.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Say What?

I heard a snippet of a romantic song in a movie and I wanted to hear more. I thought I might like it. I tracked the song down and I looked up the lyrics, which was when things took a turn for the worse. The lyrics make NO sense on any level of my brain. There is nothing romantic or profound about this jumble of words randomly selected and placed together. I feel like I need to have that experience surgically removed from my memory.

Stay with me here.

I strongly dislike most short stories. They are usually "artistic" to the point of mind-numbing pointlessness. They make me feel angry: angry that my time was spent reading them, angry that the author had the audacity to write something so stupid, and angry at the thought that other people may appreciate them. I think "How can intelligent people be duped into believing that this is supposed to mean something?" Maybe I'm the dummy and maybe this is an art form that I just don't get, but I firmly believe that most (not all!) short stories have a whole lot in common with The Emperor's New Clothes.

The way I felt when I read the lyrics to Iron & Wine's Flightless Bird, American Mouth reminded me of the feelings I get when I read a particularly embroidered story that smacks of artistic quackery.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The State of Shopping

The day before Thanksgiving I found myself in severe need of some retail therapy. It was raining and dark and I didn't even know if I wanted to buy anything, but I needed to get to a mall. For the record, this doesn't happen very often.

I wound up at La Cumbre Plaza (which is getting rather "high end" if you don't count Sears and Wet Seal) and I walked into BCBG Max Azria. It was nice just to look at the beautifully made clothes. Most of them either weren't my style or did not fit my modesty standards, but I wasn't there to buy anything. I heard once that you should go to designer stores and feel the fabrics just so that you can tell the difference between quality clothing and second rate... and just plain cheap. I suppose this comes in handy when you see great quality on sale; or maybe it is just to make all of us who can't afford a designer wardrobe feel inferior every time we get dressed. Whatever. It was fun for me to see designer clothing up close.

Next I walked into a J Crew. The first thing I saw was a woman's polka dotted bear suit. You know, the one-piece PJs that have a flap on the bum. I don't know what it was about this that just made my day. It cracked me up. I looked around to see if anyone else was sharing in my moment. Nope.

Anyway, I ended up buying a shirt and a cardigan on sale at J Crew. I love them both. I also got Asher some discounted church pants, a tie, and some socks from Janie and Jack. So I did end up spending money, but it wasn't much. Anyway, my mood was lightened significantly; mission accomplished. Sometimes I love shopping.

Friday, November 21, 2008

On Bella

One more thing, Bella's clumsiness was a lot more hilarious and enjoyable onscreen than it was in the book.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Twilight the Movie: pros and cons

I just saw an advanced screening of Twilight, and I know that every teenaged girl in America is going to be walking on clouds and singing about how fabulous of a movie it is... but I'm coming from a different place. I'm not saying the movie was terrible, I'm just saying that if I were making it I would not have made it like that. Here is my list of pros and cons (WARNING, SOME SPOILERS):

Pro:
Edward Cullen. When I first heard that they got Robert Pattinson for the role I rolled my eyes. I didn't think there was even a slight chance that he could pull it off. I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did he do a great job covering his accent most of the time, his acting was quite good and he looked very attractive in most shots.

Con: SCREAMING GIRLS. Every. Time. He. Appeared. On. Screen. My ears are still ringing.

Pro: Charlie was amazing. Totally not what I pictured, but the perfect Charlie. Also, Jessica and Mike Newton were surprisingly likeable and did a great job.

Con: They made the town of Forks into a wonderful multi-cultural melting pot. Hate to say it like it is, but the REAL town probably consists of a majority of very pale caucasians with a few Native Americans. There were Asians and African Americans in every shot. Ok, be non-realistic... but don't dress them up as rock stars and let them act like they are in Beverly Hills. This is Forks.

Pro: Bella Swan didn't bug the crud out of me the whole time.

Con: She did bug the crud out of me some of the time. She would not be my first choice for Bella, she's a little too sarcastic. I also wanted her to look a little prettier. They could have done her makeup differently or something. (Like the poster, she looks great in the poster!)

Ok, I can't help it... here is a flow of cons:

Con: The music. I really didn't like the soundtrack. Except for Claire De Lune, but that lasted for about 5 seconds.

Con: The filming style and the cinematography. It was like a cross between a documentary and a Bourne movie. I don't think the style fit the genre at all. It just looked like they were trying to cover up bad acting, bad computer graphics, and a whole lot of other half-baked things.

Con: The Computer graphics! They were terrible! Just one example is Edward's sparkley skin. I was not impressed.

Con: The vampires did not look prettier or even more interesting than anyone else in Forks. You could see some of their white makeup lines. However...

Pro: I liked Alice and Jasper. They saved the Cullen family from utter lameness. Jasper was quirky, but I liked it. The rest of them did a fine acting job, but they just looked so wrong... and the look is such a huge part of it.

Con: Rosalie looked slightly fat and kinda odd-looking in at least half of her shots. Out of all the blonde models out there you couldn't find ONE that would do???

Pro: The bad guys were pretty good. And I'm not just saying this because I used to go to acting school with Edi (Laurent). I didn't like their styling, but that wasn't their fault.

Con: The script, sometimes. I get that movies can't be carbon copies of books, but I also know a little bit about writing and it was off. I didn't like the introduction into the movie.

There are tons of other little cons (such as why didn't Bella have pants on when Edward first appeared in her room...) but this is getting long.

In conclusion, I am a picky movie watcher. You may see this movie and LOVE it. Please, feel free. I'm actually sad that I have so much info in my head about acting and art because I don't get to enjoy it as much. Ignorance is bliss. Sorry if I ruined yours.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lately

I've been feeling uninspired. Usually I have so many projects and potential creations going on in my brain that I get frustrated about how many hours are in the day. (Never enough!) I have stories I want to write, dresses I want to design, music I want to record and create, paintings I want to make, plays, screenplays, choreography... on and on and on.

Right now I don't want to do anything. I'm a little scared by that. I hope it is just the calm before the storm of some crazy genius, but what if I just ran out of steam and ideas and passion? Dieter Uchtdorf recently gave a talk in which he pinpointed two God-like attributes that we as mortals (especially women) have: Compassion and the desire to create. This talk really hit the nail on the head for me. I was so happy to hear him speak, not only because I love him but because I understood myself a little better after listening to his wise words. I have such a deep respect for that man.

I'm trying to think of the reasons why each of the interests that normally inspire me are no longer exciting. Maybe I'm going through a very lazy stage. Maybe this whole post-prop 8 atmosphere in California is sapping the soul out of me. (I strongly dislike politics and hypocritical "tolerant" people.) Maybe I'm feeling discouraged because other people don't see things the way I do and they don't see the beauty or value in my work or the potential finished product. Maybe it is a little bit of all of that.

One of my big problems is that I don't usually finish things unless I have a deadline. I try to give myself deadlines, but usually something else takes priority on my list. Maybe I'm getting sick of the fact that I "almost finish" everything I do. For instance: I wrote a stage script for Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I finished writing it, then I directed and produced it. I choreographed the dances and I even designed and made some costumes for it. This was all in like 3 months. It turned out really well. I had a lot of people (some of them professional Emmy-winning writers) tell me that I could make a lot of money selling this script. I even have a very dear friend (with lots of experience) who offered to help me market the play to companies like Samuel French. The script is done, but I want to make sure it is perfect... maybe write a little bit of music to fill in some gaps here and there. There is so little to do, but it has been almost 2 years and I still haven't done it!! (In my defense I am waiting for the guy who taped the show to give me a copy of the tape so I can see what worked with an audience and what didn't. But still...)

Hopefully I'll get creative again. I hope it will be blog-worthy when (and if) I do.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pleasant surprise

Dan and I saw Get Smart last night. I was expecting it to be very slap-sticky, and I suppose it was at times, but it was also quite entertaining and fun to watch. Anne Hathaway, who usually bugs the heck out of me, was just fine as 99. Steve Carrell has excellent comedic timing and a lot of heart, so he is usually pretty fun to watch and he did not disappoint. It was kinda weird to see them as a couple though.

Anyway, to my point. About half way through the movie the villian uttered what is now one of my favorite movie lines of all time... or at least of the last few years. He was discussing blowing up Los Angeles with one of his fellow bad men, when his fellow said something like "It is a shame to think of all the dead movie stars though, huh?" The villian gives the man a dead pan look and very dryly says "Yes. What will we do without their razor-sharp political advice?"

Ha! Bravo Hollywood for having enough intelligence to make fun of yourself for being politically absurd.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Update on trash talk

My husband cut back the ivy on top of the place where our trash cans live! I can once more take out the trash without fear. Dan the Man strikes again!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Survivor

Tonight I put on my first Enrichment as second counselor in the RS. It went really well, and I didn't die. The food was really good, which I had nothing to do with.
I received a lot of compliments for the evening... but my favorite was a personal compliment. My friend Amanda told me that I looked like Rosalie Hale from the Twilight books. Rosalie is supposed to be the "incarnation of female beauty" with a wonderful sense of style and a killer body (pun intended). Now, I wouldn't go so far as to compare the way I looked tonight to the most gorgeous mythical female in the fictional world, but it sure was nice that someone else thought that.
It is nice to get a compliment every once in a while. Especially when you've been in over-drive all day running on fumes. All it takes is a few words and a smile and you can make someone's day. Isn't life wonderful?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sham

I thought the movie Pay it Forward was going to be more inspirational and less depressing.

I was wrong.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Shout Out

I met Rachel White when I desperately needed a costumer for a show that I wrote/directed/produced/choreographed. My sister Lori introduced us. (Thanks, Lori!) Rachel had to work REALLY hard on this show. It was a period piece and it had a ton of characters that had to do a lot of changing. She may never do a show of that magnitude again, but I am so glad that I got to work with her. Not only is she very talented and cool, I now have a connection to one of the coolest baby clothing lines on the planet. 

Right now Rachelli is having a sale, and I couldn't help buying up a bunch of cute little onesies for future baby showers I haven't been invited to yet. I got a few things for Asher too. Every time he wears a Rachelli design people comment on how cute his clothes are. You may never visit my blog, but... thanks Rachel! For those of you who do stumble upon this blog, go to www.rachellidesign.com You won't be sorry. 

PS Once upon a time I wanted to start a baby line called "spindletree" so I suppose I am living vicariously through Rachel. {sigh}

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Observations

We took a hurried trip to Arizona for the weekend and I am still recovering. It wasn't really the trip that did me in , traveling usually doesn't bother me... it was everything else. I got sick right before we left. It was the terrible kind of throw-up sick, so we had to postpone our leaving for a day. I think that stressed Dan out, and I was worried about getting there because I had some costumes to deliver to my nieces for Halloween. So the next day despite Dan and I both feeling ill we got in the car and we drove like Nascar drivers from SB to AZ in 7 1/2 hours, which we thought was impossible (especially since at least a half hour of that was in stopped Phoenix traffic). So we were a little tense. We had a great time in AZ, but Asher's sleeping schedule must have gotten messed up or something because the day after we got home he woke up every hour of the night screaming. I haven't gotten a descent night's sleep since. And now he is sick with a cold, and I'm pretty sure he gave it to me.

Anyway, we didn't observe Halloween as a family by dressing up or trick-or-treating. Asher got a sucker (which is big because he very rarely has sugar or junk food (and I'm never the one giving it to him)) and made a huge sticky mess of himself, and that was it for us. No decorations at home, no pumpkin carving, nothing.

But I do want to talk about some random observations I made during this weekend. Here they are in no particular order:

-On our way to AZ on a stretch of freeway at the edge of the state I saw a man riding a bike. On the freeway, just riding his bike in the stifling heat in the middle of the day. Where had he come from? Where the heck was he going? There was nothing around! It was weird.

- On our way back to CA we stopped at a gas station and I used the restroom. It was fairly clean and somehow pleasant smelling, but it was still a tiled, single user, florescent lighted public bathroom. Here's the strange part. There were pictures of eggs and nests super glued to the tile on the wall. 

-While conversing with one of my nephews in the car he told me "I just got a booger out of my nose." I asked him where he put it, and he paused for a bit and said "I put it back in my nose." 

-On the freeway we passed over a road named Sore Finger. I've always wondered where they got the name.

-We saw some model homes and I have never felt the urge to own a home so strongly before. This is unfortunate because I think we will be 70 before we ever get around to affording property.

-This post probably contains the worst sentence structure and grammar thus far on my blog! That last sentence was particularly bad. Hope you can understand it all, because I'm too tired to go back and fix anything.  

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Magic Kingdom

Yesterday our little family went to Disneyland. We were accompanied most of the day by my mom, my sister Tracy, and her friends Brent and Brian. It was Asher's first time at the "happiest place on Earth," and I guess it was Brent's and Brian's first time too. I think the brothers had a good time, but I'm not so sure about Asher.

Asher was really an angel all day. He did not cry or throw fits, and he didn't react negatively to any of the rides. However, he wasn't smiling and laughing either. He was wide-eyed and a little zoned out most of the time. He was pretty tired by the end of the day, although he did somehow sneak in a little nap in the early afternoon. He fell asleep in my arms (very quickly... like he had narcolepsy) while we were waiting in line for the Haunted Mansion. This made my right arm feel like it was going to fall off. Dan and my mom also took turns holding him, which was really nice because I was able to keep my arm attached to my body. He slept until we were out of the "stretching room."

As a group we went on Pirates of the Caribbean (one of my favorites), ate at the Blue Bayou (something I've always wanted to do), and visited the Haunted Mansion. Then we split up so that the older kids could have fun while my mom, Dan and I tried to figure out what would be fun for Asher. We went on the Winnie the Pooh ride, he seemed a little disturbed. We flew on Dumbo, he was a stone. We did the tea cups, he looked down the whole time. We rode on the Roger Rabbit car ride (WORST AND LONGEST LINE EVER) and he didn't crack a smile. The only time he cared about anything was in Minnie's house in Toontown. He loved her computer and her dishwasher because he could press buttons and turn knobs and things would happen. He could have stayed there for hours, but it was a small house and there were a lot of kids going through. We also went through Mickey's house, and Asher liked Mickey's piano (he wanted to stay and dance) but we pushed onward through the house and waited in a lame long line to meet Mickey (which was my cursed idea, actually). Asher did not seem to care about Mickey Mouse or think that anything was out of the ordinary at all. He acted like he sees people dressed as giant rodents every day. But afterward as soon as we were alone in the empty hall of Mickey's house on our way out, Asher started smiling and dancing and having a great time. Go figure.

In conclusion, I think 15 months might be a bit too young for a child to enjoy that first Disneyland experience. I'm not super surprised by this information, but heck, we had free tickets that were about to expire and "free" is always the best price to pay when you are not sure something is going to work out. I'm glad we went, but I must admit I was a little disappointed that Asher didn't have a tiny bit more fun. I hope we didn't give him any material for new nightmares or a learning disability or anything.

He'll enjoy it more next year. And when we go again, it certainly won't be on a Saturday. 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Trash Talk

My husband doesn't like to take out the trash. He will do it if I ask him to, but it is not his favorite chore. Something about his hands feeling dirty even after he washes them. 

I don't mind taking out the trash. It is fast and easy and it makes a big difference in my piece of mind (not to mention the smell of the room if we are talking diapers or things that should be in a compost pile). So, I usually do this chore. No problem. Except for lately...

Our landlords (being the thoughtful people that they are) built a little enclosed area where the trash and recycle cans live. It has a little gate that closes up so you can't see what is inside and there is ivy growing all around and on top of the enclosure. It is nice to be able to hide our unsightly cans. There are only two problems with this arrangement.

Number one, I am the sole person in charge of bringing the cans out to the street for trash day. We live in a triplex, but our neighbors are two single ladies and I think Dan just volunteered us to do all the trash work when it came time for us to figure out a schedule. This way we don't have to keep track of who's turn it is. It is always my turn. The problem with this is that if I forget, the trash may overflow until I remember to bring it out the next week. The other ladies never complain, and they don't create a lot of trash, so that problem is usually fine. 

The Number two problem actually just started becoming a problem. The ivy is starting to get a little overgrown, and the top of the short little shed is starting to sag, and there are creepy crawlies EVERYWHERE. I may be able to deal with the germs on a garbage bag, but I do not want to be bitten by anything. I have stopped taking the trash out at night because I can't see very well and there is always something rustling in the ivy. Rats? Birds? I don't care, I don't want any creature to touch me. In the day it isn't that fun either. Yesterday there was a huge spider (like fist sized) right in front of the gate. I'm sure that is a great place to catch flies, but it freaked me out. I asked our landlord to tell the gardener to cut the ivy down, but I don't know if he will remember to do that. I would talk to the gardener directly, but I don't know how much English he understands. He is super nice, but he seems to have a hard enough time when I am just trying to say hello. I'd ask Dan to talk to him in Spanish, but Dan is not home when the gardener is here.

To make a short story long, I no longer like taking out the trash.  

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How are YOU?

I was checking out at the grocery store last night and the older man behind the counter asked me how I was three times, obviously distracted. He was not smiling, so I asked him how he was doing.

The floodgates opened.

I hardly understood half of what he said, but I caught a few phrases: "...if he has a problem...", "I'll take a lie detector test..." , "my lawyer!" I think he was upset at an accusation made by a coworker. I tried to be as positive and understanding as I could as I swiped my card and signed my name, but I think he just needed to let off some steam. Maybe I should have asked him to smile, but he might have turned against me. 

What happened to good old-fashioned customer service? 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Auf Wiedersehen

The following is my "stream of conciousness" about Project Runway:

The only way to watch Project Runway is in X1.5.
Actually, I wish our PlayStation had a speed between that and 10X. 10X is too fast. I play it normal speed for the runway shows, of course. I'm netflixing the 2nd season and I just watched 6 episodes. SIX. I don't like the "reality show" drama, but I do like seeing the creations people make. I don't know if I can really call myself a designer, but I definitely have a lot of interest in what they do. I don't think I could ever go on Project Runway. Only 10% of it looks fun. The fashion industry looks like the opposite of fun to me, unless you are a perfect-looking-size-2-6-foot-tall-19-year-old-glamazon model. In which case the only part that would not be fun to me is the immodesty (and that is a big deal, don't get me wrong). They get to wear designer duds, have professionals do their hair and make-up, be young and beautiful... and all they have to do is "walk". People make this chore sound very hard, but I was in a fashion show once (granted it was a maternity show for charity when I wasn't pregnant) and I picked it up pretty quickly. Walking sassy in high heels is NOT law, engineering, or rocket science. 

Jamie Out!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Newest Dream and Gross Milk

Two nights ago I dreamed that I had a scheduled c-section for a new baby. In my dream I decided not to get a c-section and I waited to go into labor. It was a good thing I waited, because they miscalculated my due date and they would have taken the baby out at 7 1/2 months. Anyway, I had the baby a few weeks later and it was a girl. She looked a lot like my niece Tallia. (Two l's, right Amy?) So now I've had "the dream." The second baby dream. Please don't read too much into this, since I am still trying to lose more weight. 

To quote my friend John, "And now for something completely different." 
I had a very full day today and Asher fell asleep in the car at about 3:00pm. We didn't have any more milk at home. I needed to go grocery shopping, but my poor boy was asleep so I settled for visiting a drive-thru McDonald's (yes we have a few in Santa Barbara) and ordering two milks. When it came time for me to use the said beverages, I discovered that one of the milk "jugs" (that is what they call them-- seriously) was more than a week past it's expiration date. I opened it up and sniffed once. Yep, totally gross. At the time I was just glad that I thought to order two and that one of them was totally fine.
Later as I drove Dan home from work I gave voice to the combating forces within me. On the one hand I was totally exhausted and I just wanted to go to sleep immediately. On the other hand I really thought I should go back to that McDonald's and tell them that they sold me some gross old milk for the good of future milk-consuming MickeyD's customers. I did neither of those things. Instead I said "Where's Amy when you need her?" and went about my business. Dan called the McDonald's customer service hot line and he told them our story. They are sending us coupons for sandwiches, which is totally unnecessary but quite nice. Three cheers for Dan! My hero again. (He then went on to leave me with Asher for the next couple hours, but he was serving with the missionaries, so he still earns a gold star.)   

Monday, October 13, 2008

Small and Stupid Things

This morning Dan and I were playing with Asher. I think Asher tried to throw something at my head and I moved my neck a small degree to avoid the tough love he was trying to dish out. Well, I guess I must have moved it very quickly and just the wrong way, because I immediately entered a world of pain. I felt like I had been in a car accident and had really bad whiplash. Believe me, it hurt. Fourteen hours later I'm still only able to move my neck a small degree without stiffness, soreness and intense discomfort. 

All day I tried to take it easy, and for dinner I kept it simple. I boiled carrots and Brussels sprouts in some chicken stock and put pre-made frozen Trader Joe's mini-tacos in the oven. When I went to get the cooked tacos out of the oven, I somehow managed to touch the upper part of my lower left arm to the cooking sheet for less than a second. Boy did that sting! I ran it under water and put some aloe vera on it, but it is a few hours later I have two angry looking pink burn marks on my skin. 

I feel dumb sharing this because the things that I did to get myself hurt are so silly and preventable. And they are certainly not impressive, like stories about rock climbing or saving people from certain destruction. I guess I just want to record these events because a) this is a blog and that's what blogs are for, and b) because I shouldn't take anything for granted. I feel pretty terrible right now and I can't do anything without discomfort, but there are a few things that I know: I know that I will get better, I know that there are a lot of people that have it much worse than me, and I know that my life can and will be changed every moment I'm alive. I could get into an accident (like my mom thought Dan and I had done on the way to the temple Saturday), I could get sick, etc. etc. My life is pretty good right now and I should never allow myself to think otherwise. Carpe Diem. (Unless you can't move, in which case, do the best you can.)    

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Longest Half Hour of My Life

This morning Asher managed to lock himself into his room. He immediately started crying, and I began frantically trying everything I could think of to open the door. I looked for the key and I tried every key on the rack downstairs. I tried picking the lock with a pin, a bobby pin and a few other things. I looked to see if I could take the door or the knob off somehow, no dice. Somewhere in there I called Dan and he said he would come home to try. In the mean time I tried a card in the door, I tried to pry the knob off, I went through the bathroom window to try to get in through the window in his room. The card wouldn't budge, the knob stayed put, the window was locked tight. 

Meanwhile Asher was just crying away. I tried to get him to wiggle the knob to unlock the door, but he just sat with his little fingers reaching under the door. He was getting snottier and sadder. When Dan got home I told him to try a ladder from another window. I started singing him songs from under the door, and he stopped crying when I got to "I am a Child of God". Dan came back to report that the ladder we had was too short. He began trying the card in the door-crack trick, but he employed the power of a wrench or something to get a better grip on the card. Asher left the door and started playing elsewhere in his room, and about a minute later Dan somehow had popped the lock open. (That trick from the movies does work!) Dan was my hero two days in a row, and boy am I lucky to have a husband like him. 

Asher just acted like nothing had happened. Go figure.   

Amish

Lately I have been regretting the fact that I'm not Amish. Ok, maybe I don't want to be Amish exactly, but I have a strong desire to start up some community somewhere and invite people who have the same beliefs as I do and the same desire to tune out the loud world and focus on the simple things. 

I strongly dislike politics. I dislike watching the nation's moral values spiraling downward, picking up speed as they go. I don't want to have any responsibility to stand up and fight in a battle that seems impossible to win. I don't want to agrue with people about what is wrong and what is right. I just want to hang out with people who know the truth and don't want to fight about it. I have always shyed away from disputes. 

Who's with me? I feel like I could do any amount of work to make this happen. I think I could farm and milk cows or something, and I'll sew all of our clothes. I could run the town theater. We will only do shows that are virtuous and we will never perform on Sundays. I'll run a library, teach music, run a school for any kids... whatever it takes. But I think I need at least a few more people to start my little heavenly town. A doctor and dentist would be nice, and probably a carpenter and builder of some sort. We will be strong and happy and productive. We won't waste our time on the computer. We won't ever have to turn on the news, and we can be blissfully unaware of the sky falling all around us.  

Monday, October 6, 2008

Embarrassing Moment

Whenever someone asks for my "most embarrassing moment" I can never think of anything. I am either blissfully (and perhaps sadly) unaware of moments that should be embarrassing to me, or I shut them out of my working memory. Just so I'll have an answer when asked at parties or for tags, I'm going to catalog the one I had today.

I am choreographing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious for a show at Goleta Valley Junior High. When I got to the school today in a frenzy (I had locked my keys in the car... long story where my husband and my mom are the heroes {smooch!}) I had completely forgotten that there was going to be a substitute teacher. No sweat, he is a guy I know. I've worked with him on many occasions and he has seen me act a few times. So, right after class starts he sort of introduces me to the kids (which is unnecessary because this is my third time here) by telling them how we know each other. He then says "Jamie is a really great actress, I've seen her perform, she's really good. And she is also really sexy." Yes, that is what he said. I was BEET RED. I thanked him for his complements and then headed QUICKLY into the theater. Luckily I think most of the kids were talking to each other so they didn't hear him. They know how to respect subs. 

Oh, PS one of the MANY reasons why this was SO embarrassing was that I was wearing shapeless over sized clothes, no make-up, and had my white un-shaven legs peeking out of my yoga pants. Yeah, baby. Sexy.  


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Strange Dreams

Fact: I have strange dreams. I always have and I think I always will. My strangest dream was probably a few years ago when I dreamed I was a black man living in Africa and hiding from the authorities in my own attic. I remember I had a wife and kids and I had on a white suit. Does this mean anything? I don't know. 

My most normal dreams are recurring dreams. You know, I'm going slow and everything else is fast, I'm being chased with a loved one, I'm flying, I'm in some maze. When I was little, my dreams used to open with the MGM lion and sometimes close with "To be continued..."

Lately I have been dreaming about creatures. Two or three nights ago I dreamed about a bunch of spiders that congregated in the corner of a house I was in. They were normal sized, but they had jewels on their bodies. All different colors and sizes. One of them tried to make a web from my finger to the wall.

Last night I dreamt I was in a car going fast and there were different sized skunks ALL OVER the place. Some were roadkill, some were moving around. I remember one being as big as the car. 

Again, I don't know what these dreams mean. I'm just letting you into the more bizarre corners of my head.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Asher's song

I few months back I wrote a song for Asher. I didn't think very hard about it, it just waltzed into my head. (Literally... it is in 3/4 time.) It is a little lullaby, and it can't be his song forever, but I enjoy singing it to him for now. I just put him to bed with it, and he smiled himself to sleep. Ahhh, these are the moments.

I'm a little shy about this because I write songs all the time, some of which I like a lot, and I don't want the way I feel about my songs to be tainted by people's opinions. Luckily, this blog has about three readers and I think I can handle the heat from them. I wish I could put the music on the blog too, because it really isn't great poetry. The melody kind of saves it. Anyway, here goes. 

Kisses on Kisses
Kisses on kisses on kisses 
If I could have all of my wishes 
With that light in your eyes  
Could it be a surprise 
I want kisses on kisses on kisses  

I'll love you forever and ever 
Each moment together is treasure 
You love me I love you 
What else is there to do 
But give kisses on kisses forever  

Your lips are perfect 
So please don't refuse 'em 
If you let me  
I'll show you how to use 'em with  

Kisses on kisses on kisses 
How naturally beautiful this is 
When you laugh, when you smile 
It makes me want to pile on the  
Kisses on kisses on kisses on kisses on kisses on kisses on kisses

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Principle

About 2 minutes ago I was wasting precious moments of my life looking at 66 pages of shoes at Amazon.com. You might think it is sad or lame that I look at clothes, shoes, and accessories online, but I don't really care. It is just something I do every once in a while. Get over it. I like to look at cute wearables. I'm not apologizing for that.

While I was looking at all those shoes I was commentating in my head. Those are really high, I wouldn't be able to walk in them. This pair is crazy, I would never spend that much money on shoes that would make me self-conscious. I bet those are uncomfortable. Wow, those are really cute! 

Now whenever I saw a cute pair of shoes, I would look at the price and the designer. Designer. I should use that term loosely, because I'm fairly certain that some of these people did not design the shoes which bore their name. Examples: Jessica Simpson and Paris Hilton. Every time I liked a pair of shoes that was "designed" by either of these girls, I cringed. I also immediately tried to change my mind. You see, I do not want to like anything that touches these people. I do not want to contribute to the funds of either of these young women. I do not think they are good examples to society and I do not want to enable their bad behavior by giving them any of my money. I know that my refusal to buy their shoes is not going to send either of these girls to the poor house, but I'm voting with my money. I don't care if Britney Spears' perfume will make everyone who ever smells me think I am the smartest, most talented and enchanting person they have ever met... I will not buy her perfume. Does this make me crazy? (I just can't sleep... I'm so excited, I'm in too deep.... oh oh oh crazy....)

I don't know, what do you think?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

'Tis the Season?

My facewash smells like eggnog.

(How's this one, Tracy?)

Friday, September 19, 2008

T.P. 2

Our current role of toilet paper was perforated half way through the role, and then it just quit. No more helpful tear lines, just one long sheet. I guess I bought a bum package. (Pun intended.) 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Only YOU Can Donate Your Own Blood

Dan signed up to give blood at 6:00pm tonight, but he got home around 5:45 and said he wasn't feeling up to it. He was going to call and cancel, but I volunteered to go in his stead. I used to give blood as often as humanly possible before I got pregnant, and I haven't been since. I shoved something in my mouth (for dinner) and hopped out the door. Here are some highlights from my experience:

-As I parked the car I saw a portly gentleman with a white shirt, white socks, black shorts, and suspenders walking by my car. There's something you don't see every day. He went into the blood bank just before me. 

-They added a new question. "Have you ever been pregnant? How many times?" That was a lot more fun to answer than some of those other crazy and explicit questions.

-I just made the iron level of 38%. They had to spin my blood, which has never happened before.

-I was FAST! I think I was done in 4 minutes. 

-Three different nurses told me how much they liked my shoes within those 4 minutes.

-The man across from me looked like he was getting a facial or a massage or something. He had a look of complete relaxation and euphoria on his face the whole time blood was draining out of his body. Also, the bottoms of his shoes were very clean looking.

-The platelet people were watching a movie with Keri Russel in it. Every time I looked over at the screen, someone was violently kissing someone else. It looked pretty cheesy.

-After I was done I went to the "canteen" area. And yes, that is really what they call it. There was a woman at least 15 years older than me, a man in his 40s and another guy about my age. We were joking about all kinds of stuff and having a great time talking. That is the one and only time I have ever had an actual pleasant conversation with anyone at a blood donor "canteen" area. It was totally weird. 

-I think if I fill out a card and drop it off at some dealership in Goleta I could win a new car. Maybe it is just a car wash? I'd better double check on that. Oh, we blood donors get all the good stuff.

-As I was exiting the "canteen" area I saw my suspender-wearing friend being led to a station. He was in the building before me and it took him that long to get to a chair? How slowly was he answering his questions? (Umm... I mean.... look how fast this can go when you make an appointment!)    

Make the Switch

Tonight we went to the AT&T store to become AT&T cell costumers slightly before our Verison contract ends. My husband's phone is stuck in "car mode" or something so he can't accept phone calls or get his messages. He also just really wants an iphone.

An hour after stepping foot in the store (with our young, tired, restless child I might add) we walked out with new phone numbers and new phones (and new levels of physical tiredness I did not know I could achieve). I did not get an iphone because I don't care what I use to make and receive phone calls as long as it works. Dan is a happy man. He will probably be playing with his new toy for a few hours. 

Side note: We had a very friendly guy by the name of Andrew helping us out tonight. He has a French girlfriend, a one bedroom apartment where he cannot receive mail and a 3 month old son named Elliot. Anyone want to stalk him? He's almost begging for it giving out that much personal information.

Another side note: I saw a guy in the store that used to like me in High School. I think his name was Eric, I don't remember how I got to know him, he was a year younger than me, we never had a class together and he was in the ROTC. He used to give me very long and posessive hugs in the hallways and I had a slight inkling that he may have been lightly stalking me back in the day. Thankfully he was with his girlfriend and although he kept looking at me (and my son and my husband) he never said anything to me. I was kind of uncomfortable, since we were both in the same small store for an HOUR. 

Last side note, I promise: WHY is it a law of the universe that whenever you see someone that you used to know but haven't seen in a long time you are either a) not wearing makeup, b)shabbily dressed, c)unshowered, d)looking fat or e)all of the above? I looked better earlier today, I swear.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Patience is a Virtue

Today I put Asher down for a nap. I had just been jogging, and I usually take a shower while he is napping. I was a little more tired than usual, so I waited to hop in the shower. After about fifteen minutes Asher started crying a little bit. Sometimes he gets his foot caught in the crib slats or something, so I thought I would just check on him, but I wanted to make sure he wasn't just crying himself to sleep, so I waited about 5 minutes more. His calling/crying got a little more insistent, so I opened the door. I almost vomited.

Somehow he had taken off half of his diaper. He had pooped, and you know what is coming next. The crib was covered in poop. It was all over him, the sheets, the bumper... miraculously it missed his stuffed animal which I promptly removed. He was happy to see me, but I couldn't touch him for a few minutes. I was in shock, but I started acting anyway. I got baby wipes and removed as much of the offending matter as I could, but it was stubborn stuff. Eventually I stripped him down, plopped him in the tub and started scrubbing him and rinsing him off. He cried at the water coming out of the faucet, but I didn't care. I just kept trying not to inhale. He wanted to touch me, but I dodged the best I could. Even after he was clean I didn't want to kiss him. I don't want to think about what has been in his mouth.

I finished scrubbing him and I dried him off and got him dressed. Then I let him play while I was cleaning up the crib with about 20 disposable lysol cleaning sheets. Of course, while I was cleaning he found my brand new necklace from my trip to LA and broke it. I usually don't care about that sort of thing, and it was only a dollar, but I hadn't worn it yet and it is really cute and he had just POOPED all over everything... so I was a little rough as I immediately wrapped him up in a clean blanket and put him down in his newly cleaned crib for a delayed nap. He cried for a little while, but he's asleep now- which is a good thing... my nerves are shot! How do people deal with this stuff!? It is only 12:00, and I feel done for the day.

Maybe Asher was just trying to help me with my diet. I feel like I can never eat again.    

Sunday, September 14, 2008

New Moon

This is NOT about the Twilight series!

Dan and I were discussing what would happen if the moon was no longer in the sky. You know, like if someone blew it up. Think about it.
Apart from the fact that it would thoroughly mess up a lot of stuff on our planet (assuming I was still alive to care) I think I would miss it. 

Ahhhh

Last night I got to sing as part of the Dos Pueblos Alumni Choir under the direction of my high school choir teacher Mr. Huber. We were recording The First Noel and The Navy Hymn for an audition tape to be sent to Disneyland's Candlelight Choir department. DP's choir has made it into the Candlelight program for the past 25 years, and I personally have participated approximately 8 times starting from my freshman year in High School. I don't think this year is going to be breaking any traditions of excellence. 

The choir was amazing. 
 
I love singing in choirs, but I love it best when the choirs are perfect. This choir was so close to perfect I almost cried a couple times. It is so fun to sing beautiful music with a bunch of people who know what they are doing and know how to follow directions. Jack Huber is a perfectionist, and he hears EVERY flaw. He points the flaws out, makes adjustments, and leads so beautifully that the choir ends up sounding positively amazing. I could have sung those two songs all night.

It was a refreshing experience. 

For Everything Else There's Mastercard

I love the LA fashion district. You can get great fabric for dirt cheap, and it is a fun experience just to go and walk around the hundreds of shops filled with bolt after bolt of fun textiles and notions. I design about 50 costumes and outfits in my head every time I go. 

Asher and I went down there this last Friday with my friend Rileigh and her little girl. It was really fun and we both picked up some great stuff. Our kids didn't sleep as much as they normally do during the day (Asher only got a little 20 minute nap in his stroller as we were walking around outside in downtown LA, poor baby. Every time a loud car drove by he jumped in his sleep.) but they had fun, I think. We also each purchased exactly what we were looking for (and then some) for DIRT CHEAP. Among my findings were fabric and accessories needed to make my nieces Halloween costumes. One will be Galinda, one will be Elphaba, and one will be an angel. I'm excited. When these girls mothers asked how much material was going to be, I estimated around $15. Now I can tally it up...

Galinda:
8 yards of blue fabric....... $8
boning for corset............... $3
blue sequins and beads.....$3
Blue seqin fabric (accent)..$5
1 yard white shimmery.....$1
                   TOTAL: $20.00

Elphaba:
3 yards black lace.............$3
3 yards black jersey.........$3
3 yards black satin............$4.50
boning for corset...............$3
Black sequins.....................$1
Hook and eye tape............$5
                   TOTAL: $19.50

Angel:
3 yards of satin.................$4.50
2 yards white shimmery..$2
beads...................................$1
                   TOTAL: $7.50
  
My nieces faces when they see how awesome their Halloween costumes are...... priceless. 

Tagged. Yay.

Ok, my sister Tracy tagged me. I don't have friends, so I am not going to follow the rules and tag other bloggers at the end. The madness has to end somewhere, right? Let's get ready to rumble....

3 Joys: 
My husband, my boy, going to church.
3 fears: 
The world going crazy, not becoming who I want to be, heights.
3 goals: 
To lose 15 more pounds, to make myself a ton of clothes, to write and publish something.
3 current obsessions: 
Fashion, singing beautiful and haunting songs, reading classics.  
3 random surprising facts about me:
I LOVE dressing up in costumes, I used to have a tattoo, I don't like singing solos in church or for family. (Too much pressure- and there is a lot of hype to live up to. I usually do a terrible job.) 

Monday, September 8, 2008

Headstart for Halloween

I have two big bug bites (or zits?) on my neck. The placement of the bites is such that I look like I was bitten by a vampire, Old Hollywood style. It is pretty sweet. These marks are taking FOREVER to go away, so if they stay maybe I can be a vampire (or a vampire victim?) for Halloween.

Asher fell into the corner of the door of my sewing cabinet today. As a result, he has a big straight red mark that starts above his eye and continues down onto his cheek. If Halloween were tomorrow, I would either make him a pirate or shave his head and tell everyone that he is John Locke from LOST.   

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Addition to the List

14) Hairstylist. 

Asher followed his friend Kaelyn around for 15 minutes this morning trying to brush her hair with a little comb. He was also very interested in her clip. He kept taking it out and then making me put it back in her hair. Kaelyn is a pretty good sport, but I think this behavior sort of weirded her out. (That makes two of us!)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

New Obsession

For those of you who do not know, I have a bit of an obsessive personality. Right now for some reason I am loving the music from Sweeney Todd. How can a play about murder and revenge be so very beautiful sounding? 

"Busy Bee" or "Exercise by Association"

Asher has ADD. Ok probably not, but he sure is becoming more active. This kid is always moving, always getting into something, and always wanting to run somewhere. He usually finds exactly what I don't want him to find, and then he tries to somehow stick it in his mouth.

When he cannot reach what he wants he will come up to me and hug my knees with all his might. This means that he wants me to pick him up. Once I have him in my arms he will point to what he wants or to which direction he would like to go. My back hurts.

I realize that I do not need to pick him up. I could let him throw a tantrum. I could let him be really frustrated all the time, but I don't want to. I love that he is finding out how to communicate things to me (finally!) and I don't mind most of the time. When I do mind, I let him stomp around and cry it out. That is pretty cute too. For me, it's a win-win situation. 

Side note: When I need Asher to stop moving for a second, I either a) pop in a DVD like Charlie and Lola or The Little Rascals, b) give him a bottle and hold him, or c) put him in his chair and feed his face. These things momentarily stun him and I can accomplish things like clipping his nails. 

Friday, August 29, 2008

Old School

Dan and I had a short conversation about the phrase "Old-School" the other night. First we discussed the spelling. We decided it should be hyphenated as opposed to being separated into two distinct words or squished together into one.
We also discussed the meaning of "Old-School." Dan started out by offering that it meant "Old-fashioned" but I suggested that it is not an exact synonym for "Old-fashioned" since "Old-School" usually refers to something in recent history (within the decade) that is only outdated because of seasonal changes or newer fashions.
My reason for mentioning our "old-school" conversation is this: I usually detest slang that is fabricated for the sake of making up a new "cool" word or phrase. Today, many people say things like "Dude, that's bangin'!" or "No 'diggity!" or "Fo' Shizzle!" or "Y'all been jeepin' behind my back?" or "Oh, snap!" These words and phrases make no sense. These people are not Shakespeare creating words because there isn't a word to describe what he means, they are a bunch of hooligans who are trying to pervert the English language and confuse every foreign tourist in America. (The language is hard enough as it is, people! Give those poor foreigners a brake.) Most of this dumb slang goes out as fast as it comes in, but I think "Old-School" has staying power. First of all, it has no synonyms. Secondly, it describes a state of being that needed a description. Thirdly, it is versatile. Old-School can be a good thing or a bad thing. Examples: "That skateboard is old-school, where did you get it?" (This shows awe and respect for the older model skateboard that is rare and no longer available.) "That song is old-school, turn it off." (This shows annoyance and dislike for a song that is a little older and a little played out.)

Short story long... we approve of the phrase "Old-School." That is all.

When He Grows Up

People who observe the behavior of my little guy usually try to guess what he is going to be when he grows up. Currently it seems that his possibilities are endless:

1) Locksmith
2) Marine Biologist
3) Suicide bomber
4) Soccer player
5) Movie or book critic
6) Dancer
7) Singer
8) Scientist
9) Professional eater
10) Test subject
11) Music composer/ piano player
12) D.J.
13) CEO of his own company

This list is based on his current baby behaviors and not on what we want him to be. I'm sure the list will keep growing until he is about 15, at which time he will abruptly freak out about "the future" and "college" and "majors." That is when the list will be painstakingly whittled down to zero.

Oh, my son. May reality never crash down on you.

Monday, August 25, 2008

TP

Our current role of toilet paper has no perforated lines.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Like Looking for a Needle in a Haystack

The title of this post would be a good analogy for how I feel about finding the time to sew. And when I say "sew" I really mean sew for myself. I am always offering to sew for other people, and sometimes I am being paid to do it. This is fun, don't get me wrong. Sometimes I prefer it. But I haven't sewn anything for myself in a very long time. Part of the problem is that I haven't wanted to waste the time sewing something in a size that I don't want to be (see previous post). Even so, I have a lot of fabric and I have a million ideas of what to do with each piece. I know I should just go for it, but it is also quite time consuming and I don't have much uninterrupted time to work, not to mention my lack of work space. In times like this I wish I were crazy rich so that I could live in a house with an amazing craft room. That is my ultimate fantasy. I know that I could move to Arizona or something and make that dream a reality... but I like living by the ocean in my paradisaical town. I guess the saying "you can't have it all" really is true.

I know I can use my time more wisely and effectively and I can definitely find time to sew for myself. However, I am a little lazy and I find starting big projects overwhelming. In addition I have a million other interests and half-finished things that always get pushed to priority positions on my "to do" list. I also work much harder on something if there is a deadline to meet or some other outside pressure pushing me to accomplish.

Well, now the goal is on my blog. Who knows who will read this, but maybe it will give me the incentive that I need. In the mean time, maybe I'll put up some pictures of things I have sewn and/or designed in the past. Stay tuned...

Weighing in

I gained 60 pounds when I was pregnant with Asher. I was stressed out, working, on my feet all day, etc.... but let's be real here, 60 pounds is A LOT. I was happy with my body before I was pregnant, and I worked to keep myself in shape.

Everyone kept telling me "Oh just wait until the baby comes. You will lose a ton of weight just from giving birth. It is SO wonderful!" I had Asher, and three days later I weighed myself. I had lost six pounds. SIX. This was disheartening, because Asher weighed just under nine pounds. (How is this possible? Don't ask me, I'll start crying.)

After my boy was in my arms people said "Oh, just nurse and the pounds will simply drop off your body. You can eat whatever you want. It is fabulous!!" Even on a diet, my weight was pretty dang stubborn. It did not want to come off. It took me a year to drop 40 pounds. And I was trying. (Jogging, dieting, etc.) Some things worked to an extent, but it was an agony I had never known before.

When my son switched over to 100% cows milk I knew better than to trust those people that told me "As soon as you stop nursing, everything will get back to normal. You will lose weight just by stopping, because you have at least 5 pounds of milk. It will be wonderful!" But I still hoped. My son has been weened for about two months now. I've been running and eating pretty well. Guess what? Nothing. Not one pound of difference.

So now it is my third day of Weight Watchers, because that has worked for me in the past. I know it will take a while, but I am confident that if I cut calories for long enough my body has to give up a few pounds. I'm hungry a lot, but I don't care. I've dieted before. I know I can get down to the weight that I want.

It is not about looking like a supermodel, or even getting back to exactly what I looked like before. It would be nice to fit into some of my old clothes of course, so that I can stop wearing the same 5 things each week, but that is not really the reason I care either. The main reason I want to lose weight is so that it feels good to be in my body again. I don't feel terrible now, but I know I would have more energy, I would be more able to be active, I would be more flexible, and I would feel an overall increase in health and possibilities within myself. It also feels great to accomplish a goal.

I'm dedicated right now. I hope to remain so for the next few months at the very least. I'm excited to reach my goal, and I am certainly not on a pity party right now. I feel empathy for those who cannot lose weight easily. (I never believed them before because it was so easy for me to maintain my weight and size with diet and exercise.) I want to get in the best shape of my life, you know, before I screw it all up and get pregnant again.

I'm scared of having another kid. It is not the fear of something going wrong, the pain of the delivery, the misery of the recovery, or the anxiety over bringing another child into this world. That is all nothing. I just hope I don't gain another 60 pounds.

I hope that doesn't sound too sick.

Compliment?

Last Sunday at church an older woman I have known for about 15 years came up to me and paid me a very odd compliment. She started off a conversation by asking if I have read the Twilight books. I responded affirmatively, and I asked her if she was reading them. She replied that she was on her second round of the final book (which had just been published the week previous). We bantered a little about the plot and the books in general and then she said "You know, whenever I read those stories I always picture you and your husband as Bella and Edward. I know that Bella is supposed to have dark hair, but I always picture you." I raised my eyebrows to the roof and sputtered "Thanks!" I mean, my first reaction was to be totally flattered. Twilight is loved by millions and MILLIONS of people and Edward and Bella are very dedicated to each other. They are also very young and attractive. So, you know... what a compliment.

Later on I started thinking about this "compliment" a bit more in depth. First of all, both of these characters are so white they could pass for albinos. Dan is a computer programmer and I am the skin cancer queen so I suppose I see her point there. Secondly, Edward is supposed to be ridiculously good-looking and talented while Bella is self-conscious, clumsy, and at times quite annoying. Huh. I don't know if I want to be Bella anymore. Thirdly, and this is the most disturbing point of all, Edward and Bella have very *ahem* intimate moments in these books (especially the last one that she was reading for the second time). Do I want someone picturing my husband and I in that way? I guess I should be glad she wasn't picturing Dan with someone else.

Still.... yikes.

I wonder who she pictures for Jacob?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lightbulb

A few months ago Dan and I had a very long conversation in which we discussed young people who have made major contributions to the world as we know it. (I say “as we know it” because we were talking about our specific interests and hobbies. The two of us together cover quite a bit of ground.) We tried so hard to find the right words in this conversation, each trying to explain to the other why we admire certain people’s accomplishments, and are perhaps a bit jealous of very successful people who are around our age. In this conversation we were also trying to explicate why we do the things we do. Dan likes photography, writing code, and generally solving problems that people never knew they had. He creates programs and websites. He dabbles in videography, blogging, and inventing. He was telling me that he wants to make major contributions to the world in his areas of interest, and I was trying to tell him that I felt the same way about myself and my talents/interests. I have very strong feelings toward acting, directing, and choreographing. I love designing clothes and costumes, writing music and stories, and dancing and singing. I get frustrated with myself sometimes for not living up to what I see other people my age (or younger) doing in these areas. But our dissatisfaction is not about comparing ourselves with other people and feeling inadequate. It is not about the desire for fame or wealth that often accompanies success. In this discussion both Dan and I discovered that we just wanted to create. We realized that even though we love to do very different things, we both like creating for the sake of creating. Of course, we want what we are working on to be relevant and high quality, and worldly success often follows relevent and high quality work… but we both love to invent and fabricate and make things because we love the process. It was a sweet “aha” moment.

It only took us six and a half years of marriage to figure that out.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ball.... CUPS!

My son recently had his 1st birthday, and he received some stacking cups from his Aunt Shauna. These stacking cups also have the capability to come together and turn into 5 differently sized balls, and Asher has figured out how to turn them from balls into cups (and visa-versa). That is fun, but what is MORE fun to us is that he understands us when we tell him to find his ball and then turn it into cups. He gets a huge kick out of understanding what the heck we are talking about. Other words he most certainly recognizes: Feet, kisses, Asher, Mama, Dada, dance (snaky dance), ceiling fan, Eskimos (as in kisses), piano, kick, and clapping. He warms up to scales with me (Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Haaaaa!) and he loves to see the microwave and hear it beep. He kicks any round object around like a dribbling soccer player. It is crazy how the time is flying and how different he is every day.

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good Shows?

Warning: Here is where you will find my feelings on the devolution of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera. You may already know my feelings on this subject. Feel free to skip the post.

First of all I need to say that my first introduction to The Phantom of the Opera was reading Gaston LeRoux's book in 8th grade. Despite the lack of polish in the plot and the confusing multi-genreness (yes, I just said "muti-genreness") of the novel, I loved it. My English class raised some money and we all hopped a bus down to the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles to see the muscial production. There were many changes from the book to the play, but the only thing that really disappointed me was the speed of the chandelier (too slow). Everything else was magic to me. I loved the music. I loved the look of it. I loved the stage tricks. This was the first professional theater production I had ever seen, and I was obsessed. I played my parent's Phantom cassette tape constantly, I learned the easy version of all the songs on the piano. I annoyed my sisters to the point of insanity with my love for this musical. Sorry guys.

Eventually my love for Phantom simmered down to the point where I could function without hearing the music every day. Time passed, and other things became important. Still, whenever I would hear a song from that show it would trigger something in me that would start me dreaming. I have never not loved this show.

When I was nineteen I went with a group of people to New York to see a few shows. Of course Phantom was on the list. I was so exited to see this musical again, especially since the title role was being played by a graduate from my High School and we were going to be able to talk with some of the actors after the show. It was exciting, but it didn't quite live up to my expectations. I felt like people were not trying hard enough to make every show new and every minute real. The dancers were a little off. It didn't feel quite right. But it was still an amazing show.

Flash forward a couple years. I got married, and my husband took me to see Les Miserables (another favorite of mine) and Phantom in London. We had restricted-view seats, which was annoying, but I also just didn't like some of the choices that the actors (perhaps the director) made. It seemed as though the production was trying to somehow "update" the original, when in fact the original production was somehow practically perfect the way it was. I wondered if my criticism stemmed from the circumstances of our seats and my annoyance with our view, but we saw Les Mis in uncomfortable seats straight off the plane from LA after staying up for 36 + hours and we thought it was amazing. We didn't get tired for one second of the performance. (Of course we fell asleep on the Underground afterward, but that is a different story that thankfully doesn't involve any pick-pocketing.)

The movie came out. I did not see it in the theaters. I heard mixed reviews. My mom popped it into the DVD player while I was over at her house one day. I wanted to laugh at parts that were not funny, and I was mad that the movie could have strayed so far from the original story. I will now list all of the things wrong with this movie, in no particular order.
1) They picked a Christine and a Phantom that do not have remarkable singing voices. In fact, there are moments in the movie where they both totally mess up vocally. (How many takes did you have?! Isn't this a movie where you can fix stuff like that?!) Gerard Butler learned how to sing for this film. That is just plain crazy. Not only is the Phantom a very demanding vocal role, he is supposed to be training Christine. The role calls for someone with remarkable abilities just so that we as an audience will believe that the Phantom actually could be Christine's teacher. I guess since Emmy Rossum isn't a fabulous singer it is a moot point.
2) They took away everything that is cool about the Phantom. He is supposed to be able to lull you with his gorgeous voice. He is supposed to be the world's greatest ventriloquist. He is supposed to be lethally dangerous. Raoul would NEVER be able to beat him in a stupid duel because a) he would kill Raoul before he could reach for his sword and b) the Phantom has WAY more experience with killing people than Raoul does. Removing these important character traits takes away the magic and mystery of the Phantom. In this film he was just a weird guy living in the cellar of the opera. Why were people scared of him?
3) They made the Phantom hot. I mean, he was really good-looking. Even with his mask off, I was like "Dang, I'd take him over that pompous scraggly-looking Count any day! He only lost an eyebrow, what is everyone so horrified about?" The Phantom is not supposed to be more handsome than everyone else in the movie, that is the point. He is a freak.
4) They added a sword fight in the movie. A sword fight. Between Raoul and the Phantom. Seriously, LAME. This would never happen. Raoul is supposed to be a young, scared, rich boy- not some swashbuckling hero. At the end of the fight he HAS the Phantom at the tip of his sword, and he is ready to do him in and Christine yells "No! Not like this." Ok, guys. Let's come up with a better plan then. Lets spend tons of money performing his opera and put Christine in mortal danger and try to kill him later. This makes no sense.
5) The costumes were totally inappropriate for the time period. They were pretty scandalous for 1919. But they were pretty, I'll grant.
6) They added a back story for the Phantom that totally doesn't fit with the timing of everything else. Also, they decided to just invent their own story instead of referencing the book. I don't think anyone involved in this movie even read the original novel. An added annoyance, Raoul's acting is terrible in this scene.
7) I could go on, but we only have so much space here. Those are my main points anyway. Just to counter-balance all this negativity, I will say that I loved Mini Driver as Carlotta. I don't care if her singing voice was dubbed, that is what they should have done with almost everyone else. Raoul had a great singing voice. The orchestra sounded amazing. Some of the sets were cool, but the computer graphics were pretty bad. (Sorry, I'll stop.)

Ok, so now on to the Vegas Phantom. First of all, the billboards for this showed a very inappropriate amount of Christine cleavage. She was wearing something completely inappropriate to her innocent character and the time period. In the picture, the Phantom is about to seductively kiss her. I was annoyed from the start, because this changes the whole meaning of their relationship. He is supposed to like her in part because of her purity and her naivete. His whole relationship as her "angel of music" is based from her trusting and innocent nature. Plus, I resent that anyone thinks they have to make their show look whorish in order to get a Vegas audience to come see it. Shouldn't good work speak for itself? Grr...
They also cut the show to 90 minutes and added some lame stuff from the movie (a bit of the back story, making the chandelier fall at a stupid time, etc.). WHY cut GOOD things to add in confusing BAD things? Did Mr. Prince and Mr. Webber think that the original musical wasn't effective or good enough? It is the longest running musical of all time! If it ain't broke, DON'T FIX IT!! They added a ton of spectacle... there were fireworks on the stage, there was glass that the wedding Christine "broke through", Raoul got trapped in some crazy death box instead of lassoed by the Phantom, the Phantom appeared on the chandelier, He appeared on the stage before his opera so that the police could shoot at him, he disappeared in his red death costume only to reappear at the top of the steps and start running at everyone. Although I am not opposed to adding things to an existing show, don't do it at the expense of the show's merit. Most of these additions were stupid. It seemed to be spectacle for spectacle's sake. Plus, it moved the show farther from it's roots, which were perfect. The show is morphing into something cheap and bad, and I don't like it.
One more note, the guy playing the Phantom in Vegas annoyed the heck out of me. He played it like a crazy man. He sometimes beat his chest and he would go into unexplainable seizures. He actually went into a few seizures when he was kissing Christine. He wasn't relatable or even likable. The little boy next to my husband was laughing, and rightfully so. He looked retarded. Literally. The man got a standing ovation. I was horrified. I wondered if people just assumed that they were supposed to, or if they really liked him. Are people that blind to bad acting? His singing wasn't good enough to make up for it.

Maybe I am a very severe critic when it comes to this specific show because when I saw it for the first time I was young and inexperienced in the theater world and I didn't see its flaws. I'm not discounting this possibility, but I really think there has been a gradual dissent with this musical (more speedily in recent years). I think the creators are trying to make it new and fresh, when really it doesn't need to be changed. Every change they make takes them further away from the truth of the story, and therefore further away from the brilliance they had at the beginning. Maybe Andrew Lloyd Webber has been hanging out with George Lucas. I heard from a friend of mine "in the know" (she is an Emmy-winning writer) that Sir Andrew is working on a sequel to Phantom. A sequel. As if he hasn't corrupted the story enough, he wants it to be centered around a young boy whose mother is Christine and whose father is unknown. You can imagine how I feel about that.

It has always saddened me that I have never been in The Phantom of the Opera. For a while it was the great longing of my life because it was really the beginning of my love for theater and my reason for becoming an actress. I loved the play so much, and I just believed that I would relish each moment on stage. I actually auditioned for the original Vegas cast. Although I would still love to be in some production of Phantom, I wouldn't want it to be Vegas. Now I can safely say that I am extremely happy not to be a part of that mess.

Another plus to my feelings about all of this was that once I was hired to sing at a party and I noticed that Joel Schumacher (director of the movie) was in the crowd. Instead of freaking out I thought to myself "This guy wouldn't know good singing if it hit him in the face" and I kept on singing with the confidence that he probably thought I was rather good, if he cared that I was singing at all.

Vegas, Baby. Vegas.

For my birthday, Dan surprised me with a two day trip to the City of Sin. We don't drink, and we don't gamble... so the only sinful behavior we participated in was thinking bad thoughts about the hordes of people in the street trying to give us gross pictures of women with major self-esteem issues. We left our boy safely behind at Grandma's house where he participated in a little luxurious vacation of his own. (Thanks Mom!)

Our purpose in going to Vegas was to see three shows: The Blue Man Group, The Phantom of the Opera, and Cirque du Soleil's O. We stayed at the Venetian, which was home to the first two shows mentioned. (Side note, that place has really sweet suites!)

The Blue Man Group was our favorite of the three. I had seen the show before in New York and had really enjoyed it. There were a few differences, one being the size of the theater. In Vegas the theater is a lot bigger, and I think some of that personal connection is lost. Of course in New York I was seated in the Splash Zone, so maybe I'm just remembering things from that perspective.
Blue Man reminds me of a lot of different things in my life. My High School drumline days, my college movement/mime classes with James Donlon, my days as a High School drama teacher watching our awesome improv troupe perform in the little black box theater, recent days watching Ze Frank online with my husband on his laptop. The show seems fairly universal, but I'm not sure if everyone really gets it or if people just get a kick out of music and blue people.

Phantom is my favorite musical of all time, which is probably why I am so critical of it. This will need an entry all of its own. Let's just say I've seen Phantom in LA, London, New York and now in Vegas... it was the worst one. Even if I include the movie. Again, my rant on this needs a space of its own.

O was like an amazing, trippy, impossible dream. I was very inspired by most of it, although there is no plot, and practically no speaking. I loved the look of it. The colors in the costumes, the movement style of different characters, the music (especially the cello song), the inspired props, the lighting, the changing stage. This show has one of the best final bows of all time in my mind. O isn't really a circus show, it is a beautiful and elaborate dance with stunts and acrobatics tied in. And it isn't so much a story as it is a feeling. Strangely enough, when I hear certain songs I see this kind of stuff in my head and I think "Too bad that isn't possible." Now I know there are other crazy people out there that have visions like this (and talent that I don't have by the way) and it is possible! And people want to pay to see the creator's beautiful trippy weirdness. It gives me hope that I may not be all that insane after all.

To round out the travelogue, I will relate that before we saw Phantom and O we walked for a mile and a half from our hotel room to an impossible-to-find movie theater by the MGM Grand. We tried to see The Dark Night but we were too late so we saw Hancock. We were entertained. It wouldn't have mattered if we liked the movie, we needed to sit down and get out of the sun for two hours. Walking down the strip in the middle of the summer in the middle of the day almost killed us off. Oh, and I still have blisters.

Vegas is still Vegas. They have to entice you with every glittery and sexy thing to get you to come and stay in their bigger and better Arco-style hotels. The shows were good, and we had a fun little break from life, but life is so much better than what's offered in Vegas. When it was my turn to drive on the way home, I floored it to get away from the billboards and back to my Baby.