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.”


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


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


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


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


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


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.