Saturday, January 31, 2009

25 things about my daughter

This "25 things about me" thing has been going around on Facebook and I've been tagged a couple of times.  I'm tempted to do it but, I don't know, blogging seems self-indulgent enough.  I mean, how interested can people possibly be in me?  Don't answer that.
I decided I would try to do it for my children.  Mind you, I do not speak for them.  These are strictly MY things about them.
Maggie first.
1. Maggie could be seen kicking her brother in the head in utero on ultrasounds.
2. Maggie's favorite color is purple.  It's also the only one she can consistently pick out of a lineup.
3. Maggie's eyes are crazy, crazy beautiful blue.
4. She can wiggle her eyebrows like a vaudeville villian.
5. Maggie is fearless in the water but she can't yet swim.
6. So far, her dancing shows a worrisome lack of rhythm.
7. She sucks her thumb, which I love.
8. On New Year's Eve, when the Mister came home from work, she took his hand and lead him toward the cheese platter saying, "We're having a party, join us and have some cheese."
9. Maggie LOVES her grandmothers.
10.  She can imitate accents.  Her best ones are Midwestern and stuffy lady from the '40s.
11. She's been to Delaware, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Connecticut, and Hawaii.
12. She's been to Mexico twice.
13. Her first word was "agua", same as her brother's. 
14. She hates all barrettes, headbands and ponytail accouterments, much to her mother's dismay.
15. When she sings "Happy Birthday" she sounds all breathy, just like Marilyn Monroe.
16. She loves to make "bunny holes," where she goes to hide from the foxes.
17. She talks a big game about loving our dog, but there is much evidence to the contrary.
18. She often prefers her daddy.  Except when she's hurt.  Then it's mommy all the way.
19. She calls my dad "Yeah Yeah" and my step-dad "Bigotes," which means mustache in Spanish.
20. She thinks "Bigotes" means Big Gotes.
21. Maggie likes salami, brie and tofu but won't eat pizza, nuggets, french fries or ketchup.
22. She's had an astonishing throwing arm since she could sit up.
23. Once, at Stinson Beach, I let her run as far away from me as she would go.  After 25 yards she disappeared into the fog and I had to chase her down.  I have no idea how long it would have taken her to get scared.  Maybe forever.
24. She prefers me to tell her stories rather than read them.  She particularly likes to hear about Santa.
25. When her baby dolls get hungry they still nurse from me, not her.

Next post: 25 things about Ollie.

A Thing I like

This list from Hula Seventy.
The always-hilarious lists at McSeeney's.

Friday, January 30, 2009

An experiment in single parenting. It's not pretty.

I totally know how he feels

The Mister is out of town.  He's in Utah on non-Mormon related business.  Books and stuff.  This means that I am alone with the twins for five days.  I won't lie.  It's been hard.  Like, soggy-rice-chex-hardening-on-the-kitchen-table hard.  Like, no-time-to-shower hard.  It's even been grab-your-kid's-arm-just-a-little-too-hard hard.  I know, I'm a wimp.  All hail to the single parents of the world.  Truly.  I've never been more appreciate of the Mister's contributions around here than I am right now. I miss him.

Here's a scene from our little experiment:

This happened last night after the burrito battle, and the bath battle, and the one-more-story battle, and the light-on-a-little-more battle.  The kids are in bed.  The door is closed.  I can finally do something fun, like clean up the huge mound of dishes.  
And then I hear it, the potty pleading.
So I get them up, and walk them in to the bathroom, and take off the complicated footsie p.j.s, and undo the nighttime diapers. 
OLIVER (sitting on the potty and looking thoughtful): Mommy, are you happy?
ME (astonished and sort of not that happy): Yes, honey.  I am happy.
OLIVER: But, are we driving you up the wall?
ME: Not anymore.  But you were earlier.
OLIVER (gazing philosophically into the middle distance): Yeah.

A thing I like
This thought from George Bernard Shaw:

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; being a force of nature in stead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy." 

Kind of harsh, I know.  But a good one to keep in mind.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Buy Nothing January, an update

A cascade of crap I do not own

I'm almost through the first month of my three buy-nothing months and I've gotta say, I'm sort of loving it. Austerity is so contrary to my personality.  Self-denial makes me angry nearly instantly, and yet, there is a certain foreign but distinct pleasure to not shopping.   The best way I can describe it is as a sort of spaciousness. Ignoring those little blips of desire is liberating.  Plus, you mostly forget instantly what it was you wanted. 

Before I get saddle sores from my high horse, however, I do have to come clean: I bought some stuff. Here's my list, followed by my justifications (I think you'll agree they're good).

Item 1. a frame and mat--$70
Justification: I bought the Mister this really snazzy poster for Christmas.   I felt that if I didn't frame it, the whole gift would go to waste.  So I was throwing good money after good.  No regrets.

Item 2. Memory card--$20
Justification: The Mister bought be a snazzy little point-and-shoot camera for Christmas but it came with the wimpiest, puniest memory card imaginable.  Three photos and it was wheezing and fanning itself and begging to sit down.  Without a replacement card, the camera would have gone to waste.  No regrets.

Item 3. Two yards of fabric--$3
Justification: It was $3 (in Mexico) and my mother-in-law is going to make Maggie an adorable outfit out of it.  No regrets.

Item 4. A little hand-embroidered blouse for Maggie--$8.
Justification: I was drunk.  It was cute.  Pesos don't feel like real money.  Considering Maggie's extensive collection of embroidered Mexican blouses, I really could have gone without.  Minor regrets. 
I mean, come on, how cute is this?
Item 5. Three plastic under-the-bed-tubs--$23
Justification: Either that or piles of rubber sheets and dress up clothes in the middle of the floor.  No regrets.

Justification: I tried to sneak this in under the "toiletries" category but the Mister says no dice.  Minor regrets, especially because it doesn't look as good on me as it did on Drew Barrymore. 

TOTAL: $130

Except for the fact that we spent a ton of money on other stuff, like going to Mexico and fixing the Mister's motorcycle and replacing some closet doors, I'm feeling pretty superior right now. 

A thing I like
Vinyl wall decals from Elephannie at Etsy.  I bought these cold little birds (back when I was buying stuff) in lime green for Maggie and Oliver's room.  They sit over their beds. Now I want to stick stuff all over the house. I mean who among us has a home that wouldn't benefit from giant dandelions growing up the wall?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Just a little more about Yelapa, Mexico

I was a fourth grade pie lady

Exactly a year ago I published a story in Sunset about Yelapa, the Mexican village where I went to fourth grade and which I have visited nearly every year for 30 years. In it I waxed extremely nostalgic, basing much of my argument that it is one of the best places in the West on my thesis that it had barely changed at all in three decades.  

The Mister and Ollie on the panga to Yelapa
A lot of people traveled to Yelapa because of that story (I saw some of them holding the article in a plastic sleeve and consulting my restaurant recommendations!) and I sometimes feel a little squeamish about that.  Yelapa is a beautiful place, maybe even magical in its way, but I feel the need to set the record straight. So here it is, my revision:  
Yelapa has changed A LOT since I was a kid and there was no electricity and my friend Fermina had never seen a pizza and no one, not one resident, had a TV.  Yelapan teenagers dress like Kanye West now.  They have cell phones and designer jeans.  Gone are the pigs rooting around in the mud on the trail, in large part because the trails are are now PAVED with cobblestones, allowing ATVs to zip up and down. There are drug dealers and yoga instructors and a full-time doctor in Yelapa.  You can buy Diet Coke at the grocery store and hear Norah Jones at the taco stand.  If you go you will most likely see more gringos than Mexicans.  But the biggest change, the thing that made me sad and wistful like nothing else this year, was the total lack of pie ladies.
Yelapa has been known for its pie ladies, they of the sturdy calves and impeccable balance, who trudge up and down the beach selling fresh, homemade pie out of Tupperware balanced on their heads.  And now they are gone. It's the end of something good, truly.  I haven't had enough time to properly grieve and process this loss, but I know for sure that life will never be the same.
Still, the kids liked it.  
Maggie discovers her inner Cousteau

Ollie discovers his inner Luke Skywalker

A thing I like
I'm finally reading Obama's Dreams from My Father (my last drop of the Koolaid) and man, it's really good.  He can write.  I would probably even read this book if it weren't written by the holy savior of America.  This guy, this smart, human, complicated, flawed, compassionate person is our president.  It hardly seems possible.  Pinch!  
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