Thursday, December 31, 2009

Au Revoir 2009

Well! Another year. It's strange to contemplate a year that held probably the worst moment of my life, yet was still a very good year in many ways: our children are all healthy pains in the arse; PVT's job is going well; life is really smashingly wonderful.

I always get excited to contemplate my resolutions for the new year. Keeping them, of course, is not as fun. But in 2010, I am going to try my damndest (ba ha ha) to be a good Catholic girl and go to mass on Holy Days of Obligation other than Sunday (like tomorrow. Solemnity of Mary? PVT is shaking his head). I'm going to try to drink a little less hooch (just a little. I'm not so good at deprivation or masochism. Or sobriety.) The other? I have been thinking about it for a while: more reading for all VTs. Me included.

Of course, only I could parlay a vague resolution into a large cash outlay: I mentioned to PVT that I adored these book bins from the uber-chic Land of Nod (these people make Pottery Barn Kids look pathetically WalMartish). Aren't they wonderful? They display so many books by their covers, so kids can easily see them and grab one, instead of contemplating a huge messy book pile. They are $200, however, so PVT told me to find something comparable but cheaper. I couldn't find a thing! Such an easy, lovely concept, but I couldn't even find used ones of EBay.

And surprise! PVT ended up buying FOUR of them unbeknownst to me (I'm not sure why! I know it's not because I have big-looking knockers lately, but that's another post).

So now we have all these gorgeous book bins to encourage reading. And yes, I will pull my arse off Facebook and read to the buggers more often.

So, HAPPY 2010 you all! Thank you for visiting. Now go read something by a REAL author. Contained in a hardback.

Like Sleeping at Hotel Abu Ghraib

Every night, around 2:30 am, what sounds like a gaggle of drunk elves comes barreling down the stairs and leaps with a single bound into our bed. It's Will: "Mom, I had a bad dream!" So he snuggles in, and is out in 30 seconds again.

This doesn't really bother me, since he happens to sleep on PVT's head. So PVT will complain of the contorted positions he has to sleep in, and I murmur sympathetically.

However, the last few nights, Colette has had roseola, which is no big deal - really just several days of fever. The fever, however, wakes her around 2:30 am as well, so I need to medicate her, and I end up bringing her back to our bed so she doesn't wake the whole house. So the last few nights SHE has been sleeping on MY head, while Will continues to sleep on PVT's.

Last night was the final straw: Keane came to our bed shortly thereafter, sheepishly asking if HE, TOO, could come to our bed. Too tired to protest, I let him in. But sleeping next to this wiry seven year old is like sleeping next to a Swiss Army Knife: if you roll the wrong way, you will get a steel elbow or knee in your spleen.

So, with a huff, I left Keane, Will and PVT in OUR bed, and brought the feverish baby up to what I hoped would be Keane's vacant bed.

Who was sleeping in Keane's bed, you ask? THE DOG.

I think I got more sleep when I had newborns.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Face Cream in the Time of Medical Spas

A couple of weeks ago I won ! something from my friends over at Bon Bon Rose: some magic face cream by Dr. Perricone. You have probably heard of him: he is the impossibly gorgeous, (for being sixtyish, or something!) Italian doctor who infuses all of his creams with various enzymes and antioxidants, but who also touts a Mediterranean-type diet full of staples like salmon and blueberries. Basically: slather good fats inside and out, all over. In fact, bathe in them and mud wrestle in them; you will look ten years younger, with shiny hair.

Really, his books (which I read several years ago, during a particular phase of heightened vanity) emphasize the diet more than the potions. For those of us too weak and lazy to adhere to a constant regime of leafy greens, fish, and fruit (where is the room for QuikTrip French Vanilla Cappucino? 3pm fudge?), his facial concoctions should solve any problems.

Well, I have been using this miracle cream for a couple of weeks now, and I do see a bit of difference. A BIT: smaller pores, slightly tighter, smoother skin. When I say I bit, I do mean a bit: only perceptible by ME, in good lighting and in an optimistic mood. These creams, bah! We spend so much money on them, and in the end the only real cure to stop the wrinkles and sag is going under the dreaded knife.

I do wonder, should I ever have the disposal income to fritter away on such follies, would I ever have an eye lift, or a face lift, or even mere Botox? I'm not sure; I certainly see the appeal of youthful insert-body-part-here, but in the end, that's my whole hang up: sure, you have the eye lift, but now your eyes look odd on your 57-year old body. Or, your boobs look strangely rocket-like on your 62-year-old bones. Pieces of you look younger, but does the whole package look better? Or just...weirder?

Deep thoughts. But if you are looking for a slightly imperceptible change for the better, go for Dr. Perricone's creams. Assuming you don't want to eat salmon for every meal.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas and WE HAVE A WINNER!

Merry Christmas from the VT compound, where we have been up since dark thirty building Lego monstrosities and figuring out dang blasted electronic gadgets. Well, OK, PVT has been doing these things and I have been making him Bloody Marys.

And, drum roll, we have a winner of my precious Nordstrom Notes! My dear sister, Tarzhay Miss, guessed correctly: I got PVT a ring. A replacement wedding band, in fact, since he inadvertently left his at the driving range a few months ago. He probably enjoyed being ringless and having hotties flirting with him, but I can't have that - we need him desperately to keep the family in an endless supply of Star Wars gadgets, Wii games, and Pinot Noir. You can guess who needs what.

So, congratulations, Missy - I think next time I'll insert an anti-nepotism clause, though!

Oh, and by the way, we have a WHITE Christmas here. That is a Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa and National End of Prohibition Day MIRACLE.

Now it's off to instruct my daughter to play with the DOLL she got - she's a bit lost with female toys.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Giveaway Update

OK, dear readers. For your guess to count, you must post it in the comments section! Certain people who remain unnamed but are TOO EFFING LAZY to set up a Google account have guessed: golf gloves, golf clubs, a coat, and a gun. No, nope, nada, and non.

Isn't setting up a Google account worth Nordstrom Manna from Heaven?

I thought so.

We're busy waiting for the BIG DAY here...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Merry Christmas GIVEAWAY. You're Welcome!

Christmas Vacation is going swimmingly here, as you can see!

No, that is not dog barf. That is Colette cheering on Skippy as he licks up some baby formula she was carrying around. I actually don't yap on the phone all day and watch Lifetime; I think I was putting away groceries, or something, whilst all this transpired. REALLY!

So, back to my point: my dear 4.3 readers, in thanks to you, I am going to host a little GIVEAWAY. Here is the deal: if you can guess what I got PVT for Christmas, you will win my current denomination of Nordstrom Notes (could be $200! Could be $20! Well, it is probably closer to $20.) Nordstrom Notes are redeemable both in-store and ONLINE, for you pitiable Oklahomans.

Your sole clue, darlings: I had a cop in the vicinity try on PVT's gift for size. Leave your guess in the comments section; the first correct guesser is THE WINNER.

NO, y'all. I didn't get him feather handcuffs. Such dirty minds!
PS - this contest ends promptly at 11:59 pm Central Standard Time on Christmas Eve. I can't have any of you batting your eyelashes at PVT on Christmas Day to get him to give away the answer, now, can I?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Runner-Up Miracle of the Season

Ye gawds! Christmas Break 2009 has started! Which means: one kid is telling me blow-by-blow plays from his Wii NCAA Football game; the other, who is doing a 500 piece puzzle, tells me EVERY TIME he connects a piece. Granted, a five year old doing a 500 piece puzzle is noteworthy, but if I do not acknowledge each piece with a "Good!" - even if I am upstairs PEEING behind closed doors - he will yell at me until I have acknowledged said piece. Which is cute until piece 309. The little ones are no SWEAT compared to their big brothers.

ANYHOO, look at these gorgeous gossamer pastel frocks that magically arrived in my home this week:

Are they not beautiful? Where did they come from, you ask? A particularly fashion-savvy wealthy great aunt, perhaps? My mother? The Nordstrom fairies?

NO, my friends. They came from PVT himself, who went to Houston this week and felt compelled to buy something for his daughter at this boutique. I was SHOCKED. Picturing PVT shopping at a high-end kiddie boutique is sort of anomalous. Weird. Jarring. Sort of like Peyton Manning shopping at Talbot's.

But no, PVT was at this lovely store (I had never heard of it before; thank goodness!) and picked these things out for his little girl. And they were not cheap. To think this is the same man who still loathes Nordstrom's sometimes obscene prices! (Although I think he will admit now that sometimes a slightly loathsome price is worth it for what you get.) He even had the foresight to purchase these confections for the springtime, in the right size.

And thankfully after candy cane season.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Because Everything Around Here is a Contact Sport

Another thing I detest about the holiday season is the rehashed, remade versions of Christmas tunes you hear on the radio. Mariah Carey, Annie Lennox, Bruce Springsteen? PLEASE STOP. Nothing screams cheezy secularization of Christmas more than one of you belting out Santa Baby.

BUT (really, this is not one of my Scrooge posts) I do love the Mormon Tabernacle choir and their annual Christmas concert. Something about a really good choir singing carols fills me with holiday warm-fuzziness (or maybe it's the spiked egg nog. Not sure). So I force my boys to watch the choir every year, and we all warble off key.

Last night they were on, and my boys stop to watch, briefly enchanted. Until Rory, noticing the women in blue and the men in black, yells, "I'm going for the black team!" Suddenly we are at a pep rally: "Go BLACK! Go BLACK!"

Speaking of secularization.

Monday, December 14, 2009

More Christmas Cheer, and a Plea for Help

Something terrible happens in Tulsa every year around December 1: every single drop of moisture in the atmosphere is sucked up into a big giant vortex and spit out far, far away, probably in the Gulf of Mexico. Or Seattle. I'm not sure, but moisture is NOWHERE to be found. So my skin starts to crack like ancient concrete, my knuckles bleed, my hair frays like the straws on a witch's broom and actually becomes hazardous, as it is liable to incinerate when anywhere near a flame. (The summer here, however, is more humid than the Amazon during a deluge. WHY? Why can't we have some of that humidity in the dead of winter? Get it right, Tulsa weather people!)

So what to DO? Short of bathing in a vat of goose fat and shampooing with Crisco, how does anyone keep even a drip of moisture on their person under these harsh, arctic conditions? (OK, I know, Tulsa's not Manitoba or Siberia, but work with me here.) Any suggestions on products you use (or resort getaways you take! Ha!) would be greatly appreciated.

In other winter wonderfulness, I have decided the easiest, lazy-arse way to do Christmas cards is to just send one to a person who sends you one. No more digging for addresses! You just take it right off the return address label! And then you know you're not wasting a card on someone who doesn't even think of you unless YOU send THEM one. Brilliant.

I know what you're thinking: that we haven't gotten any cards yet AT ALL. I'm not going to disclose that highly sensitive information. But we do have a few friends. Or, a couple. I think.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Just Like a Wall Street Bonus (but 6 Fewer Digits)

Do you remember my swine flu saga this past fall? With all the angst I experienced over the dang swine flu, you would think we had all suffered SEVERE cases of the flu. NO. None of us got it. I was just petrified we would. And I was pregnant at the time. If you watched the news, pregnant women apparently were dropping like flies from the swine flu. I nervously checked the health department's website EVERY DAY for vaccine shipments. Then I miscarried, and I stopped caring for a while. Finally the health department held a clinic for children and people with health conditions. So, on a lovely sunny Saturday morning, I piled up ALL of my children and queued up at 8:45 am in the parking lot of the fairgrounds. With about 4,209 of my Tulsa neighbors. Where we waited for TWO HOURS in line to get the shot. TWO HOURS in line with four antsy children, three of whom were old enough to comprehend their upcoming fate. I am not sure, in fact, if having the swine flu would have been a bit easier.

Finally we were done, and the nurse said, "OK, children under nine get boosters in four weeks!" Ye GADS. I didn't want to think about it at that point, and certainly didn't tell my kids (whom I had just reassured there would be NO MORE SHOTS until next year!)

Well, today was four weeks hence, and I had to tell my children that yes, Mama lied, we had one more shot. Luckily, this time, the lines were much shorter, and PVT came with me. So it was almost like going to the spa, without the aromatherapy.

When we walked in, the security guard spotted me instantly and yelled to me: "I remember you from LAST TIME!" Oh my GAWD, my kids had been testy, but had they been that memorably awful? But he said: "You were working so hard, and you did such a good job. They'll appreciate what a sweet mother they have someday." Oh my gosh, that was so nice of this guy to tell me, so of course I teared up. So I thanked him, and when we were a little farther in line, he yelled to me, "Merry Christmas!"

I think I'll take that moment as my year end bonus. Not quite as good as cash, but almost.

Friday, December 11, 2009

So Much for My Pan-Asian Education

The other day I went to what my sister and I have always deemed, politically incorrectly, "Chinese Nails." You know, the ubiquitous Asian-owned nail salons that are cheap, no frills, efficient, and almost always filled with very friendly hard-working women. Now let me point out: I am from the Northwest, where every other person is Asian. One of my bestest friends is Japanese; I competed with many bordering-on-genius Chinese, Japanese and Korean students in high school; the girl I envied most was super bright, captain of the cheerleading squad, girlfriend of the football captain, and a petite, beautiful Chinese girl (hi, Viv!). My first college boyfriend was Chinese (who crushed my heart when breaking up with me by telling me that it was never serious because I wasn't Chinese). I won an Excellence in Mandarin award in high school, for cripes' sake. So I don't think you can accuse me of being one of those rednecks who think all Asians look alike. Well, you could, but I'd call you a poopy head.

BUT. Back to manicures: are all of these nail salons owned by Vietnamese people? Or Koreans? Or Taiwanese? Or does it simply vary? I've always been curious, but I've never asked these ladies. Shame on me.

I am only telling you this because yesterday when I was at "Chinese Nails," I was having both my hands and toes done at the same time. Which is wonderful when you're paying a sitter. And the lovely pedicurist asks me: "SINE HOW?" Um, what? "SINE HOW?" She looks at the manicurist and giggles. As in, can you believe this broad doesn't understand me? I smile, avoid their eyes, and hope they don't ask me again. "SINE HOW?" Aack! What? SINE HOW HUH?

After several more awkward moments (awkward for me, that is; they are laughing outright at this point), the manicurist pantomimes drawing something on her nail. OH! The international symbol for: do you want some kitschy drawing on your nails? SINE HOW! Translated as: DESIGN OR FLOWER!!

Well, no thank you. My manicures last about 8 minutes as it is. But please sign me up for the nearest community college course: "Salon Speak For White Chicks at Asian-Owned Nail Salons." I need it. Desperately.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Multitasking, Holiday Edition

We mummies are pretty good multitaskers, right? We can make dinner, change a diaper, help one kid on the Wii, and break up a fight. SIMULTANEOUSLY. I am also really good at writing Christmas cards while listening to one kid tell me about his Connect Four tournament and the other kid yammer about Club Penguin.

However, there are a few activities that I cannot do at once. For instance: at a party or social event, I cannot simultaneously eat, drink and engage in conversation. I just become so enchanted with talking to new people who do something besides wipe bougars all day long that I cannot actually focus on performing all the mechanics of eating. Last night, we went to PVT's office party - fancy people at a fancy restaurant. It was wonderful! I talked to several sparkly people - a fellow Seattleite (really? Here?!); an Indian couple; a girl from LA. But I could not manage to eat while listening and gabbing. Everything had to be CUT! Even the salad! And there was no way I could do that! And I ordered pork chops - huge fat things that would require some serious sawing. Saw and listen at the same time? Nope, can't do it. So I nibbled some vegetables, bread and a bit of dessert. None of this would have been a problem, of course, but the waiters kept refilling wine glasses. And being the thirsty lover of hooch that I am, I just kept slurping.

So today I spent nursing a hangover - eating the aforementioned pork chop I had had boxed up like a cavewoman; followed by vast quantitites of leftover pizza and cheese popcorn with ibuprofen chasers. Do you know how to feel like a really awesome mother? Feel pukey and exhausted while your kids are demanding this and that. It feels SUPER.

I did manage to go to Will's preschool Christmas "pageant." Where I cried. I always cry at these things! Why? Because they are so darn cute up there? The fleet-footedness of time? Or the fact that I ALWAYS forget my camera? It never fails: all the other prepared parents are there with their camcorders, and I'm sitting there sniffling with mascara running down my cheeks.

Ah, the holidays. I'm not sure a hangover is a de facto part of the whole holiday experience. But it sure is humbling. That's a feeling Jesus would approve.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Can They Hear Me Now?

OK, you all. I am beginning to suspect foul play here. I got my seven jillionth email from Nordstrom today about freaking UGGS! What is going on? Is Blake Nordstrom having some hot cha-ching with a tall Australian chick in the Uggs Accounts Payable department? WHAT IS THE DEAL, Nordstrom brothers? Friends don't let customers wear these atrocities.

In other Nordstrom annoyances (I know! You don't usually hear me complain about my Mothership, do you? But you are my first concern, dear reader. I will not mince words when I am less than thrilled!), Nordstrom packing slips have changed a bit. Huh, you say? Who cares? But: the slips used to itemize whatever you've bought, showing the size, item description, color, and PRICE. Now they have omitted the PRICE column. So that once you have received your order (today, it was a polo shirt and work shoes for PVT. Yes, I am all about giving), you CANNOT easily perform a cost-benefit analysis now that you are holding the item you purchased in your hand. As far as I can tell, you have to log back into your Nordstrom account and look up the order itself, which will detail the price! What a pain!

Come ON, Brothers Nordstrom. Don't pull these sly tricks. Customer service is the crux of your very BEING! Don't screw this up!

Blake, Erik, Bruce: do you hear me? Hear me? hear me...?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Know You're Waiting with Bated Breath

Well, my friends, I haven't treated you for a while to a glimpse into the inner workings of my psyche. Well - here you go! Yes, you're welcome.

The cliche: Time heals all wounds. I think "heals" is a bit - optimistic. Strong. My sole benchmark is one miscarriage, and I know I will always feel some bewilderment, at the very least. People who actually lose a child? Spouse? Parent? I don't even want to think about it. So, I propose a rewrite: Time takes the sting out. Not as succinct and poetic, but hey.

Things in my head are a lot better, though. Four weeks ago, I remember bawling my left eyeball out in the car over the changing browns on the leaves. But so many things have helped since then. My body no longer thinks it is pregnant and seems to be functioning normally. My parents visited; my children have been their usual wonderful awful chaotic whack job selves; my husband has been lovely, and his job seems to be going swimmingly from my distant, housewifey perspective. So, life seems pretty freaking good right now.

I still have these fresh moments of shock: WTF? What happened to that little lentil of mine? What went wrong? But these moments are not as frequent, and they don't inspire the same amount of apocalyptic hysteria as they did just last month.

I don't know if we'll have another baby. All I know is this: I wish I had treasured each and every day of those eight and a half weeks more than I did, first trimester yetchiness notwithstanding. And I wish I could treasure each of these days I have now with my monsters, and not become impatient and frustrated and worried and freaked out, as I am wont to do. But I'm trying.

Life in process.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Suck It, Santa

Cripes, it's December 2, and I am ALREADY sick of Christmas. The endless awful tinny music! The forced perky cheeziness! The horrible small chat: "Are you ready for the holidays?" The agenda-laden exuberance of retailers! All the GREEN and RED of it all! All of this yetchiness, coupled with the gray and cold of December - which exacerbates my very SEVERE (and, OK, undiagnosed) Seasonal Affective Disorder - it all makes me want to go convert to Judaism. And then take a long nap. Until January 8th or so.

So look at this dress - a lovely antidote to holiday "cheer:"

I just love this! The simplicity of form coupled with the tropical lush colors - doesn't it scream "Evening Seafood Buffet for Two at a St. Lucia Resort!" and nothing at all about "XMAS 2009!"

OK. Just had to get that off my chest. Carry on, XMAS 2009.