But who can blame me when a dress like this gossamer beauty is floated before my eyes:
Isn't it delightful? Alas, the only holiday party that PVT and I are usually invited to goes something like this: everyone is allotted two drink tickets. These tickets do not entitle you to a free glass of wine or two; these tickets simply enable you to PURCHASE your own two drinks with your own moola. Now, I'm not saying everyone has to get totally trashed to enjoy the festivities, but wouldn't perhaps a gratis flute of champagne liven up the festivities, and make talking to the strangers on your right a wee bit easier? Dare I say it's a bit Ebeneezer-ish to call this a party?
Instead everyone staidly sits, then glumly trudges to the buffet to pile their plates high with plastic chicken and pasty pasta.
And then we go home.
Not really the grand affair worthy of a dress like this.
Although, alas, I will probably need to wear something like this for the holidays this year:
Yes, a muu muu for moi! Because I saw THIS today in the stores:
Ah, EGGNOG. Many lard-afficting foods I don't really care about. Ice cream? Meh. Pie? Blech. Hamburger? Ho hum. BUT EGGNOG? Eggnog LATTES! Eggnog with RUM! Eggnog topped with WHIP CREAM! Eggnog with castor oil, I don't care...I just love the stuff.
So I probably don't need a sexy new cocktail chemise for Christmas after all this year.
Sorry for the hiatus, my friends! Nothing terribly earth-shattering except our usual hulabaloo: soccer, Sylvie being scheduled for ear tubes, and a bit of emotional drama that I shall let you know in a little while.
But not yet. Sorry for being coy.
ANYWAY, I thought I would also update you on my gorgeous new phone. I do adore the thing. I love the camera, the iTunes, the video recorder, all the apps, the easy texting. But: while I thought I would use it for EVERYTHING - from making my grocery list to playing games to scheduling reminders about who should be where when - I'm finding I'm a bit more of a Luddite than I thought. Like the calendar: I have all my appointments housed in the Cozi family scheduling app right now. But I'm finding that I like to see a whole week spread out before me to visualize what I have to get through, versus scrolling through each day on my little screen.
The same with the grocery lists: it is so darn cumbersome to add everything and categorize it on these grocery apps! I suppose if I just sit down some night and just DO IT, it will be easier to use since I buy a lot of the same stuff weekly. But then there's the conundrum: when I notice we need something while I'm cooking - balsamic vinegar - with a pen and paper I just write it down! But with my phone I need to FIND the darn thing first - it's usually in some kid's hot little hands, and by the time I get it OUT of their hands, the balsamic thought has vanished.
No, I shouldn't have even gone down the let-the-kiddies-play-with-phone precipice. But what can I say? I am a weenie.
Same thing with a reminder: it's much easier to just jot something down on my old-fashioned written calendar!
So am I doing something wrong? Am I missing something, or am I just too OLD to really get the most out of my phone? What apps do you all find the most useful?
No I am not actually hungover. But last night PVT and I felt like we had been run over eight times by a Hummer Limo: dealing with 5 kids all weekend and their various soccer games, birthday parties, and activities is enough to make even a seasoned marathoner want to roll up in the fetal position and whimper for a while.
Well, that's what I'm telling myself, anyway. It is also possible we are just getting OLD.
And just now Sylvie spent the two hours after her nap wailing inconsolably and clinging to me. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, so I gave her Tylenol - now she is happier. But if it's what I suspect - ear infection NUMBER 6 - I may need to go hide under my bed for awhile.
Luckily this email came just in time:
Hooray! A bunch of beauty samples that will de-crease my crow's feet, shrink my pores, glossify my hair and probably shrink my poochy stomach to boot (OK, OK, I haven't read the fine print yet).
Even the merest glimmer of hope is enough some days.
Well, we are in the middle of that new-fangled vacation known as Fall Break. I do not recall enjoying anything as awesome as Fall Break when I was slogging through school, but here my children have a FIVE DAY WEEKEND smack dab in the middle of October.
While it is a bit long, I don't mind this little vacances too much, because the weather here at this time of year is simply sublime. And because I am a fabulous mother (cough, cough), we hit the second of two pumpkin patches today in as many days:
Sylvie loves to do anything outside, and will roam as fast as her legs will carry her, which is a bit problematic when one also has four other children to track. At one point, my boys ran into a huge corn maze, and by the time I grabbed Sylvie the three of them were already deep in the throes of the maze. So I waited anxiously with Colette, occasionally seeing one of their heads pop up in the distance, and was quite relieved ten minutes later when they emerged, red-faced and exultant, from running through the "real" maze.
Man, I can't even go to a pumpkin patch without drama.
After that, there was no way I was going to humor them and let them carve pumpkins (how am I supposed to deal with knives and a one year old simultaneously without some bloodletting?), so they contented themselves with picking out ninety pound pumpkins for us to haul home.
Among other antics.
But while we are busy frolicking in all this fall-ness, some evil retailers are already sneaking their Christmas stuff out. BLECH! Who wants to start thinking about THAT right now? So I was terribly proud of my favorite store when a friend posted this picture for me:
Yay Nordstrom! Although the Nordstrom Brothers still fire out little emails like the "Social Season Style Guide:"
Oh my. With gorgeous cocktail numbers like these, a little bit of holiday teasing is just fine.
But I swear I will puke in the aisle if I see another singing reindeer stocking before the end of October.
Last night at Walgreen's I was accompanied by just four of my children. We were waiting in the checkout line when the jolly lady behind me boomed - quite loudly - "Wow! TWO GIRLS AND TWO BOYS! ARE YOU DONE?"
Well, sheesh. I get asked this question all the time, and really, I don't usually mind it. I'm happy to talk about it with friends, or even acquaintances. And I know I'm supposed to roll my eyes and say "Of course I'm done...these kids are killing me." But...really? Do I need to answer this in front of the entire checkout line and cosmetics area at Walgreen's? Why doesn't she ask the woman next to me with two children if SHE's done? Just because I have an extra kid or two...this gives other the right to publicly inquire about something that is a rather personal question?
And then at Target: an older man behind us in the checkout line, observing my five in various stages of freneticism: "Are they all yours?" And then, visibly shaken: "How are you going to pay for COLLEGE?" Well, for freak's sake. Again: is that any of your business? I don't KNOW how we're going to pay for college. We will figure it out, somehow. Maybe I'll go back to being a CPA. Maybe I'll write a book about people who feel it's just fine to make probing inquiries of people with large families. Maybe I'll become the world's oldest pole dancer.
But since when does our society view children as mere liabilities, as if they were walking around with a 6-figure cloud hanging over their heads? Did THIS guy's parents view him as just another debt, another burden? Is this why most people these days only have a few kids - because they're worried about college?
Yes, children can be expensive. But to view them only as half the balance sheet, rather than the blessings - ASSETS - that they are cheapens us all.
I wish I could have come up with this comeback: "Well, I don't know how we're going to pay for college. But I do know that my husband I am slogging it out with these kids, day in, day out, in the hopes that we will raise responsible, competent, kind adults WHO WILL PAY FOR YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY SHOULD YOU MAKE IT THAT LONG, YOU OLD GRUMP!"
Yesterday my girls and I made a rare trip to the mall, where we went to the Apple store. I was expecting a scene of total chaos and mayhem to accompany the official launch of the iPhone 4S. While I hoped to perhaps procure one for MOI, I didn't think it would be possible what with my mini-entourage not being terribly patient waiting in line. But while there were many security officers milling about, and a very crowded store, I was able to walk to one of the many hipster Apple employees (is it a requirement to be a hot nerd to work for Apple?), who asked me what kind of phone I wanted and what provider, and ushered me down a roped-off corridor into the waiting embrace (OK, OK, she didn't hug me) of a lovely girl who helped me get my new iPhone set up!
The girl then helped me transfer my contacts from my old phone...after she removed the duct tape. She looked like she was going to throw up when I gave her my old phone - like it might give her herpes.
Yes, as pricey as an iPhone is, I think I deserved it after carrying around this atrocity for so long. And of course anyone who pens a Hip Mom column has to have the appropriate technology, oui?
My GAWSH my job is expensive.
So I trotted the girls to the plastic mall playground, set them loose, and then became one of those mothers who TOTALLY IGNORES her children, and is completely oblivious to her surroundings. I practiced typing; I futzed around with the settings; I tried to hack into various WiFi hotspots; I had no idea what I was doing.
But: it's like a whole new world, you all! I can text easily (once I get used to the typing screen). I can check my email on my phone! I can take gorgeous pictures! I can play songs!
Stop laughing, you more sophisticated mummies out there.
Alas, I have hardly seen my iPhone since I got it, so enamored are the CHILDREN with my phone. They have already downloaded three games, and my eldest is playing mind games with Siri.
Oh you all. I am having a grand time. But give me the business if you see me in about two weeks with my head buried in my iPhone and my kids eating dirt and throwing rocks in the street.
I have always been an unabashed Francophile. My mother's first language was French; she was born in Rhode Island, but both her parents were French Canadian, from large French families. I took French in high school and college, have been to France several times, honeymooned in Arles, named my daughters very Frenchy names. In fact, I wish I could BE more French: more aloof, chic, able to smoke Gauloises, take lovers nonchalantly, make odd gypsy ensembles look sexy, and tie a dang scarf.
Alas, it's hard to be any of those things ministering to a pile of kids in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Instead I just drool over the lives of the Courtins-Clarins heiresses and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy in Vogue, and imagine living on the Left Bank, dropping off my two kids at the state-supported nursery, and dashing off for a bit of Vouvray and mussels with my luvvrrrrrrr, Vincent.
The Courtin-Clarins Sisters Being French
But there ain't a lot of Frenchy descendants here in Oklahoma. This of course should come as no surprise, the French being not so much of the hardy, pioneering stock but more of the let's-head-to-the-hot-tub-with-some-Veuve-Cliquot stock. So anything remotely French here is met with a confused look. Take, for example, my email: chezjill. Chez means "at the place of" in French, so I thought it was rather clever. But my GAWD I wish I had never used that as my email because everyone thinks I am a total retard to have such a weird, nonsensical email address that I have to spell letter by letter everytime I give it. And: my daughters' names. Very few people have heard the name Colette, and thus pronounce it "KAWL-ette" with a Dallas Drawl, instead of "kuh-LETTE." Yes, even her dear grandfather butchers her name like this. Dear Okies! Surely OU offered a useless class on French Poets? Didn't any of you read Colette's erotica for cheap thrills under the auspices of high-brow LIT-RA-CHUR?
The Writer Colette with Her Cats
And no one can spell her name, either. Everyone spells her name with TWO Ls, COLLETTE. Even her preschool teachers don't get it right. Last year, I let the two L's go, since, hey, she was two. But this year on the first day of school I corrected her teacher, since Colette was starting to read letters and recognize her name. And by GAWD I want everyone to know that she is named for the kinky French poet and not some weirdo DOUBLE L Collette!
So I thought the teacher got it. But then today Colette brought this handiwork home:
It's ONE L, people!
Oh, there's more. In my Hip Mom column, I recommended a book, a cutesy tongue-in-cheek look at the Frenchies written by a Brit girl. The book describes how the French are a bit, um, casual in their bed sharing arrangements. It shocks me that people actually read my drivel, so I was a bit taken aback when a friend approached me: she was just HORRIFIED that the French were so...promiscuous! In fact, I think she thought I was actually RECOMMENDING that she go out and find an afternoon dalliance. Holy cripes! No! After all, the Frenchies' reputation as sluts-a-go-go is probably greatly exaggerated for most of the populace. Perhaps too, their views hint at a vestige of Catholicism - illicit sex is just another sin, no better or worse than pride, greed, envy, or eating too many pommes frites. Just note that tryst on the confession list and move on!
But sheesh, I hope no one looking to me as a moral arbiter. It's hard enough forcing myself to behave for my OWN children.
Because I spent a mere 36 hours on the ground in Seattle, I had very little time to spend - oh the horror - shopping. But my mother and I managed to hit three key hotspots: Toys R Us, where I had to buy guilt gifts for all of the children (I am not sure Will cared a wit whether I came home or not; he just wanted his Power Ranger), See's Candies (whose chocolate is divine at not-yet-Godiva prices), and, of course, the Mothershop, Nordstrom. Where: all I bought was my favorite oscillating mascara. Oh, and Sylvie's first walking shoes:
I love these Tsukihoshi sneakers; Colette had a pair and wore them to death. They are so sturdy and comfortable.
But I didn't have time to oogle baubles like these:
Isn't that gorgeous? For a mere $180 - you could wear this sweater-jacket from fall to spring, dress it up with slacks or a skirt; or dress it down with jeans. Or regard-ez this funky hat-and-scarf duo:
Well, I suppose this might be a bit too pirate-y for the carpool line - suddenly my eldest is quite sensitive to what his batshit mother is wearing or saying - but if I want to toy with him I could sport this not-too-pricey ensemble.
Because I'm all about mortifying my kids through whacky fashion.
Holy whiplash! After a bit too much flying in a 48-hour period, I have returned home from my 20th high school reunion. In short: it was so great to see a people I liked; it was not great to see people I didn't like. Even after twenty years! I guess I shouldn't be surprised, human nature being what it is: mostly people had not changed. In particular there was a coterie of girls in high school - certainly a bright and attractive bunch - who continued to be so cold, so frigid, to anyone outside their hallowed circles that (to steal from Pretty Woman) - you could not melt ice on their arses. I had foolishly thought that after twenty years if I made eye contact, smiled, and said, "Hi, Mary," one of them at least might respond in kind with eye contact and a smile. But NO! In fact their total ignorance of my presence, or that of any of my band geek friends, was breathtaking: you might think that the disturbance in the concatenation of atoms in the air resulting from a body passing by might at least register on their faces, but NO - so still and (purposefully?) unchanged did their expressions remain.
Really? Twenty years of living has not softened you? You still think that talking to a shy, awkward band geek might be a Contagion that you can CATCH? As a friend pointed out, it's possible they just wanted to hang out with old friends and not make small talk with people they don't really know. True, true. I wanted to talk to my friends too. But I don't think mere EYE CONTACT is too much to ask.
Well, I hope these girls all at least live on the same block right now. Because otherwise I suspect it's difficult for them to make new friends.
So while I had a marvelous time, I must admit I was a bit shaken. Thank goodness for my dear friends in high school. Otherwise I am pretty sure I would not have SURVIVED. And I dread the day I start sending my OWN children to high school.
Today Sylvie and I are boarding a plane for the Motherland, Seattle, where I will attend my many many years reunion. AAAIIIIIIIIIIIE! I am leaving 80% of the children in PVT's and my in-laws' capable hands.
But of course I am nauseous just thinking about leaving.
I am sure all will be fine, and I will have a fantabulous time at the Woodmark Carillon Point with old girlfriends (in both senses of the word - ha! ha!). I am hoping I will have lots of inappropriate behavior to observe and report back to you all on.
I'm always hoping I'm not a participant in said inappropriate behavior. After all, I'm just a sweet band geek at heart.