Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rollerblades and a Banana Phone!

This blog post pretty much consists of a photo.  Who has the time or the desire to read about my family today anyway?  I was taking this picture of Haley as she set out to roller blade.  She was looking pretty cute in her helmet, pads and blades.  Sam comes out of know where, decides he needs to be in the picture and yells "Banana Phone!"

So happy Sunday people....make it a banana phone kinda day!  xo

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Today my husband, and dedicated father to our children, is taking Haley (almost 7) to learn how to surf.  She's got ocean swimming, boogie boarding and body surfing locked down, and so now the natural progression is to surf, on a real board, standing up.  This is precisely what motivated our family to move back to Santa Cruz four years ago.

You'd think I'd be out there, snapping hundreds of photographs of this milestone in her life, but I am not.  Surely I will have some regrets a little later, but for now, I just need everyone to exit the house. "Go, go!  Have fun, Haley.  Tear it up! Just remember, if you don't stand up on your first try, you'll get it next time!  Ok, off you go!  Have fun; and Kevin, guard her with your life!"

Finally, the peace and quiet I've been waiting for, but more importantly, it is my sneaky time!  I've got a pint of Hagen Daaz Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream in my freezer that is calling my name.  I think it feels neglected that it had to sit in my freezer for a full twelve hours before receiving the attention it deserved.  So the family is finally out of the house and I grab the pint, like I'm some kind of junkie.  I remove the lid, and then that little plastic wrapping, and dig my spoon into the glorious cup of frozen chocolate until I hit a frozen mound of peanut butter.  SUCCESS!

So, in short, I hope that my darling Haley has memories of today that will last a lifetime.  In fact I know she will.  As for me, I polished off my pint of Hagen Daas, and will retreat to my comfortable bed to read a book, sleep or whatever else I feel like doing.  After all, it is June 30th, and that is what June 30th is all about right?  Right??

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It’s not me, it’s you: Breaking up with Facebook

What once began as a small blogging site restricted for use by Harvard students has grown into a wildly successful conglomerate with a staggering 500 million registered users.  Facebook (formerly known as Facemash) is utilized for countless reasons, some of which include keeping in contact with friends and family, promoting businesses, a tool for employers to learn about prospective employees, and the list goes on.  I literally could not begin to list the reasons people use Facebook.

My personal use of the website began a bit late.  I used to be one of those people who initially rejected new forms of technology and social media forums.  I suppose my reasoning was that I didn’t want to be accessible to anyone at any time.  If I needed to get ahold of someone I could call them on my house phone.  I didn’t want people tracking me down where ever I was, night and day.  Of course that changed over the years.  I was the last of my friends to get a cell phone, the last to sign up for Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter.  I vehemently rejected the Smartphone until I received the latest and greatest for my birthday, and wouldn’t you know it, I can’t put the darn thing down.  In summary, I tend to reject technology and then at some point I give in, and am addicted shortly thereafter.

Facebook is constantly changing.  They are SMART.  Just the other day I logged in and a giant picture appeared with a swimsuit I’d been admiring a few days before on the Nordstrom website.  Spooky.  That is not the reason I decided to deactivate my Facebook account though.  My account had become my personal yet public venting arena.  It had become my children’s photo album and baby book.  It had become my work space.  It had become the place where my entire life took place behind a computer screen, rather than with face to face interactions.  I checked it at least ten times a day (probably more, but telling you would just be embarrassing).  Lastly, and most importantly, it became the place where people could say whatever came to mind without having a filter- the computer screen had become the filter and that inanimate  object cannot relay humor, sarcasm, or spite efficiently. 

So what?  I’ve broken up with Facebook….again.  I’ve done it before and I’ll probably do it again; but for now I think I will go out and have some real life, face to face interactions.  If someone is being sarcastic, it will be clear.  If someone is being kind, it will be clear.  If someone wants to invite me to a party, they can send me an invitation or call me on the phone.

So Facebook, I am breaking up with you; and just so you know, it’s you...not me.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Little Bit Of Red Lipstick Goes A Long Way. . .

A little bit of red lipstick goes a long way...that and a new haircut!

All of us girls have felt this way at one time or another: maybe a little dull, tired out, and frumpy to the point of hiding at home for a while.  (If you have never felt that way, I'm going to have to call you out as a liar).  Looks certainly are only the shell of who we are, but you have to concede that when you aren't feeling confident, you don't come off as confident.

I was going through one of these little periods, and it lasted a little longer than normal.  I was sick of my stupid hair style and color, I'd gained a few (fifteen) holiday pounds, I wasn't working, and well, I just felt like hiding away.  Let's face it: I'm in my thirties, I have two (awesome) children, and I've been married for eight years; do I even need to look pretty anymore!?!?  I say, YES!

I had bought myself a tube of true red lipstick from my beloved Chanel counter, and it sat in my "tackle-box" for weeks before I took it back out again.  Red lipstick is not for the faint of heart.  One afternoon, when I'd simply had enough, I called my hair stylist and she booked an appointment for me the following weekend.  She knew that she had a tough job ahead of her, so she booked me from two p.m. until close.  That's a lot of time.  One more week passed, and I wore my baggy sweats, my darkest shades, always a beanie, and I avoided public interaction as much as possible.  And then, Saturday arrived.

I walked in and told Kim, "Shave it all off, I honestly don't care.  I'm sick of it."  For the next five hours she worked her magic, as only someone that's been in the business for over 25 years can do.  I looked like a radio antenna with foils covering my head, and was relieved to finally...FINALLY....see a color that I loved.  Much like a psychiatrist, we talked about why I wanted to grow my hair out.  'Did I really?  Why?  Who likes it long? Not you?'  Turns out I DID want to chop it.

So, long story short, (not turned out quite long, didn't it!?) I have this new style that makes it fun to go out again.  Pair it with some Chanel Red lipstick, and I can't help choose something cute to wear over the ole' sweatpants.  Thank you Kim and Chanel!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Stuff that nightmares are made of:

Today the unthinkable happened: an event that I have literally had nightmares about for years.  Before I go into greater detail, let me explain a couple of things.  I genuinely believe that living simply is the only way to go through life.  "Things" do not sum up to happiness.  Now adding to the equation that I am human, I cannot help but fall prey to the occasional materialistic indulgence. In fact, my last blog entry was about a few of the items that I enjoy having in my everyday life.  With that said, I do make a conscious effort to focus on things like love, health, happiness and good will; and I try not to get overly concerned with material possessions.

About six years ago I was Christmas shopping, when low and behold, I found the perfect gift.....for myself.  I was at Urban Outfitters, (which is essentially The Goodwill but with crazy expensive price tags), when I spotted a coffee mug that I couldn't live without.  There was something about it.  What first caught my eye was the art that decorated the cup.  It looked just like the San Francisco skyline, but drawn in a way that looked like a sketch or a doodle.  Lots of pretty colors.  Very simple.  Unlike everything else in the store, the mug was marked at an affordable fourteen dollars.  Like I said, I had to have it.  It called my name and spoke to my heart.

In the seventy-three months that I've owned it, I can honestly say that I have used it nearly every day (with the exception of out-of-town trips).  That's almost 2,220 times.  Even if every other cup in the house was clean, and that one alone was dirty, I would make the effort to wash and dry it....because simply put, no other cup compared.  It was lightweight.  The diameter was just perfect.  The rim of the cup was not too thin, nor too thick.  I never got tired of looking at the drawing, and it often reminded me of the time I lived in SF.  I loved this stupid mug.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I've had recurring nightmares of this silly mug breaking.  Many, many times I have woken up in a panic.  I've even gone as far as to look for a "back-up" online for the inevitable day that it would break.

Today, as I sat in the living room with my son, I heard a crash and knew immediately what had happened.  You hear about twin siblings describe how they knew the moment something bad happened to their twin?  Today I  felt the same. (I just re-read that sentence, and I hang my head in embarrassment).  I knew that fateful crash was that of my beloved Julia Rothman mug.  I didn't even bother getting up.  My poor little six year-old daughter walked in, eyes filled with tears, and could barely make out the words, "Mama, I broke your favorite cup."  I was disappointed of course, but told her, "It's okay honey.  It's only a dish.  You didn't get hurt did you?"  After all, it was only a cup.  (A cup I'd give my left pinky toe to have back in one piece).

Today I lost a friend.  A constant companion.  My "blankie."  Why on earth did this silly little token mean so much to me!?!?  I feel like I live pretty simply on a daily basis, but today, I feel quite materialistic; and that's okay... I will allow myself to grieve.  :)  Rest in peace, my simplest pleasure.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Livin' in the 21st Century

Sometimes I wonder what it must have been like to live in the "olden days," when life was so much simpler.  When salt and pepper were considered a delicacy.  When you had to speak with the telephone operator to place a call; or better yet, communicate by telegram. When kids could play outside from dawn to dusk, without having to worry about "stranger danger."  I'm a big fan of simplicity, but honestly, it's doubtful I'd last a full day.  There are some products of the 20th and 21st century that give me the warm and fuzzies.  Here is a short list:

*Digital cameras, (and good old 35mm cameras too, for that matter).
*Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.  These things are made of pure magic, and are a godsend to parents of toddlers.
*Facebook.  (I'm beyond help at this point.  Straight up addicted).
*The Supermarket! I think it's pretty awesome that I can get everything I need to feed my family and clean my house in one store.  I do prefer to buy all of my fruits n' veggies at the local fruit stand, but everything stop shopping!
*The Debit Card.  How did people function without this?!?!  Not sure, just glad I don't have to.
*My iPhone... I flat out rejected cell phones until last month, when the Hubby bought me this ridiculous gadget. I didn't like the idea of people calling me whenever they felt like it.  I would misplace it for days at a time, occasionally even weeks, and it didn't bother me one bit.  However for the last month, my phone and I have been inseperable.  FB anytime?  Angry Birds?  Words With Friends?  Facetime!?!  Siri!  Brilliant!

Obviously, nothing on this list is a necessity. I would live a long and healthy life if any one of these things were taken away from me, but thankfully, trying that out isn't necessary!  What are a few of your favorite must-haves?  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hope is the thing with feathers

When I was sixteen I found a very old book of poetry that belonged to my great-grandmother, Doris Eklund.  She was also a published poet, and a very intriguing woman.  It was a quiet and rainy day, so I took the book into bed with me, and dove right in.  I think that this was the day that my love affair with poetry, literature, and collecting texts began.  It was a gift that my long-deceased great-grandmother Doris gave me; and one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.

This is the poem that started it all for me:

"Hope" is the thing with feathers --
That perches in the soul --
And sings the tune without the words --
And never stops -- at all --

And sweetest -- in the Gale -- is heard --
And sore must be the storm --
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm --

I've heard it in the chillest land --
And on the strangest Sea --
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb -- of Me.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fifth Grade Camp

After following a very, very long road, I was so excited to see this sign.

Old Dining Hall- home to our epic food fight.

The new dining hall- they hope to get funding to refurbish the original.

The stage where we performed our skits.

Where we sat around the campfire- so much smaller than I remember.

My Cabin.  The un-lucky #13.

As I dropped Haley off at school this morning, I couldn't help but notice the throngs of fifth graders huddled around the flagpole, with their sleeping bags at their feet. There was an obvious excitement in the air, but if you looked hard enough, you could also see the nervous tension beneath their little smiles. They were finally getting to go off to fifth grade camp, just as they had watched all of the other "big kids" do in the years before. The fact that it was thirty-two degrees outside likely did not phase them; but it definitely got me to thinking: how exciting that adventure was! First time away from home for more than a day or two. All of your friends are with you. The idea of "roughing it" for a week, meaning that Mom or Dad wasn't going to be there to bug you about taking a stupid shower.

I remember the morning we all squeezed into the auditorium. We brought our sleeping bags, a pillow, and a small duffle bag with all of the necessities (and likely not enough clean underwear). Ah, the taste of independence! Our mothers kissed us goodbye, swearing they didn't know what they'd do without us for five days; when in retrospect, it was probably the beginning of an ever-so-needed vacation for each of them. We all wore our handmade Camp Loma Mar sweatshirts, and sat excitedly next to our partner on those smelly and humid yellow buses. We stopped in the East Bay for a sack lunch, and marveled at the goofy Junipero Serra statue. Before finally arriving at camp, we got to run around Bean Hollow Beach in Pescadero (at least I think that was the beach after driving past it today).

I recall bits and pieces of that week. I was in cabin 13, which I was told was very bad luck. Someone had been killed in there before! Rumors spread about so-and-so, who wet their bed on the first night there. We sang Kumbaya around the campfire, and performed little skits with our cabin mates. We fell in love for the first time, with the dreamy Matt Fisher...remember him ladies?!? He couldn't have been more than sixteen years old, but at the time, he was a real man! We foraged for banana slugs, and ate handmade "hobo-bundles," (potatoes, carrots, and who knows what else)- wrapped in tin foil and cooked over the fire. We started a food fight in the dining hall.... and it was totally worth it. We visited the little store where we could buy granola bars, candy and postcards...if our parents were generous enough to send us with cash. The most awkward portion of camp......wait for it.......shower time. Oh, dread! We, ten year old girls, actually put on our swimsuits to go take showers. God forbid we see each other naked!!! The camp counselors had shed their girlish modesty years before, and all of us little prepubescent girls must have been quite the site: staring, with jaws dropped, at the real, live boobs. (I had already gotten my first training-bra at this point, but let's be honest, it was only because my mom felt bad for me).

All of these memories, hiding somewhere in the back of my mind for the last twenty years; set free as I dropped of my daughter at school today. I had an open schedule for the afternoon, and decided to drive up the coast with my camera. I found Camp Loma Mar, only thirty miles North; and as I walked along the dirt path toward the camp, it was pretty surreal. The old dining hall was still there, although closed. Cabin thirteen was the first cabin on the right, and I could see little sleeping bags through the rectangular windows. I walked through some of the old trees at Memorial Park, and I sat down for a minute on the wooden benches that surrounded the fire pit. It was so tiny! I remember it being so much larger! Little voices screamed with excitement in the background, and it made me think of all of my friends, many of whom I'm still friends with today; and how twenty years has gone by so very quickly. Haley will be going to fifth grade camp in four years....what a trip!

A silly little rant, I know; but it was pretty fun to relive such a fun memory from my childhood in such a tangible way. I have a suggestion for all of you class reunion planners....I say we get together up in the redwoods. Forget Bud's! Let's bring our tents, our Kumba-ya's, and make some hobo-bundles. Maybe even a case of Natty-Lights, just for old times sake. Agreed?

What do you remember from your fifth grade camp? Something you'd rather forget? Let's hear it! :)