I Sure Do Know How to Party On A Friday Night

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Surprise

There is nothing in the world more fun than a surprise package, in my humble opinion.

My mom went to Japan a few weeks ago and before she left I casually mentioned that if she happened to walk by any fabric stores, that they have the best fabric of all time in Japan and you can’t really get it here without paying through the nose.  And then I forgot all about it, until today, when a mystery box showed up on my front porch!

I am a very lucky girl, as you can see.

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TONS of fabric, the most adorable sweatshirt ever for Pants, AND chocolate.  Happy Friday to me.

Now I just have to think of something super special to make with my fancy new fabric.

Also, please enjoy this gratuitous photo of my baby, the first daffodil of the year which I grew myself!, and the most awesome jacket of all time, which I found at the thrift store with the 1987 Kmart tags still attached.  Hey, I only have a limited window of time to dress my children in goofy humiliating clothes from times past, I have to make the most of my opportunities.

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And yes, my child has a terrible baby mullet, but the thought of trying to have his hair cut makes me break out in a cold sweat, so I am pretending not to notice.

A Poem By Mr. E

Boy:
Why are you wide awake at 6:15 in the morning?
When even I don’t have to be up for another 30 minutes.
And god, let’s not even start with the weekends…
6:55 on a Saturday will break my spirit
Regardless of the strength of the coffee.
Prying open my eyelid with your fingers
and whispering “hi!” into it
Will not make up for
Those additional 3 hours of sleep I could’ve had.
Someday:
When you’re 15 or 16
I think I will have my revenge
And will sit on your bed
Early every weekend morning
Strumming an out of tune guitar
Or something equally annoying.
More likely, though,
I’ll let you sleep,
and think about when you were little
Whispering “hi”.
Whoa. Sorry for the maudlin tone at the end. Not sure where that came from (Queue up Cat’s in the Cradle, eh?).

A.T.R. (Ask the Readers)

Is this desk set up cute, or too little kiddley? I can’t decide.

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Please note, the red desk top wouldn’t be sitting ON the file cabinet in the official version – it would be on these IKEA legs, with the orange file cabinet shoved under it.  The rock is just holding the lid on.  Perk of being married to a geologist – lots of large rocks lying around.

The advantage of this set up is that it gets the orange file cabinet under the desk, instead where it is right now –  shoved up against the living room wall, where I’ll be honest, I don’t love it.   And I love the red desk top so this gives me a chance to use it.  And I feel like it’s way less boring and a lot more fun than what I have going on right now.

The disadvantages are that I already have a desk, which I would then have to unload on Craigslist.  It’s the Jay desk, from West Elm, and here’s what it looks like in my house.

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I’ve never loved it, to be honest, but if you think I’m out of my ever loving mind and it’s vastly superior to the orange file cabinet red desk top situation, let me know.  The orange file cabinet doesn’t fit next to or under the Jay desk, btw, so that’s not a solution, but this is the same place the orange/red desk would go in my house.

Oh, and if you hate both of them, maybe just keep that yourself.

Seeing Red

Good lard, is it ever going to stop raining?

I feel like an ass complaining about our weather here in sunny California because for the most of the year we have god’s own weather, and anyway, I don’t really mind rain, for all practical purposes, but the fact that it just KEEPS raining has gotten tres old, and even worse, it is preventing me from working on my projects! And I do so love a good project and being kept from them is just ticking me off.

The good news is that all the rain forced Mr. E out of his man coma and in the spaces in between American Idol and Family Guy he called the tree guy and the asian pear tree is gone! (Sorry, Maggie).  And now we have a new orange tree named Simone who has come to live with us instead.   I should note that I felt strongly that the orange tree was named Simon, but Mr. E informed me that, actually, our tree is a girl.  So Simone it is.  Also,  in case you were wondering, our lemon tree is named Donna.

We also put a rain chain up which is my new favorite thing ever, and Mr. E put up gutters all over the whole house.   For that he is officially my hero, and I think it is important to note here that he only made ONE joke about his mind being in/on the gutters and such willpower really should be applauded.  Although I hadn’t thought to look at Target when I went to scope out the Orla Kiely bits they had (not really my taste, sadly) I found some faux copper rain chains and into the cart those went.  Although I was conflicted about the faux copper situation, in the end I felt it was for the best,  because 1. they are $45 dollars each instead of $110 dollars each and and I am not made of money and 2. Although we live in a good neighborhood, it’s maybe not the BEST neighborhood of all time, and I felt it might be ill advised to hang a giant wad of copper in my front yard, as if to beckon “Steal Me” to every ne’er do well in the tri county area.

If it ever stops raining, Mr. E is going to do some fancy hoo ha over there on the side yard involving dirt and a rented roller and water and grading and fill dirt and pea gravel and cement tunnels and drilling and such.  I would say that my part of that project is going to be calling the dirt store and ordering a big pile of rocks, but we all know I’m totally not going to call the dirt store.  I will, however, be in charge of harrassing Mr. E day and night until HE calls the dirt store, so I think you’ll agree my contributions to the project will be invaluable.

So, if it ever stops raining.  I have window boxes to put up, and I’ve picked out a new lawnmower that come with a battery and can be folded up to fit into my tiny garage! I have all my paint ready, waiting to paint my blanket chest and the trim on the front of my house.  I need to find a bench and a cute little table for the side yard, and some kind of edging, to keep the gravel in, which has been way more annoying of a project than you might think.  I painted the valentine’s day birdhouse green, but I think I might repaint it blue. Aqua. Turquoise. Whatever.  I’m not sold on the green.  I have a shitload of bulbs to plant and it is my fondest desire that this summer marks the beginning of my reputation around these here parts as “that crazy dahlia lady.”

Once all of that gets done and I con Mr. E into letting me buy an overpriced and useless garden orb, then we can move on to the front door project.  Myintense desire for a new non sucky front door is tempered only by the knowledge that Mr. E is going to hate every minute of that project and you’ll be able to hear his endless wads of bitching from, like, SPACE.

IF it ever stops raining, I’m also going to tile my front steps, which are currently the most ugly cement grey ever.  Unfortunately you would think I had chosen to pave the damn things in diamonds –  I have been searching for terra cotta tile for weeks now and every time I ask a store employee if they carry terra cotta tile they just give me a confused look and a sad shake of the head.  Of course this morning as Eli and I ventured into a windstorm to eke out our Monday morning run, I passed a house that’s been totally demoed and is being restuccoed and they’re working on the steps which they are, of course, tiling in TERRA COTTA. THE TERRA COTTA TILES ARE HAUNTING ME.

And I totally would have asked them where they got them but no one was around.  And please don’t ask if I’ve called tile stores to inquire whether or not they have terra cotta tiles, of course I haven’t.  That would make way too much sense.  Instead I like to bitch about it to anyone who will listen and wander forlornly up and down the aisles of Lowe’s with a sad, weary sort of shuffle, hoping that some day, as if by magic, one of the most common building materials OF ALL TIME will appear magically before me in the building materials warehouse store which is filled with every builidng material one could imagine except FREAKING TERRA COTTA TILE.  Also, please note that if I wanted my front steps to look like the front steps of a whorehouse as designed by Carmela Soprana, Lowe’s would so be hooking me up right now.

So, to review. I’ve got a bad painting jones, and it won’t stop raining, and someday soon I hope to have a very cute side yard, and then I’ll show you all a picture of it, and in the meantime, I ain’t got no tile.

Personally Insulted By Broad Social Trends

Let’s talk a little bit about me, for a change.  (Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Ha.  I joke.)

I harbor an insanely deep rooted fear of shows of enthusiasm.   When people get all joiny and excited and name droppy and into new things, it makes me really really nervous.  Being part of a group stresses me out.  I feel better when I hate the things that other people love, and love the things that other people hate.  When people copy me, I take it personally, and not in a good way, because all of sudden more of us are doing the thing that only I was doing, just a minute ago.   And when it comes to trying something new, I’d really really rather you not know that I am doing something for the first time, whatever it is.  I always need to come off as capable and also totally unimpressed.

I don’t even know how to explain it, or why I am like this, but it’s not uncommon for me to lie my ass off, rather than admit that I’ve never done something before.  Maybe  because I am descended from a long line of unbelievably uptight wasps (God’s frozen people!) or maybe its because my pseudo Amish childhood left me constantly second guessing and trying to figure out what’s cool –  bound and determined to pretend that of course I’ve heard of Phish and I love that song too! (Truth: I couldn’t identify a Phish song for 1 Trillion Dollars) It’s partially because I really dislike things I’m not good at, new things, but also because enthusiasm itself strikes me as terribly embarrassing – when you are excited about something,  you’re making yourself so incredibly vulnerable.  Everyone will see that you care!  And that you don’t know what you’re doing!  And that you care!

I always answer “yes” if a waitress asks if I’ve been to the restaurant before.  I buy my coffee already ground so I don’t have to look stupid trying to figure out the coffee grinding machine at Trader Joes.  Mr. E and I once got in a terrible fight because a weird criminal incident happened right next to my house and he talked to the reporter that came to his car window and then told me to look for him on the news.  I told my best friend in fifth grade that my parents had already chosen my wedding dress for me.  I used to live in fear that someone would find out I’d never been to a concert before – when I finally did go to one, I never mentioned it was the first one I’d ever been to.  I never look at landmarks out an airplane window.  I won’t dance in public unless I’m waaay over the legal limit.

It took me until this year to realize that this is why I hate video games .  The thought of standing in front of other people while they watch me do something I’ve never done before gives me the bad squirrels.  The zombie kind.

I also harbor a deep rooted hatred of any kind of group activity – maybe it’s all those years of after school care, when I just wanted to be left alone and was instead forced to play with all the other kids – but party games and all that sort of business makes me itch.  A friend of mine once went to a wedding – it was held at a summer camp, and so the wedding itself had a camp theme – and the guests were forced to play summer camp sort of games including one where they had to pretend to be animals and then they had to repeat each other’s animal sounds while standing in a circle.  AND SHE WAS PREGNANT AND COULDN’T EVEN DRINK.  Can you imagine?  I’d simply have to walk away if something like that ever happened to me.  Or die on the spot, obviously.

Almost all  broad social trends give me hives, to tell you the truth.  It must be the combination of all these weird phobias of mine.  Regardless, this is just the most long winded way ever to tell you that no, no, and also no.

I am so so not going to join Facebook.

You Say It’s Your Birthday

To my dearest, darlingest, most fabulous son, my Eli.

Two years ago, today, we were meeting for the first time.

And now I have to admit something to you.  Way before you were even a twinkle in your father’s eye, a maybe, an idea, way waaaay back in the day, when your father and I decided to get married, I heard a lot of advice about what it’s like to really love someone.  To commit for all time.  And over and over, I heard that to really love someone means loving them because of their flaws, rather than in spite of them.  That to curse internally every time your partner squeezed the toothpaste incorrectly meant that you were making a mistake, and that you needed to look harder, to find someone whose toothpaste technique made your heart sing, I suppose.

I suspect those people, with all of their well intentioned advice, hadn’t been picking your father’s socks up off the bedroom floor every morning for ten years, but nevertheless, it made me a little nervous, because the truth is that I am not the type to love someone because of, rather than in spite of.  I am good at spotting flaws.  Not so good at letting them go.

And then you were born.

You are smart, and funny.  You don’t have a lot of words, but the ones you do have, you use with unabashed delight.  When we don’t understand you, when we don’t follow your orders immediately, you get louder and louder and louder, until you are yelling “DOWN!!!!” with all your tiny might, pointing, and screaming, and utterly astonished that we just aren’t getting it, so maybe you’ll just get LOUDER until we do.

You are stubborn, and willful.  You don’t like to sleep, but you love to snuggle.  You are passionate about trucks, and things that move, and you shriek with delight when you spot a train.  You love music, in any form, and you’ll bounce to piped in grocery store tunes or a car stereo blaring.  You’ll dance in the street to a rhythm banged out on a street light with a stick, or to the washing machine as it squeaks our clothes clean.

You’ve been you since the moment you were born.  You hated hats on day one, and you hate them now, and you’ve got a dresser drawer full of bear hats and cowboy hats and newsboy caps, and  they all go unworn.

You love the cat with a special kind of baby boy love, and your favorite christmas present this year was a picture of our friends cat, and you carried it around for days, kissing it and  hugging it, crumpled, in your arms.

You love to take all the pajamas out of your dresser drawer, but you never put them back.

You understand every single thing we say to you.

You love brushing your teeth more than anything else in the world, and you beg to do it all day long.

You sleep with a large stuffed turtle, but you hate blankets, and when you sleep between us, your dad and me, you kick off our blankets, all night long.

You love to go on walks, but only away.  You hate having to turn around and come home.

When you run, you throw your arms up in the air, and squeal, and twist down the street, loving running with everything you’ve got, not ever afraid you might trip and fall.

New things and new people make you nervous, but you always come around.

You love the refrigerator, and you often demand that we lift you up so you can stand inside it and point to things until you decide what you want to eat.  Often times it’s something you’ve rejected mere minutes before.

From the moment you were born, you’ve done things big. Gulped at life.  You would nurse at high intensity, as fast as you could, and then you were done.  Now you’ll grab your bottle, slam back great draughts of milk, or cram whole piles of noodles in your mouth, and then, just as quickly, shove them away.

You think farts are hilarious.  We call them toots in our house, so now you’ll announce “teet” with a little giggle whenever you can.

Your father taught you to say “zombie squirrel” yesterday, and now it’s one of your favorite things to say.

You love your dad like nothing I’ve ever seen.  It’s your goal in life to impress him, and for him you’ll pull out all the stops .  When you wake him up in the morning, you pop your little head up, pry open his eyelid, peer into his face, and brightly announce “HI!” over and over again until he says “Hi” back.

I know I complain a lot here, about sleepless nights and teething and how attached you are to us, about how you never leave me alone, about how sometimes the whining seeps into my brain and makes it impossible to think any thoughts beyond “please for the love of god make it stop” but really, I want you to know, and this isn’t just birthday melodrama.  I want you to know that to me, not in spite of it all, but because of it all – to me, you are absolutely perfect.

And someday maybe someone else will see these things, these fears or struggles you have, and they may want to tell you how to be better –  that you shouldn’t be afraid of change.  That you shouldn’t love so much or hold on so tightly.  That you shouldn’t give such wet kisses or yell so loudly.  Maybe you shouldn’t be so stubborn.  Maybe you shouldn’t  stay up all night long, dancing in the living room.

But I will always think these things about you are your best things, my favorite things,  the most wonderful things about you.  I know I complain, but when you don’t sleep? When you want another hug?  When you wake up at night and have to come snuggle next to me? The truth is, I don’t really mind.

My life has been changed forever because you are in it, and yet I cannot imagine it without you.  Every day I look down at you next to me and I think that you are exactly who you were meant to be, exactly who I always thought you were.   I wake you up in the morning and I am delighted to see your face, every single day.  And every minute that passes I think “oh, yes.  That’s who you are.  Of course it is!”

And I will love you until the end of time.

Happy Birthday.

Love, Mama