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Showing posts from October, 2008

Beautiful Game, Beautiful Girl

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We are a "wee bit" soccer mad in the house.

Rick coaches our two boys' teams, and Lola is on a team too. We go to three soccer games each Saturday. We have five practices per week. The boys -- meaning dad + sons -- play in an adults/kids pick-up game on Sunday evenings. Rick often takes the kids to various soccer clinics offered by our league. We watch lots of soccer on TV (international soccer being the one and only reason we have cable). I endure quite a bit of soccer in my living room.

We have an unfathomable amount of soccer cleats piled up in our garage. It looks like we could outfit Manchester United, if they all had small feet.

These kids got moves, man. Even Elizabeth and Tallulah move the ball around the house with their feet.

Lola is emerging as quite a little player, dazzling us with her step overs and her dribbling and her dancing with the ball. When we tell her she's got a game the next day, she makes fists of both her hands, pulls her elbows …

Note To Self

Tonight, as Vincenzo was doing his homework, he asked me if I would do it for him.

He was being funny.

So I said "Nope! But nice try, buddy," as I walked back into the kitchen and the dish-washing extravaganza that was my evening.

He hollered into the kitchen: "See, this is why I think parents should drink more beer."

Apparently, if I drink more beer, I will forget silly rules like do your own homework and will gleefully fill in the blanks and look up kangaroo rat in the index and read Chapter 5, Lesson 2.

Note to self: stay away from the children's homework when enjoying the drink.

May I Have Another?

Right now, I am enjoying a delicious, organic free trade banana ...

... from Peru.

Imagine the fossil fuel needed to get this banana into my kitchen. I'm pretty sure that cancels out the organic free trade deal.

Good God, this is a screwy world.

Pass the oil soaked bananas, please! I sure hope there are enough for everyone!

So Exciting

The election is only a week and a day away. This is the most exciting election I've ever paid attention to. This past weekend, we took the kids to a Bake Sale for Obama, held by a friend of ours in Berkeley. Spending a little money on yummy goodies for the kids was a very small act indeed, in the pantheon of political action, but in my crazy life it's about all I could manage.

And I must say, I am quite proud of us, and really do feel like we have done a little something to further the cause. The bake sale raised $350 for Obama -- maybe small potatoes, but potatoes nonetheless. And the thought of hundreds or thousands of people around the country doing the same? Goose-pimply, I say. Inspiring and goose-pimply.

I am excited and scared for the election: scared if he wins and scared if he loses, because the racism that exists in this country will not sleep through the next few weeks, and we know from experience that anything can happen. I'm excited, though, to stand up …

Now Where Did I Put My Xanthum Gum?

The take home message from a great evening with Michael Pollan: Use some freakin' common sense, people!

He’s a whole lot more eloquent than that. Here are a few of his “rules” for eating:
Don’t eat something that has more than five ingredients on the label, or whose ingredients cannot be pronounced by your fifth grader.Don’t eat anything that won’t rot.If a product has lots of health claims on the label, don’t buy it. (The claims or the product!)Don’t eat something your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.

Your grandmother didn’t have high fructose corn syrup in her pantry, or lecithin, or Xanthum Gum. She didn’t need to put Xanthum Gum on her grocery list in order to feed her family, and there was no HFCS in her bread.

If you’ve read Pollan’s book In Defense Of Food, you’ll remember that he related the story of how then Senator George McGovern tried, in 1977, to develop food guidelines that would address the growing public health concern over saturated fat. After a couple of…

Steve Martin: Source of Hope

Steve Martin was on Fresh Air today. I adore Steve Martin. I hated his humor when I was younger -- his goofy 70's stuff -- but now I appreciate it, and I adore everything he's done since his stand up days. The interview was about those days, because his autobiography called Born Standing Up, about that part of his career, just came out in paperback.

Although he was speaking about his 18 years of doing stand up comedy, and my life is anything but stand up funny, I still found a great source of hope in one thing he said: "One can have affection, it turns out, for the war years." Or something to that effect.

So in other words, I may someday look back in affection at the years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds I am spending wiping butts, cleaning spills, stepping on corn flakes, laundering socks, cooking for ingrates, soothing tears, brokering peace deals, shopping for groceries, answering questions, serving as a jungle gym, craving silence, hoping for …

Barefoot

I've already been pregnant several times, but tonight, I asked my husband to keep me barefoot.

I adore red wine. I can't sing its praises enough. I pray fervently that "In vino veritas" is true, because life is better with red wine, and if red wine = truth, then my life is both better and more truthful than it seems when I have no red wine trickling through my veins.

So thank you Rick, for keeping me in Barefoot. And thank you, Raley's, for putting Barefoot on sale.

A Squat With a View

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We took care of our favorite golden retriever this weekend. I was pregnant with Elizabeth when our own beloved golden girl went on to Dog Heaven (fire hydrants plentiful…tennis balls for the asking…humans on call to scratch a furry belly…no leashes…puppy paradise). Elizabeth adores the dog we are lucky enough to care for a few times a year, and is beside herself with excitement when Silka comes to stay; equally distraught when she leaves.

But she didn’t know until this last visit just how much there is to discover with a dog around.

We were all in the kitchen, living through the usual dinnertime mayhem. Rick and I were trying to make dinner while simultaneously shepherding folks through homework, changing poopy daughters, talking about business tasks, catching up on the day, and keeping sharp objects from the 2-year old. It was noisy and fun and not fun and exhausting and full.

Then Rick says, “Mon, look at Elizabeth.” I look down, and there she is, crouching right behind Silka, g…

Flower Power

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Thus concludes the 2008 Birthday Season. Thank you for coming.

Rockin'

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Proof that there's a little bit of Martha lurking in us all:


I made this cake for Samuel, for his 10th birthday party, which we celebrated today at the local pool. I took a big chance, having an October party at a swimming pool, but it worked excellently! First, the weather was great, and second, the rest of the world is on to other activities at this point in the Fall, and we had almost the entire place to ourselves.

He chose a Rock and Roll theme; in a few weeks, he is going to be Brian Setzer for Halloween. (Well, if I can find a blond pompadour wig, he is. Any suggestions? Send them my way.) Last week, he decided he wanted to give his friends a song book, filled with lyrics from some of his favorite songs. So he spent lots of this past week typing the lyrics on the computer. Play, listen, pause, type. Next line: Play, listen, pause, type. It took him a long time, but it was definitely a labor of love for him. He came up with some pretty creative lyrics, too! My favor…

Why Not?

Rick found an essay on the New York Times website tonight, by Verlyn Klinkenborg. (In much the same way I would like to be Nina Totenberg, Rick would like to be Verlyn Klinkenborg.) Klinkenborg is an essayist who writes about The Rural Life for the Op Ed page. He is thoughtful and observant.

The essay Rick found is from October of 2007, and it has gotten me thinking. I love writing this blog. I love having this outlet to write about funny things my kids do, or about days that would make me cry if I didn't find a way to laugh , or about ideas that percolate in my head.

Even though I love it so much, I recently stopped posting for almost three weeks. This was a particularly stressful time for us, with work and school and work and soccer and work and feeding people taking up most of our time and energy. But other weeks have been as full, and I've still managed to post. So why the break?

Well, I think it has something to do with Politeness and Authority. In this essay, Klinkenborg ex…

How Sad

The highlight of my day was this:

Driving to the store to buy coffee. It's the only thing I bought, and I was gone for about 20 minutes.

I was by myself. It was quiet. It was a little slice of heaven.

How sad.

Crime and Shoelaces

I don’t even know how to begin to process this day.

Let me start by saying that the reason women should stay home and not work outside the home is that kids need shoelaces in their shoes and someone to comfort them when they are traumatized. And I really needed to be that person today. Yes, daddies can re-lace shoes and provide comfort, but what if I want to be the one who does that? After all, I got to carry them around for nine months (OK, more like 45 months, plus another month for their combined lateness) and I got to bring them forth into this world…and I AM THE MOMMY.

There is an episode of Mad About You that takes place right before Jamie gives birth. She and Paul are arguing about who is going to do what after the baby is born, and she basically has this moment of realization where she says, and then says repeatedly as it starts to sink in: “I’m the mommy!” She travels the spectrum from indignation to trepidation to abject fear, as the full scope of those three words sink…

Hide and Seek, Revisited

Today has been a looooooooooooong afternoon at home. Rick and I went into cleaning frenzy mode this morning, and then he had to leave for a meeting and had to take the van to drive other people as well. Which left me here with my offspring and no vehicle. It's been great! They watched a Star Wars movie, they drew and colored for a long while, and then a raucous game of Hide and Seek ensued.

Lola got bonked -- hard -- right before her turn to be the seeker, reducing her to tears and almost causing her to quit in 6-year old frustration. To make her feel better, Vincenzo told her that he would leave a clue near where he was hiding: he would hang up his stuffed monkey close by. He is the best hider of the bunch and is always the last to be found. So pretty soon, the three players were running around looking for him together.

Imagine listening to your tribe of children running through the house shouting: "LOOK FOR THE HUNG MONKEY! LOOK FOR THE HUNG MONKEY!"

These are …

A Milestone Event

10 years. He's been in my life for 10 years. I've been a mother for a decade. Happy Birthday to my absolutely wonderful and amazing son Samuel. When he arrived on the scene, I hadn't a clue in the world what I was doing: he has taught me everything I know about being a mother.

His laughter lights up a room. His questions fire up my imagination and my thoughtfulness. His love of music has rekindled my own. His love of books reminds me of myself at 10 years old. His legs and feet have a way of catching on the smallest item imaginable, and dumping him in a clunky heap on the floor. His sensitivity is a constant reminder to me that all children hear, see, and absorb what happens around them. His love for his baby sister is palpable. His disgust at his other sisters is almost as equally palpable. His tenacity rivals only that of his father's. Actually, he might have his dad beat on that front. His highs and lows bring me right along with him, for every elated…