Thursday, February 6, 2014

Danger In The Overly Ambitious Kitchen

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not one to shy away from a great recipe just because it’s complicated. Or impractical. Or irresponsibly expensive. If I’m in the mood for something new, I enjoy the challenge of preparing it almost more than I enjoy dabbing my lips with my napkin at the end of dinner, declaring the effort worthwhile or not-so-much.

Let’s talk risotto. It’s rice. It’s yummy rice, but it is JUST. RICE. I love it, it’s delicious, but two things have eluded me about it when I've ordered it in restaurants:

1. How can this ever be served as a main dish?
2. Why is a bowl of rice so stupid expensive? I've heard it takes a while but that never worries me.

I have been enlightened.

Yesterday while grocery shopping, I decided some pan seared sea scallops, wild mushroom risotto and a chop salad would be just the thing. I've only ever made wild mushroom risotto from the box at Trader Joe's, (I was not at Trader Joe's) but I thought it could be fairly easily done from scratch and googled the ingredients on my phone while at the store. (Had I paid attention to the preparation instructions, I would have scratched entire thing and saved myself a whole lot of trouble and a maybe a few body parts.)

First, a box of wild mushroom risotto at TJ’s will set you back about $2.50. The ingredients for the real thing will run you approximately the price of your first car. Five different varieties of wild mushrooms, along with the dehydrated porcinis, and the Arborio rice cost about $40. No, I’m not kidding. This was a Tuesday night dinner for four, mind you. Not freaking Christmas.

I got home at about 6:30pm with my HUGE haul of groceries, thinking Rice dish: 20 minutes. Salad: 5 minutes. Scallops: 10 minutes. Dinner on the table a little late…like 7:00 or 7:15, give or take.
[Side bar here on the grocery trip. I spent about $500 on Tuesday just because we were out of absolutely everything and I bought a few big ticket items. I, at the tender age of 43, was given, not offered, GIVEN, the 55 and over discount. What the #@%$!!! I Licked my wounds all the way home to my risotto prep hell.]

Okay, back to my kitchen. To my dismay, I read the directions for the risotto. Again, had I read them all the way through I’d have realized the error of my ways, but not I. I began dinner with a happy heart, coating my skillet with olive oil and smashed garlic, chopping a million dollars’ worth of wild mushrooms and re-constituting the dried ones.
I got out my emulsion blender to make the porcini paste, which looks a lot like cat poop.


It’s reconstituted porcine mushrooms, pureed with a little of the warm mushroom broth it creates. Smells like mushroom heaven but it really isn't pretty to look at.

It’s pretty thick and gooey, and is to be set aside for later, because you see…after you add the 2 cups of white wine to the Arborio and let it absorb (20 minutes), you add just enough chicken stock to cover it again, and let it absorb. You do this FOUR FREAKING TIMES! Do the math, because I clearly didn't’.

Had I a brain, I’d have scrapped the project and sent my husband out for pizza. But no.
So, as I said, the mushroom puree was pretty thick and gooey. I took the emulsion blender out of the bowl, and using my index finger, I scooped the gummed up mixture away from the blade. However, I failed to take my OTHER hand off the handle. What’s on the handle, boys and girls? You got it. The pulse switch. Here’s what happened:


Yeah. Sliced right through that puppy. Nothing gets my low-key husband moving faster than a yelp from the kitchen. He came barreling in there, grabbed my hand and stuck it under the faucet, asking me how bad it was. (His eyes were squinted shut – by now you've guessed this wasn't the first yelp he’s heard from this part of the house.) At this point, I was anxious about time and apologizing to my kids who patiently waited an hour between each “When is dinner going to be ready?” I wrapped a paper towel around my mutilated digit, found some packing tape in the junk drawer and continued onward.

Dinner was at 9:30pm. Not 7-ish. THREE HOURS it took to make this simple feast. Of course it was amazing because we were all starved half to death and dog food tastes good when you’re that hungry. Here is the finished product.



Can’t really see the risotto, can you. Nope.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dog Day Winters and The Evil Carwash


This time of year there are so many things about living in Southern California that I miss.  South Coast Plaza, the Christmas tree lighting in Laguna…Vitamin D. Sigh.  Thank goodness at least one of those things comes in a bottle.  Anyway, this past week we had a brief snow storm that coated my island world in the Pacific Northwest in a thin, pretty layer of white one day, and swept it away in a smear of schmutz and mud puddles the next.  It dawned on me then what thing I miss the very most: a full service car wash.

Full service car washes simply do not exist in Washington.  From my very first car (Used Nissan Pulsar T-Top: hot 80’s teenager car) to my last vehicle purchased in California (New 2001 Dodge Durango: Mom car), I had grown accustomed to taking my dirty car to any of the dozens of car washes in the vicinity where I simply had to pull up and a hive of hard working employees would rush out to vacuum my vehicle, throw out the trash, scrub and shine and Armor All, and then stand enthusiastically spinning a towel over his or her head to signify completion after I had spent the past 15 minutes or so browsing the car wash’s cute curio shop or getting a latte.

Okay, one time in college that backfired, because I had left my undergarments in the car after changing into a bathing suit at the beach. I returned to the car to find my bra hanging from the rear view mirror and my underwear wrapped around the gearshift. Perverts. Anyway, what we’ve got here in Washington is just the drive through carwash. If you go to a really nice one, they’ll have human being there to give your car a little pre-scrub before you go in, but that’s the end of their interaction with your vehicle. If you’re REALLY lucky, there will be self-service, coin operated vacuum station with vacuums that actually work.

So, Tuesday I finally got myself into town to do some grocery shopping and decided to take advantage of the brief break in the weather to drive through one of the car washes.  My car was looking like I had been living in it.  Anyway, my dog, Odin, does NOT like driving through the car wash.  In fact, he usually ends up in my lap whimpering and clawing at the door and he’s close to 70 pounds.  Well, he’s a year old and Tuesday was no different.

I got to the car wash and rolled down my dirty window and smiled at the attendant, “I’m so glad you’re open!” I beamed.  He smiled artificially and said, “Oh, I am too!” imitating my enthusiasm. Jerk.  Anyway, he directed me onto the carwash rails and gave the Subaru Outback a little scrubby-scrubby before the monster powered on and started spinning its soapy tentacles.  I put the car in neutral and took my foot of the break as directed, and the car lurched forward being pulled into the mouth of the beast slowly by the tracks.  True to form, Odin started whimpering and getting antsy.  I reached my right arm into the back seat as he tried to make his way up into the front seat. “No, buddy, you stay there, it’s going to be fine…” I soothed.  He began flopping his big paw onto the car door on the right side, whining to get out. “It’s okay, it’s fine Odin”, I cooed. Scratch, whimper, whine.  Big, scary, soapy tentacles spinning and plopping on the roof and sides of the car leaving us in a dish sink submarine world.  I turned forward just in time to miss Odin flopping his big paw on the window button…which rolled it down.  In the car wash.  Odin’s whining was getting more insistent and I turned around to see him rolling down the window, soap and water pouring to the car and him REALLY starting to panic.

“Oh my gosh, Odin, NO!” I turned and twisted, throwing myself into the back seat to save my dog from drowning, and the upholstery from certain ruin.  Soap and water were spewing into the car, into my eyes and hair, and just as I felt the tips of my fingers contact the window button…just a little bit further… my left thigh hit the steering wheel and launched the car off the tracks sideways.

Half on and half off the tracks, the car made a horrible grinding sound as the track continued to roll beneath it sideways. Odin had COMPLETELY lost it and jumped over my back into the front seat while I desperately tried to close the window while wiping colored soap out of my face and spitting it out of my mouth.
I heard the buzzer go off, saw the siren lights flashing and octopus appendages go flaccid, and jumped out of my skin as jerk-boy began pounding on my window. "You wanna wash your dog, take him to a groomer!" He shouted through the soapy glass.


I’m sure I made their day.  And I will never. EVER. Take my dog into a car wash again unless I’m feeding him an In N’ Out burger while we watch someone ELSE wash it in the sunshine in San Clemente.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tales From the Laundry Pile


I know that I am being highly uncreative by posting a blog about something as mundane as laundry. Everyone has to deal with laundry in some way, shape, or form...even if you have household staff you still have to interact with your dirty clothes before they are whisked off to be laundered and pressed and re-hung. Sigh. I dream not of yachts and champagne...I dream of someone else doing my laundry.

This picture is of my laundry room today. Does ANYONE have a laundry room that looks like this? Mind you, this is not after weeks or even days of neglecting the heinous chore. This is after folding and putting away five loads yesterday, and this is with one load in the washer, one in the dryer, and one in a clean pile on my dining room table.

This is so wrong. The worst part that I discovered after the weather turned cold, is that said laundry pile is sitting on top of a heater vent which sent wafts of heated soccer clothes, dirty socks and swim suit schmutz throughout the house the first time it kicked on. Nice.

When my friend had a baby two years ago she must have said 10 times. "I have to do laundry...everyday!" I tried to look impressed or sympathetic, but really I just wanted to bury her in the dishtowels and jeans and wet towels that plague my life.

Sigh. Okay, I'm going to go fold the load on my dining room table and make dinner. I'm starting to wonder if going naked would really be that big of a problem.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grace Notes


I never know just how long I can commit to blogging. It was such a joy and outlet for me for many years, then my world crumbled in and I hurt a whole lot of people. It was very public, and it was very awful...and I haven't wanted anyone I hurt to read me being all cheerful and light...for them to think for one moment that I didn't take breadth and scope of my actions seriously.

It's been more than two years. I've done all I can, and I am moving forward with joy and a deepened sense of awe of God and His mercy. It's been a long and painful journey, and there is so much of life to be enjoyed beyond our failures, and the failures of others.

I look forward to the days ahead: sharing humor, irony, stories....and grace.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Oh My Jonas!


Okay, so last night I endured a Jonas Brother’s Concert because I love my daughter. What other POSSIBLE reason would a sensible adult pay money to be tortured with sights and sounds likened only to adolescent bats in skinny jeans? I ask you.

I picked up my daughter and two of her friends at school yesterday where they were busy making t-shirts declaring their undying devotion to each band member (one for each band member…you know, so there’s no competition.) We gleefully headed to Everett in a torrential downpour listening to the wonder boys blaring from the stereo. I finally said, “Hey girls, since we’re going to be seeing the magic trio in just a few short hours, do you think we could listen to something else?” I’m not sure if the Juno Soundtrack was much better, but that’s beside the point.

As we drove past the Comcast Arena we saw hundreds of LITTLE girls all dressed up; many, many of them in matching t-shirts or entire outfits as their friends. Amy rolled down her window as we passed to shout, “I LOVE NICK JONAS!!!” out the window….then the window would not. Roll. Up. It was pouring down rain, and I was looking at leaving a BORROWED car (mine is currently waiting for a new front end after my OTHER teenager wrecked it last week. Much longer, sadder, story for another day) full of teenager crap and a new car stereo in a parking lot in Everett? I think not.

So I pulled into a gas station where Amy and I struggled to get the window back up, with no luck. In the back seat her friends were saying things like, “Oh my gosh, it still totally hasn’t hit me that we’re going to see THEM in like, two hours!” We watched as an adult with Downs Syndrome called 911 from a payphone, and the gas station parking lot filled with emergency vehicles….like big ones. The window was not budging, and I was starting to get really nervous. Just then, a sort of rough looking guy in a baseball cap walks out of the mini-mart with a bag of chips and asks if we need help.

“Yes!” I say with relief evident in my voice. (The fact that the parking lot was full of people with badges and shiny vehicles with lights flashing added some measure of comfort that he wasn’t going to carjack us.) He came over and tried to help, but the window wasn’t going anywhere. He said, “Do you see that car dealership across the street? That’s where I work. Drive over there, I have some tools and maybe we can get this at least rolled up so you can lock it.” Amy and I both beamed “Oh, thank you!” at the same time.

I drove across the busy intersection, while he walked across and directed me to park on the sidewalk behind a mini-van. He was beside us in flash with tools and went to work dismantling the door and said, “If you hear things start breaking and popping, it’s because they are.” Great. He then looked up and said, “What do you call a black guy who flies a plane?” I held my breath in horror at his response, and he said, “A PILOT, you racist! HAHAHAHAHA!! I love telling that one to parents in front of their kids just to watch their faces to see what I’m going to say!” Oh, geez.

This man spent over 30 minutes in the pouring rain trying everything to fix the window for us. He took apart the motor to release the window (which still left about a 4 inch gap, but better than all the way down), jammed a stick of wood into the panel to keep the window up, gave me all of the spare screws for my mechanic to deal with and tipped his hat. I scrambled across the seat to try to give him some money, and he said, “No way!” and walked away. I rolled down my own window and craned my head out to say, “Are you sure? We really can’t thank you enough!” He just waved as he walked away and said, “Pay it forward!”

Kind of makes you want to cry.

Suddenly a night in arena filled with 8 – 14 year old screaming girls didn’t seem so ominous. The warm fuzzies carried me ALMOST all the way through the concert (although I did want to strangle the 9 year old in the box above us that was screaming and weeping the whole time….in my EAR.) I even skipped the parent lounge (yes, there was a parent lounge at this concert) to stand there and grimace, I mean smile, trying not to make it obvious that my fingers are in my ears.

I’m still thinking about that nice man. If you’re ever in Everett at a car dealership on Rucker Avenue, stop in and buy a car from him, would you? I hope someone does today, it felt so good to experience the kindness of a stranger and he's got a lot of good karma coming his way.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Crying Out

To everyone who's lost someone they love
long before it was their time.
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye.
And to all of the people with burdens and pains
keeping you back from your life.
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one who can make it right.

There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary,and love for the broken hearts.
There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing, He'll meet you wherever you are.
Cry out to Jesus.

For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on,
They lost all of their faith in love
and they've done all they can to make it right again still it's not enough.

For the ones who can't break the addictions and chains
you try to give up but you come back again.
Just remember that you're not alone in your shame and your suffering.

There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary, and love for the broken hearts.
There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are.
Cry out to Jesus.

When you're lonely and it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus

To the widow who suffers from being alone,
Wiping the tears from her eyes.
For the children around the world without a home, say a prayer tonight.

There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary,and love for the broken hearts.
There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing
that meets you wherever you are.

Cry out to Jesus.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Icky Friends



This week, my friend Katelyn and her family came over to make Green Curry Muscles. Katelyn and I were in the middle of de-bearding, and hacking the barnacles off of the 100+ muscles that I had gathered on the beach the day before when a sea worm wiggled its way off of a muscle and into the sink. That is so nasty. We encountered other little creatures while cleaning and I was seriously getting the heebies. I don’t get squeamish very easily, but something about little sea creatures that I can’t recognize makes the hair on my arms stand up on end! Anyway, it occurred to Katelyn that we are ‘Icky Friends’. And it’s TRUE! One of the first things we did together was clean clams and geoducks in HER sink, a few years ago encountering little crabs and handling these long, penile looking valves and lots of sand. Then we had an ‘icky date’, where I plucked her eyebrows and she candled my ears.…..we’re Icky Friends, and we’ve decided that that is the best kind to have.


If you have friends around whom you can never have a bad mood, never be sad, or never be caught in your pajamas with coffee breath….than those are nice people, but real friends are icky.
Just as that scary muscle cleaning turned into a FABULOUS bottomless bowl of green curry muscles and a house full of people, food, kids and wine on a fortuitous whim, friends that you can be icky with often provide unending joy and allow you to be human.
On Friday, we had about 27 plus people over… it wasn’t planned. I had planned on making breaded braised pork chops and gorgonzola rice…and then it grew. People brought food and wine, and we combined efforts and fed everyone. We had a fire in the firepit outside, and there were kids running everywhere…down to the beach, in the playroom, riding bikes… and I wondered that of all the women that were there, were there any that would turn tail and run if I had a bad day?


So, last week I had read a blog that I visit occasionally called Daughter of Opinion, where she laid down a challenge for all bloggers who post pretty, posed and flattering pictures on their site to post a “Rise and Shine” photo taken first thing in the morning. I’m thinking, NO WAY. Part of the joy of blogging is that no one gets to see anything you don’t want them to. The author of this blog says, “…so many of us are striving for some ridiculous and unattainable idea of perfection which ultimately leaves us in a perpetual state of disappointment.” Then this morning, a friend of mine posted her picture (of course she’s beautiful even half awake), and it occurred me to accept the challenge that 20 or more people have accepted and share the icky. So here you go… a picture of me, right now, no makeup, no contacts, big frizzy bed hair and coffee breath. And I’m throwing down the challenge to you, too….lets have the icky.
Here are few who have accepted Jessica’s Challenge:

Daughter of Opinion
21st Century Mom
Hilly
Karl
TSM
Jo
Runner Susan
Citizen of the Month
Blogography
A Little Lame
Run Jen Run
Americans In Singapore
View from the Cloud
Everyone Loves and Underdog
Roberta's Voice
Keeping Pace


I have crappy skin. It’s partially my fault, and partially the fault of my ancestry, but there you have it. Once a creamy skinned child with a sprinkling of freckles, I burned and burned and burned in the Southern California sun…once I even had blisters all over my back and shoulders. Do you remember what “sunscreen” was like in the 70’s? It was Coppertone mayonnaise. I wasn’t even trying to tan back then…in fact Kristy Swanson was in my 5th grade class and ridiculed me in front of all of our friends, “Nice TAN, Lisa.” (I never like that Kristy.) I was a pink girl with white stripes most of my childhood. Then in Jr. High we moved to New Mexico, where I got my first set of blisters on my face from skiing. I never had acne, but I had blisters that made me look like the Swamp Thing.


In 9th grade, we moved back to Mission Viejo, where I was determined to re-claim my California girl identity, and began laying out at lunch, after school, and on weekends. Going to the beach every weekend if possible, and wearing smaller and smaller bathing suits. My mother told me that the sun ages you. She said people think it will never happen to them….and voila! One day your face looks like a leather road map that has been crumpled in your pocket, smoothed out, and smeared with make-up.


I’m 36….and I think I look older. It doesn’t help that my olive skinned husband is three years younger than me…(but at least he’s going grey so I won’t look too much like his grandmother!) And I have been a skin care FREAK ever since I turned 24 and saw the first signs of sun damage. (I can’t say ‘24’ and ‘aging’ in the same sentence. I’ll gag.)


I started with Clinique in high school, then went to Mary Kay in my early 20’s and eventually even sold it for a while because I was so happy with the results. I was 24, of course I was happy with the results! As I progressed in career and paycheck size, I moved to Lancôme and stayed a loyal customer for years thinking that somehow hemorrhaging money would save my skin. After spending over $100 on a 1.5 oz. jar of Absolue and not seeing ANY difference, I began a quest. I have tried lots and lots of different products. Some products that were stupid expensive , and some that were all organic and mailed to my home on a schedule. Honestly, after hanging out too long in the singles bars of skin care, I think I found it….and it’s CHEAP.
I was grocery shopping about a month ago, cruising past the cosmetics and thinking I needed some moisturizer to tide me over until I could find a new system, and I saw a display for a new skincare line by Garnier Nutritioniste . The pretty spring green display caught my eye. “Ooooh, pretty!” I took a look, and saw that I could buy the Anti-Wrinkle cleanser baby-wipe looking things, the Anti-Wrinkle Firming Night Cream, the Anti-Wrinkle firming Day serum with SPF15, and the Regeneration mico-polish scrub for about the same price as one SMALL bottle of Lancôme cleanser. I threw all the pretty green bottles that my cart would carry to the register, and I love it, love it, love it.


Yes, I’m a skin-care ho. But I’m telling you, if cost is an issue and you actually want to see your crappy, sun-damaged skin improve….you may want to give it a try. If you don’t have crappy, sun-damaged skin, well then….now I don't like you OR Kristi Swanson.

Run, Forest, Run! - April 17, 2007





I have said many times that I REALLY don’t like to run. I mean, I like the idea of it, and the great technical fiber clothes, and the impressed look people get on their faces when I say, “Yeah, we ‘ran’ 15 miles last weekend.” But I don’t love it, and I walk as soon as my body says to walk.
But I can run when chased.



Last weekend our family went out to Lopez Island to visit my mothers-in-law and hear all about their trip to Italy. *Sigh*. I want to go to Italy. Anyway, Saturday I was supposed to run 3 miles and Amy said she would go with me. So we suited up, and got in the car to clock the mileage on the odometer (God knows I didn’t want to run any further than necessary!). The driveway at their house alone is ½ mile, so we just headed down the street toward their poor next door neighbor, Paul Allen. Turns out that from my moms’ front door to Paul Allen’s guarded gate is exactly 1.5 miles. We’ll just do a turnaround - perfect!



So Amy and I drove back to the house, grabbed our water bottles and went for it. We walked most of the driveway to warm up, and then broke into a slow but steady pace. Lopez Island has got to be one of the most beautiful places on this earth. We talked, and giggled and made fun of ourselves all the way down to the spit that heads up to THE GATE. There are cameras EVERYWHERE on that little piece of land (it’s only 300+ acres), and though we couldn’t see them (except for the big ones on the gate), we knew they were watching.
Amy is the MySpace queen, and never leaves home without a camera in her hand or her pocket so naturally, she started snapping pictures. She took some fun ones of us, then no sooner had she snapped the shutter on a view of Paul Allen’s indoor pool building, a white van came out of nowhere at top speed toward the gate.



Oops. I guess passing the ‘No Trespassing’ sign on the spit was a bad idea. So we turned around (it was time to anyway) and ran like pranksters who have been caught TP-ing the neighbors. When we looked behind us we saw the white van turn around and head back to wherever it came from like a schnauzer that has chased away the mail man.
Well, the good news is, we did the 3 miles in under 30 minutes - the bad news is that my 13 year old and I probably have our faces on the cover of Scary Stalkers of Microsoft Co-Founders Magazine.

The Little Black Dress Delusion


I just read a blog where this woman made a list of all the things she thought she’d be doing at 36. I am still trying not to pee my pants, because it is so funny! Here’s a sample:
· Attending Tupperware parties and bringing home leftover deviled eggs.
· Driving a station wagon. The original beacon for Yes, I Have Stretch Marks.
· Having a martini at 5pm every day. (Oh wait…got that one nailed.)
· Perfecting my skill at using spray starch when ironing. Sadly, I have not a clue.
· Slowing down in the drug store aisle to casually and nonchalantly find out the age I should be to begin taking Geritol.


Read more HERE.


Anyway, it cracked me up because I think we all see ourselves just a bit differently than others see us. Where did the time go? I have these moments where I really forget that I AM 36 years old. That’s the south side of 40, folks, and that is NOT youth no matter how well you can fit into clothes from Wet Seal.


For instance, last weekend I was in the L.A. area visiting my BFF Rosanna, and we went to a club. We sat in her enormous Southern California kitchen in her McMansion sipping martinis and sampling appetizers from Trader Joes before going out for the evening. We were dressed in our little black dresses (okay, for the record, Rosie is still under 30 so she is ALLOWED to wear hoochie momma clothes.) We were in the club dancing, have a nice time just like the old days, and we went over to the bar to order a drink. ON the bar (this was a nice, dress code enforced place ~ not a strip club) was a woman wearing almost nothing except go-go boots with the most perfect (mostly exposed) ass I have ever seen. I mean, not a dimple, not a stretch mark, not a single blemish on her perfect tiny little self and I found myself wanting to push her off the bar and say, “Don’t stand on the furniture! You know better!”

Good Morning, Running Shoes...The Earth Says Hello! - April 8, 2007

Today was my first run of Marathon Training season. My friend Julie and I were IMing each other last week and I asked her if she had run today. She said, “Yes. You?” (IM chats with Julie are very short) I said “No! I don’t have to start until Saturday…why would I run before then? Sheeesh!”

That’s pretty much been my attitude all Winter long, and man, has my body paid for it. Aside from the obvious weight gain, I have felt sluggish, depressed….blah blah blah.

So today was the day. There are three Marathons coming up in October that I can choose from, and I’m actually pretty excited about it….even if I do have to start from scratch again.

I set up the first run today with six other island ladies to be a 2.6 mile time trial….I was the only one that showed. So what if it’s Easter, Spring Break, and Island Road-Side Clean-Up day? Come ON, where are their priorities!! Just kidding. Anyway, I dusted off my running shoes and showed up at the designated meeting place at 8:00am as planned. I got a little excited as I began to lumber slowly down the road…it was a beautiful morning with the mountain and ocean on my right and the woods on my left and the island was just waking up. I saw a local farmer putting his eggs in to a cooler by the side of the road for locals to purchase on the ‘honor’ system, and an older man sitting on the porch of his cabin in a flannel shirt drinking coffee and watching his dog.

I did forget music, however, but no matter. It was a very short run (35 minutes) and the birds and voices of passers by saying ‘good morning!’ provided all the music I needed.

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Symmetrical - April 5, 2007


Everyone knows not to judge a book by its cover, but we can't help it; we do just that, day in and day out, consciously and subconsciously. We often rate others on the basis of their appearance and compare our own looks with the enhanced images of beautiful women and handsome we find online and magazines.

Beauty not only sells -- it pays off. Beautiful babies get more attention from parents and teachers. Good-looking guys get more dates than average ones. Pretty women get out of traffic tickets and into exclusive clubs. The list of pluses for being one of the "beautiful people" goes on and on.

So what makes a person attractive? Don't bother looking in the mirror; just get out a measuring tape. (It’s not what you’re thinking…read on.)

Last week when I was in California with my friend Julie, I had a conversation with her oldest son Dylan, in which he told me that he learned that people’s perception of beauty was based on symmetry. Now, Dylan is an actor, and a perfectly gorgeous, perfectly built one at that – so I’m taking this on the advice of an expert. I thoughtfully murmured to myself, ‘I think I’m symmetrical’…. Thinking of course, about my nose, my arms, etc….not on the fact that my boobs used to be so huge and un-even that I had to have surgery to minimize their effect on my neck and back. The perky, even, ta-ta's that I now possess are just a side benefit. Riiiiiiiight – at least that’s what my insurance company seems to believe, because they paid for it. I digress.
But think about it ~ nature confirms that beauty is simply balance: The more symmetrical a face, the more appealing it appears. (Dylan says his nose is crooked. If it is, I certainly didn’t notice ~ as I said, he’s a hunk.) Evidently, physical symmetry is subconsciously perceived as a reflection of a person's youth, fertility, health and strength. And although symmetry might not be a bona fide health certificate these days, it has been a marker of good health and genes throughout human evolution.

There is a book called "Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty", by Nancy Etcoff. She says "Our sensitivity to beauty is hard-wired -- that is, governed by circuits in the brain shaped by natural selection," also, "We love to look at smooth skin, shiny hair, curved waists and symmetrical bodies because, over the course of evolution, people who noticed these signals and desired their possessors had more reproductive success. We're their descendants."
Symmetry also is sexy. I just found this:

“In a study by biology professor Thornhill and University of New Mexico psychology professor Steven Gangestad, hundreds of college-age women and men were measured (including their ears, feet, ankles, hands and elbows). Questionnaires revealed that men who were more symmetrical started having sex three to four years earlier and had more sex partners than their asymmetrical counterparts.”

Right. I’m sure personality had nothing to do with it. Like we’re just going to throw ourselves at a guy because his arms are the same length. Whatever. And geez, who’d they query on this – Wilt Chamberlain? (Sidenote: Both of my parents went to UNM, and while they are both beautiful people, I soooo don't want to know if they were involved in that study.)
Symmetrical people smell better, too. Thornhill and Gangestad found that women prefer the scent of symmetrical men, and vice versa. So much for Old Spice and Chanel No. 5. This is getting more and more lame. Symmetrical or not, a guy is not smelling good after a run, a bike ride, or day in the yard. Period. Although, I must sheepishly admit that when Jason is sweaty I get all twittery...but we knew I was kind of a whack.

Okay, you guys have all seen or read the Da Vinci code, right? And all the boys and girls are now familiar with the Fibonacci Code, yes? (Also referred to at the ‘golden ratio’.) Well, some people actually make a living researching attractiveness. (Doing that while hanging out at the Bungalow doesn’t count) Stephen Marquardt, a retired California plastic surgeon who researches attractiveness, has moved from beauty's medical side to its mathematical side. He notes that a certain ratio has been found to recur in beautiful things both natural (flowers, pine cones, seashells) and man-made (the Parthenon, Mozart's music, da Vinci's paintings). This "golden ratio" is 1:1.618, with the number rounded to 1.618 known as "phi."

Using phi as his guide, Marquardt designed a mask that applies the golden ratio to the face. For example, the ideal ratio between the width of the nose and the width of the mouth is -- you guessed it -- 1:1.618. The closer a face fits the mask, he finds, the more attractive the face is perceived to be. "Even average-looking people fit the mask, just not as closely as really attractive people," he says. "A lot of this is biology. It's necessary for us to recognize our species. Humans are visually oriented, and the mask screams, 'Human!' "

Okay, Marquardt needs to get himself a life. You can check his Web site, though. It shows the mask on hotties throughout the centuries from Queen Nefertiti to Marilyn Monroe (it works on all ethnicities, with slight variations). There's also a mask for men -- a close fit on Pierce Brosnan, but not quite right on Tom Cruise. To see how well your face fits, go to http://www.beautyanalysis.com/.

Breast reduction aside (I said it was medically necessary ~ sheesh!) I’m not going to get carried away in search of symmetry. Nobody's perfect, and that's just fine. I know when I look at a beautiful face, I really seek the unique qualities, including the unevenness. I think a crooked smile is about the sexiest thing there is. Individuality -- now that's beautiful.

Tales from a Telecommuter - April 4, 2007

Sometimes I am so damn efficient that I scare myself. Like a power house in pajamas, I start my day at 6:00am. I get up; say good-bye to my teen-agers who are bolting out the door at 6:30am to catch their ferry to school (huh?). As much as they complain about island life ruining their social life, they get to take a BOAT to school! That is so TOTALLY going to beat any stories from grandpa about walking 8 miles to school uphill, both ways, in the snow, with nothing but a potato in his pocket to keep him from freezing solid. I throw on a pot of coffee, check my email, log in to my IM so that I can begin communicating with my bosses in Boston. As my computer comes to life, I turn the lights on in my younger children’s rooms with a sing-song voice “Gooooood morning! Time to wake up!”, grab a cup of coffee and put in on the steamy bathroom counter for Jason when he gets out of the shower. “Thanks, honey.” I hear through the pouring steam. “You’re welcome.” I say, and then pause, “Heeeey. You’re naked.” I say. No answer. I shrug, sip my own coffee and walk to my desk to take a peek at what awaits me for the day.

As I begin scrolling through emails, I hear the slow and grudging progress of my grade-schoolers getting dressed and making their beds. Sarah comes out in a black, red and ivory plaid dress and pink tights. And pink Sketchers. I turn her around to look for ivory tights and black shoes. Dylan literally rolls out of his room and lays gingerbread-man style in the middle of the living room and pretends to sleep. I look at him just as Jason speeds by me buttoning his shirt, stopping briefly to kiss me on the head.

Approximately 30 minutes later, Sarah and Dylan have eaten pancakes, packed their lunches into their backpacks, found shoes and jackets and are out the door with Jason.

I’m alone at last.

I pour another cup of coffee, put on a CD and begin to work. As I realized for a moment just how much I love my office (the living room), my co-workers (the cats) and the commute (non-existent), I reflect on some of the pros and cons of my occupation:

Pros
· I get paid to work in my pajamas. No pantyhose required.
· I can shave or not shave - nobody cares.
· I can save on my water bill by not bathing as often.
· Huge savings on gas for my land yacht. Less mileage, too.
· No co-workers coming into my office to complain about their
boss/subordinate/salary/benefits/sex life or lack thereof.
· More time with family, especially children.
· Tax write-offs for internet access, home office, etc.
· I can play any music I want as loud as I want.
· Snacks and drinks are as close as the refrigerator.
Cons
· I know immediately when the cat has used the litter box.
· Cats want in, want out, want in, want out, want in….
· No going to lunch with my coworkers and no socializing with them.
· I only leave the island once a week…. Groceries, fast food, even (gasp) the MALL.
Turning into a scary cat lady.
· More time with family, especially children.
· Snacks and drinks are as close as the refrigerator. But mostly can’t take the time to make
real meals or really even dig for a healthy snack.
· I don’t get a shower until dinner time.
· I think “Oh, just one more thing”, look up and its 7:00pm and no dinner in sight.
· Anyway, I meet my deadline today with no trouble. A rare occurrence…not the meeting
the deadline part, but the ‘no trouble’ part. Inevitably I can count on a site I’m working
on going down, my email not working…something.

I send off my report with a click and a smile. I vacuum, switch laundry loads, clean the bathrooms, then shower and ACTUALLY DO MY HAIR. I pick up Dylan at a friend’s house, Sarah at the bus stop, then hop on the 3:00pm ferry (while on the ferry, I use my SmartPhone to pay my power bill and my car payment) and grab Becky and Amy on the mainland side before they get on their bus, do my grocery shopping, get gas, go to the bank, get supplies for Becky’s Honor’s English class then meet up with Jason for dinner before getting home on the 6:20 ferry just in time to unload groceries, supervise homework, bathe kids while Jason goes to Kristi’s to lay hardwood floors (a barter for Sarah’s piano lessons), and all of us complete and accomplished either in bed after a chapter of James and the Giant Peach (Sarah & Dylan) or sitting here watching Michael Bublé on American Idol. (The rest of us).

These days do not come often. The days that I end by turning off the lights to soft music, blowing out my jar candles, and putting my arms around myself in the living room and say…”I did good.” But today was one. And that, is good.

Don't Send Flowers - April 2, 2007











My last entry was short, and only spoke of a millisecond of the past week and all that has transpired. As I said, my sweet friend Julie’s husband passed away a little over a week ago. I can’t stop thinking about her, of her sons, and of how their lives are forever altered.

Julie IM’d me just under a month ago to say that they would most likely have to cancel their trip up here this summer, because Tom had cancer. It wasn’t confirmed yet, but what they saw on the MRI was not good and it appeared to be everywhere. I wrote back, that of course I understood, not to think another thing about their visit up here, and did that typical thing that we useless friends do….we say, “How can I help?” Help? I could do nothing but pray and try not to hurt her more by making her repeat the story for the thousandth time by calling and writing incessantly. I read Julie's Blog every day, and could sense her weariness. I called anyway, and she confirmed the worst, told me what their plans were for treatment and maintained her typical sunny outlook through her despair.

Less than three weeks later, Tom died. He passed away in his home, with Julie at his side. Julie IM’d me the afternoon of his passing, and I got online and got a ticket for a flight out the next day. Tom had a very large Irish catholic family, and Julie has three siblings and a mother close by as well, so I called my parents and asked if they could pick me up, I would stay with them to keep out of Julie’s way.

When I called Julie to tell her that I was coming and asked her if there was anything I could do to help prepare…clean a bathroom? Make some food for the gathering after the service? She said, “Will you sing?” My heart got suddenly lodged in my throat. Sing? I was overwhelmed with the honor that was being bestowed on me, and overcome with fear that I would screw it up. I am not one of those singers that can cry and sing…I start tearing and it’s GAME OVER. I’m a train wreck on a good day if I see someone get emotional, and Tom’s memorial…. Good Lord. “Of course. I’d be honored.” I said. And began to pray that this would be all about Tom, all about his loving family….and that not one single second of this service would be diverted to the stupid emotional singer in the background.

I began to pack, to download MP3’s and sheet music to learn the songs Julie wanted at the service, and to prepare for my departure…. It still just wasn’t real. But I needed to get to her.
I drove my car to Seattle instead of taking the shuttle, because I was only staying one night. My parents picked me up, and we had dinner at Spencer’s in the DoubleTree, San Jose and went back to their house. In the morning, I went to the golf course with my Dad and dropped him off, then headed to the church about an hour early to get the details down with the Bishop, who happens to be Julie’s uncle. Ultimately, there was no background music, and no accompanist so it was a Capella all the way, baby. It didn’t matter. That’s not why we were there. Tom’s sister is a nun, and two of her nun sisters offered to back me up on the song I didn’t know…..picture it! Me, singing with three nuns.…these women were awesome, and we just knew that Tom was somewhere laughing at the scene. There were wonderful readings done, beautiful history being revealed by all of Tom’s loved ones.

After the service, I made a beeline for Julie’s. I didn’t know anyone except for Julie’s sisters and kids (and of course my new nun friends) who I knew would be very busy accepting condolences and trying to be brave, so I thought I might be better put to use at the house preparing food, or laying out serving dishes.

I got there and tried to make myself useful. The house was very soon packed with people…family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. I sat and flipped through photo albums that were laying out and saw Julie’s amazing talent for creating memories in a tangible form….pre-school pictures of our now high schoolers. The baby shower invitation that I made for her now 8 year old. So many memories.

Early in the afternoon, some of Tom’s close friends held a separate ceremony that was open to anyone. I found myself so glad in heart that they held a service in the Catholic Church that reflected their family’s joint heritage, and then delighted to see a more private ceremony that reflected Tom’s later commitments. There was a gentleman close to Tom that conducted a meditation, and a sage healing ceremony in a more Native American tradition. It was wonderful.
As the afternoon progressed, I realized that I had to pick up my Dad at the golf course so I went to tell Julie good-bye and to give her a big hug. “I wish I could stay”, I said. “and just….take care of you.” Julie said, “Then stay.” I said, “Well, I have to fly out tonight, I have to be in L.A. on Thursday.” she said, “Cancel your flight. Stay until Thursday.” I looked at her. “I’ll check with Jason.” A few minutes later I found a quiet spot in the house and called Jason who said, “Of course, stay.” Then I got online to change my flight and was able to with not one cent of additional cost. Must have been meant to be. Anyway, it was Saturday and I extended my stay until Tuesday. That way I could be home late Tuesday night, spend Wednesday with my family before I had to leave again on Thursday.

So that afternoon I picked up my Dad, had dinner with my parents, then drove my mom’s BMW Z4 convertible back down to Julie’s where I got her stinking drunk on Irish Car Bombs to try to numb the day. The next morning more of her family came to take the kids somewhere fun. Julie opted to go for a ride with me in the BMW to the beach where we talked about Tom. We cried a lot, we laughed a lot, and I just ached to make it better. It’s the most helpless feeling to not be able to soothe a friend’s heartache and know there are just no right words.

Julie and I have a history of re-decorating…we crackled the table that still resided in her new kitchen, and she helped me stencil my kids’ room a million years ago. So, she suggested that maybe while I was there we could do a room. She said that Tom hated a few of the rooms that were already decorated when they bought their new house, so I suggested that we take the room he hated the most and change it. The bathroom. It had pink and a sickly greenish-taupe stripes on one wall….and in less than two hours it was transformed to a beautiful warm wheat color with towels and décor in deep red and gold tones. Ta daaaaaa!!

Julie was on the phone dealing with stuff she should never have had to deal with. It just feels so wrong to be having to explain to people over and over in the same conversation, “Look, my husband is dead. He won’t be USING your gym again and you need to cancel his membership, I don’t giving a flying $%&@ about the contract!!” I listened without meaning to while painting, and the next thing you know I was done. Julie was so pleased she said, “Can we do another room?” Absolutely. Here are the results of that New Baseball Room for her son, Ryan that we tackled the following day. The impotent friend who can’t make it better…. This is what I do. I get her drunk and re-decorate. We do what we can.

I’m just so sad. I know it’s not my loss….but I just grieve to the point of pain when I think of my beautiful Julie hurting like this. Tom’s enormously talented son, Dylan working through this and new challenges in his acting career as his show ends this summer. Their son Conor in the most volatile time of his teens, and their sunny child Ryan as he pretends it all going to be okay. I love them all so much, and I just wish decorating and cooking fried chicken for them could make it all better. As my sweet friends who feel like family struggle to adjust, I can’t stop thinking about them. I even emailed Julie a report meant for my boss because I was thinking about her. I bet I’m the only friend that sent an analysis of Hewlett-Packard instead of flowers. *sigh*

On Being Tall - February 16, 2007

All four of my kids need new pants. It’s always this time of year, when every single pair of school pants I have bled money on in August are too short. I have stopped buying clothes for my kids for Christmas because I know that they will have this miraculous growth spurt in February and my efforts will be fruitless.

My older daughters are already over 5’10” and STILL growing, my younger daughter and son are like little giraffes with their skinny little bodies and long, gangly legs. They’ve been wearing high-water pants to school for two months. Sigh. It’s time.
So, yesterday, I made the announcement. “I’m buying pants today!” You should have seen their faces light up… it would break your heart. Now, if it was just Dylan I would not have to gear up and give myself pep talks, because of course he DOES not care what his pants look like. 2 for $17.99 at Kohl’s ~ sold! He’s happy, I’m happy. Done.

The girls are an ENTIRELY different story. Becky and Amy love the Seven jeans, the Express jeans, the Lucky jeans…and they all come in “Long”, praise the little baby Jesus. However, they are SO expensive that the prospect of buying two or more pairs at a time requires some budget crunching and planning. It’s also just agonizing to see my tall, perfectly shaped daughters dissolve into tears because they feel fat. Hi, if you wear a 7 Extra-Long, you are not fat. Period. Ugh!!! If I could go back to my freshman year and slap myself I would.

At age 7, Sarah still has reasonably priced legs. She likes the pink camouflage jeans with the rhinestone belt, and the sparkly jeans with the embroidered cuffs but I can still wrangle those up for a reasonable price on the sale rack and she’s content. She doesn’t have to try them on to see how they make her butt look, either.

After an afternoon of torture and tears, shopping for the longest jeans possible, we had to stop at the grocery store. Sarah and Dylan wanted to go into the play area while the girls and I shopped, and that’s always a good thing. So, I was standing at the play area counter and the childcare lady said to Sarah, “Oh, it looks like it’s your last time in here! Oh, and you too!” She said to Dylan, as they walked through the little door to get inside. I looked at her and said, “Really? Why is that?” She smiled at me and said, “Oh, well they have to be small enough to walk right under the doorway without their heads touching and they both touch.” Okay, I don’t normally go off on strangers, but I was really taken aback. “So, my FIVE year old is banned from the play area because he’s too TALL?” She said, “Well, there have been problems with some of the bigger kids being mean to the smaller kids.” My blood was boiling. I was barely containing myself, well aware that I was about to become extremely unreasonable. “So you’re going to punish the tall kids? Do have any idea how wrong that is? Believe me, tall kids have a hard enough time in their classrooms without having to worry about being BANNED from play areas because of their size! I can see limiting entrance to YOUNGER kids, but SHORT kids??!?” She looked nervous. “Well, you signed the paper…that’s the rules, I’m sorry.” I was fuming. I pointed to Amy, who is 13 and almost 5’11”. “How old do you think she is?” I demanded. No answer. Amy shrank visibly, “She’s 13!” How do you think she would feel if people automatically assumed that she would abuse younger kids because she’s TALL?!” By that time Sarah and Dylan were off playing and having fun and I could tell I was starting to make everyone uncomfortable and it certainly wasn’t going to change the rules.

So I huffed off and we did our shopping, came home, did the evening. My friend Katelyn was over for dinner and I recounted the incident to her and Jason at the table because I was still pretty fried about it. Katelyn, who is about 5’ tall, said, “Do you have any idea how many rides I didn’t get to go on as a teenager because of MY size? Who wants to be average, anyway!?”
Right. I looked around my dinner table at all the tall people and the wonderful not-tall Katelyn,

Public Humiliation: The Antidote to Depression - January 22, 2006

My friend Kristi was the first blogger I ever met, and I got so excited about the prospect that I started my own blog over a year ago. Well, Kristi works from home, and fairly quickly her time in front of the computer at home killed the lure for her to spend yet more time in front of her screen for leisure.

Well, guess what. I am now working from home, spending hours in front of the computer working for a Market Analysis company…..and ta daaaaaa… I haven’t written a blog for a month.

Also, I think my lack of attention to creative outlets has a lot to do with this time of the year. I’ve mentioned before that I suffer (and I should clarify that it’s really my family that suffers the most) from a pretty hefty case of S.A.D. I figured out a few years ago that every time I’ve left a relationship, gotten dissatisfied with a job, moved houses….it’s been this time of year. In fact, I read today that January 24, 2007, a mere two days from now, is the most depressing day of the year. Seriously.

I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I obviously think it has to do with the winter weather, primarily. The unending darkness of the Northwest ~ and actually, this has been the crappiest winter we’ve had in the six years we’ve lived year. Also, I’m guessing it’s pretty common to be facing the reality and consequences of holiday spending, and stressing about catching up financially, as well as experiencing the letdown of the post holiday frenzy of activity. I have many consecutive days that I wish I could crawl back under the covers and not have to face another day of rain, sleet, snow and routine. I know that while days technically get longer after Dec. 21, cyclonic weather systems take hold in January, bringing low, dark clouds, snow, slush and crud to my idyllic little island.

My other theory is that the majority of people break their healthy resolutions six to seven days into the new year, and even the hangers-on have fallen off the wagon, torn off the nicotine patches and eaten the fridge empty by the third week. Any residual dregs of holiday cheer and family fun have kicked the bucket by Jan. 24.

So, I’ve started working maniacally, and scheduling myself silly to keep moving. Yesterday I took a ski lesson. We have our kids in the same 8-week ski program that they were in last year and they ROCK. It’s every Sunday afternoon, and I really look forward to it. So, yesterday I booked a ski lesson with Sven again. (Actually his name was Jarad this time) and totally pushed myself. And then, of course, the inevitable happened. I cannot take on anything without performing some hideous publicly humiliating act. Before the lesson started, I ran back into the lodge to give Becky some cash for lunch (she wasn’t snowboarding yesterday) and ran right through a puddle on the cafeteria floor and did a TOTAL banana peel flip into a table and flat on my butt. I kicked chair over, and slammed my arm into someone’s lunch. Yeah, that’s class.

So, after popping up as quickly as possible with the standard, “I’m okay!” smile to all the gawkers, I headed out for my lesson. So, Sven and I got up to the top of the mountain and ran through some basics before heading to this black diamond run full of moguls at about an 80 degree incline. I was a little sore from my spill in the lodge, but adrenaline was taking over so I got halfway down (yay, me!) before falling. The fall wasn’t too bad, I had to fish one of my poles out of a hill, knowing as I slid across the slope that one false move was going to send me ass over teakettle down the mountain. However, crisis averted, I got right back up and skied to the halfway point to catch up with my instructor. I stood there smiling at my success, and listening to Sven sing my praises before we both noticed that my pants had fallen down. Like, literally. Fallen. Down. Now, of course I had a pair of black leggings underneath, so it could have been MUCH worse. But still. There was absolutely no discrete way of putting my poles down, hiking up my ski pants, sucking in my gut to snap my pants and zip them. Nervous giggle. Heh heh. I’m like ten years older than the Sven and I pretty much wanted to die.

Sigh. So, it’s Monday. And it’s January. I think I’ll go out and embarrass myself some more. Oh, and I’m sure adding some physical pain to it will definitely keep things exciting.

Wax on....Wax off - February 7, 2006

All hair removal methods have tricked women with their promises of easy, painless removal - The Epilady, scissors, razors, Nair and of course...the wax.

My night began as any other normal weeknight. Come home, fix dinner, sign various papers and permission slips, play with the little people. (At least I wish that was normal…it’s only this ‘normal’ one or two nights per week.) I then had the thought that would ring painfully in my mind for the next few hours: "Maybe I should try the new waxing kit I just bought”.

So I headed to the site of my demise: the bathroom. I had bought two kits for my very pregnant friend Kaitlyn, with whom I have a scheduled ‘icky date’ where I wax her eyebrows, and she candles my ears. (Don’t judge me, real women do these things for each other to spare the spouse and save some dough.) I chose the "cold wax" kit for my particular adventure. No melting a clump of hot wax, you just rub the strips together in your hand, they get warm and you peel them apart and press them to your leg (or wherever else) and you pull the hair right off. No muss, no fuss. How hard can it be? I mean, I'm not a genius, but I am mechanically inclined enough to figure this out. So I pull one of the thin strips out. It is two strips facing each other stuck together. Instead of rubbing them together, my genius kicks in. So I get out the hair dryer and heat it to 1000 degrees. (Cold wax? You may as well use a Barbie sticker.) I lay the strip across my thigh, hold the skin around it tight and pull. It works! OK, so it wasn't the best feeling, but it wasn't too bad. It was better than last year when Annie and I made waxing appointments at the spa...now that was merciless. I can do this! Hair removal no longer eludes me! I am She-rah, fighter of all wayward body hair and maker of smooth skin extraordinaire. With my next wax strip I move north. After checking on the kids, and ensuring that Jason is otherwise occupied, I sneak back into the bathroom for the ultimate hair fighting championship. I place one foot on the toilet. Using the same procedure, I apply the wax strip across the right side of my bikini line, and stretching down to the inside of my butt cheek. Yes, it was a long strip. I inhale deeply and brace myself.......RRRRIIIPPP!! I'm blind!! Blinded from pain!!.... OH MY GOD!! Vision returning, I notice that I've only managed to pull off half the strip. CRAP!!! Another deep breath and RRIIPP!! Everything is swirly and spotted. I think I may pass out...must stay conscious...breathe, breathe...OK, didn’t throw up, getting back to normal. I want to see my trophy -- a wax covered strip, the one that has caused me so much pain, with my hairy pelt sticking to it. I want to revel in the glory that is my triumph over body hair. I hold up the strip! Nothing. Not only is there no pelt, there is no WAX. Slowly I ease my head down, foot still perched on the toilet. I see wax.

CRAP! Then I make the next BIG mistake… I know I need to do something. I put my foot down. Then I hear the ‘moron bells’ going off in my head. I am now wearing a painful, cold wax, medieval chastity device, and my butt cheeks are sealed together. I penguin walk around the bathroom trying to figure out what to do and think to myself "Please don't let me have to pee!" What can I do to melt the wax? Hot water!! Hot water melts wax!! I'll run the hottest water I can stand into the bathtub, get in, immerse the wax-covered bits and the wax should melt and I can gently wipe it off, right??? *WRONG!* I get in the tub - the water is slightly hotter than that used to torture prisoners of war or sterilize surgical equipment - I sit. Now, the only thing worse than having your nether regions glued together, is having them glued together and then glued to the bottom of the tub...in scalding hot water. Which, by the way, doesn't melt cold wax. So, now I'm stuck to the bottom of the tub as though I had cement-epoxied myself to the porcelain. God bless the advent of the cell phone, and my propensity to have it on my person at all times…including in the pocket of my pants which were on the floor next to the tub. I call my friend, thinking surely she has waxed before and has some secret of how to get me undone. It's a very good conversation starter - "So, my butt and who-ha are glue together to the bottom of the tub." There is a slight pause. I think I may have heard her strangling, but she may have been choking on her dinner. She doesn't know any secret tricks for removal but she does have the decency to try to hide her laughter from me. She wants to know exactly where the wax is located, "Are we talking cheeks or who-ha?" She's laughing out loud by now.....I can hear her. I give her the rundown and she suggests I call the number on the side of the box. Right.I should be the joke of someone else's night. While we go through various solutions, I resort to scraping the wax off with a razor. Nothing feels better then to have your girlie goodies covered in hot wax, glued together, stuck to the tub in super hot water and then dry-shaving the sticky wax off. Good times. By now the brain is not working, dignity has taken a major hike and I'm pretty sure I'm going to need Post-Traumatic Stress counseling for this event. My friend is still talking with me when I finally see my saving grace....the lotion they give you to remove the excess wax. What do I really have to lose at this point? I’m already hypothermic and shriveling from my own personal humiliation. I rub some on and YEEEEOOOOWWW!!!! My screams should have woken the kids and scared the crap out of Jason, but I think Myth Busters was on too loud. It's sooo painful, but I really don't care. "IT WORKS!! It works !!" I get a hearty congratulation from my friend and she hangs up, still laughing. I successfully remove the remainder of the wax and then notice to my grief and despair....I have not removed a single follicle of the unsightly, unwanted, body hair. So I recklessly shave it off. Heck, I'm numb by now. Nothing hurts. I should have amputated my own leg at this point. Next week I'm going to try hair color...

Who...who DOES this?? - February 13, 2006

I was kind of thinking I’d like to humiliate myself today. You know, because I just don’t do it often enough. I was thinking about our new house, and how I can’t wait for it to be done, and how it just seems like the process and planning have been going on forever, and forever, and forever……okay, enough. To start with, it was nothing short of a miracle that we were able to buy the property that we bought on the island, and we’ve been thankful everyday for the generosity and sacrifice of our friends Kent and Angie, and for Jason’s dad – it wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

So last summer we bought these two great ocean view lots from Kent and Angie, who, wonder of wonders, had already designed and drafted a beautiful house to go on it, and were willing to give us the plans with the purchase of the lots. We were dancing on air those first few weeks, and giddy with excitement. (Yeah, I think that was like seven months ago now, kinda stopped dancing a little at this point, and it’s down to a sort of pained jig.). So one night, Jason and I got home from work, had dinner with the kids, and did the routine. Jason said he had to run up to Kent and Angie’s to get another copy of the house plans (the first builder we took them to hadn’t returned them to us, and we had already determined he was too expensive.), and he wanted to know if I wanted to go for a little drive.

Sure! I’m like a golden retriever. Ride? Pant! Pant! I hadn’t changed from my work clothes yet, but a drive up the mountain is always nice. So we got to Kent and Angie’s who live WAY up the mountain perched on a hillside. I decided to wait in the car, because I noticed another couple was there and A) I didn’t want to barge in and B) if I did barge in, I know I have a habit of sucking all of the air out of the room and demanding full attention and yammering on and on. No one should have deal with that unless they have specifically asked to be annoyed.

So I waited in the car. And I waited. And I had to pee. Bad. I got out of the car on the dark mountain road and looked up at Angie’s house which was across the street and up about 30 feet behind trees. I contemplated hiking the driveway in my straight skirt and heels and going in to use the bathroom, and then looked around me to see that the only other house I could see was way down at the bottom of the ravine next to the car. So, being an island girl, I decided to squat next to the car and do my business, knowing no one could see me in the dark and I was off the road communing with the deer and other animals that pee in the woods. And also knowing Jason was probably going to be out any second and I would delay our errand by a factor of two if I went inside now.

So, I hiked up my skirt and wrestled briefly with my pantyhose and felt much better. Only, I failed to notice just how close to the ravine I was – you know, because it’s dark. As I stood up to do the pantyhose dance and wiggle back into my control tops, the bottom dropped out from beneath my feet. I went plunging down a gravel ravine on my bare backside, with my nylons around my knees and my skirt wadded up around my armpits. I slid about 50 feet before standing up, holding my tush and pulling my dignity (ha!) and clothing back together. My heart was pounding as I leaned on the hillside and said aloud “WHO -- DOES THIS?????” I clawed my way back up the ravine with my acrylic nails and high heels, cursing my stupidity the whole way up.

Once at the top, I adjusted my skirt, tucked in my blouse, shook my hair, crossed the street, and stalked up the driveway to get Jason. As soon as I opened the door in the bright house and saw the room full of people and happy kids I immediately lost the desire to drag Jason outside. Angie’s middle child came up and said, “Do you want to see my room??” I said sure! So Elliot took me upstairs where his older brother and two of the neighbor girls were playing and admired the room which is like the perfect boy loft. I bent down to help Elliot whisk away a puppy indiscretion on the floor and noticed that my backside was starting to really sting. Downstairs I went, where Kent, Angie, Ritchie, Lara and Jason were chatting, and Angie directed me to a garbage can for the plastic bag I held in my hand. I washed my hands in the sink thinking, man, my rump really stings – I wonder if I scraped it up. (I never said I was a genius, okay?)

So, I was leaning against the counter, talking with Angie who was holding her youngest, the cutest little two year old with curly blonde hair that you have ever seen. Angie and I decided that he’s really our love child because she and her husband both have dark hair. Anyway, I was thinking how much I love these kids, and I reached for Solomon just as he threw up all over Angie. I grabbed Solomon and said, “You go change, I’ll dunk Solly, here.” And headed toward the bathroom with the baby who was not in least bit affected or bothered by the upchuck. Angie changed and she and I ran the bath and bathed Solomon and Elliot together while they smiled and acted silly. Only, bending over the tub my butt was starting to sting in earnest at this point, and I could tell that my pantyhose were sticking to my backside – not a good sign.

I stood up and backed up to the mirror and told Angie that I slipped down the hillside when I got out of the car – obviously omitting the part about me going ‘nature girl’ and peeing in the woods. I unzipped my skirt and hiked up my hip while I looked over my shoulder so I could see the damage in the mirror. Angie stared…”Oh my god, what did you do??” My butt looked like I got busy in the backseat with Edward Scissor-hands. I was scraped, and bleeding, and already bruising. Then Angie said, “You really have a great ass.” Only Angie would make such a great comment when I’m feeling like such a bloody (pun intended) idiot.

So we toweled off the boys, got them into their jammies and wandered out into the living room where Jason had blueprints in one hand, a beer in the other, and was completely oblivious to any of the evening’s swashbuckling events. “Ready, honey?” I said. “Sure,” he said, pushing himself away from the couch he was leaning on. I hugged Angie goodbye, and she said, “Wow, you are amazing, you fell down a ravine and walked in here like nothing happened and you didn’t even run your nylons!” I smiled and left, thinking “Yeah, I didn’t run my nylons because they were around my ankles, and I pretended nothing happened because I wish with all of the skin on my backside that nothing .

Tales from the Laundry Pile - September 20, 2006

When a man learns that there might be a standard of cleanliness even higher than the one established by his wife and that even his wife is unsure of how to attain it, he begins to wonder how long other laws of the universe -- gravity, for example -- will hold. He begins to question certain basic chore dynamics in the household that have existed, well, since that first time he tried to do their laundry.

Ah, I remember the day well. Because after that, nothing in our chore life was ever the same. We had just bought a house together, and it was the first time he had ever done laundry in his own washer and dryer -- after years at the Laundromat and trips to mom or dad’s. He was sitting on the bed, just about done folding our recently joined washables, when I started unfolding all the towels Jason had just folded.

He watched in utter disbelief. I laid them all out flat on the bed, and began giving him a little tutorial on the proper method of folding towels, which involved some form of perfectly sensible terry-cloth origami. Instead of folding in successive halves, I wanted one-third of the towel to be folded in from either side (duh). He thought this was ridiculous, but nowhere near as ridiculous as the idea of unfolding already-folded towels -- and thereby sending a signal to my newlywed husband that it is more important that a chore be done a certain way than it is for him to actually do it.

I liked the idea of our doing the laundry together and found something kind of sexy about seeing his underwear mingled with my underwear.(We’ve since stopped letting our underwear consort with one another for fear of having a fifth child). It really bugs him when I go behind him after he makes the bed and re-arrange the throw pillows. He sighs and says, “Sorry, I guess I need to re-take Pillow Fluffing 101”.

Over the years, we've gone through this cycle with every chore I want him to do. Jason patiently endures my comments and helpful suggestions, then eventually gives up trying to adhere to my invisible standards. And yet I still get annoyed with him for not helping.
So I ask you -- what's a husband to do? He’s offered to hire someone to help me with the chores I won't let him do, but I can't let go of them. When we had a woman helping me clean, I would clean the house before she came. And besides, the only way that would work is if she could actually SORT the socks, or FIND the mates that have been eaten by the dryer -- which neither Jason or I have developed a skill for. So you can see it is actually my fault when he doesn’t help around the house or finds amazingly convenient chores that need to be done outside while I’m cleaning. And the less he does, the more it is my fault.

Unless, of course, this is all a massive rationalization, and an elaborately constructed excuse for male sloth and indolence. But, you know, I doubt it. Currently my house is wreck from hell with at least six loads of laundry to do just to get caught up, so frankly, I don’t care how it gets done as long as it gets done before the cats start peeing in the laundry basket.

Romance on the Cheap - September 19, 2006

Jason and I had a night to ourselves Friday night. Yes, the WHOLE night. It was fabulous. I booked us a room at a gorgeous seaside Inn and Spa and ordered two in-room massages for us. It was positively idyllic. Spacious room with a giant four poster king, overlooking the bay, fireplace and enormous window seat with pillows and a lap throw.

I got there before Jason and jumped into the tub-for-six to ruthlessly shave my hairy legs and everything else (yeah, no waxing for me these days). Jason got there and I had my spa robe on, and a glass of wine. (I’m cheap, so I brought my own wine and gin & tonic and limes for Jason into the hotel room.) However, the hotel had left a cheese plate and champagne bucket as part of our package so we sat on the window seat together watching the ships, eating some very flavorful and strong cheeses and drinking our respective beverages. Yummmmm. So Jason decided that he wanted to jump in the shower before the massage therapists got to our room, and I just sat there and soaked it all in. I looked up at Jason lovingly as he walked back to the window seat in his robe and sat down and looked at the cheese plate. He paused, then said “Oh, my gosh. I totally thought that smell was my feet. It’s the cheese.” Floaty romantic interlude brought to earth with resounding crash.

I took a big bite of the offending stinky cheese and a sip of wine, just as the knock on the door sounded with our massage therapists, Sven and Inga. (I actually don’t remember their real names). They brought in the most elegantly appointed massage tables I have ever seen, both of them in their spa uniforms and severely groomed hair…and I just knew I was going to be breathing stinky cheese into Sven’s face. Whatever, it was the best massage I’ve ever had.
Just at the end of our massages, there was a knock on the door. It was our Little Caesar’s Pizza….say it with me folks, KLASS-EEEE! (Told you I was cheap). Jason just muttered into his face cradle, “There’s a twenty in the back right pocket of my jeans on the bathroom floor, just give it to them and tell them to go away.” You know, something akin to snapping your fingers at a waiter in a fine restaurant and calling him ‘Garçon”. (Just kidding Jason!)

Anyway, Sven and Inga left us in peace after our massages with jell-o bodies and Jason and I enjoyed our evening and morning together more than any other in recent memory. It’s been so long since the two of us could just sit and look at each other….and it was well needed, as the storms of our lives continue to rage outside our door. Happy Anniversary, honey. I’d do it all again in an instant ~ you're the love of my life, stinky feet and all.

The Back-to-School Lament - August 30, 2006

Okay, so I’ve already done the whole new kindergartner scene three times. The pride and the excitement of finding your child’s supply list at Target and getting every single thing on it, as though by loading them down with 8 boxes of Kleenex, we will somehow make them safer. I know about picking the backpack with a new kindergartner, which will inevitably sport a mural of whatever toy they are currently playing with. (Disney Princesses for my daughter last year). When my girls started kindergarten they had shiny new shoes and matching socks (usually for the last time for the whole school year), their hair was braided or pony-tailed and faces scrubbed…all ready for the big wide world of elementary academia. I remember the jitters the night before, and the special breakfast the morning school started with the “You are Special Today” plate. It makes me happy to think that this year, I get to do this with my son. My last child will start kindergarten on Wednesday and I just feel nothing but satisfied pride and excitement about it! I can’t wait, because HE can’t wait. I’m looking forward to his special day with joy and anticipation.

Now, on the flip side of the kid pecking order, we have my oldest daughter…who STARTS HIGH SCHOOL in a mere week. A week. I. Am. Freaking. Out. I want to sob when I think about her first day of kindergarten…when she wore a navy blue and hunter green plaid uniform from Nordstrom with a matching plaid headband and white tights with navy blue leather mary-janes. And how excited and nervous we were…it seems like a hundred years ago and it seems like yesterday.

Today, I drove over to the high school to meet her for her freshman orientation. I’ve been to the high school before; I mean I was just there for a parent meeting for the swim team that she’s on this year. But when I drove up…I felt scared. I felt as though this huge campus was going to swallow up my sweet girl and spit out a stranger. I went to a small private high school in Orange County, so I have absolutely no experience with an enormous school like this and I wanted to run into the building as fast as I could to find her.

Of course, I didn’t. I strolled into the gym filled with 3,000 people that was alive with color and cheerleaders and fun. It was well organized and friendly with student helpers running around in t-shirts that said “Freshmen Rock! Question? Ask me!” on them. I searched the gym for my daughter, and like a ray of sunshine providing that warm rush of relief, I saw her. She was standing on the bleachers trying to get my attention. She stood tall and slender and beautiful amongst her friends smiling and waving at me. She was wearing plaid. I almost choked on the tears. This day, her plaid was in the form of a pleated black and pink mini-skirt over her long legs, with a black baby tee and flip-flops. She waved wildly and I waved back, and we both turned our attention to the assembly going on. Her group was excused to their individual tour and the parents were all instructed to go to the auditorium for THEIR information session. I wanted to run out the door. Just as I thought I might, I heard two loud voices shout “LISA!!!” like they had been trying to get my attention and had decided to yell together to see if I would turn around. My friends. I found myself surrounded in seconds by five other parents of my kids’ friends, who I have known for years, and we collectively moved our way into the auditorium questioning one another about each other’s summers, and complimenting each other on how amazing our children look. One mom, Peggy, who saved my life a few years back by helping me get help when I was in the worst of my S.A.D…took one look at me and put her arms around me. “Honey, I’ve done this seven times. SEVEN. Derek is my youngest, and every single one of his siblings came through this high school just fine.” God, I love Peggy.

So there it is. Time isn’t standing still, and I have amazing kids who I promised to entrust to God’s care and I do. Daily. I just need this moment of wistfulness, because these are MY children and they’re growing so very fast.

Tomorrow, I will suck it up and remind myself that if I’m feeling anxious and scared, it can’t hold a candle to how Becky must be feeling. I must realize she is going to be stressed and irritable for the first few weeks of her freshman year, and Dylan is going to be whinier (um, is that possible?) and need more sleep. They’re experiencing so many changes in their lives; all at the same time. What a ride…and thank God I have an unlimited pass to ride them all.

The Pantyhose Work-Out - August 22, 2006

Well, we did it. We are half way through our training for the Seattle Marathon, and did a mock ½ Marathon event last Saturday and took on 14 miles! Katelyn and Robin and I kicked BUTT….for about 9 miles. I swear the last five miles I was whining, almost crying, hurting, and being generally pissed off that I wasn’t done yet. Never mind that it was one the most glorious days I’ve even seen on the island, or that the loop around the north end of the island that we traversed was probably one of the most intensely beautiful places I’ve ever seen (OMG I actually LIVE here!!), it sucked. BIG TIME. When we finished, we almost crawled to the grass where my car was parked. We laid on the grass in front of the island’s restaurant contorting into unlikely stretches and moaning and whining. We got so punchy that we were pretty sure people thought we were high. We went home, grabbed kids and took them to the lake so that they could swim and we could kvetch.

Sunday I was pretty sure I was permanently crippled.

Monday, I had to get up at the usual 5:00am butt-crack of dawn and get down to the ferry to go teach Jazzercise after about four hours of sleep and my muscles screaming in misery. Honestly, I contemplated suicide. Just a little cyanide in my Aquafina….nah. I hear that’s a bad way to go. Much better to off myself by exercising….Death by Jazzercise, film at 11:00. Anyway, I got through the class…and of course I had to tell my class that I was dying of muscular failure, so they were actually encouraging and impressed during class. (man, I love sympathy) except during the standing leg routines where I alternately cued my class and whimpered. So, as hard as this all was, and as concerned as I am about actually finishing a full marathon at this point….nothing could have prepared me for the hardest part. Putting on pantyhose.
It all started fine, then escalated into an out of control horror of nylon, sweat, shower gel, and pain. Lots, and lots of pain. I hobbled to the showers after class yesterday morning, full of relief that it was over, not a little puffed up that I had done something very hard. I showered as quickly as a paraplegic is able and began to dress. I got a little too much sun on Saturday during our run so I of course used lotion before dressing, creating a lovely, greasy, wet, slippery coat to my person as I hastily threw on clothes. Still doing great, donning under-things, blouse, jewelry….then….the pantyhose. I don’t have an easy time with those things on a good day, and throw into that a greasy, wet body and searing muscle pain from my hair to my pointlessly painted toe-nails and you got problems. I sat down on the (closed) toilet seat and attempted to lift my knees to get my feet into the nylon and cried aloud in pain. After a little struggling I got both feet into the lycra death traps and stood to do the panty-hose dance and wiggle myself into them. Have you ever tried to put on control top pantyhose when your legs are wet and/or greasy? It’s the absolute worst. I was slipping and sliding all over the bathroom floor, grunting, twisting, and praying I wouldn’t put a nail through the damn things. Also, I continue to sweat after my shower for at least an hour and was definitely breaking a sweat again adding to the misery as I whimpered through the pain and snarled through the frustration. Finally, mission accomplished, with my lower extremities properly encased in their spandex prison, I exhaustedly continued pulling on the ivory skirt and the (WHY?!?) red D&G pointy heels that hurt my poor tortured feet, and trudged to my car to get to work. As I drove to work I thought about all of the physical accomplishments I conquered this past weekend…and I have to say, the pantyhose debauchal was not far down on the list of the hardest things, and it makes me wonder what on earth is wrong with me.

Porch Jumping and the Dignity of Others - May 24, 2006

I think I may need professional help for my falling-down ness. It’s getting ridiculous, and it has really stopped being amusing.

Last Saturday, our friend Kent stopped by to gather a myriad of paint equipment, halogen lights, etc. that he had loaned us during our painting party (yes, I know it’s been almost a month since then…we’re bad friends, okay?). I helped him hunt the stuff down, because frankly I had no idea whose stuff was whose. I had just sort of thrown everything into the walk-in pantry in hopes that it would be claimed. Like someone would be at my house, getting cheese crackers out of the pantry and go, “Oh, hey! That’s my 1.5 inch Warner 508 flexible putty knife!” Anyway, we were able to locate almost all of it, except an extension cord, and I told him that Jason would be home in just a second and I’d have him look for it. Well, as Kent was starting his truck, I spotted it. I quick grabbed it and jumped off the back porch to run it out to him….jumped…onto the uneven, unlandscaped, rocky slope in, you guessed it, Dansko shoes. Snap, crackle, pop. Down I went, ankle folded into itself, blinded with that sickening pain and the knowledge that I’ve really screwed it up this time. (And secretly REALLY glad that Kent was already half way down the street and didn’t see it!)

I’m now on stinking crutches in an air-cast, and let me just tell you how hot I look. I’m only using one crutch, hobbling around work looking like Dr. House, only with a worse attitude. My favorite parts are the blisters that are starting to form under my armpit, and the fact that my already oversized backside is now accentuated as I stick it out trying to navigate my way around the narrow hallways on the damn things.

Jason thinks this all started after my breast reduction surgery – and I think he may be right. My world is off-center and I can no longer function in it like a capable human being. Or maybe it’s because I always do these things while rushing somewhere, or trying to save time. Perhaps I should stop that.

So, in the emergency room (which I waited 24 hours before going to, hoping it would get better and the swelling would go down. It didn’t.) I was attended by a pretty, tan, athletic young nurse that had the same injury (the same sexy cast, too) which she got rock climbing. Which, of course, she does between triathlons. Whatever. When the doctor came in to see me, the nurse said, “Look! She’s got the same injury I have!” The doctor looked at me and said, “Oh, are you a rock climber too?” I looked down at my lap and said, “No. Porch jumper. Great sport.”

To further my humiliation, we had dropped the kids off at church while Jason took me to the emergency room. Somehow Annie had gotten the message that I injured myself because I “fell off a desk.” (Apparently one of my children actually said “deck”, but it was heard as “desk.”). So I had the adult Sunday school class praying for speedy healing for me after my big fall off a desk. You KNOW what they’re thinking, and so do I.

Geez, Louise. I’m never getting my dignity back. Not ever.

I Vant To Be Alone - May 15, 2006

This morning, I could see myself in the all-star cast of “Grand Hotel” being Greta Garbo cast as a Russian ballerina melodramatically delivering the line "I vant to be alone".

I was feeling melodramatic. For the past two years we have shared one shower amongst six people. Big house, two bathrooms, one stinking shower. You could just count on the fact that the very moment that the plastic shower rings hit the side of the retro pink and gold shower wall, that someone was either going to knock on the door or barge in to brush teeth, pee (or worse), curl their hair, straighten their hair, brush their hair, look for something, or all of the above at the same time. Just for clarity’s sake, it’s only the two littlest members of the family would actually come in and go potty while someone else was in the shower. In fact, I’ve actually reached out of the shower for a towel and found my four year old sitting on the pot reading a Toys R Us catalog. Thank goodness I saw him first and grabbed the towel or he would have been in therapy for life.

Anyway, one of the most blissful things about our new home, is that once again, we have a Master Bath. Jason has his sink, I have my sink. Jason has his shower, I have my whirlpool tub. AND I have just decided to establish a rule that I have NEVER been able to establish before because of the shower situation and because our home computer and only working DVD player were in our bedroom.

My room is OFF LIMITS.

Children are NOT allowed in my room unless they either ask my permission, or I’m in there and they knock. Yes, knocking on a door is a new concept in our home. It suddenly dawned on me that of all of the people in our house, Jason and I have been the only ones that are not allowed to have privacy or a space that is just ours. I cannot count the times over the past years that I have walked into my room to go to bed or to read, and found Becky or Amy at the computer doing homework, while IM’ing and talking on the phone. Or, I come home from work and go into my room to change to find Sarah and Dylan on my bed watching a movie. Or even better, come into my room and the girls and their FRIENDS are sitting all over my bed in doing something with the computer that sits in a messy bedroom with my underwear in a pair of pantyhose on the floor two feet away from them. That’s my favorite.

So where was I…oh yeah, I want to be alone! And I can! And I will! It occurred to me just this morning when my bathroom filled up with people again. Amy brought her curling iron into my bathroom so that I could do her hair for 80’s day (it’s scary how easily creating that mall-bang/cobra hairdo comes back to you), Sarah was looking for a hair tie to bring to Jason so that he could do her hair, Becky needed to borrow deodorant and Dylan was just along for lack of anything more interesting to do. I am so used to the chaos in the morning that I didn’t even notice at first. It’s been so long since I’ve had a bathroom moment alone where I didn’t have someone trying to talk to me through the door or wiggling fingers underneath it. Anyway, my thoughts have turned to alone time. Like, real, honest to goodness, no one knock, no one call, no one ask me for ANYTHING, time in the tub alone with a book.
Once upon a time, I took a lot of long, hot, relaxing baths. I could spend an hour in there, adding hot water as needed, simmering until tender. There may have been candles, there may have been a glass of wine. Perhaps a magazine. Perhaps a spouse. Now there are mostly children. When the days began where I couldn’t take a bath without some little person helpfully throwing toys into my bathwater because it looked bereft of entertainment…I stopped taking them.
I'm rarely alone in the bathroom any more. Pairs of feet follow me in whenever I go, little people chattering about this, that, or whatever, asking me questions, handing me toilet paper while I try to shoo them out the door.
An evening alone in the bathroom feels like a fantasy that may never come true…kind of like our front deck getting built before summer. In fact, one day last weekend I had the kids off-island all day running errands and Jason was at home alone doing projects. I ran all over creation with my self-created mob, and starting feeling very envious of Jason. I mean, I get plenty of time to myself if I need it because I work all day. But time to myself in my own home is as rare as authentic hoodia. Now, I don’t have to say again how I wouldn’t trade these years with my children for all the tea in China --- but for heaven’s sake.

Just for an evening --- I vant to be alone.