Archive for the 'Awesome' Category

The Dog Ate My Blog Post. And my Plants, and my Pillows, and my Porch…

Posted by laura on May 05 2011 | Awesome, Not So Fun, Uncategorized

I’ve never had a puppy before. Here’s the thing – it turns out when people say it’s like having another baby, only worse, they’re not actually joking around with you. We brought home this adorable fluff of fur, and the next thing you know she’s totally running our lives. There we were, making neurotic charts

just to keep her from having accidents in our little house, we were up at all hours of the night… scratch that. Tom was up at all hours of the night. I did that two times already, for many, many months, so I got a pass on that job this time around because Tom is awesome. But there were so many things I didn’t (still don’t) understand! Why did she go totally and unbelievably bazonkers at the same time every day? Why does she have to dig a hole to China every chance she gets?

And why, oh why, does she have to eat absolutely every single object she comes across? Not lick, sniff, chew, but ingest? She’s like a miniature Godzilla ransacking everything in her path. There’s the usual range of odd and disgusting things, but she also has a deep fondness for the trash in the bathroom, and the plastic pots that you buy plants in, and all forms of dead and discarded things that any sentient being should seriously want to avoid. As a matter of fact, it’s oddly appropriate that even as I type this she’s moaning and gagging in her crate from some unknown indigestion.

By now you’re wondering, what’s the big deal? Puppies are a lot of work. Give us something more exciting, Laura! Give us a saga! Fine. You asked for it. (Literally. This one’s for you, Pam!)

The month was February. Just to keep things interesting, I made an appointment to have all my wisdom teeth pulled. It was a long time coming, and even though many friends asked me why I’d want to go through that at my age (thanks a lot, friends), anyone who has young children and a puppy would appreciate that I actually looked forward to this surgery like a week at the spa. Anesthesia guaranteed at least one hour’s solid sleep, recovery offered the possibility of more sleep and maybe even a movie or two… I was golden.

Then the week before my surgery, poor Honey got super duper sick. She had some insane intestinal bug or bacteria that landed her in the ER one night, getting fluids and lots of tests and lots of bills. It was a serious drag for her, but she started to pull out of it by the end of the week. She was up a lot in the night, so we inflated the Aerobed under the bunk in her room and I slept with her at night to help her out. One early morning, we were both sleeping peacefully when suddenly I woke to the very distinct feeling that something was plucking at the bottom of the bed. Honest to goodness, it felt like an animal was plucking at the mattress from below. As you can imagine, it freaked my freak, and after I released my grip on the ceiling, I determined that there was not actually anything in the room with me, so whatever it was had to be under the house. Then I very reasonably started whaling on the floorboards with my fist, because, well, that oughta learn ‘em, right?

I grabbed Honey out of a deep sleep and dragged her into the guest bed, then ran into our room and woke Tom up, saying, “Tom! I need you.”

“Right!” he said, popping out of bed, instantly awake and on full alert. Did I mention he’s awesome? We pulled Honey’s room apart just to be sure, and then called the exterminators, because we had rats under the house. From the feel of it, mutant zombie rats the size of bobcats. Good times.

We spent the weekend dealing with that issue, and the following week I was prepping the house for my surgery. I cleaned everything, cooked ahead, lined up playdates, you know the drill. My surgery was set for Friday morning. On Thursday, Tom took Twix for a walk. When they came home, we noticed that one of her toenails looked like she’d pulled it out a bit, and it was bleeding. After watching her for a while, I called the vet for some advice and they said to just bring her by. Well it turned out she must have snagged the nail (which was trimmed!) on something, and – wait for it – broken her toe. No problem, the vet said, just drop her off in the morning, we’ll put her under and fix the toe, and she’ll be fine in a week or two.

So Twixie and I went in for surgery bright and early on the same day. Fortunately I did not get a cone of shame – I just got six weeks of soft foods and some very intimidating bruises. Luckily, through it all, Tom was (say it with me) awesome.

tl;dr. insane puppy, intestinal sadness, ER, rats under house, puppy surgery, wisdom teeth surgery, still married.

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The Dog Ate My Blog Post

Posted by laura on May 02 2011 | Awesome, Holiday, Uncategorized

Seems to me, if you step away from your blog for a quick snack and don’t come back for months, your return post better have a hook. I spent some time thinking about it, and finally determined that the best way to jump back in would be with a tale of dreams-come-true.

Let’s travel back to December, where we last left off. (I know, it’s so 2010.) Here’s a quick reminder of those halcyon days…

The fridge covered with gorgeous Christmas cards from our family and friends…

An unbelievably stormy Christmas Day – it poured buckets and we wondered if anyone would venture out to our open house in the afternoon.

Thank heavens they did – how would we have eaten that mound of carrots and sugar snap peas by ourselves? Cheese I can handle, but crudite should never be tackled alone.

But I digress.

The kids had a wonderful morning and received some stellar gifts, but there was a whopper in there. Anyone who knows Honey will remember that she’s waged an ongoing campaign for a dog for at least 5 years. The girl is nothing if not persistent. Well, this year she wrote a letter to Santa that basically said – Please could I have a dog. That’s it, nothing else. We told her not to get her hopes up. Christmas arrived, she loved the presents and was super happy – even when we had a gift mixup that resulted in her thinking for a while that a tea cozy Gini had sent for me was a new hat, she was delighted. Then she pulled this out from under the tree -

A letter from the jolly man himself, telling her that somewhere there was a dog that needed our family, and her job was to find it. Honey went ballistic.

And that, my friends, is where the caroling ended and the crazy began.

The great hunt was on – we visited shelters all along the Northern California coast, and we went waaay off the beaten track. We met a LOT of dogs.

I remember when Tom and I were first looking for our house, I kept thinking that one day we’d walk into a house and just know it was the one. A year later, I had my doubts. We found it, but I never had that epiphany I expected. Turns out the dog search went very much the same way. We met so many great dogs. They all seemed to have potential, but I never had that resonating moment. Of course our kids had that resonating moment with every single solitary animal we came across, including a couple of cats and a horse. That made the search just a bit more fraught, as every time we turned away from a shelter empty armed, they were crushed.

However. Eventually it clicked. We went to the Humane Society one more time and met an extremely bouncy, fun puppy. She was wriggly and happy and incredibly friendly, and most importantly she had a sister. The sister was not quite so bouncy. She was a bit shy, and the first thing she did when we approached her was to sit down and look up at us. The volunteers at the Humane Society told us that the bouncy friendly puppy was perfect for a family with kids, and we thought about it, and then we all agreed that we liked the quiet one better.

We named her Captain Twix. Isn’t she adorable?

Look at that face. Doesn’t it just melt your heart? Could a perfect face like that ever cause you any grief?

As it turns out, it can. Oh yes.

So there you have it, I lied up above. My returning blog hook is not actually a dreams-come-true story – it’s a cliffhanger.

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She’s Ten

Posted by laura on Oct 08 2010 | Awesome

How is it possible? Honey is double digits today.

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Lucky 13

Posted by laura on Sep 14 2010 | Awesome, Fun

On September 13th thirteen years ago, Tom and I had a humdinger of a wedding, surrounded by our incredible family and friends from all around the world. It wasn’t the wedding I’d always dreamed of. It was far more layered and beautiful than anything I could have imagined. It rocked.

Yesterday, he gave me a bouquet with lisianthus and delphinium – flowers I chose for my bouquet. Yes, he is that good. Thanks, Tom! Thanks for 13 lucky years. And thank you to all our near and dear who promised that day to guide and support us. I must admit, I’m still a little unclear on what some of you were modeling when you were dunking your heads in the ice buckets towards the end of the reception, but Tom and I have been faithfully following your lead these many years and it seems to be working.

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What a Weekend!!

Posted by laura on Sep 06 2010 | Awesome, Bicycle, Fun, Uncategorized

FRIDAY

Every Friday afternoon, Honey’s soccer team has a practice. I’ve mentioned it before, because we’ve had it this way for three years now – Friday soccer practice ends at 5pm and we all know that’s cocktail time. So we usually bring some snacks and drinks to the practice and kick off the weekend in style. Everyone lingers at the field for a little while before we all head off to our evening plans. It has to be one of the most civilized moments of the week, and I always look forward to it.

This past Friday, I was late for the practice for perhaps the first time, as I was looking after some extra kids that afternoon and one of them experienced an unfortunate convergence of hill, wide turn and speeding cyclist. Ouch. It all could have been much, much worse, but thanks to that, and this,

and another mother who happened to come along at the perfect moment to help with all the calls and details, we were able to keep it all together until the injured party’s mum could scoop him up and take him in for some stitches. He was exceptionally brave, and we were all pretty lucky.

[BTW I thought I'd already posted something on my sweet retro first aid kit, but it looks like I forgot. You can buy the reproduction kit right from the American Red Cross site and support the organization. It comes with basic supplies, but there's still space to trick it out with some extra items like large non-stick pads, which I can now tell you are quite nice to have if you need them!]

When the rest of us finally arrived at soccer practice (I thankfully didn’t lose or maim the other extra child along the way), my terrific friends had thrown a surprise birthday celebration for me. I’m so glad I didn’t miss it!

They were ridiculous – champagne, prosecco, delicious snacks… all organized by my extravagant friend Jill. Unbelievable. This is the life, I tell you. I am now spoiled beyond recognition.

This is how I arrived home that night. Lucky ducky.

That evening we had a relaxing, delicious meal at our friends’ house – and were there when our hero arrived with stitches in his hand. He was feeling much better and just beginning to experience the warm recognition that rightfully follows injury, so he was in a good spot. I heard one of the dads ask him how it happened, and he said, “Well, I was riding out of the school and I took the turn pretty wide and … lesson learned!” So darn great.

SATURDAY

A beautiful day here. Honey’s soccer team won their first game and even passed the ball to each other – a marked departure from their traditional strategy, which was give the ball immediately to the best player and watch her score. She still did half the scoring, but it was much more evenly played overall.

In the evening we drove down to Palo Alto for dinner with Needham friends, and that was tasty and quite fun. We loved catching up with our friends, and the area is really quite beautiful.

SUNDAY

Honey and I started out bright and early, with a trip to the Alameda Flea Market with Joan and the girls. It’s been nearly a year since our last trip and I was beginning to doubt the possibility of finding good items there at a reasonable price. We ended up having a terrific time and coming home with some treasures. Our timing was perfect – we waltzed right in the entry (when we left, the line had to be 45 minutes long) and started strolling through the booths sometime around 8am. Joan and the girls actually found some items they were looking for, which is a coup considering how hectic the market is. Honey found this ridiculously lovely jacket that honestly could have been made for her – the color and cut suited her perfectly.

She wore it the rest of the morning, she was so pleased. It had no size or materials tag inside – just one label:

I remember Mum mentioning “Princess Ann” clothes years ago, but I was surprised that I couldn’t find anything out about them online. Not that I spent a huge amount of time, but I was curious to see if I could figure out approximately when the coat was made, and I couldn’t find a thing about the label online. If anyone knows anything more about it, I’d love to hear.

Check out what I found:

Oh yes. We are Dance Masters of America.

And how about this?

Your eyes do not deceive you – a handbag with a watch built in. Wanna see it again?

Mm hm. That’s right. It still works, too.

As if that weren’t enough, Honey and and her friends scored four perfect, gorgeous velvet doll capes for $3 each. What a morning. And then, that night… we went to watch a professional women’s soccer game.

Our local team, SC Gold Pride, was playing the Boston Breakers. Talk about a dilemma! Who to cheer for? Both I guess. Although the Pride sure held their spot at the top of the league last night and played well and won. One of the most popular Bay Area players is named Marta – she’s from Brazil originally and played for the LA Sol last year before they dissolved the team this season. She just danced around the ball like you wouldn’t believe, and them BAM! Right into the corner of the goal. Yipes.

Fortunately/unfortunately the stadium isn’t huge and the game wasn’t too crowded, so we had great seats and a close view of the field. It was fun to walk up higher to see the patterns of play, and then sit close so you could really see the women’s footwork. We were all blown away.

On top of all that, there were contests to win shirts and signed balls and all the people in the stands were having such a great time. After the game, the players came out to give autographs, and Honey and Hot Wheels had never done that before. They lined up with all the other kids and held their programs out hopefully. Hot Wheels was so much shorter than the other kids, the players couldn’t even see his face – just a small hand stuck through a sea of legs and the gate. But these women were ridiculously nice. They took their time and smiled at all the kids, and some of them even chatted a bit.

When they got signatures, our kids turned back towards us, and I swear I will never, ever forget the looks on their faces. I simply wasn’t prepared for it – I thought it was terrific that the players would come out, but I totally underestimated the impact on our kids. They were radiant, all the way home. Hot Wheels fell asleep in the car, and as I carried him into the house, he stirred, then shot awake in a panic. “Do you have my program??!” This morning he wrapped it carefully in a plastic bag and hid it behind the shelves in his room. Maybe he’s afraid it will get stolen.

MONDAY

Thankfully our friend Amy decided that for her birthday this year, we should all get the day off. Wasn’t that nice of her? I thought so. We decided to do very little today. It was deliciously hot, and we took a walk and went over to Soccerfest, which is a soccer fundraiser/party they throw here in town each year. They usually try to have a professional player there to give a brief demonstration and talk to the kids, so Hot Wheels went over with his precious program from last night, just in case one of the Pride players was there. No such luck, but he had a great time on all the bouncy castles instead. We all got a little fried in the sun, just like we do each year, but it was fun nonetheless.

Now I have to go to bed. I hope you all had a great weekend!! Happy birthday Amy!

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Lordy Lordy

Posted by laura on Sep 02 2010 | Awesome, Fun

I just turned 40.

Somebody give my mother a stiff drink. It’s surprising enough to me, so I can only imagine what she’s going through. It’s been an awesome birthday though.

I’ve been showered with drawings and ridiculously cool presents and wonderful shared meals and drinks with friends – it’s been nothing short of spectacular.

Last night, Tom took me to the theater here in town to see and Impro Theatre production called Jane Austen Unscripted. Just as it sounds, the whole evening is an improvised play in the style of Jane Austen. I had to check that out. We laughed through the whole thing and were amazed at how difficult improv must be, although some of our favorite lines actually came at the expense of slip-ups the actors made. It was a great evening.

So far this is looking like it might be my favorite decade!

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Not Just the Clothes Make the (Wo)Man

Posted by laura on Aug 30 2010 | Awesome, Bicycle, Uncategorized

I’m going to fess up front here – this one’s about clothes. You’ve been warned.

Around this time every year I tend to look in the old closet and cringe a bit. Shopping is not on my top ten list of favorite activities – at least not for myself. I get itchy and self conscious and flustered and desperate to be outside. But sometimes I have to face facts and realize that when the sweaters have vents in the elbows and the shirts are faded and the dresses are drooping, it’s time to grow up already and get myself out and buy a few new things.

This is the moment when my natural disinclination for shopping runs headlong into my miserable memory and creates a disaster because when will I ever learn that shopping is a team sport? I grumble my way around the mall all by myself, tsking like an old lady at the prices and recoiling at my reflection under the fluorescent dressing room lighting. The last time I tried it, I confirmed that all dressing rooms should come equipped with business card dispensers for local therapists. On-call.

Last week, I was feeling both brave and desperate, so I headed up to the shops with one major plan – Anthropologie. I might still groan about the prices, but at least I’d get to revel in the store design, and the fabrics, and the way their dressing room lighting actually murmurs soft compliments the whole time you’re in there. (Which can be a bit misleading, but I’ll take it.) I really did try that day, but I walked out with just one black turtleneck top that was on sale and somewhat predictable. It’s actually quite nice. I have it on right now.

Right after that, though, I had the unbelievable good fortune to bump into my friends Nuran and Jill, and everything changed. They wanted to see what I bought. I showed them. “It’s black!” Nuran said.

“Well…”

“Come with me.”

And with that, Nuran grabbed me by the arm and dragged me back into the store. She started throwing clothes at me. “You’re going to try this on, and we have to see that. THIS is a great color for you.”

“Really?!”

“Don’t argue with me. Just try it on.”

Talk about pushy. But Nuran is always right. Jill was also giving me ideas and trying to protect me a bit. They grabbed clothes that I’d just walked by and never even considered. I thought they were a bit crazy but it seemed safer to just ride the current and see what happened. Can I also say they still only took things from the sale racks? That’s important.

They hauled me into the dressing room, checked everything out and told me what they thought. They said charming things like, “I hate you – look at those legs.” God love them.

In the end, I had too many choices. I couldn’t decide, so they suggested that I put it all on hold and stroll around to mull it over, which I did. We said good bye and I thanked them for the rescue. Shortly afterwards, I got a text from Nuran – ‘Where are u? I have somthng to show u.’ They turned up a few minutes later with a box – they’d bought me one of the skirts I was looking at, for my birthday. I am not making this up. Like a total attitude overhaul wasn’t enough.

The next day, I wore one of my new outfits around town. It has a great 50s feeling to it – one of the other mums at school said I was “channeling my inner Betty Draper.”

You don’t have to tell me – I know the bike helmet really completes the look. Mmm.

(I had a great string of vintage beads from my friend Lori that had the exact same green as the skirt. Sweet!)

Ok listen up, fellow shopping detesters – I’ve seen the light. You need teammates. The kind who will, through gentle guidance or outright bullying, get you to expand your image of yourself. They’ll tell you what looks good and give confidence to wear what you truly like. Yes, it is frivolous. Yes, your confidence should come from within and your clothes shouldn’t make a difference, except for the fact that they do because we make visual decisions and judgements incessantly, subconsciously, and we can’t stop it.

On Friday, I rode my bike around town with a grin on my face because I felt terrific, and it wasn’t just the cut of my new skirt, or the lovely compliments I received that gave me such a boost. It was camaraderie.

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Look What We Found!

Posted by laura on Jul 09 2010 | Awesome, Fun

Honey had an excellent intuition yesterday to swing into a consignment shop where our friend Ruth used to volunteer. We strolled in, and in the first 30 seconds we made two important discoveries: our neighbor Barbara, who was working there that day, and a set of sterling silver animal birthday candle holders. Shall I break that down? Birthday candle holders. Shaped like animals.

They were so lovely we bought them up, just like that. And then when our friends came over for dinner, we knew what we had to do.

Our friend Sean said it was a little like choosing your monopoly piece – it was fun seeing which animal each person wanted most.

We’ll all have extra birthdays this year!

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This is the Week

Posted by laura on Jun 09 2010 | Awesome, Fun, Holiday, Not So Fun

in which we went from this -

to this.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, but honestly, Vegemite isn’t that bad. No, it was something far more unsavory, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the good stuff. Tom turned 40 at the end of last week, and we decided to take a quick trip down to Santa Cruz for some fun on the boardwalk with Gini and Craig. It was a perfect day.

It started with a steam train – really the best start to any day for Tom. We weren’t on board, but we got to see it head out for a tour through the Santa Cruz mountains, and it was beautiful.

We checked out the boardwalk…

and had our lunch at the best taco bar. We’d stumbled upon this place the last time we were in Santa Cruz a few years back, and boy were we happy to find it again! $1.50 taco? Yes thanks.

Santa Cruz has a cool style going on – check out this mural:

How about a close-up of that awesome retro mod car? You got it.

Seriously, now – who doesn’t want one of those?

And just before we left town, we caught some surfing action along the coast. Gorgeous weather, awesome time.

Now for the opposite end of the scale. Are you sitting down? Both of our kids have whooping cough. That’s right – check your calendar, but it’s still going to say 2010, and our kids are still going to have this crazy thing I thought belonged to the history books. Here’s the story. Hot Wheels got a cough at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend, and we’d just been reading in the local paper that our county is currently inundated with Whooping Cough cases. Feeling a little alarmist, we brought him to the doctor and asked if he could have pertussis. No way, the doctor said. His booster was only a year old, he didn’t have any of the right symptoms, and the cough sounded like an allergic cough. It was Memorial Day weekend, so we pressed the issue – was he safe to be around people? Absolutely.

Let’s go forward a week. He was still coughing, but no real change in symptoms. Then we heard that some friends’ kids had been quarantined with Whooping Cough. “We’ve got to bring him up again,” I said to Tom. So off he went for another check – and more assurances that he was fine, but we said we really wanted him to be tested. Two days later, Honey was coughing and I brought them both into the pediatrician’s office. She swabbed Honey and said she’d bet they both had it.

HOW? I wanted to know. How do two healthy kids with all their immunizations get Whooping Cough? You might be more up to date than me on this one but I learned for the first time that no vaccine is 100% effective, and if we have enough exposure to a disease, we can contract it even if we’ve been vaccinated. When enough people in a community are vaccinated, you develop a ‘herd immunity’ so you don’t have enough exposures to risk sickness.

I just read this morning that our county has the highest rate of families choosing personal belief exemptions for vaccinations. Ten years ago, less than 2% of kindergarteners in our county entered school without their vaccinations – in 2009 it was 7.1%. Clusters of exemptions like that in a community increases risk for all of us. I respect that lots of people were scared by the autism fear, but the science just wasn’t there to support the scare – and I didn’t fully realize until this week the danger those exemptions pose not just to the kids who aren’t immunized, but to all our kids.

Personally, I feel horrible. I know we were acting on doctor’s advice, and I know it’s all around us, but of course I get hives at the thought that we were walking around with this unknowingly. I’m also pretty angry. Our kids have been miserable and we’ve lost a week of school and work and a good chunk of change dealing with this.

Here are our takeaways. Ready?

1. Don’t assume that your kids are protected by their immunizations.

2. Even if your kids aren’t presenting the traditional whooping cough symptoms – runny nose, slight fever, cough that ‘whoops’ – they might still have it. One friend of ours tested positive with no cough at all.

3. Tom figured the last one out – if your child develops a cough, call Wildcare. Tell them you found a baby bird and it’s coughing. They’ll have you tested and treated by mid morning.

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Tahoe

Posted by laura on May 24 2010 | Awesome, Fun, Holiday, Travel

As it turns out, things are looking up for me, too! Months ago, I was invited to join a group of friends (all fellow mothers from our elementary school) for a Tahoe overnight. One of my friends has a house up near Donner Lake, and I was lucky enough to go up this past weekend for a visit. We got up there Friday afternoon, and here’s what we found:

Yee haw! What an awesome house. It was beautiful, laid back and cozy all at the same time. Here’s something else we found:

Snow! I guess nobody told the Sierras that Memorial Day is only a weekend away. It sure was beautiful though.

We took some nice long walks and appreciated the landscape around us.

It kept alternating between grey skies with snow blowing horizontally by, and bright spots with long views.

Here are the friends contemplating Donner Lake. They’re probably also contemplating their numb toes, but it still felt wonderful to be hiking around. It was simply amazing  - no agenda, no worries. We did some of this:

And some of this:

(That’s homemade tortillas – yum.) And some of this:

And, frankly, some of this:

Although not all at the same time, mind you. We were simply well prepared.

When I got home Honey asked me, “So what did you do? Did you go anywhere?”

I replied, “Well, ahh, let’s see – we went hiking, and we cooked, and we worked on a puzzle, and we talked…” She gave me a concerned look and said, “I’m sorry. It sounds like you didn’t have very much fun.”

Little does she realize. I keep replaying moments in my mind – doubling over with laughter, fresh cold air, delicious flavors, DJing for each other from our iPhones, swapping ideas and stories. It was rejuvenating. We stretched time together and still got home in time to enjoy Sunday with our families. What a gift.

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