Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 Things

Over on facebook, there is a wave of people doing a "25 Random Things About Me" meme, and I have been having so much fun reading all my friends' lists. Most of them have tagged me since you are "supposed" to tag 25 people. I often ignore this kind of peer pressure, but I could use some blog fodder, and I figured if I am going to write that much about myself, I am sure as heck going to make it a blog post!

The rules are to write 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. Hmmm...

Okay, lets see how this goes.

1) I got this far and ended for the night.

2) I was born in Findlay, Ohio but now live in San Diego. I first moved to CA when I was 18 to visit my friend Cathy, and moved out here about a year later. I have since moved back and forth about 8 or 10 times, probably because I miss my family in Ohio so much and love the land, the weather and culture here in California.

3) I have a mom and a dad and one brother. My parents live in Sanibel Island, FL most of the year now, but still have their house in Findlay. My brother lives outside of Cleveland with his wife, son and daughter. I also have a Japanese exchange-student sister who never really went home after her year with us, who lives in NYC now and is a painter. And I have Bill, who is like a brother/uncle to me. He lived in our house for most all of my life, and has always been part of our family. He still lives in our house in Findlay, and holds down the fort while my parents go off and play in Florida. These people are my family.

4) My husband's family is pretty awesome and I am thrilled that I like them so much. His parents are loving and so generous with their time, resources and love. His brother and sister are amazing people who I would actually love to be friends with and hang out with, even if I had never met their brother.

5) My mom is a genealogist and has traced many lines of our family tree, one of them back to (I think) the year 400. Some of my mom's lines have been here in America for 400 years, and my dad's parents came here as immigrants. I am related to lots of odd people from history, including Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Emperor. But you know what? You probably were, too.

6) I am madly in love with my three sons. We only planned for two, and the twins were a shock, but I can't imagine not having them in my life.

7) Even so, I am really disappointed I will never have a daughter.

8) My husband, Michael, is the best thing that EVER happened to me. He is 7 years younger than me, and I didn't meet him until I was almost 30. I joke that I waited so long to get married because I had to wait for the perfect man to grow up. He is handsome and kind, patient, respectful, he can cook, do the laundry, fix the car and the computer, and is an amazing parent. He is everything I ever wanted in a partner.

9) I believe that "thoughts are things". Some people call it prayer, some call it meditation, some call it positive thinking... but I believe that whatever you think gives power to make things happen. It won't MAKE things happen, but it will give power to it. I once sat down and got quiet and focused, and I asked the universe to send me the perfect man for me, and I described him down to the smallest detail. Then I asked for him to be sent to me, said "Thank You" and patiently waited and trusted that he would come. I met him two weeks later. He is my husband, Michael. I have used that trick when I really need and desire things in my life. It works. A lot.

10) I have always had a driving need to create art but have never been that talented in the actual creation of it. This is why I think I love working in theater and photography so much. In stage management, I can use my organizational skills and people skills to help theater artists (directors, actors and designers) to stay grounded and on task, so that some pretty awesome art can be created. And with photography, while I cannot draw an image that strikes a chord with people with any skill, I can see these images in the world around me, capture it, and show it to others with photography. I think my best actual creative art is the skill I have been building using Photoshop to manipulate images. I have SO MUCH FUN doing that, I think, because it is creative art, and I am pretty good at it.

11) I worked at South Coast Repertory Theater as a production assistant/ASM in the stage management department for 7 years. I loved being back stage, in the middle of the action, making things happen, and putting out fires. I met some really awesome people back then, and miss it a lot. I gave it up when I got pregnant with Noah, and we moved to Ohio so Michael could do his medical residency.

12) I really need to make these things shorter. I am going to lose readers. I tend to go on and on more than I need to.

13) Nothing makes me feel as comfortable and at peace as being in the forest. I love San Diego, and its one of the most awesome places I have ever lived, but a part of me knows I would be more "at home" in a town in the forest. San Diego is the desert on the ocean. Most all of the plants here have been actually planted. I miss moist earth.

14) I never want to live in the snow again. Finding a fantasy land where there is forest and no snow, and is within 2 hours of grandparents is no easy task. Thus, San Diego. lol

15) I used to get my "forest fix" by attending Rainbow Gatherings, which is an event where thousands of people gather deep in a National Forest every summer for a few weeks to build a community. There is music and good food, workshops, and drum circles. It is down-home village life. There is no price to get in. It's free and the food is free. You can donate money if you wish, but there is no pressure to do it, if you cannot afford it. People build about a hundred funky and fun kitchens in the woods with downed wood and tarps, mud ovens and hiked-in grills. Once in, you never see a car or hear amplified music. It's an amazing heart-filling experience. I plugged in with the crew at the Info Booth for 15 years before becoming pregnant with the twins and then we decided to take some time off until the chore of hiking in with small kids became easier. That just might be later this year!

16) I am a Pepsi addict and have been since I was a teen. I have since switched to caffeine-free Pepsi since I discovered it tastes just the same! YAY!

17) I decided to force myself to drink coffee just before going across Europe on a backpacking trip with my friend, Carla. I was bitter that people who drank coffee always had free beverages everywhere you went, and wanted to hang out in cafes across Europe and drink coffee. I have since become an addict of coffee, as well.

18) So, yeah, I went to Europe with a backpack in 1989 and it was one of the most awesome experiences of my life. England, Ireland, France, The Netherlands, Germany, East Germany (GDR), Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Greece. We visited Berlin and went through Checkpoint Charlie to the East Berlin. I watched the wall come down on TV three weeks later absolutely stunned because there had been absolutely no hint of it happening when we were there.

19) If I could change one thing in my life I would arrange it so I could travel more. I have an unending thirst to see the world. The most amazing place I have ever been is Thailand. Michael and I went there on our honeymoon. While I always want to go someplace I have never been before when I travel, I would happily go back to Thailand in a second.

20) I check my email way too often. I leave my computer on all day, and as I go about my day, parenting, cleaning, taxi-ing, I sit down at the desk and refresh my email inbox and my facebook page at least once every 45 minutes, unless there are children on both computers. I am a hit-and-run computer user.

21) I love houses. When I was a kid, I would sometimes go to open houses with my dad, and loved to see how other people lived. Not just rich houses, but any houses. I love thumbing through magazines with log cabin floor plans, websites about home design and decorating, going on home tours, visiting historic homes, and just voyeuristically peering into peoples front windows while I take walks through the neighborhood. (No, I don't put my nose on the glass, I just keep walking!) I love Victorian houses and Craftsman design. Not in the same house, of course.

22) I almost never watch TV anymore. Parenting twin toddlers really prevents that during the day, and I just lost touch with what the good shows are anymore. I tape the shows I do still watch, and that is limited to Lost, Weeds (which isn't as good as it used to be) and Mad Men (which you really should be watching... from the beginning). I also watched The Shield up until it recently ended because a friend of mine was in it, but also because it was a great show.

23) My favorite movies seem to have been made quite a while ago. The ones I can watch over and over again are Harold and Maude and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I never really go to the movies anymore unless my sister-in-law gets me into the awesome independent movie theater she manages while my mother-in-law babysits. Otherwise, we watch movies on DVD.

24) I don't have time to read books anymore. I hope I do again someday. But my brother gave me the bright idea of listening to audio books while I go about my day on an iPod I wear on my arm. Now, when the kids are being self-sufficient, I can listen to a book while I wash the dishes or clean the bathroom! I love books that take place in other cultures and times (that are accurate depictions) and also love my science fiction.

25) I have been feeling kind of overwhelmed since the twins arrived and like I have set aside so many of the things I love to do to be a mom of 3 small kids. I am so excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel now that they are all learning self-sufficiency and do better without their mom every minute of the day, and have been fantasizing about what I can do to put a little me-time back in my life. I have been neglecting my health (mental, physical, spiritual, dental!, etc.) for a couple-three years and am considering taking a Tai-chi or a yoga class, or maybe having the family join a gym with child care so I can work out with the hubby without hiring a babysitter.

Wow! That wasn't as hard as I thought it would be! I am not going to tag anyone, but if you feel inspired to do one of these yourself, be sure to let me know so I can come read it!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Old Friends. My Bookends.

It's been hard to make friends since I moved to San Diego, and lately, I keep getting bombarded with blogs and movies and comments about women who are soooo happy to be surrounded and supported by a circle of good women. I want that for myself so much, that all this in-your-face warm fuzziness dangled in front of me is almost like being cruelly teased.

I have met some wonderful women since moving here and I think they have the potential to become that support network with some intentional group time together. To that end, I am arranging for us all to get together once a month for girl's night out to see what develops. It seems we could all use a circle of feminine solidarity!

But the other night I got a wonderful and unexpected gift!

A very dear and very old girlfriend (no, that came out alllll wrong! I mean we have been girlfriends for a loooong time!) was in-state and she and another old (young), dear friend who lives north of here and I decided to have a slumber party.

A no-child, no-stress, no-curfew slumber party!

We met at my up-north friend's house (who has no children to be quiet for, past bedtime!) and we gathered up a big pile of cheese and crackers and fruit and chocolate and wine and incense and pillows, and we headed out to the back deck that looks out over a forested canyon.

We drank wine and feasted on goodies and we talked for eight hours straight, deep into the night about our histories, our memories, things that shaped out lives, and what we have been doing in the years since we last spent time together (at my wedding - they were both bridesmaids).

At 3:30 we moved into the house to go to bed, (and then talked some more) and when we woke the next morning, we just didn't want to go home. My friend Karen realized she didn't really need to begin her interstate road trip that morning, and my husband was home with the kids, and Carla had no clients that day... wouldn't lunch on the beach and a continuation of our non-responsible time together be better than ending the feminine euphoria and going forward with our lives?

Of course, it would.

And so, we made some calls to the people who were expecting us, and informed them not to expect us just yet, and we grabbed out suits and our sunglasses and hopped in the car, driving through Laguna canyon to one of the most beautiful beaches in southern California.

We gossiped and laughed over cocktails and lunch at an Irish pub, and then walked across the street to the beach.

It was one of those golden days when the light was just right and oh so lovely, and we were high on our carefree-ness, and lack of need to be anywhere at all.

By the time the sun began to set and we headed back through the canyon to Carla's home to gather our things and pack up our cars, we had spent 24 hours together.

And it was probably the most refreshing, renewing thing I have done since my twins were born three years ago!

Now, my husband is very big on making sure I get breaks and I go out alone at times, or go have a drink or see a play with a friend as much as possible. But while as nice as that is, its short and fast and I always feel I have to have as much fun and suck up as much rest and renewal as I can possibly muster within the time constraint. And I am always looking at my watch the moment I walk out the door.

Being with women I know deeply and love, combined with having to be nowhere and have no guilt about being gone in such a tranquil space, was sooooo cleansing and rejuvenating!

I am certainly not going to give up on creating my own circle of sisterhood here in town; I have learned that having no curfew and no guilt about being gone (thus, unfortunately a husband home with the kids instead of a grandma or a babysitter that needs to be relieved) is the most nourishing time-away I could possibly devise.

Now I have to figure out how to give this gift to my husband... so we can both approach parenthood with less frazzlement (yeah, I know that isn't a word!) than we currently experience! Carla's husband sometimes hosts all-night LAN parties where a bunch of guys come, order pizza and play group computer games all night and into the next morning.

That might just be the thing!

Although you wouldn't catch them calling it a slumber party.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Yes We Dance!

I am loving this song! Get up, dance and celebrate the new presidency! Wooooot!

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Tale of Three Computers

So, you know how I said that it was hard for me to get online lately what with visitors who also have email to check and three children who have suddenly become enamored of computer video games? Well, it all just got a little worse.

We have been having a grand time with my parents here, doing lots of cool touristy things. You can read about it here on my Mom's blog. But I have all these photos I want to share with you and show you about the trip and while they were not lost, my photo organizer and my Photoshop program are both on my computer that went up in smoke the other day.

The computer was new, so its still under warranty and got sent back to the shop as it were. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the hard drive is safe and sound in there since it seemed like a heat issue. (Can overheating destroy my hard drive??)

So! We dragged out the backup computer and booted it up and only a couple hours later did the kids' computer die (a re-installing of Windows problem that can be fixed in time. Maybe a good long time, but definitely fixable). And then this morning, we could hear the backup computer boot but it wouldn't show up on the screen.

That's 3 useless computers if you were counting.

So, we got the backup back up and running. And the kid's will get around to working again someday soon, but my main computer is sick and in the hospital for surgery. Send your prayers, cross your fingers, rub your Buddha bellies.

Since I do NOT have any good pictures from the visit just yet, I will leave you instead with my results from the fun new thing everyone is doing from the website Obamicon.Me! You too can be on an Obama-esque propaganda poster! This last one is what it looks like if you choose a landscape oriented image.

You do have to register and join to be able to get your own, but its a really fun little site to play with!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Someone's Been Sitting in MY Chair!

It's vacation time again! And I don't even have to travel!

My parents have arrived for their bi-yearly visit, and have settled in nicely. I get to act like a tourist in my own town. It's nice to have a good kick-in-the-butt to get out and about with and without the kids.

We've done a little hiking in the canyons, done a little browsing through the art galleries...

Getting online to TELL you about it is going to be another story all together. The twins have discovered the computer, and are turning out to be as geeked out as the rest of their family. The light bulb went on about what the mouse does and how to use it. So much so, in fact, that we needed to bring Noah's bedroom computer downstairs so that the kids can play their games (educational of course) off of our computer!

That doesn't stop one of them from sliding into the seat when we step away for awhile. We will often find them installing obscure programs they got online by clicking on advertisements (no! I am not kidding!). We finally had to put a password on our screen saver to stop them from randomly clicking on things!

Aside from having to wait in line for our turn to use our computer (what?) the office is also our guestroom, so the ol' blog, which usually gets updated post-bedtime, is now in a sleeping room post-bedtime.

So, sigh... you are more likely to find out what me and my folks are up to by checking my Mom's far more popular than my blog. She seems to find a way to squeeze some blogging in between kid's computer games, and gets her blog updated, even if she has to sit on a squat little kiddie chair to do it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

To Pass The Time

I started reading Noah some longer chapter books from The Magic Treehouse series. He is really enjoying them. They are about this brother and sister who find a treehouse that takes them to different places in time. They visit the dinosaurs or the ancient Egyptians or bury pirate treasure or visit a medieval castle.

I told him that by next year, reading would get easier and easier and his reading books would get longer, and he would be reading these chapter books himself. I told him to imagine himself curled up on the couch with one of these books reading the story to himself!

And he thinks about that. He imagines hard.

And he says, "Hey! Reading is something that I could DO! You know, when I'm BORED!!"


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Down Came the Rain

Okay. I just had to share this really funny blog post.

Especially for those who need a laugh in these tough economic times.

Click on over.

Soup Is Good Food

My eldest son ate soup for lunch today.

I know a lot of you are going, "yeah... okay... this is gonna be one of those blogposts about the minutia in her life, I guess".

My mom is probably getting up off the floor because she fell out of her chair.

See, my eldest is one of those kids with food... shall we say... ISSUES? Yes, food issues. He eats only about seven things and has for quite some time.

He will very politely say, "no, thank you." if you offer him applesauce or grapes or peaches or corn or macaroni and cheese or raisins or peanuts or watermelon or even JELLO for g-d's sake!

But today he ate soup for lunch. And soup is not one of the seven foods.

Just getting him to come to the table takes some coercion at times, and we worry that we are making food to much of a stress in his life. We have tried backing off, feeding him only what he eats, feeding him only what he doesn't eat, talking about health and growing up strong, pointing out that his body is a good deal smaller than his friends his age and why. We have offered choices in case it was a control issue. We have taken away choices because we feel we serve him as if he is in a restaurant.

We have considered therapy to find out what is at the base of all this, how his mind is thinking about it, how his hunger (or lack thereof) ticks.

He fled from the table after eating less than a tablespoon of food for the second time in three meals, and at my wits' end I sat down with him and had this epiphany. Gee... maybe I should talk to him like a therapist would, really listen and not judge. Get him to keep on talking about it until he gives me some truths.

So I asked him why he felt he always wanted to leave the table. Why he never wanted to come to the table? Why he stopped even when there is food he likes? He started out saying that he worried he would get messy or spill his milk. Drip syrup on himself. I asked him if I had ever made him feel bad about messing his shirt or the table and he dropped that line right away. And then he said...

"Eating is just boring. I always eat the same food over and over and over again. It just gets boring."

Really. What a shock.

So, I explained to him that the reason he gets the same food over and over again is that whenever I serve him anything else, he refuses to eat and will go a whole day (or two!) without eating. I explained that if he even added back in the foods that he USED to eat and decided he no longer would, like Mac and Cheese, and pasta and scrambled eggs, then he would not have to have the same meal he just ate the day before yesterday, again today!

And would you believe the lightbulb went on?

The very next thing he said was could he please have pasta for lunch?

"Um... YEAH!"

"And ravioli for dinner?"

I checked his forehead for fever. Normal.

I checked mine.

"Sure, honey, we could do that!" ignoring the fact completely that ravioli is pasta, but then how would someone who eats seven foods even know that?

So he had pasta for lunch. And that night for dinner he ate ravioli. And he thanked us for it!

He had his usual cereal for breakfast today. And for lunch? Yup. He asked for soup! He ate about three tablespoons of it and nothing else, but he said it was warm and good, and could he have it again sometime?

I just stammered as his tiny little six year old self in his 4T pants skipped out of the room.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Just Another Auld Lang Syne

I have to say, I am a wee bit disappointed.

It's New Year's Eve and my hubby and I are staying in. The kids asleep in their beds with visions of noisemakers and 2009 glasses in their heads. And I am okay with that.

At 9pm we flip on the TV to see the New Yorker's enjoying their countdown and give a perfunctory kiss to each other as a nod to the "us that used to live in the eastern time zone". The ball drops, the confetti falls, the cold revelers in their Nivea Hats (I guess GM couldn't afford to pass out hats this year?) fall into each others' arms singing Auld Lang Syne. Very nice, but it's only 9pm for us, so we settle in for a nice evening together.

Michael makes the coffee. I make some chicken soup. I have been sick ALL DAY and am glad I don't have to show up at any kind of party. We put on a good movie (we got Netflix!) and snuggled up in bed together.

The movie was good, but even so, Michael has trouble staying awake past 10:30 even with coffee, and I, who normally stays up late, am now feeling seasick and on the verge of comatose. The movie ends at about quarter till New Year, so we flip over to the TV channels trying to figure out where best to get our countdown. And channel after channel is "Carson Daly in NEW YORK!" or "Dick Clark's Rockin' Who-Ha Live from NEW YORK!" or "Bill and Hillary smoochin' at midnight Live from NEW YORK!"

I mean, come on, People! We are California! We have HOLLYWOOD! Can we not lead our own countdown? Can we not celebrate with people who are still awake??

Finally, we find some lame local San Diego channel that is broadcasting live from the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where Evel's son Robbie Knievel is preparing to jump his motorcycle over the fake volcano in their front yard. Okay, so we decided to get cool with this as they were in the Pacific time zone, and because they were broadcasting computer created images of all the ways this could go horribly wrong.

We would celebrate with the Las Vegans.

But then, at 30 seconds left to go, the announcer in his spiffy rented tux announces that we are sending it over to Eddie in NEW YORK who will take us into the countdown!! Cut to three hours earlier where Eddie is being told to record this moment like the guy in Las Vegas just passed the feed over to him a moment ago. He thanks Las Vegas Announcer Guy and shows us the ball dropping and we see the ocean of Nivea hats and the same Auld Lang Syne plays as Bill kisses Hillary like they were in the side hall of the Oval Office! Geeeez!!!

Okay, so we don't have a lit up LED ball, and we don't have a Times Square. But we are California! Its actually WARM at midnight!! Can we not gather a few thousand folks, have a good party, and do our own freakin' countdown at midnight? Was there nothing worth broadcasting in all of this vast state? Do they not realize that we have seen this midnight moment three times tonight already?

We gave each other our true New Year's Eve kisses. We were there for each other.

And then Robbie Knievel does his jump over the fiberglass volcano and lands with a perfect flourish, not even giving us the satisfaction of one of the catastrophic scenarios laid out earlier in the program.

And then we turn off the lights, and roll over and go to sleep.