Sunday, November 29, 2009

Clark Griswold, Ladies & Gentlemen

The scary thing is that he's not done yet.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving, 2009

Here are my fat two pictures from two full days of Thanksgiving celebration. Let's just say I was super busy digesting copious amounts of champagne & turkey. And ham. And pie. And oh my God, the gluttony.

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Josh & his Dad hamming it up with the turkey. Get it? Hamming it up? But it's a turkey? (I feel perhaps my razor-sharp wit has been dulled with all the fat and sugar. What do you guys think?)

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Dash meets Mugsy for the first time. I think he liked him.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanks, Day 12

I'm not going to post tomorrow, so we're gonna rock a twofer today.

I was always a little OCD with cleaning, but progressively more since Dash was born. I'm trying to get it under control, with not much success. I do have days, though (sometimes weeks! ok, sometimes one week. if four days counts as a week) when I can just let shit go. Revel in the chaos for a few hours. Today was one of those days:

You should see his face light up when he sees me heading to the couch with a fresh batch of warm laundry to fold.

Some days, you just need every single Lego. Those tend to be the better days.

He's practicing his letters, but he thinks he's just playing a puzzle. Don't tell him he's learning.

And, because I ran out of days before I ran out of things to be thankful for, here:

* Trader Joe's pre-boiled, pre-peeled eggs. I know they seem a little scary, but I made 40 deviled eggs today in half an hour. HALF AN HOUR.

* While we're at Trader Joe's: Candy Cane Joe Joes (like Oreos, but minus the hydrogenated oil and plus ground up candy canes) & Charles Shaw wine. Do you know how much I would spend on wine if I didn't have Charles Shaw to make spritzers out of? A lot, that's how much.

* ABC Family Channel Countdown to Christmas. It is not the holidays until I have seen Tori Spelling get the Christmas spirit in her cold, businesswomanly heart (also, she's Jewish, like us! and therefore confirms my theory that nobody loves Christmas like a Jew loves Christmas).

* Free Amazon Prime trials. Seriously, I have already saved, like, $150 in shipping alone.

* The Butterball Hotline. I have never called, and don't expect that I ever will. But it is a huge comfort to me that somewhere out there, a kind woman who knows her way around a turkey is taking calls. I'd bet she has some stories.

* You guys. All my amazing, talented, loving, ingenious, hilarious friends. I never in a million years expected anyone other than my family to find me here, but I am just delighted that you did. I am honored that you choose to spend a little of your time and attention with me here. And I am incredibly grateful to have found you and your beautiful writing, as well.

* And finally, as always, for this:


Racially insensitive headgear and all.

Thanks, Day 11

Just over 35 years ago, my Mom packed up her three-year-old daughter (me) and got the fuck out of Dodge (formerly known as the Soviet Union). She left everything and everyone she knew behind to give us a chance at a better life here.

This is how I spent the better part of this evening:

Making crazy turkey cupcakes for Dash's school's Thanksgiving Feast tomorrow.

That is some First World shit right there. Maybe not exactly what she had in mind when she sacrificed everything she had for the Promised Land. But probably close.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanks, Day 10



Oh, Lord, Dash loves these kittens so hard. And they love him back just as hard.

They are nuts and patient and hilariously funny. They let Dash carry them around by their haunches and don't ever complain. They bring a special kind of life and cheer into the house that we didn't even know was missing until they got here.

Also, they are cute as fuck.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanks, Day 9

Josh got laid off last week. He got two months notice and they've promised three months severance, so as far as layoffs go, this one is pretty ideal. But still. Laid off.

And yet, I am thankful. I am thankful that I finally know--for the first time in many, many years--that we'll be ok. No matter what.

I mean, we have a plan. When the recession started toward the end of last year, I called Josh on the cellie one night while we were both driving home, and we came up with a plan. What will we do if you lose your job? If I do? Then I came home & wrote it down. I am prone to panic, so every few weeks I would open up that doomsday spreadsheet and soothe myself with the numbers. We have a plan.

So when Josh called with the news, I knew we'd be ok. Even if the unthinkable happens and he's out of work for a year, we'll be ok. Even if the really, really unthinkable happens and he's out of work for two years. Or five years. Or forever. We'll be ok. Because no matter how much I love this house, this neighborhood, our little life here, it's not what makes us a family. It's not what makes us happy. We can always pick up and take every single important thing with us. To a smaller house. An apartment. Hell, our parents' house, if need be. Because we are the only important thing. Us three. And we are portable.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanks, Day 8

This face:

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I mean, I would have loved him even if he was ugly. But seriously.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanks, Day 7

These are some of the books that I return to. The ones that helped shape me, for better or for worse.

Amelia Bedelia--This was the first book I ever read all by myself. Do you know these books? They're all about a maid who takes everything literally (when told to prune the bushes she sticks prunes on the branches.) I can not even begin to guess why I was so enamored with this book when I was little. I had never heard any of the idioms in it (we were immigrants and the finer points of English were lost on me until at least high school). But I loved that book. And it was the first one I bought when I found out I was pregnant with Dash.

Catcher in the Rye--I was 12 when my mom forced me to read this book. I was deeply entrenched in YA romance novels up to that point, and had never heard of it. I was hooked 5 pages in and never returned to romance novels after that. This was the book that showed me books were more than frivolities. They could change you.

On the Road--Nothing, and I mean nothing, will make a person appreciate their own youth more than a tankful of gas, a copy of On the Road and two full weeks with nothing to do and nowhere to be.

A Moveable Feast--This is the best book to read after you've been broken up with. Or on your first trip to Paris.

Love in the Time of Cholera--You don't need me to tell you why we should be thankful for this book.

Bluebeard--Just because everything is terrible and nothing makes sense doesn't mean we can't laugh.

Up in the Old Hotel--I return to this book of essays & short stories about every couple of years. I would hesitate to call it my favorite book, but it is probably my favorite thing to read.

Harry Potter 1-7--They are magic.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanks, Day 6

Most people make their closest, lifelong friends when they're kids. At least Josh did. I assume that's how most people roll.

But not me. I met my crew when we were grown-ass women. Some of us were already married, some already divorced. We were all well on our way to becoming who we're gonna be. But, unlikely as it is, we came together and we never came apart again.

Through marriages, babies (surprise & hard-won), job losses and acquisitions. Through moves further and further away from each other. Through breakups and loss and every single celebration. These have been my sisters. The first faces Dash ever saw. The family that we chose. That chose us.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanks, Day 5

Once upon a time

We were awesome

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanks, Day 4

These three turkeys:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanks, Day 3

When Josh bought me this sewing machine, it was a serious leap of faith. It cost about $100--which is real money around here--and I didn't really know how to sew.

It sat around, untouched, for a good long while, but eventually I started trying to sew things. Pillows at first, then a cape for Dash. But this little machine really come into its own when I learned I could use it to do good. It's cranked out dozens of baby hats and blankets and dolls for children in need.

Caps for safe birthing kits f0r Haitian infants

Every small gift that I can make for a child who needs it not only feeds my soul, but reminds me that we are endlessly blessed.

Blankets for orphans in India

Blessed that we can provide a small bit for those who have less. Blessed that we can use our own giving to teach Dash about charity.

Dolls for orphans in Guatemala

Blessed to remember that we are only in our warm, cheerful house by sheer, stupid luck. Blessed to know that, although nothing can replace a fat check when it comes to real giving, we are able to make a small difference in a child's life with a little token.

Monkeys for children recovering from burns

One that I was only able to make because of a leap of faith and $100.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thanks, Day 2

This dude:

Retired Colonel John P. Galligan

Listen, I am fucking out-of-my-mind enraged at this Fort Hood shooter, and I'm a little bit disappointed that he survived his injuries. If I were the boss of the world, he would never get a trial. He would sit in a little room, watching the home videos of the families he destroyed until he died a slow, brutal, lonely death.

Lucky for humanity I'm not the boss of the world.

Also lucky for humanity is that there are men like John Galligan. Men who don't hesitate to step up and offer to defend the indefensible. Men who insure the greatness of this nation by making certain that every single person--no matter how monstrous--gets a fair trial and a vigorous defense. Men who will sacrifice to make sure that we don't slip into a country of vengeance. Men who will fight to make sure we don't turn into the sort of people who hate us.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


"Thank you"

We're trying to teach Dash about the concept of giving thanks and gratitude. I think it wouldn't hurt for me to flex those muscles a little, either, so I'll write a little thanks here every day until Thanksgiving. Cool? Cool.

Dining room table littered with drawing supplies & Legos. As it should be.

We bought this house when I was in my 27th month of pregnancy with Dash. We bought near the peak of the housing bubble and are so under water that I'm pretty sure we've all sprouted gills. It's a "builder's special" in a small neighborhood full of identical houses. It's not particularly charming or well-designed. But it is my absolute favorite place on earth.

TV on a Sunday morning.

This is where we brought Dash from the hospital. This is where we spent endless nights with him sacked out on the couch. This is where he laughed his first laugh, ate his first food, celebrated every birthday. It's where we became a family. It's not fancy, but it's the only house I ever want to live in.

Dash's room. (I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with my single mom until I was 13. I am grateful every day to be able to give Dash a room of his own.)

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Our computer 'sploded (literally, the whole room still smells like burning three days later) and it took me a week to load the the Halloween pics onto the laptop because, honestly, until 15 minutes ago I didn't know we could.



We attended a birthday party at Build-A-Bear the morning of Halloween. Have you heard of this? You buy an empty bear skin, it gets stuffed before your very eyes and then you accessorize. Dash's bear got Star Wars jammies & a skateboard. It embodies everything he loves in the universe. Dash is 2nd from the left in the back row. I point it out because he's smiling so I know you'd never recognize him.

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Dash is Captain Rex. He is some sort of clone that is a good guy even though he looks exactly like a Storm Trooper which I have been led to believe is a bad guy. I dunno. I was too cool in the '80s to learn anything about Star Wars. (Josh is right now killing me with his mind).

Also, Josh built that blaster out of duct tape & PVC pipe while Dash was napping. It is so awesome what a man will do for his son when they can geek out together over Star Wars.

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This year we spent Halloween at the Pookies with Aunty, the Vaughns and the Kinkaids. Their neighborhood has a block party and parade every year & I just don't know how I'll ever go back to just regular old trick-or-treating again.

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"No pictures."

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"Well, ok, one. But I won't smile."

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