Tuesday, June 30, 2009

what a kitchen can make you (other than food)

It's been a long time since I've had one of those "Wow, THIS IS MY LIFE?" moments.

So I shouldn't have been surprised when it thwopped me.

I was standing at the stove, one arm akimbo, one arm holding up a bag of rice, staring out the window and waiting for the water to boil, my crazy Kiddo in a Little Swimmers disposable (awaiting tonight's swim class) wawitzing out at my feet, a brown plastic stirring spoon from my mom's old kitchen stuck in her mouth and trying to climb up the stove (it shows her her reflection, which is apparently irresistible).

I had just finished mopping up her PEE from the floor (she has a CHEMICAL BURN, which sounds so much more horrible than it is, but basically it's because of all the ammonia in her pee, and I was trying to give her booty some naked-baby-time so it could heal).

I just took a mental snapshot of my life, and WOW, when I knew I'd be 26, I didn't know it would look like this. Even if I was staying on the "schedule" I drafted at 15 of how my life was going look (which is to say: at 26 I would have a husband, a masters degree, one kid down and one on the way), somehow it was supposed to look a little bit different.

You know, like with glamorous adventures as a mom, or a kitchen view like the model kitchen I used to stare at forever when my parents would drag us to this one home store in Albany.

You don't understand--it was high ceilings, tall cabinets, an ULTRA-LUXURIOUS PANTRY with TWO SETS OF PANTRY DOORS! (where you open the outside doors and there are shelves lining them, but there is also ANOTHER set of doors with shelves and more shelves behind that...it was like an invitation to endless stockpiling), but the number one, ultimate, daydream-inducing thing about it was the view.

Ah, the view.

Outside your windows above the sink, a field of cultivated desert-field stretched out before you, undulating, rolling, and behind it, the beckoning peaks of snow-capped mountains. You could see one other house off in the distance, but you were pretty much out there on your own.

Could I write this off as just a corny stage-prop, a piece of cardboard that every store used in their "country kitchen" display?


I was living in Oregon, and I was CONVINCED that this view REALLY EXISTED over on the other side of the Cascades, over there in Eastern Oregon, and somehow this store had imported the entire kitchen from a house because they just liked it that much, but before they hauled it up, they took a picture (to stay true to the kitchen's complete experience, of course) and blew it up.

That was my life, THAT was my destiny: if I was standing at my sink making rice, I was looking out the window at THAT.

(not quite right, but not too far off)

Or I could be in my prairie town, piss-soaked Kiddo and all, trying to see the horizon beyond the houses, still stretching.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Oh, Michael.

I've been a Michael Jackson apologist since the first rash of child molestation charges back in the 90s, and the "interview series" in 2003 was so lopsided that I couldn't HELP but back up Michael.

Whether it happened, or didn't, I will always be broken down with compassion for Michael Jackson, that he felt like he needed to surround himself with children to make up for the childhood he didn't get. It doesn't excuse anything, it only hints at explanation, but his acts of recreating a childhood that didn't exist and trying to crystallize time have always made me want to cry with the futility of it all.

Michael, Michael, my very first crush-before-I-even-knew-to-call-it-a-crush, like the millions of people around the world, thank you for your music, your gift. I can't stop til I get enough.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Home Show: Master Bedroom is Mastered

Well, hi. What's due is what I'm about to do: to show you our NEWLY REMODELED BEDROOM AT LAST, even though we painted this sucker almost a solid month ago.

Your "Before" refresher?

Ok, that's a REALLY early "before"--note the co-sleeper that Kiddokabiddo has not slept in for a solid year and the lack of new furniture.

Let's try again:

So that's what we were living like up until the day before Memorial Day weekend. EHHHHHH.

What, pray tell, are we living now?


The paint? Olympic's "Caruso", and "French Riviera" as the wall behind our bed. We also bought a new summerweight comforter (Target) and the bed pillows, THE FIRST WE HAVE EVER OWNED, came from IKEA.

We installed an IKEA shelf over my dresser, brought in my long-suffering spider plant and bought a curly grass, and slapped up our other wall decal from Leen the Graphics Queen.

And our art. I'm proud of this since it didn't cost us more than $2.50. We already had the two big framed Yerba Buena and Yerba Mansa prints from Jill Bliss in our guest room (thanks Dad!), but when I moved them into our room, it felt really bare between them.

I, however, am a huge Jill Bliss fan and have been using her datebooks and stationery for years at this point, so I hauled out some unused stationery and notecards, ran down to Thrift America for some preowned frames, and GOT IT DONE!

Recession-era decorating! Reusing what you have! Vee was thrilled that I didn't spend a fortune!

I'm still lusting after the Douglas Fir poster for the guest room since the new decorating theme in there is THE NORTHWEST, but since I just bought a print from 20x200 for the guest room, I guess that will have to wait until the next pay month. In eight days.

Does anyone have any recommendations for TABLE LAMPS or mounted nightstand lights? I think that's the one thing I'm unhappy with so far. We have been using Vee's ancient old light literally since 2002, and I am tired of feeling like I am still in college.

Also, the wall our bed faces currently looks like this:

That's the hope chest my daddy made me as a wedding gift, and it's staying put and receiving glory for the rest of its life, and those are two IKEA mirrors set above it. We want to keep our room decor looking natural and prairie-like since, with the sea color and wavy mirrors, it's too easy to look beachy, which is TOTALLY NOT US.

So what can I do with this wall? Suggestions? Product recommendations? We're trying to keep it cheap, but inspire me!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Live Forever

Our good friends the Botchkos came down to visit us over last weekend, which was especially awesome since we didn't have any visitors planned for the month of June and, well, Vee and I like entertaining. So I made a watermelon chiffon pie as Kiddo crawled around my feet (do not recommend this).

We went down to the Old Market with the Botchkos on Saturday morning, hoping to go antiquing at this awesome antique mall that I knew was going out of business...YES, YOU GUESSED IT, we were just a day TOO LATE, and the joint had a big NO LONGER IN BUSINESS sign on it. DAMN! So we poked around a few stores and then had lunch at a brew pub downtown; the one restaurant, without fail, that we seem to ALWAYS take visitors when we go downtown. It was actually the first restaurant Vee and I ever went to in our beloved prairie city, way back when we first visited back in 02. Ah me, young love.

Back at our house, we decided to watch one of the movies the Botchkos had brought. Mr Botchko and Ms Botchko are movie-watchers-extraordinaires and had supplied us with five from their huge stash to pick from. We picked...


What can I even say about this movie other than IT IS AMAZING, and THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN THE "SOUNDTRACK" with its "babycaaaaaakes...niiiiiiice" awkwardly repeated at random intervals.
(see below for a sample)

I was SCREAMING my head off with laughter--the premise of the movie is that Ricki Lake is fat, and she works as a cosmetologist at a mortuary, and one day she sees this NOT HOT BUT SUPPOSED TO BE dude ice-skating and decides she is supposed to be with him. So she VERY CREEPILY stalks him, and after a series of "this dude is a CHUD with NO LIFE who and he is ENGAGED AND NEVER DENIES IT" events, they stay together.

But not before Fiancee (who is apparently a bitch because she works a lot) beats up Fat Ricki at a New Years party!

Furthermore, Ricki's TRULY A BITCH best friend who hates her because she is happy NEVER GETS HER COMEUPPANCE and when she is lecturing Ricki and Chud about how the world is going to come to an end, Chud AWKWARDLY screams out "Then I'm CLINGIN' TO GRACE! [Ricki's name]".


Anyway, GOD BLESS THE BOTCHKOS for bringing Babycakes into my life. After that, what could we do but FINALLY plant Kiddo's YEAR PLANT?

We had been meaning to plant something on Kiddo's first birthday to honor her, and, ok, I'm just going to say it--we wanted to finally plant her placenta.


Vee specially requested that they save it when I was giving birth, and since I was IN THE MIDDLE OF LABOR, I said "Whatever! Fine!" and they bagged it up in a biohazard plastic bag and it has been living at the back of our freezer. FOR OVER A YEAR. But no more! Placenta is supposed to be AN AMAZING FERTILIZER for plants, so I'm just hoping that's what happens and not that MY KILLER PLACENTA takes down Kiddo's hyssop plant.

Sunday morning, we took the Botchkos to our favorite breakfast joint where we all chowed down, and then on to one of our favorite WILD WOODS parks (in fact, the one where we had our engagement pictures taken) before we sent them on their way.


But I can't really leave you guys tonight until I tell you about my most recent Twilight discovery. So I was totally going to say that I feel much better with the Twilight series under my belt, and I am going back into it and actually reading all of the words this time, and I wanted to assuage your fears that while I am crazily into Twilight, I wasn't going to, like, make a Youtube video of Edward and Bella and set it to "Live Forever" or anything,


OMG! What is next, did someone make a video of clips of Al Gore and set it to "I Need a Hero" like I dreamed about doing back when they were trying to impress him into running for president?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Next blog will be about the great visit with our friends the Botchkos, who came down to visit us from MN over the weekend, but I can't focus because I have been in a "Twilight"-induced K-hole for the last four days.

How deep? Let's put it this way--I drove out to the West library in hopes of getting book2 ("New Moon") and was devastated to realize that every 12-year-old had the same dream this summer--there was a waitlist queue of 84. EIGHTY-FOUR! Since I had bargained an hour of mom-time-away-from-Kiddo with Vee, I had approximately 35 minutes, including drive-time, remaining after my failed adventure.

What did I do? Where did I go?

Barnes & Noble, where I sped-read the first hunk of chapters in "New Moon" for twenty minutes while perched on one of those uncomfortable step stools.

Did it satisfy my bloodlust for Twilight?

What do you think?

Being unwilling to shell out $20/book for the rest of the series, yet mentally incapable of waiting through 84 slow-moving pre-adolescents who would definitely max out their two-week-checkout-periods, I turned to eBay. Then I realized I would have to pay $35+ for the four books and THEN WAIT ANOTHER WEEK OR SO while they were shipped to me.


While scanning the about-to-expire listings, I stumbled upon SALVATION:

Some enterprising young kid/adult had SCANNED THE PAGES OF ALL OF THE BOOKS IN and would EMAIL YOU THE PDFS immediately upon winning the bid.

WTF?!??!?! An UTTERLY INGENIOUS scheme that cost the seller JACKSHIT while appealing to FIENDS LIKE MYSELF!

So I guttersniped the poor leader with only 2 feedbacks at the last second (I've been bidding long enough that I KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN) and actually Paypaled $5.04 over to the seller, and LO AND BEHOLD...

I WAS SENT TO A FILESHARE SITE! With all four books PLUS some bonus material!

First of all, I immediately wanted to share this with my friends because DUDE, it wasn't even the PDFs, I just FOUND OUT THE SITE WHERE THEY WERE BEING HOSTED and TOTALLY ANYONE COULD ACCESS THEM! But before my beneficient nature could take over, I realized that, well, NO ONE ELSE CARED AS MUCH AS ME, and besides, I WANTED TO START READING!

So, my Twilight K-hole. If I was on the computer at all in the last 24 hours (which, believe me, I WAS), I was furiously using Page Down and screaming through the pages of "New Moon," "Eclipse," and "Breaking Dawn." Usually, I'm a LITTLE more discreet and take my time, but with ALL FOUR BOOKS AT MY FINGERTIPS, I was stampeding through the storylines so that I could find out what happened, and enjoying little bits along the way, knowing that I could go back to REALLY read them at any point.

Conclusion? TWILIGHT IS A K-HOLE I WILL GLADLY FALL INTO, but my two complaints are this:

1. Honeymoon scene? NOT WORTH WAITING FOR! When Edward and Bella are making out in "Eclipse" it is SOOOOOO much better! Even the cottage scene in "Breaking Dawn" is better than the honeymoon! Which leads me to:

2. EDWARD NEEDS TO STOP BUSTING UP EVERY MAKEOUT WITH REMINDERS OF HOW THEY SHOULDN'T BE DOING IT! Look, I understand JUST AS WELL AS THE NEXT GIRL that over 75% of Edward's sexiness is his Mr. Darcyian falling-in-love-against-his-will, but DUDE NEEDS TO STOP RUINING LITERALLY EVERY MOMENT and just LET IT HAPPEN without the dumb remorse post-honeymoon!


Friday, June 5, 2009

Twilight Falls

Of few things am I as certain as this fact:

Are you writing a teen novel series which will incorporate mythical, magical elements? If so, LET ME KNOW SO I CAN GET IN ON THE GROUND FLOOR THIS TIME!

Y'all know where this is going. Yesterday, I stopped fighting fate and borrowed a copy of "Twilight" from the library. And as Kiddo happily crawled back and forth between the couch and the sliding patio doors on her own personal track, I tore through the book in three hours flat.

Then obsessively Wikipedia-ed and Googled everything I could about "Twilight," Edward, and, ok, a little bit about Bella.

This is the second time this has happened.

In the spring of 2006, though I had successfully dissed, resisted, and mocked the Harry Potter Mania, I had been through all of the interesting-looking New Fiction at the library, and finally decided to give it a chance. So I shamefacedly went over to the Young Adult section after looking up the author and took home "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

It might have rained that afternoon, it might have blizzarded, Conor Oberst might have been playing a free show at the park a few blocks away from me (and yes, he was), but I was LOCKED DOWN, LOCKED UP TIGHT on the couch in my living room, ENRAPTURED by the book. (For the record, I am totally a Snape girl, and I just like Harry's adventures. But my daydreams are not about little Harry Potter. Digression.)

The next day (no, really, the next day), I marched back to the library and checked out as many of the following books as they had. I plowed through all of them during the following weeks, trying to make Vee see how FASCINATING and AMAZING these storylines were so that I would have someone to talk through my THEORIES with! And as I was reading the books, fortunately I was able to ALSO RENT THE MOVIES! Like BASICALLY THE BEST THING EVER!

I was shocked at myself, since I am sooooooo NOT a fantasy/magical reality person. No, really. Like SO not into that sort of storyline. When I was younger, I was violently afraid of "Alice in Wonderland" and I got really, really uncomfortable whenever TV shows or movies would have things occur that didn't make sense in the corporal world. I had a very difficult time understanding alternate realities/the concept of space, and so I avoided them. On reflection, I think that's why I hate scary movies/ghost stories so much--they're all predicated on things "appearing" or beings existing which DO NOT BELONG in regular space and time.

So WHY WAS I SO ENAMORED WITH HARRY POTTER, a series of books about A BOY WHO WENT TO WIZARD SCHOOL and was permeated with magical flying things and spells and beings that should not exist?

I think the key word here is: wizard SCHOOL. THE BOY IS BASICALLY AT A PREP BOARDING SCHOOL, which has been one of my pet fantasies/favorites subjects to read about ever since I was in seventh grade and sending away dreamily for boarding school information so that I could rappell through the woods in my blazer and matching skirt like the girl in the videocassette sent by the Madeira School.

"Prep" by Curtis Sittenfeld? Basically like SOMEONE SAW INSIDE MY MIND AND WROTE A BOOK BASED ON MY FANTASIES. "Special Topics in Calamity Physics" by Marisha Pessl? Keep it coming! Combine that with A REPLICANT OF "The Worst Witch," definitively one of my favorite movies of all time, where Fairuza Balk goes to Witch School and then Tim Curry, as the Grand Wizard, shows up and sings the most amazing song recorded in history, and you've got Harry Potter. And you've got my obsession.

You can throw all of the usual wet blankets on the series. IT'S WRITTEN FOR YOUNG ADULTS, and so IT READS LIKE IT! No, it's not THE MOST AMAZING WRITING OF THE CENTURY. Do you think I care? Do you think it stopped me from waiting in line at midnight on July 20/21, 2007 for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?

Or do you think that it stopped me from literally reading until 3am that night, then getting up at 9am and reading nonstop until noon, sobbing at parts, and when I emerged into the bright sunlight, almost speechless, being astonished that the world was still going about its normal cycle?

So here I am, with "Twilight," reliving my immersion into a pop culture mania I thought I was beyond and I definitely thought I was too old for. It's no Harry Potter, but I can read about a vampire teen with gorgeously-mussed-hair in love against his will basically any day. Can we get a little closer to TEEN ME?

I just hope the "honeymoon scene" in "Breaking Dawn" is as good as it should be. DON'T MAKE ME WAIT THROUGH FOUR BOOKS FOR NOTHING!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Technological Delight!

My big ambitions with this blog (remember when I was BLOGGING EVERY DAY?) seem to have fizzled out; oddly enough, it is occurring in sequence with a decrease in my workload as I prepare to complete my last full week of 3/4-time work. Is it summer fever? Doubtful, especially on a day like today, with gray skies and temps in the mid-60s.

My big girl Kiddokabiddo celebrated her first birthday last Friday. And by "celebrated," I mean "refused naps and ate some refried beans from the Mexican takeout Vee and I were forced into since her non-nap-iness meant there was no way we could bring her into the restaurant." She did get to open a few gifts, however.

Like the dolly and the fake cell phone I purchased two days prior at Toys-R-Us.

It was so strange going into Toys-R-Us; I seriously hadn't been in one since I was MAYBE fourteen. I stopped going into them right around that time because I would get overwhelmed with this adolescent/pubescent/grown-up emotion that centered around the truth that I was too old to WANT to go toy shopping there, depressing myself that I was no longer interested in getting toys. You know, that old "Not a girl, not yet a woman" thing.

So strolling in, looking for toys for MY DAUGHTER, actually helped alleviate it--GENERATIONAL SHIFT! I picked out a doll for her, which was one of the most emotional things I could have imagined--the idea of seeing my tiny little toddler (not that she's TODDLING, but she AIN'T NO BABY ANY MORE) being tender with a baby doll.

Because I would have felt like a cheapo parent for only spending $8 on my first child's first birthday, I decided to get her another toy. There I am, in the "educational" aisle, about to buy those blocks that are different sizes and fit into that hexagonal box, when I spied...


Kiddo LOVES my cell phone. Like, LOVES it in a way I never could. Since my Razr is busted and not getting fixed any time soon, I let her play with it, but since Vee has an identical phone, she doesn't know the difference and would likely be calling Oslo if I didn't intervene.

Classic educational toy. Cell phone. What did I buy?

Pretty sure Pregnant Me, New Mom Me, and Ideological Me were screaming at my face, but look at Kiddo's delight!