Maybe it’s because I’ve listened to his music since I was about 8 years old … or maybe it’s because he was the #1 star on the globe during my high school years … or maybe it’s because I’ve felt a little sorry for how his life turned out.

I can’t put my finger on the exact reason why, but I am definitely sad about the loss of MJ.

With a list of things on my to-do list a mere mile long, I was unable to pull myself away from the TV yesterday. Watching the services was a bit surreal for me. I, like most of you, only knew MJ “the performer” – so when Brooke Shields shared with us some of her memories, it was the first time he became more humanized to me.

Prior to last Thursday, I hadn’t thought about him in years. Now I can’t get him off my mind. I’m feeling sad for his kids, sad for the misery he suffered, and sad that the press won’t let this go. I mean, really. Some serious things are happening in our world right now. Almost anyone can tell you about MJ’s alleged drug habit, but how many people can tell you about the happenings in Xinjiang?

Enough rambling … must. snap. out. of. it.

Recently my five year old has started carrying his harmonica with him and has been serenading me in the car. He allows me to pick which song I would like to hear. The following is a partial list of songs which I have been blessed with over the last few days:

The Mailbox on Top of the Roof
The Tree with no Leaves
The Duckie Afraid of the Pond
The Sign Hidden in the Bushes
The Shark that Wishes it was a Jellyfish
… and my personal favorite … Four that Wishes it was Number Three

I’m off to find a recording artist that would like to record these fine diddies. Line forms to the left …


As I arrived at pre-school yesterday to pick up V, I was approached by one of the moms.

Our Converation …

“Does V have a treehouse?”

“No …?”

“Oh … Luke has been waking up in the middle of the night the last few nights with nightmares about the witches in V’s treehouse”

And with V:

“V, did you tell Luke you have a treehouse?”


“With witches inside??”

“Yes! And hula girls, too!!!”

“Hula girls??”

“Yep! You and auntie are the hula girls!!!!”

Excuse me while I go and get my hula on …

bento With V starting kindergarten in August, I am starting to come to the realization that I will need to make a boxed lunch for him. Every day. Oi the joy …

Yes, I have a bit over two months before the big day. But the pressure is already on.

And although I don’t support the idea of a lunch containing unhealthy food choices, every now and then I like to toss the dog a bone give the kid a treat. So to be sure he doesn’t eat the treat and not the rest of his lunch, I’ve started my search for those recipes that hide veggies and good-for-yous within!

Also causing my blood pressure to rise (a sure sign I need more sleep) is the mere thought of the large number of plastic snack and sandwhich bags I will be going through. But alas, I have a solution. The bento box I found at Laptop Lunches dot com. I have a feeling these little numbers will be my new best friend!

In addition to ordering my Laptop Lunches bento box, I’ve already bookmarked a zillion pages that will help me create a bento box piece-of-art lunch box worthy of a gold medal. I promise I’ll take pictures!

Now, I’m off to go through my scrap fabric to start sewing napkins for the little man in an effort to save a few trees as well! Look at me, all green and what-not!

I can’t tell you how many times over the last five years I’ve been asked the question “Where will V go to school?” … I was dumbfounded that people actually thought that I would have thoroughly researched and interviewed, as well as selected the school for my son when he was only three.

My family is brimming with public school teachers, both present and retired. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmothers, and my own mother. All along, my assumption would be that my children would attend our neighborhood elementary school, CGE. Along with being close to home, it would allow us to get to know more of the neighborhood families. Done. So when it came time to register for school, I promptly trotted down to CGE and signed him up. Again, done.

I’ve found myself feeling sorry for the parents that have been obsessing over The Big K Decision … where their child should attend Kindergarden. Test scores, test scores, test scores. Some friends have even talked about moving to a different neighborhood so that they can stand in line overnight to try to get their child in to a different school. With higher test scores.

On our school rates middle of the road. Not the best, not the worst. Comments from parents are generally positive, with a few concerned about the “politics” in the school. Show me a school without politics, and I’ll show you my ass. My theory is this … every school has its strengths and weaknesses. My plan is to be a parent who gets involved in my son’s education. You’d be hard pressed to find a school where 100% of the parents are happy with the education and experience their child is receiving. Just not gonna happen. So rather than judge the school before I’ve had any experience, my plan was to give it a shot. It’s kindergarden, for heaven’s sake. If it doesn’t work out we can move schools and it won’t be the end of the world. My son’s life won’t be ruined. Of that I am sure.

My son is currently in a Montessori pre-school. He’s been in a Montessori environment since he was a toddler, and he loves it – as do I. About six months ago, his teachers asked me if I was planning on keeping him in Montessori for elementary school. Turns out, we have a charter school near my office that teaches based on Montessori principles, with most of the teachers being Montessori trained/certified. Even though my mind was made up that he would attend CGE, I did my due diligence and checked in to it, submitted an application and waited to hear if he would be accepted.

I was told they would be making their selections the first week of April, so when that first week came and went and I heard nothing, I didn’t give it a second thought.

Two weeks ago I received a call from the Montessori charter school. My son was accepted.

Still feeling strongly that he would attend CGE, my first instinct was to thank them kindly, but pass. It was about a week before I even returned their call – but something inside me kept pushing for me to investigate this further, so I signed up for an orientation and tour. And after that, I brought my son in to the school for an observation in the classroom.

Add to this the fact that I received an email from a friend that CGE is laying off two Kindergarden teachers thanks to the overspending of California politicians budget crisis. What does this mean for us? We’ve not yet been told, although the rumor running rampid is that we are to show up to school on the first day and if they don’t have room for him, he will be bused to a different school. WTF??? I’m really hoping this rumor is just that …

And now? I’ve become one of those mom’s who has been obsessing over making The Big K Decision.

Kettle? Meet pot …

A few weeks ago my girlfriend and I were going through our calendars, trying to pick a night she would take my kids overnight so that The Husband and I could have a date night. I suggested Saturday, May 9th to which she replied “Sunday is Mother’s Day. Are you okay with that?”. “Why wouldn’t I be? I don’t have my mother, remember?”

She laughed and reminded me that I am a mother.

As if I forgot.

It’s been barely five years since I lost my mother – and even though I am a mom, I have many more years experience celebrating her than I do celebrating my own motherhood. We had a tradition of taking my mom and grandma out for a nice brunch each Mother’s Day. I recall the smell of the room, the buffet options, the mimosas, the weather. I miss it all. I miss them both.

The best mother’s day gift would be to be able to get back the time with my own mom. I was a mom myself barely four months when she passed away. At that time, I had no idea how many questions I’d have for her, how much I’d need her suggestions, her memory, her comfort, her mothering. A few times I’ve asked my dad things about my childhood … does he remember how old I was when I started showing signs of a speech problem, or how old I was when I started walking, or my first words? He doesn’t. Those would have been questions for my mother.

A few years after she passed away, I brought a box of her scrapbooking supplies to work with me and gave them to a co-worker. The next day, she put an envelope on my desk and told me that she found it in one of the scrapbooking books and thought I would want it. Inside was a 5×7 black and white photo of my mom. It appears as if the photo was taken on the top of a hill somewhere in the valley, for there are what looks to be crops behind her. No buildings, no people. Just nature. In her hand she’s holding a pad of paper and it looks as though she was in the middle of writing something down when something made her look up, and the photo was taken. I’m guessing she was about 16 or 17 years old. But what is most striking to me is the laughter on her face for although I had seen my mom laugh countless times over the course of my 38 years with her I don’t know that I ever witnessed this particular degree of raw pleasure on her face. For the first time in my life I felt as though the mom I knew was masking a huge degree of pain.

The older I get, the more I want to know about her as a person. I never realized how little I truly knew about her life’s experiences. And perhaps it’s because I can no longer pick up the phone and call her that I want to know so much more. Or perhaps it’s because I’m in a different place in my life now. More likely, it’s a little of both.

lion While changing my daughter’s diaper yesterday morning, I was thinking to myself how much I love this stage this time around. With my first child, I definitely enjoyed the 16-18 month stage – but because I had never experienced it before, I think my ability to completely and totally immense myself in the experience was overshadowed by the fear of the unknown.

Not this time. With my daughter, I’ve been relaxed and able to completely enjoy each and every stage.

Except, somehow I forgot about a few stages that I didn’t so much enjoy. And just today, I was hit square in the face with a reminder as we’ve entered firmly in to one of those stages …

The biting stage.

I understand it, I acknowledge it, but damn, I hate it. Partly because I have no idea how long it’s going to last, and partly because I’m terrified of the idea of her hurting another child. Now that we know it’s reared its ugly head, my hope is that I can keep enough of an eye on her to thwart any attempt at going in for the bite.

And in the meantime, I’ve got to find my arsenol of teething toys …

I’m not sure why, but every time I visit the dentist for a cleaning I find myself with my mouth wide open, her hands working inside my mouth, when she asks me questions that require more than a nod or shake of my head for an answer.

On a recent visit, the first question she asked me – after starting to clean my teeth – was what my son was going to do this summer.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

“Is he going to play tball? Soccer? Swim team?” she responds.

“Oh,” I say. “No, he’ll be playing a vintage sport. One that was quite popular about 30 years ago. We’re trying our best to bring it back in to style”.

“Really??” … she’s very intrigued …

Call me crazy, but the kid is five. Does he really need a line-up of activities to keep him busy all summer long? And do I really need/want to spend my time in my car trotting him from one practice to another? One game to another?

The answer, my friends, is hell no.

We’ve decided to live by a few rules in our house that have served us just fine so far. One is regarding outside activities. When, and only when, he asks to participate in an organized sport, an individual sport or an activity will we sign him up. Last summer he asked to play t-ball and soccer. We told him he could choose one of the two, but not both. He chose t-ball. This summer he hasn’t asked to play any sports.

I figure when he gets a bit older he’ll be much more interested in these kinds of things – so until then, we focus on what my husband and I focused on when we were five. That old-time sport called play. You know … outside with friends. With neighbors. With us.

Along the lines of play, we find ourselves struggling with the television thing. How much is too much? Our son could watch that box all day and night if you let him. So we allow it in the morning while he’s eating breakfast, and then occasionally again in the evening right before we start the bedtime routine. One of our other rules is that if it’s nice outside, the TV must be turned off. That doesn’t mean that he needs to play outside. Sometimes he prefers to stay inside, which is fine. But staying inside means finding a craft project or some other activity to entertain himself … but no TV.

Now please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not here to judge those families who do sign their kids up for all kinds of activities and sports. I know plenty of families who do so and enjoy themselves immensely. Nor am I judging anyone who allows their kids to watch hours of television. All I’m saying is that it’s not for our family.

One of our other rules is concerning birthday parties … but I’m afraid that’s a whole other post in and of itself!

One thing I always harp on The Husband about is trying to learn from his mistakes, admit when he’s wrong, see things from the viewpoint of others. All along, I guess I’ve had sort of an “do-as-I-do” air about me. As if I’m such a pro at learning from my mistakes or admitting when I’m wrong.

My relationships with others, I have noticed, seem to have gotten more difficult in the last few years. On the whole, I have a large group of friends and because of a community project I’m working on, the group of people with whom I “hang out” with has grown even more in the past few years.

Here I am, months away from 43 years old, and I’m just learning things about myself. Personality quirks of which I’m not a big fan. I don’t think they’ve been present my whole life … but maybe they have?

Today I saw a side of myself that I didn’t like at all. A controlling side of myself. I wanted control over something that, in the grand scheme of things, was no big deal. But I wouldn’t let it go. I grabbed on, held tight, and refused to let go.

Once I sat back, tried looking at the situation from another point of view, I was ashamed of my behavior. Two apologies later, all is fine with the people I “attacked” but I still feel like shit.

Not liking myself is not fun. But as I said, I’m still learning.

“D passed away in her sleep lastnight. I love you”

Spending the weekend in our favorite city, on our way to one of our favorite breakfast joints, we received the words you see above in form of a text message.

And the world stopped for just a moment.

Clearly, there must be a mistake. D is only 19 and her life is just starting. This is obviously some kind of misunderstanding.

Although I wouldn’t consider myself a devout Catholic, I do attend church with somewhat regularlity and I do have one-on-ones with God daily. In the early 90’s I lost a cousin of mine. He was in his early 20’s. Devastated, confused, angry are all a few things I was feeling. But most of all, I think I was pissed off. This cousin of mine was a bright light, volunteering for the Peace Corps, changing lives. His life, as well, was just starting.

After losing my cousin I remember questioning God. Why take the good ones from us? Why are all these murderers, rapists, evil people allowed to remain on Earth while the great ones are snatched away far before their time? It’s an answer I never received.

And I find myself asking it again.

Clearly, there must be some kind of misunderstanding.