Thursday, June 30, 2011


yes, i did just reference that super awesome elementary-school-era ability to stop a game, a conversation, or time, by saying "times!"

my life is currently on hold.

four high schoolers are staying at our house this week and i didn't quite realize how all-consuming it would be. it is kind of a lot to parent and also run a homemade camp type time.

although actually, you'd be amazed how many times a day i hear the same words out of my three year old's mouth and the kids' mouths.

m and ruby are basking in all of the "big kids" at the house.

hope you're having a good week!

Friday, June 24, 2011

the worst ever.

just the other day i thought to myself, "we haven't really experienced a crazy sick experience with the girls yet (as in throw up, other messy bodily functions etc etc.)"

funny that i had that thought-

not really funny haha, more like funny ironic.

in the middle of the night wednesday, some monster came alive in my body and i raced out of bed to the bathroom, where i spent a significant amount of time.

i'll spare you the details, of which there are many, but soon after i got sick, so did both of the girls. we think we ate something that rocked our worlds.

short version?
a. my husband is a rockstar. he changed his work schedule around to stay home and take care of us, since i was basically incapacitated for 30 hours. meanwhile, our daughters were also getting rid of anything and everything in their little bodies. i'm not kidding you, he caught throw up in his hands multiple times.

b. let's just say our girls don't know how to throw up yet. so, lots of changes of bedding and pajamas and clothes later, we have a full load of sick-laundry.

c. being sick is just gross. i mean, really gross. especially throw up sick. especially when you are as sick or sicker than your kids.

today we are on the mend, but i think i have a new least favorite genre of parenting activities, far outpacing some of my other least faves of parenting- packing for a trip, ear infections, sleep training, and long roadtrips in the heat.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

awesome discovery

my first grade yearbook.
can you find me?

here you go, in case you needed some help:

"mommy, i wanna see more bono"

oh, don't we all, my sweet little m.
(i swear my daughter said those words unprompted)

it's the moment you've all been waiting for, i know. (cough, cough. maybe not)
you can all collectively exhale, my u2 post is here.

first of all, if you aren't well acquainted with the unofficial rules of the fake u2 government, take a quick look-see here (which also includes the play by play of the last u2 show i went to back in 2009; i had shorter hair, was with child and across state lines, & it's a good story)

then, thanks to wise people in my life who told me, "don't be ridiculous. of course you are going. you'd be so sad if you missed it", i decided to figure out how to make it work, kids and all. yes, i would have been so sad. (especially since my husband could hear the concert from our house. yep. that's right. he texted me with song titles as he heard them and was spot on. can you imagine if i was at home and could hear the concert in the distance? breaking my heart already.)

we had general admission tickets for the stadium field, which means that depending on what time you show up, you can either be front row, really close, or smack dab in the midst of the sweaty, teeming masses. 

my brother jonathan crashed at our house so that we could go get in line early tuesday morning. i nursed ruby somewhere in the fives, and then we headed to the stadium around 6 am the morning of the concert. the stadium gates were opening at 7 am. as we drove up there were less than ten cars in line at the stadium gates.

drama immediately ensued. 
normally, there is a list, and order, and a self policing system for u2's general admission line.
we got out of our car to sign in.
no list.
some random sleazy guy who smelled like stale beer was reassuring us that we were with him & 
that we were all adults and would easily get a spot in the line.
oh, except the "official" non-official line was over at the BART train entrance with about 150 people signed in already. 
of course some of this drama is what is great about sitting in line for a u2 concert- 
you're there for a while so it might as well be interesting.
i'm not going to lie-i forced random sleaze guy to write numbers down on a list & 
then i got my own sharpie out of the car and we wrote the numbers on our hands.
as 7 am approached we hopped in our cars and lined up at the gate to race in and park, 
and then to race to the line where we'd figure out whose line was official or not.

7 am:
the slowest person ever in front of us, chit chatting with security guard as the other cars zipped into the lot and parked and the now hundreds of people lined up at BART ran through their gate and sprinted to the line. my poor brother was so thrown off that when it was our turn to go through the gate he sped right past the parking people without paying the $40 to park (side note-our ticket was not much more than that. ridiculous.) we could hear them screaming behind us "$40! $40!" it reminded me of the 80's movie better off dead when the paper boy is always yelling "i want my $2!" (also, we did go back later and pay them) 

7:05 am: out of the car and we sprint to a line! only to discover it is not a real line, so we sprint for another line, where we settle in and wait. for a long time. so much craziness over the numbers and the line and who should be where and we finally all just stay put and claim a spot. (is this comical or what? i know it is kind of ridiculous.)
me, sleepy, camped out.
luckily we had lots of visitors throughout the day: nancy (who witnessed u2 government firsthand,) amy (who just gave birth to a baby this week!) along with her son judah, my brother aaron, matt and my girls.

is it scary that i recognized people from other tours and other shows?
kind of.

it's pretty fun to go with my brother. the first time we went together was back in 1999 when he showed up at my place where i lived with my roommates and he had general admission tickets to the popmart tour. i'd gone that night to the concert with my roommate amy, and we'd sat all the way at the tippety top of the stadium in the nosebleeds. johnny surprised me with tickets for the next night and we started a tradition of going early to line up to get in as close as we could. every time is an adventure. over time our other brother aaron came too, and at this concert all four of us went! (i still want to drag my mom along sometime!) 

7:10 am-3 pm: wait. intermittently security would come by and tell us when we'd have to get our stuff put away, when we'd get our wristbands to get in, when they'd open the doors, or just to mediate between line cutters and the rest of us. wait more. listen to people tell their stories of flying around the country to go to u2 shows. listen to people strategize their spot. listen to people discuss the set list. (meanwhile i read trashy celebrity trash magazines, textedbono to pull them on stage.

around 1 or so matt came with my girls & my brother aaron to visit, which was my favorite part of the day. i wanted m to come stand with me in line for a bit, but right then some line jumper was wreaking havoc and the security was getting all crazy. (i contend that if fake u2 government had worked properly this skirmish wouldn't have happened)

they post a map of the stadium, so checked it out to decide our strategy for getting in to the front row.

i've already gone on way too long in this post, so i'll spare you any more details of our wait. wrist-banded, and lined up single file, they opened the gate at 4 pm on the dot and with the sound of "walk, walk, don't run, please walk, slow down" from every security guard, we fast-walked through the ticket area and to the field. insert my brother and i into this video below and this is exactly what it's like:

we got blocked on our side of the stage so i grabbed johnny and we raced across the stadium to the other entrance...still speedy enough to end up here:

against the barrier in the front row!
here's our view of the stage:
the funny thing is, once you race in to the field then you wait again.
we waited from 4 until 7:15
(oh wait, there was an opening opening act somewhere in the sixes, but they were awful)
no leaving to pee or fro drinks or food.
(well if you are in another spot you can, but then you always risk losing where you are)
lenny kravitz came on around 7:15 and put on a really great show.
(are you gonna go my way?
uh, yes lenny, i am.
by the way-lenny weighs a hundred pounds and looks 25.)

and then, we waited some more as the stadium filled up behind us.

so maybe we did some singing along
you have a really different view of the stage from the front- you can't see the rest of the stage or video screens at all really-so i think it is probably a very different experience.
there was a lot of this:

and here's the thing.
i loved it.
(shocking newsflash i know)
it wasn't my favorite u2 concert ever, probably because there are other albums i've liked more where i wanted to hear every song off of the album. but i loved being there with my brother, and i loved a bunch of the songs they did play- especially some of the older ones. (they didn't play my fave songs from their most current album) 

of course, i realize that there are plenty of reasons to think u2 and their concerts are over-hyped: i know it is stadium rock, and that they do the same things at every concert- have lots of singing along, play these anthems with catchy choruses, shout out the name of your city to get a collective woo-hoo and tell you what great lives they've had thanks to you being a fan. many elements are formulaic (but they work), and there is no doubt it is a spectacle.

i've thought in the last week about why there is something that happens for me listening to this band. you know how a song or a smell or a certain food can bring a moment in your lifetime rushing back at you? u2's songs bring back so many moments in my life- from the first hand-me-down tapes i got when i was 10 years old, to meeting one of my best friends at my new high school during p.e. when i overheard her singing a u2 song, to my mom driving me to see rattle and hum in another town when i was 13, to my first amnesty international membership i signed up for in ninth grade thanks to bono's encouragement....(well, you get the idea, i'll stop there since i am old and this post is long enough)  suffice it to say, i can mark so many small and big moments in my life accompanied by this band.
(love this song-we were right in front of whoever filmed this clip)

and so maybe there are over 60,000 people surrounding me, and the massive stage apparatus looms above me streaming video and lights, but somehow i'm transported back to my house on brookside road in elkins park on a saturday morning in 1986, where i'm rewinding and replaying sunday bloody sunday over and over in between dusting the livingroom furniture. it's just me learning the words, singing along, and wearing out the cassette.

Monday, June 20, 2011


spoke too soon on double posts.

see you in the morning!

we have a winner!

we have a winner for our lovely & amazing giveaway!
so many examples of lovely and amazingness in our lives-
thanks for sharing your many examples of people either going through really hard stuff, or that make others lives a little better, or that somehow make your own life more whole.

it made me want to make more artwork to send to each one of you!
instead of choosing from examples that were equally wonderful, 
i turned to a random number generator that picked...
which means daniella,
who lives far away from oakland in seattle
(and is pretty l & a herself)
will be getting a little something in the mail soon to share with her mentor barbara.

congrats, daniella! (and thanks for your nice comment)

let me know if you guys liked having a giveaway & next time i craft something up, 
i'll do another giveaway, just for fun.

also, we'll see, i might just rock two posts today-
i have my u2 post waiting in the wings, 
so check back in later if you need a little more blog action on a monday.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

{happy father's day}

yesterday was one foiled attempt after another to orchestrate some fun father's day surprises.
but according to m father's day is about decorations & flowers,
so we'll improvise.

happy father's day to my matt.
i love watching him as a dad
 to m
 to ruby
and a dad-figure to some of our little friends 
who need one

i learn new ways to be patient, creative, silly, and forgiving all the time from him.

grateful that my girls have an engaged, intentional, loving daddy.

hooray for good dads!

Friday, June 17, 2011


1. i thought m was downstairs with matt
2. matt thought m was upstairs with me.
3. it was very, very quiet.
4. suddenly we realized that 1 & 2 meant that m was somewhere all by herself.
5. matt opened the bathroom door and i heard, "oh m, what have you done"
6. it doesn't look like much here, but our very quiet daughter had snuck into the bathroom and proceeded to condition her hair, the tub, her hands, the floor and a towel with half a very large bottle of my very expensive conditioner.

7. she's never felt so silky smooth!

happy friday!
hope you get into some nice, clean trouble yourselves this weekend!
(p.s. don't forget about entering my giveaway!)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

a giveaway (for reals!) & easy diy gift

last week was m's last day of school (well, until summer school in july), and i haven't even had a chance to write about it. it was bittersweet- so proud of my big girl, so grateful for this last year & her amazing teachers and therapist and school community. simultaneously grieving the loss of some dear schoolmates (and let's face it, getting to see their mommies three days a week), and the loss of just three days of school a week.

i made a little something for a few of the moms i am friends with (although a couple weren't there, so they'll just have to collect their goodness later.) it was a relatively simple project that you could tweak for teachers, grandparents, friends, or colleagues.

(you can get all of these supplies at any basic art store, michaels or online. that said, dick blick is my fave-they have great selection.)

i started out with a couple of colors of gouache (you could also use watercolor- it would actually work better.) you don't need a million colors- i used a pink, green, teal and yellow. (don't be intimidated-my "palette" (aka an ikea kids plate) just looks like that because i use it for all sorts of projects)

 i also used some colored pencils and a mechanical pencil
 basically i just dolloped a bit of paint on a page of watercolor paper, loaded my brush up with water and then diluted the color so it looked all dreamy but still colorful and bright. you don't need to be a painter-just channel your inner preschooler.
 i painted two sheets of paper and cut each piece into three pieces, to fit the 5 x 7 frames i'd bought.

i'd chosen the words lovely & amazing to write on each piece- because, well, my friends at school are lovely and amazing in so many ways. it says so much in so few words. i played with the lettering; you could also print up a cool font and trace it onto your page if you'd prefer something more uniform. i did the lettering in mechanical pencil and then added little circles, doo-dads and lines with the colored pencil.
i liked that each one was different, and the colors and lettering seemed to fit each person.
i used ribba frames by ikea and decided to use the matting. i think this project would also work great with the ribba square frame (the square one is so modern & elegant-a standby that i use to frame m's artwork for our house and as gifts)
perfect for a little gift or as a reminder to yourself!
i happen to have one extra lovely & amazing framed piece left.
in honor of my friend amy (who is lovely & amazing herself) who is in labor right now 
& will hopefully give birth today, 
i'd like to give away the last one i have!
all you have to do is leave a comment, 
telling me who in your life is lovely & amazing and why they are,
 and i will send one along to our winner to gift to that person!
(of course i'll throw in a little treat for you too)

please leave your email info in the comment so that i can contact you
if you win

i'll choose a winner on monday, so hurry up!
enter until sunday june 19th at midnight!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

the one in which i give you tonight's gripping play-by-play

i have all of these half written posts queuing up, unpublished. i feel like the past few weeks have been a whirlwind. tonight matt went to an a's game, and i was planning on blogging a bit. but one thing led to another and i was duct taping my children into bed instead of posting.

bedtime around these parts has been very drawn out and dramatic, so suffice it to say, after many stall techniques, meltdowns, and cryfests, both of my daughters finally fell asleep at 9:30. i started bedtime at 7:30. two. hours. of. drama. in the midst of all of their antics they were alternately quite sweet, so i vacillated between wanting to sign up to star in an episode of supernanny and wanting to soak up little hugs and giggles, not to mention their comical attempts to stay up later. (m is an expert- sadly i think she got those genes from me, because i still remember some of the lines i used on my parents to stay up later.) anyhoo, they sort of sucked all of the remaining energy out of me and i have been laying on the couch watching the first episode of the glee project & drinking ginger ale. (wild & crazy, i know)

{i should note that i am not a bedtime pushover... really! but lately, these girls give me a run for my money. as it got later and later i finally resorted to putting one of m's implants back on for a stern talking to. minimal signing, facial expressions and body language can go only so far when m's implants are off. she knows what i am saying; it is a simple message: "get in bed. stay in bed. go to sleep." plus some combination of "leave your sister alone. no, you don't need water, potty, another hug, or another book." she can read lips, but she takes advantage of her implants being off to look away and ignore my mouth or what i'm trying to sign. that and she is incredibly loud when she throws a fit sans-implants (which happens to most often be at bedtime), invariably riling ruby up. point being, after my chat with m, she crawled into bed and stayed, and i rocked ruby for a long time to calm her down (her screams had been escalating with every stall technique and bed-escape that m pulled.)}

somehow two hours had vanished.
and so here we are, pushing 10:30 and my queu of partial blog posts remains.

yesterday i dropped off the last in a group of five big deadlines (with lots of bits and pieces) i've had for papyrus. the final artwork looked something like this:
today i didn't have to crank out work every spare second (although i have two new deadlines to pitch new halloween and christmas material on the horizon!), so i took advantage of the day and tackled one of my least favorite household jobs: sorting and rotating my kids clothes. i hate this job. it takes forever (especially with two little humans who merrily tromp through my carefully organized stacks of clothes every 5 minutes or who beg to try on shoes that fit a year ago) and is just so tedious.

that said, after many hours i successfully swapped too small for just right clothes all around, sorted through to get rid of a bunch for goodwill and to pass along extras. i know, i know, such a glamorous life i lead, really. i'm sure you are by now dripping with envy at my day, and so at that, i think it's time for me to crash.

out of curiosity, what household or just general life task is one of those necessary but super-annoying ones for you? (for instance, i love folding laundry but i hate putting it away. stopping for gas? i drive until my car is on the e-train because it's on my list of least-fave activities.)

ok, really. now. close computer. turn off lights. brush teeth. crash.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

i'm a man & other issues

this is a crazy week in our house: 
u2 concert madness, 
our friend is getting married & we are heavily involved 
(as in, matt is officiating, i'm singing 2 songs, and m is a flowergirl), 
and it's m's last week of school.

my throat is raw and i'm all stuffed up thanks to a cold and singing my heart out at u2 
(i kind of held back and didn't get quite as into it as usual.)
very inconveniently, i sound like a man.
my voice is so low-
i have no idea how i'll sing these songs in front of hundreds of people
when i sound like my brother.

not to mention that this morning i am a fountain of tears:
i'm at m's school this morning writing thank you cards to m's therapist and teachers 
and all i can do is cry
at the gift that is my daughter speaking, listening & singing.
so much is due to these amazing women who have poured their expertise and love into my daughter.
as today is m's last day of class i think about how much i love 
this school, this place, these people, these families 
who walk the road of deafness with me and who have opened up the world to my daughter.

quite a week.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

oh goodness

i am so very tired, 
after a very eventful day yesterday waiting in line for the u2 concert.
i have lots to say,
but for now 
i will say


is not really what it is about for me.

my fussy baby
is nap striking 
this blog entry is not really happening.

i am a walking zombie.
what are you up to today?

Monday, June 6, 2011

that's right, the day is finally here

well, my friends, the time has come to do this all over again, except this time closer to home.

i debated this time around, i mean...
i have two kids,
including a baby who still nurses multiple times a day,
but in the end,
after a couple of pep talks and glances in the fun mirror,
and the reminder that i would regret not going...
i decided to just do it already.

i mean, when i was 16 i slept in line overnight (yep-sleeping bag & all) to get my tickets from the wherehouse music store (remember those?) at 10 am on a sunday morning, so to have a view from outside of my front door of the actual venue and not be there at the concert would be pretty tragic.
so what if that was over half a lifetime ago?

so almost a year after i was supposed to get to use them, 
(although seriously, the logistics of that were ridiculous and totally impossible, 
since ruby was 3 weeks old-what was i thinking??)
i'm putting these to use:
i will be sitting in a very long line all day-feel free to bring me treats & good wishes.

{also, late breaking update-
not just 1, 2 or 3 ruff siblings will be going to this concert, but all 4.}

Saturday, June 4, 2011

call me the crazy grandma carrying the mini umbrella

it's been a rainy saturday. 
and when i say rainy, i mean bucketloads of rain & dreary.
this morning i got SOAKED running from my car into a store & back again.
serves me right: 
i had m's hot pink ruffled kid sized umbrella in the back seat, 
but i felt stupid carrying that without any children, 
so instead i became a human sponge.
also, it's june.
just saying-cold & pouring rain in june?!

so, we are playing inside:
i asked m to smile and she sighed, "mommy, i have no smiles today."

i'm sure the rest of this post will be a gripping update on the state of my hair.
read on.
i've tried to embrace my greys.
i got my first one at 25, and now i have countless greys throughout my hair.
save your "but i don't even see them!" because you do. 
and even if you don't, i do, and that's all that matters.
i really hate them. 
but the last few months i have held out on putting more color in my hair 
to see if i could rock the grey look. 
some days i was ok with it, 
wednesday night i decided i couldn't handle them anymore.
so i washed that grey right outta my hair.
(if only i could wash away my wrinkles.)

self portraits with newly brown hair:

it makes me happy.
hopefully someday i will come to terms with my early-grey-hair genes 
(as in, when other regular people also have as many greys as i do) 
i won't be that crazy 89 year old woman rocking purple hair or really dark hair with bright white roots.

also unable to come to terms with the following genes: 
slow metabolism, dark undereye circles & pregnancy belly stretchmarks.
but what can i say? 
i have no choice in the matter,
and i have some good genes scattered in there too.

what genes do you wish you could've left behind in gene mixing pot of your mom's womb?

Friday, June 3, 2011

the best ever.

it is a dreary friday here in oakland, and a big rainstorm is expected this weekend (in june?!)
we were supposed to go camping with m's school this weekend, 
but the rain is forcing us to change plans.

rainy weather is stay-inside-and-cozy-up weather,
and often that includes eating comfort food.

this, my friends, is the perfect rainy weather meal,
and the best mac n' cheese you'll ever eat.
(i promise)

this recipe hails from our dear friend nicola, 
one of my very favorite people in the world 
(and don't even get me started on her two daughters, 
who are also glorious) 
who now unfortunately lives *way* too far away in england. 
(every time i make this recipe i pretend she's still here and sitting at the table eating with us.)
nicola likes cheese, so feel free to adjust the amount in this recipe. 
what i inevitably end up doing is using the same amount of cheese but using a whole pound of pasta.

  • 1/2 lb. rigatoni or macaroni
  • 1/2-3/4 lb. sharp cheddar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper (or lots more if you are me)
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 3 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 small tomato (optional-i don't add this unless they are in season)
  • boil water for macaroni. preheat oven to 375.
  • grate cheese; crush and mince garlic
  • boil pasta. when finished, drain and set aside
  • add olive oil to large frying pan over medium heat. add garlic; saute for about 1 minute. turn off heat.
  • stir in flour until it isa thick, pasty consistency.
  • add 1/2 cup milk into paste, mix until smooth. add 1/2 cup additional milk; mix until smooth again. add another milk. stir over medium heat. add salt & pepper (important to stir continuously and add milk slowly to prevent lumps.) add remainder of milk and keep stirring until thick.
  • turn off heat. add cheese; stir until melted (reserving some to sprinkle over top)
  • add macaroni. put mixture in casserole or oven-safe pan. slice tomato & place over mixture. sprinkle with cheese. bake in preheated 375 oven for 15 minutes. for 2-3 minutes, cook on broil to ensure a crispy top.
(i've thought about adding panko or bread crumbs to the top, but haven't tried it yet.)

happy eating & happy friday!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

{oh, here is when my heart swells}

slowly but surely...

we've had some setbacks-in particular a leak that we couldn't pinpoint,
but we are making some progress in my studio-and by we i mean matt & other people helping him.

 m oversees the project

 yay for windows and insulation
 and new electrical
 our friend keith knocking out the insulation
my brother aaron helped all day long
(this door situation was his special project)

 snuggly friends hanging out inside while daddies work on the studio
i can't wait for this to be my studio...!