Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's not a dry heat. But that's okay because I'm leaving.

Last Friday I was out in the heat, doing stuff, as I do. It was a hot heat. A wet heat. The van's brand new air conditioning couldn't make any headway, it was nearly powerless against the brick wall of steam. I was sweating so hard my wet hair was stuck to my wet neck and a moderate stench of mildew was coming off my sopping wet t-shirt (not the sexy sort of wet t-shirt), or perhaps my underwear (do not leave clean clothes in a front loading washer for even an hour in this weather, or you will regret it). I felt defeated. I kept fantasizing about San Diego, and cursing all the people who live there and drive up real estate prices. And I thought, I can't do this for another two months. I will do something criminally insane, and then they will send me to a nice, air conditioned asylum where I can spend the remainder of my days in a Land's End maillot and a microfiber straight jacket. Which doesn't sound bad, except that my children don't brush their teeth enough even when they aren't motherless. The dental and asylum bills will bankrupt us.

So, Friday turned out to be some sort of record: 117 degrees plus all kinds of monsoon humidity. And I felt better, because it validated my concern that people can't and shouldn't live in this kind of heat. Because normally, it is only like 110 with humidity. And if it is 117, it is usually dry.

So maybe I can make it to Halloween. If temperatures return to their normal ranges.

Or maybe, if I take a couple weeks off and go to Italy.

I hear the weather in Italy is a lot like San Diego. Only in Italy, I'm told, they have way better architecture, ancient Roman stuff, pizza, frescoes, huge statues of naked people, and ice cream. At least, that's what I heard from watching my Rick Steves Travels in Europe Italy DVD like 100 times.

I spent most of yesterday on the internet trying to decide if I want to buy Rick's backpack and silk money belt for my trip. Rick says polyester money belts can get very sweaty. And you can imagine, sweaty is the last thing I want to be on my Italian vacation. 

Yes, I understand that I sound a little nerdy and a little Rick Steves stalkery. But I swear, it was my sister Jen who googled him yesterday and found out he's divorced his wife and found himself a young Asian girlfriend.

Have you been to Italy? Watched a lot of the Travel Channel? Read A Room With a View? (Or seen the old A Room With a View film, which included a young Bellatrix Lestrange and Minerva McGonagall, and all sorts of surprising dangly bits? Or even the 2006 version, in which Wormtail puts on a good show, but not nearly as good a show as all the 1985 dangly bits, if you know what I mean?) I need your help. Got ideas for what to see and eat and where to sleep in Rome, Venice, Pompeii, or Florence? None of us (except sister Jen) has ever been, so we'll need to be pretty touristy, but also, I will feel a failure if I bring less than ten pounds of pasta and gelato home in my haunches, so we will need to make time for that, too.

Bon voyage to me!
(What? Maybe I need to stop looking at suitcases and start looking at Rosetta Stone Italian?)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thinking about (other people) having babies. Also thinking about pie.

I just spent 3.5 hours cleaning my car. I don't normally do this sort of thing, especially when it is 112 degrees outside. Okay, fine, I do it when I am 9 months pregnant. I make the other patrons at the self service vacuum area of the Dolphin Car Wash very uncomfortable as they watch me grunt and wedge myself into the back seat, but I feel DRIVEN to clean.

I am not 9 months pregnant right now.
As far as I know.
Although, it would be pretty great if I were, and had no idea, like those ladies on I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, because hey, I get a baby without nine months of bleeding eyeballs. But honestly, I can't imagine a world in which I didn't know I was pregnant (since I can usually start barfing even before the early pregnancy tests come back positive), and I suspect all those ladies are totally faking it to get on TV.

I'm thinking about babies today because Jake's little sister is in labor with her first baby. And also because my little sister is pregnant with her eighth. EIGHT! (Her fifth pregnancy, she got three kids for free when she got remarried a year ago. Which is cheating, I hope she knows.) And she is so super sick, that looking at her gives me anxiety attacks.

Ross and Jane started school at BASIS Chandler. I like to grill them daily about how everything went. I grill Sam and Tom, too, but Tom refuses to give up any information, even under high pressure interrogation, except that the school day is MUCH too long, and that once he went to P.E., and there was a Frisbee involved. Then he clammed up and looked embarrassed that he'd said too much. Sam just tells me he didn't get into any trouble. Which is probably a lie.

So on the first day, Ross and Jane met some new kids. But, Ross announced, something weird happened. Kids kept coming up to me and saying, Hello! I'm so-and-so. It's nice to meet you. Then, the kid would put out his hand, and want me to shake it! It happened three times. But one kid, Winston, is from India. I think they do things different there. 

Jane said, Yeah. That happened to me, too. Shaking hands! Super weird.

I asked Ross if he feels like the work is too hard. He told me:  
Well, I think I'm ahead in some subjects, like English and Spanish. But I think I'm behind in science and math. Like, at lunch time, Winston asked George if he knew the sorts of Cretaceous dinosaur birds indigenous to Central America (or something like that. I can't be expected to remember this sort of question). And then, George told Winston he was really sorry, but he was only familiar with the South American varieties.

At lunch one day, Jane was eating Keira's lunch because she'd left her PB&J in Jake's truck. Luckily Keira had the largest and best lunch in the world.  

She had an extra Capri Sun, and cherries, and even a tiny pie from England!  

Oh? I asked. (The only thing more exciting than a pastry is a British pastry.) Tell me more. Where did she get it?

In England. They just got back this week. But you know what's funny? Divia was sitting with us, and she didn't know what pie was. She's never heard of it, or eaten it. She's from here, but her parents are from Pakistan. She also didn't know what blueberries or bobby pins were, and she has to buy all her meat from a special store.

Are your kids coming home with any good school stories, or do they refuse to talk? .Do you think I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant is for real? Are there other 'reality' shows you feel are suspect?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Retrenchment. Again. Plus, my kids went to school and I spent the day on iTunes.

Ok, so I went to step class this morning and it was super hard. I haven't been all summer because I've too been busy eating and not moving and gaining ten pounds. About 45 minutes in, right after the 'party track' (is masochistic misnomer), a friend from like 15 years ago says hello, and instead of thinking: is so good to see you! I was thinking: you couldn't have let me know you were right behind me? Had I known, I would have tried harder not to flop around and wheeze like an asthmatic AARP member. And maybe I wouldn't have have lain on my belly while the rest of you were doing that yoga thing.

I'm not proud of myself.

Last week, I started a post about how I don't care a wink about my ill-fitting pants (you'll recall I went to California and ate VG Donuts and Hula Pie and Mr. Frosty dipped cones). I wrote all about the medium-sized purple muumuu I bought myself at Target for my birthday. (Muumuus run large. Is smart thinking by muumuu makers.). And then I prattled on about how muumuus are the best because they keep people wondering: what's going on under there? Is she a lingerie model? Is she great with child? No one can tell, and guess what? It is none of their business how many apple fritters I'm smuggling around in my lovely lady lumps! I got the wearable-pup-tent idea from my sister, who already had the same dress. So since we both wore it almost every day of our vacation, sometimes we went places with all of our combined 12 children, looking like some sort of matchy-matchy Polynesian sister wives.

Anyhow, like I said, that was last week. From the black night of unhealthy (but delicious) denial has dawned a new era of self-denial. Retrenchment. Which started today. And I'm only telling you so I can't wriggle out of it. So now I'm sitting here eating raw carrots with no ranch dressing, still wearing my stinky yoga pants. You can leave your condolences in the comments.

But just because I can't eat anything good doesn't mean I can't buy myself stuff on iTunes, right?

The Decemberists most recent album, The King is Dead, might actually be better than doughnuts.  This record sounds like Mary from Peter, Paul, and Mary married Michael Stipe and had lots of bearded children, who then died and formed a choir of hipster angels. (Except for This is Why we Fight, which sounds like the Cranberries.) Listening to them makes me want to get the old band back together (the band being me and my sister, my sister mostly against her will), to sing my original, four-chord dirges, inspired by boys who didn't know I liked them and British Royals of the middle ages. Take a gander at my playlist over right, if you like folk music. (Or Weird Al. Because I bought his album, Alpocalypse, too.)

What else should I buy on iTunes? 
What did you do with your first day of school? 
What's your favorite doughnut?
(I like buttermilk old-fashioned with chocolate ganache.) 

Friday, August 05, 2011

The old 'dead raccoon in my irrigation pipe' metaphor

Before we start, I would like to point out that in this metaphor, the part of the irrigation pipe will not be played by any section of my lower intestine.

See, it has been nearly a month and half since I've been here. And it isn't for lack of stuff to say. It just got busy, and then we left town, and while we were out of town, I wanted to tell you about doughnuts and fireworks and how I've got a crush on Utah, but I couldn't because then some of you who are sketchy might break into my house and steal my 7 year old Apple computer, or my Tivo that only holds 15 hours of shows, which is barely enough to keep me in House Hunters International and Good Eats.

But now that I'm back, I can't seem to get going again. And it is hard to explain, unless I tell you about the dead raccoon.

See, my friend who lives around the corner, but also out in the country, where everybody has two acres, a goat, and some chickens, went out to water her lawn. Now where I'm from (Los Angeles), and where I live now (around the corner from her and 50 years in the future), we just set our magic boxes and the sprinklers turn on automatically, but she's got some sort of grandfathered-in water rights from like a hundred years ago when her grandfather probably kicked some peace-loving Pima Indian off his land (the Apaches didn't want it, or they would have taken it), and that Pima took it from some long ago (yet mysteriously) vanished Hohokam fella.

What it comes down to is lots of cheap water in the desert, if you're lucky. But you've got to take your turn, even if it is in the middle of the night, or the whole street floods. And then, maybe you go to jail. But probably not, because that's what I thought when I first saw the flooded yards: someone is going to prison! But no one does. In LA, we were more careful with water, and sometimes we weren't even allowed to flush our dirty toilets . If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down.

Anyhow, my friend and her husband are out in the backyard at 3:47 a.m., or whenever, and they flip the switch, or turn the faucet, or whatever happens (I'm a city girl, remember), and something goes wrong. Water is coming out, but only a little, and at very high pressure. They get a flashlight and peer into the pipe. Inside is a dead raccoon. He is stiff and wedged sideways across the opening in such a way that he is blocking the flow of water. They try to pry him out but he doesn't budge. Finally her husband gets inside, and grabs the raccoon with both arms and yanks him free. The dammed (not damned) up water shoots out and soaks his red velvet lounging coat and matching slippers, (I wasn't there. But this is how it goes in my head) and he and the raccoon land on the grass in a big soggy pile.

So anyhow, I am hoping that this post about an actual dead raccoon will be my figurative dead raccoon, and now that he's out of my pipes (remember, this has nothing to do with my bowel regularity), pulled from my brain and onto the internets (however stinking, wet, and possibly rabid he might be), the flow of writing to follow will be free and clear and rapid (and probably include some truly original photos of my children clutching shovels and torturing sand crabs on the beach, that don't look anything like the ones of your children at the beach, or the ones you've recently seen on every other blog in the whole world. Here's a little something to wet your whistle:

July 24, 2011. Salt Lake Temple. Happy Pioneer Day!

So, see you soon! I've missed you all!

p.s. I just had my son Ross preview this, and he just said Mom, that's weird. But I like the part about the lounging coat.