Friday, November 09, 2012

No news is good news


Here I am, blogging right now. Look at my hair.

This is how it looked when I woke up this morning.
It felt mildly miraculous, so I didn't brush it or anything.

Fine. Is maybe possible that it looks okay because I only slept on it for four hours, as last night was book club night.

So, I'm here because of the news. Normally, I don't read the news. I know you won't think that is cool, especially if you read the news all the time. But I'll tell you, it gets me down. One of the reasons I have a history degree is that HISTORY IS OVER, and time gives us perspective and breathing room to talk without getting sweaty pits and yelling at one another, usually. In the news, everything is sold as the end of the world, but if you know your history you'll know that nothing ever really has been the end of the world. (Yet.) And if something WAS going to be the end of the world, I would bet against the news guessing that thing right.

Anyway, my news binge started with innocent googling of polls in the presidential race, and then there was some reading on how polls work, and that was really interesting. But then I got sucked into election news, and then there was Sandy! So you know, I felt like I should check that out. (Was only me being a compassionate citizen. Was nothing like rubbernecking).

But then I found out Paul Newman died. In 2008. And I was in mild mourning because he was, you know, foxy, and also, Cool Hand Luke. I mean, that was a lot of eggs, even in 1967. Plus, all the salad dressing for charity!

I was out of control. There were so many celebrities with problems. Lady Gaga has an eating disorder! That guy on How I Met Your Mother who is living with that girl who had Heath Ledger's baby had to move out of their fancy new Brooklyn apartment that got flooded, and move into their fancy old apartment that was on higher ground! The horror! So many stories about Christina Aguilera that I didn't click on, because I don't give a fig about Christina Aguilera or that guy who strokes the cat.

I even went Euro. Did you know that Sicily has 26,000 auxiliary forest rangers? And the the forests of British Colombia have fewer than 1,500? Is too many rangers, Sicily! Is an embarrassing amount of rangers! No wonder Germany is so ticked.

And then a baby got eaten by wild dogs at a zoo, and I was like, noooooooo. Don't tell me about the babies! I seriously can't handle the babies.

But still,  it wasn't over. One day,  I listened to talk radio. The angry kind. 
And I liked it. 
Don't tell Jake. He'll never let me live it down.

And now, I feel sort of dirty.
From all the news.

Feel free to leave me comments to welcome me back to the internets! I've missed you!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Why am I blogging at midnight? My kids will be up soon and want me to make them cinnamon toast on white bread that we don't have.

Hi there. School is out. Which is good. I'm not complaining. But I am very tired. I need more stamina. I think I can achieve this by eating more chocolate covered bananas and zucchini-banana-coconut bread made out of our baseball-bat-sized zucchini.

I think I need to go to Fry's and buy more bananas.

Sam's teacher decided to have a science fair the last week of school, so we baked cookies on the dashboard of my 91 Integra. It was nearly 250 in there.

We burned the second batch. Even so, he won the science fair! And the language arts award for his class.

Ross was named 7th grade student of the year for his class. This was also surprising, considering the smarty-pants school he attends. But not totally shocking, as everywhere Ross goes, people seem to chuck blue ribbons and crystal apples and assorted plaques at him.

He also designed a catapult with a few of his friends for his term project:
It was designed to launch fruits, veggies, or tennis balls. It was pretty much the best thing that happened in school all year.

Jane finished out the year with an A average, and Tommy graduated from Kindergarten. It almost didn't happen, because at the last moment, he freaked out and wouldn't put on his cap and gown. We still aren't totally clear on what happened, but we think he decided he wasn't wearing a dress. Once he saw all the other boys wearing their own dresses, he came around.

So now, there is nothing to do but swim, play Minecraft, try out new chore schemes I read about in parenting books, and watch YouTube.

Yes, I bought it on itunes.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The good news is, I didn't get a baby rat for Mother's Day.

Well, now. Mother's Day is over and I got just what I wanted: lots of stuff to put on my blog.

But first, I need to address what I have seen out there on the internets: lots of ladies who feel guilty or disappointed on Mother's Day. To those who feel guilty: seriously? Knock it off. You know what you should feel guilty about? Feeling guilty. You are probably the ones who spend all your time cleaning, cooking organic meals, and taking your kids to the park (why? When I was a kid, and bugged my Mom about being bored, she told me to go get my razor blades and play in the street. She was mostly kidding. And also, she took us to the park a lot. So I'm not making my point very well. Oh well). Listen, ladies: You've done enough. Just once, you should do like me, let the house go to crap over the weekend, eat lots of cake and candy (that your husband wasn't supposed to buy for you, because he knows about your candy problem and how you are losing your P90X momentum ), gain 4 pounds overnight (from the sugar, I guess), plug your toddler into Elmo (Mis-ter Noodle!!), light the vanilla candle your 13-year-old bought you as a symbol of his mother-devotion so you can't smell what is stewing down there at the bottom of the kitchen sink,

and spend some time on the internet. You know: Pinterest, Facebook, or some blogs. Yours, or someone else's. Alternately, you could go back to bed. I know all the other bloggers are telling you to unplug, go spend more time with your families, but if you are lucky like me, most of your kids are in school for like another week, you can't go outside because it is 107 degrees, and you just need to plant your rear in your desk chair and enjoy the silence (and the Elmo's World theme song.) You probably won't sit down again until August.

Guilty ladies, are you nervous? Let me assure you that somehow, stuff gets done. For instance, I just discovered that my just-turned-two-year-old knows all his letters. He doesn't talk, but he is a letter savant. Or maybe the other kids taught him. Who knows? All I'm sayin' is, stuff gets done, and I didn't do it. (Some stuff. Not all of it. He doesn't seem to know G.)

To those who feel disappointed on Mother's Day: seriously? Don't you see how this holiday is set up to fail? You aren't ever going to have both breakfast in bed AND a clean kitchen, both a nap AND all the small, cherubic children, both a day to yourself AND lots of wonderful grandmas with which to celebrate, or both a lie-in AND the chocolate covered strawberries they passed out in eight a.m. Sacrament meeting. Haven't we learned by now that 'having it all' was just a terrible lie inflicted on our mothers? That we can definitely have some of it, whatever part we want, really, us lucky-duck American women; but wanting it all, especially all at the same time, is miserably exhausting and will only make us angry. (Although, I will forever be grateful for the right to wear pants. Even if mine don't usually fit.) So anyhow, I suggest you, like me, play the Mother's Day you were dealt. Revel in it, even...

First of all, on Friday night, I got an almost-date. We took Jane with us to a wedding reception, where there was a photo booth and PIE. That's a good time, people.

On Saturday, Tommy remembered:
Hey! Tomorrow is Mother's Day. 
We should get something for you. 
Like maybe a pet? 
Would you like a baby rat?

Sam made me a fantastic coupon book at scouts, plus an origami vase with tissue flowers. The coupon book is beautifully illustrated. For instance, the coupon promising breakfast in bed has a bed in profile, with an unseen hand cracking an egg onto the crumpled comforter (I don't make my bed. But I don't feel shame about it.) 

Jake made me an omelette. It had cheese and bacon in it. He also sent me flowers. Like 100 of them. The ones I liked from Valentine's Day that lasted for a whole month. Then he got all the boys ready and took them all to Church at 7:30 cuz Ross has to set up chairs. Jane and I were still late. I do feel sorta bad about that. Why is 8:00 so early? Why am I so slow? Is it because I have to wrestle into the spanx?

Jane gave me earrings and a new necklace. This was just lovely. Having a daughter is very nice, sometimes. I'm not gonna lie to you.

After Church, Tommy handed me a card, which he had allegedly dictated, with his Primary teacher acting as amanuensis, which told me I looked beautiful. But then the next line said, Thank you for all that you do. The syntax seems a little fishy, no? Plus, no mention of rats. So, you know,  I have to wonder about the true authorship.

Sam came out of Church bearing a flowering plant in an attractive yellow ceramic pot.

From his pocket, he produced this:
 Here, Mom, he says, and hands me the chopstick/card (sans plant). This is for you. Happy Mother's Day!

When we got home, he took the plant to his room.

I find this extremely enjoyable. Is that wrong?

After Church, we ate lunch with my Mom and relations, then drove out to Glendale to have dinner with Jake's Mom and all the Beeswax crew. Before we left, I told Ross to get Tommy to fill out one of those forms- you know, how old is your grandma, how much does she weigh, the kids are supposed to get it wrong and it supposed to be hilarious- but Ross wasn't getting the humor, and Tommy wasn't getting it at all.

Ross: Why do you like going to Grandma Beeswax's house? 
Tom: To play with Coco (Coco is a wiener dog).

Ross: What color are her eyes?
Tommy: Brown
Ross: I'm pretty sure they are blue.
Tommy: No.
Me: Ross, just write whatever he says. That's the point of the exercise.

Ross: What do you do to show her you love her?
Tom: I rub her belly while she lies on the couch.

Ross: Huh?
Me: I think he's still talking about the dog.

On the way home from Glendale, Jake started playing deejay, and I asked him: Is this my Special Mother's Day Playlist? He grinned (sort of evilly), and then grew very serious.
It went something like this:

Video Killed the Radio Star (Buggles)
Super-Connected (Belly)
Seasons of Love (Rent)
Fancy Dancer (Bread)
Wildflower (The Cult)
Dancing with Myself (Billy Idol)

How was your Mother's Day?
Did you receive any live gifts?
What would be on your Special Mother's Day Playlist?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

See you there?

I'm going to Utah today. Going to the BYU with all the other ladies for the Women's Conference. I'm pretty excited, and not just cause I get a break from kids.

The other reason is I get a break from P90X.
Oh. And all the nice classes they provide are lovely, too.

In the past, my goal has been to eat my way across Utah County, but I am going to admit, this hasn't brought me as much gastrointestinal joy as I had hoped. So I am hoping to take it easy this year. I am only going to eat creamery milkshakes, mint brownies, five courses with four desserts, and pastrami burgers if I feel like it, and not just because it is the right thing to do.

This is what I look like right this minute. If you see me there, say hello to me. I would like to shake your hand.

Monday, April 09, 2012

You double dog dare me?

Hi there again. I'm back because I realized that I like it when bloggers post stuff even if it isn't super interesting, so I'm thinking I should try that for awhile. Because I'm trying new stuff and it's working for me. Just like how I took your advice and got off my treadmill and started P90x and stopped eating buns on my In-n-Out burgers, which always seemed really stupid to me in the past but is actually medium tasty, and now, thanks to you, I've lost 2 pounds! I'm pretty full of myself these days (but sadly, completely empty of delicious bread, cookies, and treats of all sorts, so also pretty cranky) because of my recent success, and so now I have a new and open-minded view of the world; so, if you've secretly always wanted to dare me to do something crazy, this is your chance!

But what's that? You need more information? Like weird stuff I've already done, and gross stuff I absolutely won't do?  Let me help:

I have already eaten snails. Dozens of them. I find them, like everything else in garlic and butter, delicious. Ditto frogs.

I will fer shur doll myself up 1950s style, and start drinking and smoking:

Mad Men party

I won't eat live bugs.
I will consider eating dead bugs which have a heavy milk chocolate coating.

I've already been swimming in the submarine lagoon at Disneyland. This was in the pre-Nemo days. I wanted to wave at the people on the ride (spoiler: you did not really go 20,000 leagues under the sea), but a cranky old lady at the Kodak Special Moments photo opportunity site ratted us out us to a kind Disney employee, who begged us to stop molesting the giant animatronic clams, but didn't kick us out of the park. Even better, nobody contracted Hepatitis!

I will totally wear a coconut bra on my birthday:

Or to the ward Halloween party.
Will I wear a pencil skirt? No. Grass skirt? Yes.

I will not have another baby on a dare.
But if you have a baby, I will go to the hospital and take 200 photos of it within 2 hours of its birth:

Introducing my new nephew, Liam Taylor N., who joined us March 29th

I will not let you lock me in a box with lives scorpions (or snakes). Or even bunnies.
I do not want to be locked in a box.

I think I already tried para sailing. I honestly can't remember if I went, or if I just sat on my cabana chair in Cancun and considered it. That's weird, right? But it was a really good vacation, and I was so relaxed and guacamole-stuffed I was in a low-grade coma, which might explain the amnesia.

I will not get a Brazilian wax.
I will put that Brazilian wax on my hair to make it straight and shiny. (Does this confuse anybody else?)

I will also get my whole family up in western wear, but I will choose to be a 'proper lady', and not a 'naughty madame'.

To sum up, I am willing to try all sorts of new stuff, especially if it involves dressing up and looking ridiculous, "bringing it", photographing it, or wrapping it in lettuce. But I am unwilling to try new stuff involving bugs and reptiles or tight spaces.

So what do you dare me to do next?

What about you? What have you done on a dare? 
(I especially want to hear about the things of which you are ashamed.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I hate my treadmill. But I love cookies.

So, hello there friends!

It seems like forever since I've been here. That's because time goes very slow when you're not eating cookies. See, to you it probly feels like no time at all has elapsed. You've got a cookie in your fist right now, dontcha? It's peanut butter, isn't it?

So, yeah, it's still Lent, so I'm cookie-free. Except one time, I accidentally ate like half a sleeve of oreos before Jake was like: Hey, aren't those cookies? And I was like, oh yeah, I guess they are. I mean, they are cookies in the way chocolate chips are chocolate. But then I stopped eating the alleged "cookies", and I've been clean ever since.

And since Rice Krispie Treats are clearly TREATS (is in the title), I don't have to tell you about the pan of those I tucked into last night (was lucky myfitnesspal allowed me to enter in my consumption in fractions of the whole pan instead of silly squares. Who has time to count that high?) But really, in general, I have been eating stuff like spinach smoothies and protein treats (not real treats, and definitely not cookies), consuming a measly 1400 calories per day, and riding my treadmill like it was a wild stallion in need of breaking.

That simile was super creepy.

Anyhow, so now's the part when I should tell you that with self-control and hard work, I have achieved FITNESS and baggy pants. But I haven't! I have lost 1 POUND. And even that is questionable. Could be hormones or dehydration. Seriously, people. I got on the treadmill. I watched the Today show like 30 times. (Don't want to ruin shows I actually like with exercise). Was a little like hell.

Fine. I will admit that although I am not any smaller, I do feel like I am a little bit less flobby. Which is helpful when wearing knit maxi dresses, but does not help with my pants that feel like prisons. The bright side, of course, is that it is 85 degrees outside, where I can frolic in knit dresses, the warm sun on my face, and tuck all the offending pants away on my highest closet shelf (need a ladder to access this shelf), safe from view until November.

(Except for Women's Conference in April. Because stupid, cold Utah requires pants. Goodness. Does nothing ever change? I was wrestling with these same stupid pants last year. No, I didn't get new pants. Why should I? I know better than to wear skinny jeans. When this whole skinny jean madness is over, I'll buy new pants.)

Anyhow, we're all good. Jane turned 11, Joey 2. Ross went repelling, Sam is a Bear Scout. Tommy wows us daily with feats of strength, skill, and coolness some of the rest of us lack. Jake decided to keep the 77 Land Cruiser, which is in a bazillion pieces, and restore it. He took the body in to paint it: sky blue. To match my eyes. Nah, to math his eyes. Okay, I don't think anybody's eye color was really a factor in his decision making. My sister is having a baby on Thursday, and I can't wait to get my paws on him. I reminded Jake that we met 20 years ago, on March 14, 1992. (I reminded him on March 22.) We headed down to southern Arizona for Spring Break: Bisbee, Tombstone, and Kartchner Caverns. Was a good time. Photos next time? I planted my garden. 16 tomato plants, plus lots of peppers, squash and zucchini. Okay only 2 squash and zucchini, but is lots. You know how it is. There is only so much zucchini bread a lady can eat.

Okay, tell me some dieting horror stories to cheer me up. Or tell me what I'm doing wrong. (Besides the Rice Krispie Treats.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I get my news from Facebook. And what I've given up for Lent.

These days, I barely have time to watch Modern Family. I have very little time for the news. (Priorities, people.) But that's okay, because now I get my news from Facebook. I know this should be embarrassing, and I suppose it is. But since I have friends who worship nearly every god in the political pantheon, I'll throw out the hypothesis that my news might be more fair and balanced than most, if not as comprehensive (I'm a little tired of Whitney Houston videos).  Plus, it is peppered with the drama of the car-wreck lives of a few childhood acquaintances. So that's fun. (Although most of you are stable, not mentally ill,  and thus, fairly boring.)

Today, for instance,  I read this article, noting how some Americans' fears of a Mormon theocracy show a resemblance to the old story about Jews trying to take over the world. Well written, and includes interviews with author Orson Scott Card and  my favorite historian, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

I recently located a friend I studied with in England, and I'm so thrilled about it. Her status updates on Downton Abbey, including this one about how Highclere Castle is falling into ruin, plus a link to these fantastic paper dolls (including evil accoutrements for Mrs. O'Brian and Thomas, and female empowerment accessories for Sybil), are my absolute favorite. We don't email or anything, but she knows I care because I 'like' her almost daily.

What? You don't think paper cutouts about period dramas count as news? Au contraire, mon frere!

Lastly, I have decided to celebrate Lent this year. Back in college, cousin Melanie would throw a big Mardi Gras party, to which we would invite every attractive boy we knew, stuff them with gumbo and king cake (don't break your tooth on the baby!), and then I wouldn't buy those big pink frosted cookies at the gas station on my way home from class again until Easter. This year, though, I am taking it further: NO COOKIES AT ALL. That's real, people. And it isn't going to be easy. I'm also incorporating a serious scripture study plan, and a goal of at least stepping onto the treadmill every day except Sunday. (I did some research, and in Roman Catholic tradition, they get Sundays off from their Lenten fasts and what not. But I'm going more Eastern Orthodox with my cookie rules: zero tolerance.) It may not be kosher, but I hope my self-imposed period of asceticism isn't seen as sacrilege. I think my heart is in the right place.

Where do you get your news?
Are you giving up anything for Lent?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gearing up for Statehood Day, my singleton baby's twin language, some potential falafel, and the Gin Blossoms, if Jake can be cajoled

So I didn't watch the super bowl because I was too busy eating and also football is boring. I know I should like it but I don't, and since I'm 38 years old, I don't pretend to like stuff anymore. Usually.

But I did sort of see Madonna's halftime show. And ever since, I've been listening to the Evita movie soundtrack in my van. Yesterday, Ross asked: That guy singing? Is that Puss in Boots?

Kids are super entertaining. If you have some, you know. I mean, they are loud and pull each other's hair and don't flush the toilet and sometimes you catch them biting their own toenails, but they are not boring. Two days ago Jane told me she wants to be a tattoo artist when she grows up, but she won't get any tattoos, cuz that's gross. And Joey, at almost two, isn't saying much, and what he does say is in a language of his own making. It's like a twin language, but he hasn't got a twin. He calls any sort of beverage a mimimama (except pop, which is pop) and motorcycles are samomos. We still have hope though, because he can speak Treat fluently: he'll let you know if he wants a sucker, cake, or cookies in the Queen's English.

So tonight I'm going to Pita Jungle with sister Jen and old friend Shireen to eat falafel, if I can find a babysitter. Tomorrow I am going to try to talk Jake into going to the Arizona Centennial celebration over at the Capitol, because I am an Arizona history nerd, even though I'm from California, but also because celebrating Arizona Statehood Day (February 14) was always a nice option for those of us who found ourselves lover-less (and by lover-less I mean heart-shaped-card-less and bereft of chocolate) on Valentine's Day (which I did. But only continuously from 1973-1995), but also because the Gin Blossoms will be there. And it feels very appropriate that the same band to which I would listen, lying on my single-girl dorm room bed with my giant 90s shampoo commercial hair, wallowing in my lover-lessness (most of the Gin Blossoms songs played with the theme of girlfriends leaving them because they were drunk losers, and somehow this resonated deeply with me) would be playing at Arizona's 100th birthday party.

Anyone else in for the Gin Blossoms?
Do you think Puss in Boots had the pipes for Andrew Lloyd Webber?
Do your kids bite their toenails, too?
What do you get at Pita Jungle?

Happy early Arizona Statehood Day!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

I'm only mostly dead

Which means, of course, that I am still a little bit alive.
So do not go through my clothes, looking for loose change.

See, you haven't heard from me, but I've been busy, battling the influenza. For nearly two weeks. Whatever I had in my life before and called the flu, wasn't this. This was no getting out of bed for 11 days, with a chaser of sinus and ear infection, and something I can only describe as adult onset asthma. In my spare time, I've been doing a little light reading on the Spanish flu of 1918. (Because I really like disease histories, especially if I am stricken with the disease.) More than half of the millions and millions who died between 1918-1920 from the flu, probably died from pneumonia and other secondary infections that could have been cured by antibiotics.

I love antibiotics. Even more than contact lenses. And that is saying a lot.

Sadly, my dreams of Olympic gold in London this summer have been shattered (cuz now I'm on the 'roids.) But I love the steroids, too. Because I really enjoy breathing.

The highlight of the last two weeks? Sunday nights in bed with Downton Abbey, on Percocet left over from Joey's birth, plus three Advil. I could escape the body aches for a few hours, even though I was worried I would become a drug fiend (I didn't).

Another casualty of the flu: my favorite bra. I neglect her for a couple weeks, and she disappears. So now I have to wear the ones that ride up my back, or have the too-stretchy straps.

And as for flu shots: I am now a zealous convert.  Jake got his, slept next to my hacking, feverish, infected self and is still perfectly well. I only hated him a little bit. Mostly I loved him, cuz he kept doing the dishes and taking care of the children I was neglecting.

Also, in the midst of my pain, my eldest child turned 13. Which makes me an anciently old woman. Luckily, he is pretty much the best kid ever. One consolation for getting old is that you get to see your kids turn into really cool people that you want to hang out with and take to Benihana.

Friday, January 06, 2012

I forgot school started. Plus, photos of Pompeii and Venice, to cheer me up.


So I was thinking about starting my diet on Tuesday, but then I got a call from the big kids' school. They wanted to know why Ross and Jane weren't there in class, with the rest of the children. 

That's real, folks. I'm not making it up. We forgot to come back from Christmas break.

They were only like 3.5 hours late. 
Both of them were mildly ill.
Jane might have cried all the way there.
It was moderately stressful.

On the way home, I took the three remaining kids to Sam's Club, where I forgot to remember the diet I was supposed to be starting, I had a hot dog with mustard, onions, relish, and kraut. And some of Tommy's blue Icee. And a soft pretzel. I felt better.

So anyway, all this made me remember that I'm not very good at remembering things. And that I've gained 10 pounds since the above photo was taken 3 months ago. In Pompeii.

So now I'm thinking how it would be nice to be skinny(er) and in Italy again. I think I shall relive those heady days, while I eat some of Jake's leftover birthday cake. You should come along.

Jake at the bakery. They didn't have any doughnuts.

So, Pompeii was really fantastic. Before we left, I spent days researching how we should get there and how long to stay. It would have been better to stay in Sorrento and spend a few nights checking out ruins and the Amalfi coast. But we didn't have the time. So I easily spent thrice as long researching as I actually spent visiting Pompeii. Because it seemed like a day trip that could go terribly wrong.

We took the Eurostar train from Rome to Naples. It is more expensive, but faster, and more comfortable. Then, at the Naples train station, we got a taxi who would take us to Pompeii, wait for a few hours, then bring us back to Naples. (If you want to go cheaper, go downstairs in the station and take the Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii. It costs like 3 euros each way, stops approximately 30 times, and you'll likely lose your wallet, but Jen says it's no worse than the NYC subway. Except that there are entertainers on board who play toy keyboards horribly, right in your ear, and won't stop until you pay them to leave. So you'll need to allow room for that in your budget.) (Jason has never been on the subway, and he was mildly traumatized.)

Mom and Dad

Inside Pompeii, we just used the free Rick Steves audio guide we'd downloaded at home, and bought a cool book inside the bookstore with info and plastic overlays to tell us about each house. It was like 12 euro, and we gave it to the kids when we got home, after I removed the kama sutra-style brothel art frescoes. Plus a couple others. Pompeiians had a funny idea of what made good family room art. (I tucked all my censorious bits (and by bits I mean oversized phalluses) under Jake's pillow, to creep him out.) I think what we did would be fine for 98% of all tourists. But my Dad says he wishes we'd had our own guide and stayed longer than two hours. Maybe next time. I was happy with our taxi chauffeur. He was the nicest driver we had in Italy. 

Back in Naples, we had him drop us off at the famous Da Michele pizzeria. It is supposed to be the best in Naples, which is the best in Italy. I'd read about it in Rick Steves and Eat, Pray, Love. Apparently everyone else had heard about it, too: There were more than 100 people in line. We went across the street to Pizzeria Trianon. It was delicious. Maybe my favorite meal we had in Italy. The sauce was unbelievable. The crust was unbelievable. The line was unbelievable: there wasn't any.

After lunch, we headed to the Archeological Museum. All the best art and artifacts they dug out of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the 1800s was brought here by the Naples' king. And now they reside in the museum that time forgot. It is amazing how these priceless items are just open to the elements (there were windows open and it was raining outside), how the displays have faded typewritten cards and dust inside them. I guess in a country full of treasures, there just isn't enough money to go around. But dust bunnies and all, you can't get a real feel for how life looked in Pompeii, without seeing these incredible mosaics, frescoes, metal and glassware.)

From there we headed back to the train station and hopped a Eurostar back to Termini in Rome. Our taxi driver apologized for all the traffic; but, he told us, there have been many manifestations today. (We think he meant government protesters, and not angelic visitors, but who knows?)

The next morning we hopped the train for Venice.

That's me and my backpack and Jake getting our first glimpse of Venice. We got on a vaporetto bound for St. Mark's Square, where our hotel had a free water shuttle out to the Isola di San Clemente.

The hotel was gorgeous, the service wanting. It was fab if you don't want them to feed you at 3:00 p.m., which they will not, under any circumstances, do. It doesn't matter how hungry you are. Although the concierge was nice. I didn't mind staying outside town a little, either. The boat ride to and from the island was relaxing and made me feel like a fancy-lady. I'd recommend San Clemente Palace Hotel, if you can get as great a deal as we did (off season). It doesn't say this anywhere in the literature, but the hotel was an insane asylum for hundreds of years, and became this HUGE fancy resort hotel only recently. So that's mildly creepy. But if, like me, you don't watch horror movies, you'll be okay.

Doge's Palace
St. Mark's Cathedral. Jake and I never got inside. We slept in. Turns out, insane asylums are very restful and quiet.
On a water taxi, headed to Ca' Rezzonico, a grand canal palazzo turned museum of 18th century Venice

See the table I'm parked on? They make those into a walkway, so tourists don't have to wade through a water-logged St. Mark's square during high tide.

Picnicking. Salami, cheese, fresh basil and oregano, and fluffy bread. Focaccia, maybe?

Outside the best gelato place in Venice.

See the top floor? Synagogue.
We spent an afternoon in the Jewish ghetto (world's first ghetto. Or maybe first place in the world to be called a ghetto). Took a fascinating tour of 4 synagogues. You should go, because it looks like they will fall down at any moment. Boys: they've got lender kippot (yarmulkes) if you don't bring your own.

The ghetto had a big square, which held a big market. If you'd been here about 1500, you could have procured some nice used clothing, full of plague infested lice.
Rialto bridge, on Jake's way out of town. Only like two boats, eight trains, a stroll with a kind and helpful housekeeper on mainland Venice, a wild west-style overnight train with a layover with some petty thieves in Bologna (that's pronounced Baloney, I'm pretty sure), some new Turkish lady friends to protect, two buses, a taxi, two airplanes and 30 hours later, he was home in the warm (100 degrees in October) bosom of Gilbert. And I was in Florence.

Did your kids start school?
Did you forget to take them?
Did you try to start a diet?
Is it working?
Do you have another resolution?
I might need some alternative ideas

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year's Eve: blogging live from my bed

4:00 This afternoon. Payson Wal-mart with Jake, Joey and Tom to buy junk food and weenie baby pajamas covered in puffy squirrels and monster trucks, since we forgot the bag with all of Joe's clothes at home. I count 11 men with beards 1 foot or longer, 7 of them carrying cases of beer.

5:00 feast begins. Includes chips (both potato and corn), four different sorts of dips, little smokies in BBQ sauce, tiny bagel pizzas and baby quiches (from boxes), fizzy grape juice (red kind), blood orange pop, and bananas for the baby. Who is not really a baby, at 21 months and abnormally large at that, but shhhhhhh. Let's not not speak of it. Is a holiday.

6:00 cards with children. Jake won't play cuz he is reading new Tom Clancy book called Locked On. Try to teach them gin, but sam is trying to multitask. He is kicked out of the game for making duct tape wallets and forgetting rules and his turn. Jane gets frustrated and crabby, and quits soon after. Ross stays on and even lets me try to shoot the moon (we'd moved on to hearts. We always do).

7:00 Joey puts the year to bed early. Jake goes back to Wal-mart to get 9-volt batteries so the smoke alarm won't harass us all the night long. He returns and climbs giant ladder onto dangerous ledge 15 feet in air to replace battery. Changes light bulb while at it.

8:00 children begin to complain of unwell bellies. Tommy writhes around on my bed in his new striped underpants until I get him a bowl to carry around. Apparently they cannot handle their junk food.

9:00 brownie sundaes. Tommy rallied and begged, but was denied. All others begged off voluntarily. Some of them made ramen. Gross.

10:00 tub. With jojoba bath salts and my iPad in a gallon sized ziploc. Re-reading Before Ever After to see if it's appropriate for book club. Can't remember if I skipped over something super-yuck the first time around. It's such an interesting combination of fascinating and not-so-well written. Sort of sucked me in like Twilight (I'm not proud of it, but there it is) but more interesting plot and not as much sexual tension.

11:00 salted caramel hot chocolate. I'm not hungry but I must push through. Coldplay Austin City Limits New Year's show on PBS. It is so good. I love it so much. And all the people in the audience are old and two of the ladies have my same polka-spotted Kate Spade iPhone cover and they are recording Chris Martin while he sings The Scientist. And between the geriatrics and the PBS and how they keep showing Downton Abbey previews, I think I must be old too, and boy do they have my number, those public TV gurus. And I also remember seeing Ke$ha (or however you spell it) on the Ryan Seacrast show last year, and being horrified in the manner of an elderly grandmother, actually saying something like "is this REALLY what the kids are listenng to these days?"

Tickets for Coldplay's Hollywood Bowl shows go on sale next Wednesday. Anybody else coming?

11:35 Jake informs me that South Carlsbad state beach now has free wifi. Who thought they could make San Diego even better? Now they are just showing off.

11:47 us Against the world. Best song on new album.

11:52 okay so now it's time to go get the traditional fizzy white grape juice in the ceramic mugs and welcome a new year. Jake doesn't want to go cuz he's looking at campsites on the beach with the wifi, but I told him he'd better get some cocktails and get back in and kiss me quick.

Jake is currently wearing his "California: you can't afford it" t-shirt, which I find humorous.

11:55 almost there.

Sayonara, 2011.
Aloha, 2012.

12:00 Happy New Year, everybody.
Goodnight from under the duvet.