Archive | April 2012

Golf is Hell

I’ve made some pretty big mistakes along the way, such as getting a Dorothy Hamill wedge haircut and buying a white linen couch for our family room, but no mistake was larger than getting one of my kids involved in golf.  It all started so innocently.  Peter had tried soccer and wasn’t really into it anymore.  Great news for me; soccer sucked!  Being a Tiger Mom wannabe, I was determined that he was going to have some kind of activity (aka not hanging around at home bugging me).  He had played a little golf with his Aunt and Uncle and had a good time; plus they said he had “talent”.  Why not give it a try?  So, off he went with a $50.00 set of golf clubs and the intent to “have fun” and “make friends”.  That’s all it was; simple really. Unfortunately for me, he was noticed by the club pro as having a “nice swing”.  Once that swing was noticed, we were introduced to the nightmare world of junior golf.

How could golf be a nightmare you say?  How hard could it possibly be, you ask?  Golf appears to be such a calm, courteous type of activity. Players seem to be enjoying themselves in a beautiful setting on a lovely day. It all looks so civilized and friendly and casual.  They take their hats off after the round and shake hands.  They have names like Bob and Chad.

It’s a complete lie.  Trust me, I’ve been on the sidelines of this “sport” and I can tell you, with great authority:  Golf is Hell!

Just say no. This is what hell looks like. Trust me.

Once the junior golf thing really got rolling (pun intended), I had the privilege of being personal assistant, chauffeur and one woman cheer squad as we travelled the country in pursuit of the holy grail: a top ten finish at a high level tournament. He played golf, and I took care of everything else.  We went to Detroit and Stockton and Grand Rapids and San Antonio and more.  Here’s a list of just a few of the many insane episodes of our golf adventures:

Fly into Cleveland at 10pm and drive 4 hours to a tournament?  Check!

110 degrees and 98% humidity?  Check!

36 degrees and hail?  Check!

Driving rain and 30mph winds?  Check!

Break golf club during the round?  Check!

Forget to wear contact lenses during play?  Check!

Hide out under the deck of a house during a lightning storm in the middle of a round?   Check!

Forget golf shoes and play the round in sneakers? Check!

Golf ball landing in crotch of a tree?  Check!

Hit by golf ball while walking the fairway?  Check!

Get lost in the housing projects of Chicago and have to ask for directions at an inner city gas station?  Check!

You name how ridiculous the effort and the situation and we doubled it.

In the beginning, I tried to stay out of it.  I didn’t know that much about golf anyway.  I stayed in the hotel while he played, waiting for the call to pick him up.  Turns out, it was much worse not knowing how it was going.  Besides, you can only watch so much E! News before you lose your mind.  So, I started following along in the round, I figured I could carry the Gatorade and get some exercise.  Little did I know that I was entering the 9th circle of hell.

What I quickly learned is that you must maintain a very pleasant facial expression at all times.  No matter where that stupid ball goes.  For anyone who knows me, this is not easy.  OK, a total impossibility.  All I can do sometimes is turn around and stare at a rock to try to regain my “that’s ok that you had to hack it out twice from the sand trap” face.  I’d like to see your facial control when the ball goes in the water on the 18th hole and he misses the cut, or the ball goes out of bounds and you’re looking in gopher holes in the desert for the damn thing.  Screaming after a ball bounces off the cart path and over a cliff is, unfortunately, frowned upon in polite golf society.  Also, not so great for your player’s confidence.

There isn’t really anything, sport or not, where just one mistake can make the difference between 1st and 20th (ok, maybe brain surgery).  The entire game revolves around managing mistakes. How fun can that possibly be?  A puff of wind at the wrong time, a tiny miscalculation of distance, a cough during a backswing.  An additional element (as if that was needed) is plain old luck.  A bad bounce off a cart path, a 2 foot putt that rolls around the hole and pops out. Those are just a few of the thousand things that can make a round go sideways.  Like the game needs any more stupidity?!

Just go in the stupid hole already, you stupid ball!

I’ve learned to not say “Let’s talk about that triple bogey on hole 13” after a round.  I know that post-tournament ice cream for him and a glass of wine for me has healing properties.

Essential tool for tournament survival.

I know that there’s always a chance for a win, that is until the ball hits a tree and lands under a bush, beside a large rock, near the water next to a sand trap.

There is a small comfort in the knowledge that there’s always another tournament and another chance at the prize.  It just means that we’re back on a plane and then in a car, going to another tournament in the middle of Indiana, in November, trying to find the hotel at midnight, with an early tee time the next morning.  Sigh…

It still doesn’t make me miss soccer.

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This is what a Nike ad looks like…

Back in December, my dad unearthed our box of camcorder tapes. My family got a video camera when I was about 7 and we were really, REALLY into it for a couple years; my life from ages 7-10 is highly documented. Outside of that timeframe, I’m not quite sure what I did because it’s not forever imprinted on a VHS tape somewhere. Among the gems of our tapes was our masterpiece classic “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” (in which my brother puts on the type of British accent that you would only find in a movie like “Richie Rich” and tours our home) and a recording of my soccer team awards picnic. As my coach was handing out my coveted participation trophy, he announced: “This is to the player who, at the beginning of the season, didn’t know what to do with the ball. But she has improved a lot and she doesn’t run away from the ball anymore!” I gleefully accepted my trophy for playing on the Red Apples, not realizing that my biggest accomplishment in an entire season was not running away from the ball. This did not bode well for my future.

Around October of last year, I decided it would be a good idea to run a half-marathon. I don’t know what came over me, but somehow I found myself registering for a race and forking out a whole lot of money to run 13 miles in one day. I thought that maybe with a specific goal in mind and maybe some neon colored spandex, I could become one of those people who got some sort of intrinsic joy out of running.

I’ve had my encounters with running in the past, but they haven’t been too kind too me. In high school, I came home from the first day of JV field hockey crying because there was too much running. My sophomore year of college, a friend and I tried briefly to become runners. We made a training schedule, put big bows in our ponytails, and attempted to look like we knew what we were doing as we slowly trotted along. That attempt ended as quickly as it began–though that ½ mile that we could prance down the street without difficulty was pretty great.

I promise I earned this and didn't just steal it.

I ran the 13.1 in March and contrary to what my 7, 14, and 20 year old selves would have believed, I actually survived. I told some of my kindergarteners at school the next day that “I ran a race at the beach” and they immediately wanted to know if I won. When I told them I came in 4,082 out of 8,000, one boy commented “that’s really bad” (thanks, buddy.) My lessons in kindness were not all lost though, because I did have one sweet one look up at me and say “Oh…I wish you came in first,” which made me feel like the best.

I haven’t yet found that endorphin-fueled existence that I’ve been waiting for, but I have found running to be a really great excuse for carbs. I’ve been on a big scone and bread baking kick lately, which has made me keep running so that I don’t look like a monster in my hot pink running spandex. Around mile 8 of the half marathon, I kept thinking that all I wanted when I was done was a couch, a warm scone and a cup of tea. I’m not ashamed to admit that I wanted that way more than the four free Yuengling’s that were waiting for me at the finish line. It’s not the Nike motivational ad I was hoping I’d feel like back in October, but I suppose running for the love of scones works well enough for me. Motivation is motivation right?

Chocolate Chip Scones, adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s Scottish Scones in A Homemade Life (sidenote: a delightful read)

1 ½ cups flour (1 cup whole wheat + ½ cup all-purpose is how I go)

½ cup rolled oats

½ tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

4 tbsp cold butter, cut into ½ inch pieces

2 tbsp sugar

¾ cup chocolate chips

½ cup milk or cream

Optional and delicious: a handful of dried cranberries and/or chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, salt and baking powder. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, rub the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal and the butter is reduced to pea-sized bits. Add the sugar and chocolate chips and stir to incorporate. Add in the milk or cream and stir gently to combine. I find it easiest to just mix with my hands at this point, but a spoon works fine too. Form the dough into a rough mass and turn it out onto the counter. There will be some excess flour at the bottom of the bowl—don’t worry about that, just turn it out onto the counter with your mass of dough and incorporate it as your work with it. Form the dough into a disk, about 1 ½ inches thick, and cut it into 6 pieces. Transfer the scones to a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when the bottoms are lovely golden brown. They’re best eaten with 1-2 days. After that, freeze them (wrapped  individually in plastic wrap and stored in a zip-top bag) and defrost in a 300 degree oven or toaster oven.

Run the World (HBO)

Time and time again I’ve written about the aspects of living at home that are enjoyable:  Family, home-cooked meals, blah blah blah.  Well I’ve been feeding you bullshit for a long time.  Now it’s time to get down to brass taxes, shoot from the pelvis, and hear it straight from the horse’s lips: HBO is the greatest thing to ever happen to me.

Unlike Beyonce, who is undeniable yet only human, no other force has had a greater impact on my time living at home than HBO.  For those of you who don’t know what you’re doing with your life, I have some great advice: move home, make your parents pay for premium cable, and ditch all your friends.  I know many of you have trouble juggling your social life, what with all your party invites and dinner with friends and even trips to make fun of fat people at the mall (that’s still a thing, right?).  I, fortunately, do not have that burden, which is why I spend my Sundays (and Fridays and Mondays and Wednesdays) with my loyal friend HBO.

There are so many things to love about HBO, so I’m gonna break it down for you right here:

Game of Thrones:  This show is so awesome it actually made me read books again.  Ever since the first season last year, I’ve been on a year-long Game of Thrones diet.  Let’s just say it involves lots of wine and calling people whores.  Now that the second season is heating up, my life is complete again.  This season is chock full of nudity (bonus!), gruesome beheadings (double bonus!), and intricately woven explorations into the nature of power, where it resides, and what sort of influence the real or perceived effect of power has on an individual and society as a whole (OMG I just jizzed my pants!!!!).  Did I mention that someone is gruesomely killed every episode?!?!

Oh yeah, you talk about matters that concern the realm! You talk about those matters all season long!

Veep:  The only thing funnier than the concept of  the Vice Presidency is Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  Her and lady blazers and lady f-bombs, none of which are lacking on this show.  Whip-smart British humor and a strong supporting cast (Buster Bluth!) also help.  Additionally, there is in fact a black woman on the show, so it’s not like I’m a racist for watching shows with only white cast members.  Right, guys?!?!?!

I'M A MONSTER!!!!! Oh, wait, wrong show...

Girls:  For some reason I keep thinking this should be the theme song for the show.  Alas! it’s not.  However, there is something humorous about former co-eds drifting in NYC trying to get their shit together (Am I right, Gen Blau?!?!).  And despite the fact that the show was created by, written by, produced by, directed by, and starring women, the only thing that brought me to the show was the name of a bearded middle-aged man that was on the advertisements.  Am I right, Judd Apatow fans?!?!

Something is missing... Wait! Where are all the penises?!?!

TrueBlood:  Supernatural soap opera involving vampires, vampire hookers, werewolves, werewolf hookers, hookers, witches, bitches, fairies (the winged kind), fairies (the gay kind), mind-readers, lip-readers, lip-lockers, shape shifters, shape shifter sex, regular sex, shower scenes, gumbo, Oscar winners, lesbians, black panthers (the mammal), funny accents, demon babies, and Southern manners.  Need I say more?!?!

The most demonic of demon babies. Seriously, don't let the smile fool you. There's fangs there...

Curb Your Enthusiasm:  This last season might have been the best Curb season ever.  From a pleasure-inducing Prius, to Bill Buckner finally catching something important, to one of the greatest debates about performance-enhancing drugs not involving Jose Canseco, this was truly a season to remember.  The biggest takeaway:  I’m an elderly Jewish curmudgeon at heart.  Am I right, old people?!?!?!

My spirit animal

The Wire:  Sometimes, in social situations, I pretend like I’ve seen The Wire.  This is embarrassing, I know, because it’s supposedly the greatest show ever, or whatnot, but every time I try and watch it, I realize I’d rather not think while I watch TV, so I don’t.  It’s like the television version of War & Peace: a classic must-read that all pretentious educated people talk about, but you don’t want to put in the time.  And it uses big words.  Also, you prefer picture books.  Am I right, college grads?!?!?!

!

Yeah, yeah, I get it, ok? I should be watching your show. Now stop judging me with your eyes!!

Mad Men:  Okay, so technically this show is on AMC, but it’s like an honorary HBO show.  Kinda like how the two non-Beyonces were honorary Destiny’s Child members.  Also, this was just an excuse to put in a picture of Jon Hamm.  Am I right, ladies?!?!?!

So, as you can see, HBO and I have a great relationship, and we ain’t about to taint it with real people or anything.  In fact, to quote Game of Thrones:  “HBO is my king, and my king is HBO”*.

*Technically, the quote was actually “my husband” not “HBO”, but at this point in my life they’re practically interchangeable.  Am I right, Ben?!?!?!

I Heart Florence Even More

I know that you are aware of my obsession with Florence+the Machine.  My recent attendance at her concert has made it an even bigger obsession, if that’s even possible.  I don’t mean a stalker kind of thing, just a greater love and appreciation of her music and her personhood.  The concert was held in Santa Barbara at an outdoor ampitheater, scheduled to start at 8pm.  I hate being late, so for an hour long trip, I made the family leave at 4:30.  You always have to take into consideration the traffic in Southern California; apparently not so much on a Saturday afternoon.  With my husband Jeff (aka Mario Andretti) at the wheel, we made it in 40 minutes.  The family was really kind to me about the early arrival.  Sighs, eye rolls and lots of sitting in the car staring at me ensued.  That was really fun!  I had planned ahead for once, and brought a little pre-function picnic.  It was a little weird to have dinner at 5:00, and it only killed about 10 minutes.  Great, more family time!  Finally, it was time to walk to the venue; a pretty setting on a chilly but clear night.  I had prepared with a hat, gloves, hand warmers and 20 pairs of ear plugs.  Ever the Mother, I wasn’t going to be responsible for the potential hearing loss of my 13 year old.  By the time we were seated, there were about 10 people there and we were 5 of them.  Thank God heavy pours of wine were available.  As I looked around, I did notice that my husband and I were pretty much the oldest there, by about 30 years.  I had a feeling we might be spoiling the vibe of the groups of groovy looking youngsters around us, but I didn’t care, I could heart Florence just as much as they could.

 

That’s me and Florence. I’m practicing my moves pre-concert.

The concert opens with the theme of her latest CD, ” Ceremonials”  with huge tribal looking draperies in the background.  Then Florence comes out in a medieval priestess looking robe with a black cat suit on underneath.  There aren’t any big TV screens and we’re a little far back to see her in detail.  Again, I didn’t care, because there she was; even if a bit tiny and far away.  The music started and she owned the stage!  She was a whirling, twirling kind of otherworldly wood nymph. She’s so charismatic that you really can’t take your eyes off of her, even if you have to squint.   She sounded great, the crowd was into it and there I sat, proud of myself for being a true fan, knowing all the lyrics.  I knew enough though, to not ruin the experience for the people around me by singing along in my screechy, totally out of tune voice.  I was just happy to be there, soaking up the scene.  That is, until the song “Spectrum” came up.  It’s one of my favorites and the one I like to do some interpretive dance moves to when I’m doing my nightly walk.  It was late into the concert, the smell of weed was in the air, and most of the people were standing and really into it.  It was my chance to let it all hang out and officially join the concert.  Confident that Florence would have wanted me to, I get up and not only sing along, but do all my interpretive dance moves to the song.  Jeff is laughing his head off on one side of me and Conrad (the 13 yr old) is on the other, with his hood pulled over his head, hoping to God that he doesn’t see anyone he knows.  My older kids, Anna and Ben, are both in the standing room only section at the front.  They already knew that this might happen and planned ahead to be somewhere else.  Fortunately, for the people around us, the concert ends soon after.  We meet up and all agree that the concert was too cool and that Florence is a star.  I’m still in a bit of an afterglow from my evening with Florence.   I do love my family, but I think, for a while anyway, I love Florence more….

Consider Me Dead

I have been taking improv classes because, as you, my loyal readers know, I am a gimundo ham and I really like to perform. That said, improv has always been something that has intimidated me, so I figured it might be neat to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new. It’s super fun, but a lot of times I find myself in the shower the next day, thinking of a line that would have been much better. Now you’re picturing me in the shower. You’re welcome.

But I digress. A part of the class involves going to see improv shows at UCB with the intention of studying the craft. It just so happens that my class on Sunday afternoons lets out at a perfect time for me to go over and stand in line for ASSSSCAT, the free show at 9:30 every week. To get tickets, you wind up sitting in line for almost 2 hours, but it’s worth it because it is always so funny. You usually get to see writers and some performers from SNL and other UCB shows, as well as some TV actors. Amy Poehler was one of the four founding members of UCB, and legend has it that every once in a while she shows up to perform, but you never know the actual line up until you are there. I have always maintained that if I got to see Amy there, I would straight up die. Well, to paraphrase Reba, consider me dead.

This is a referenence to my third favorite Reba song, and this image is a still from the video.
"But Gen, should you really use references that you have to explain?"
Shut the fuck up.

After waiting in line for 2 hours last night, my friend and I went in and took our seats. We were just sitting there gabbing, and Adam Scott and Rashida Jones came in and sat down 2 seats away. Rashida Jones had on very hipster glasses. I tried to play it cool, but honestly I have never been so star struck. At least , I hadn’t been so star struck until Amy came out at the start of the show (and that’s saying something because I once walked behind Mad Men’s Roger Sterling for like 3 blocks, which is probably enough to give ANYBODY a half-chub). I screamed like a 13 year old at a Beiber concert. I honestly didn’t know that I had that kind of reaction in me. I lost my shit. It made my Law and Order meltdown seem pathetic.  But the show was amazing. Seth Meyers and Bobby Moynihan from SNL performed, along with Sue Galloway and John Lutz from 30 Rock, Adam Pally from Happy Endings, and a bunch of my favorite regulars from ASSSSCAT. I can’t overemphasize how excited I was/am.

Oh, buddy.

I am taking away a few lessons from this experience. 1) I should always try to go to stuff. Earlier in the day I felt so tired and hungover that the thought of going felt painful. Thank goodness I was meeting a friend there because if I hadn’t gone and then found out about the line-up, I would have been so mad. 2) Amy Poehler is just fantazmo. Super funny. I can’t even. 3) Maybe- just maybe-  13 year olds have something going on here with their unbridled excitement for things like the Jonas brothers when the Jonas brothers were still a thing- I can’t help but think that if I could capture the enthusiasm I felt last night and harness it for evil, I would be unstoppable. And kids get that excited all the time! Just saying, we should probably all beware. Amy Poehler taught me that.

BEWARE

How To Stay Married For Thirty Years

I thought it would be helpful to you dear reader(s) to learn how to stay married a really long time.  I’m highly qualified to give advice in this area because I’ve been married a really long time.

First of all, choosing your partner well is essential.  I selected a large Norwegian Eagle Scout.

Husband material.

Lots of things are strong about this choice.  He has good survival skills, so if you’re ever lost in the wilderness he can start a fire.  Also, if you just need stuff done, like pitching a tent or changing a tire, he’s really good at that kind of thing. He can diagnose weird noises in the car.  He knows how to work all the TV clickers.  He can lift heavy items in the garage and open jars.  Loyalty is a big deal for an Eagle Scout, which is a good thing when you’re married.  His heritage is helpful, because he can handle bleak landscapes and long winters. He’s built to thrive under harsh conditions; trust me, these attributes come in handy for a long marriage.  Another good quality is his ability to understand the 80/20 rule:  I get to talk 80% of the time and he gets to talk 20% of the time.  He seems to be really OK with that arrangement.  He also understands that all anniversaries and Valentine’s Days are gifting opportunities for him to me.  Any gift to me is for my use only and should not have any practical value whatsoever.  This rule had to be established after our first Christmas when he gave me an electric toothbrush and a dust buster.

This is what I'm talking about. Screw the toaster oven!

Oh ya, just a couple more things that are important.  You get one shot at certain comments such as  “So, what exactly did you do today?” in a snarky tone.  Also, he’s learned through trial and error how to artfully answer questions like  “What do you think of my perm?”, “Does this make me look fat?”, “Do you think I’ve gained weight?”, “How does this make my butt look?”, “Do you like my mother?” and “Are you listening to me?”.

Here’s the breakdown of what you should do if you decide to marry somebody.

Year 1.

Away we go!

You must get married, otherwise you won’t make it to Year 2.  No living together!  You must have the pressure of having to return all the wedding gifts to keep you together in that first year.  Also, move once.

Years 2-5.

Buy a fixer upper house.  Stay super busy spending all your spare time remodeling that house and putting in an entire yard while working nights, full-time.  Shared projects, sleep deprivation and lots of debt are the glue to a long term marriage. Move twice.  Also, get a puppy.

Years 5-15.

Have 4 kids and move 3 times.  That alone will give you lots to talk about.  Spend most of your spare time at soccer games, cello concerts and school events like the geography bee.  You’ll have many opportunities for that quality time all couples need.

O.K, so we're sort of like the Duggars, but not really. It just feels like we have this many kids, even though we don't. I guess this is the ultimate in married with children. Such overachievers, it's disgusting...

Years 15-25.

Make sure your husband takes a job where he commutes Monday through Friday and you only see him on the weekends.  It’s like a dog-year marriage.  You may have been married to him for 25 years, but you’ve really only spent 16 total years of time together.  It keeps it all a bit fresher.

Years 25-29.

You’re really too tired at this point to do anything but just stay together.  Neither one of you is on that 50 is the new 40 track.  You have so much baggage that you even own the cosmetic case.  Therefore, your appeal to someone new isn’t too high.  Why would you consider changing anything now?  He barbeques and takes out the garbage; you grocery shop and pay the bills; it’s all so efficient and seamless.  Oh, almost forgot, you still have a 13 year old at home.  One more thing; move again.

Year 29-30

Unless one of you has a complete mid-life crisis and buys a red Corvette, I think you’ll make it safely to year # 30.  Fingers crossed…

Happy 30th Anniversary Honey! You're the best!

So, dear reader(s), there you have it.  I hope you’ve found this helpful.  If you do decide to take on a 30 year marriage yourself, good luck!  It’s wonderful, for real.

A Day in the Life

Since I’ve been living in Los Angeles, I’m sure plenty of people believe that I am living a very glamorous life.  Well, I am: I live at home, I have a two hour commute, and my mother makes me dinner every day.  It’s pretty rad.  However, sometimes I like to imagine that my life is even more glamorous, so I will share with you a day in the life of my pretend glamorous life.  Then I will share with you a day in the life of my regular glamorous life, just to see how little I have to go to achieve this fantasy.  You know me: always giving minimum effort to achieve maximum result!

PRETEND GLAMOROUS LIFE

9:00 AM:   Wake up to to the sound of “Crazy In Love” playing in my hotel suite at the Downtown Ritz Carlton.

9:01 AM:    Walk out of my room to find Beyonce playing a stripped-down version of “Crazy In Love” on the white baby grand piano in the penthouse suite adjacent to mine.

9:02 AM:    Fist bump Beyonce.

Something like this...

9:05 AM:    Fist bump Blue Ivy on the way downstairs because we’re cool too.

9:30 AM:    Have a champagne breakfast with Helen Mirren.  She reads the NY Times out loud in her English accent while I pour her tea.  It’s very fancy.  We’re both wearing crowns because we can.

10:00 AM:  Get picked up by my personal chauffer, Morgan Freeman, as we drive around downtown pursued by paparazzi.  Thank god I had those built-in missiles installed.

11:00 AM:   Meet up with Julie Andrews for a rigorous hike.  We climb every mountain, ford every stream, while following every rainbow till we reached “Your Dream”, a super-secret mountain villa for super famous people only.  I flash my veneers and we go in for some truffle fries, caviar, and peanut butter M&Ms.

12:00 PM:   Catch a helicopter down to Hollywood for some really successful movie premier.  I don’t really know what one, because I go to sooooo many, but it was fun.

12:30 PM:   Go to the park with Jon Hamm where we feed breadcrumbs to Lindsay Lohan.  Then we laugh about how handsome we are and talk about doing this again.

1:00 PM:     Get lunch with Paula Deen, Ina Garten and Mario Batali.  Then we realize the elevator won’t hold all of us, so we kick Batali off cause we don’t do gingers.  We have such a great time without him that we send him pictures of us at lunch with the text, “Suck it, Ginger!”

2:00 PM:     Receive a frantic call from Yo-Yo Ma saying he has become too arrogant to perform and needs me to come down to deflate his ego.

2:15 PM:      Traverse secret tube system used by famous people to travel to brothels and strip clubs without being seen.  Wave to Tom Hanks as he heads to “Hoe’s R Us”.

2:23 PM:      Arrive at Walt Disney Concert Hall.  Shred the cello until I reduce Yo-Yo Ma to tears in awe of how he will never come close to being half as good as me.  He considers himself successfully humbled enough to perform that evening.

3:00 PM:      Meet up with Taylor Lautner to go visit his family at the Alpaca Farm.

I couldn't resist...

3:30 PM:      Play a match with Roger Federer over in Malibu.  We get some beers afterwards and throw some darts.  Rafael Nadal’s face is the bullseye, naturally.  We have a great time.

5:00 PM:      Smoke some weed with Miley Cyrus, Snoop Dogg, and Tom Cruise.  Things get weird when Tom thinks Snoop is Katie Holmes and tries to make out with him.  Miley and I politely extricate ourselves from this awkward social situation.

7:00 PM:      Go to dinner and a concert with Celine Dion and Cher.  We heckle the shit out of Barbra Streisand, with Celine piping up that her nose looked like it belonged on Mt. Rushmore.  We got thrown out of the concert, but we don’t care cause we’re divas.

8:04 PM:     Secret handshake with Celine and Cher as we part ways.

Our secret handshake may or may not involve one or both of those hand gestures/facial features...

9:00 PM:     Attend plastic surgery consultation with Kim Kardashian so they can verify that my measurements are correct so that she can get the right amount of bounce on her next round of cheek implants.

9:23 PM:      Punch Kim Kardashian in the face.

10:00 PM:   Go clubbing with Brad and Angelina

11:00 PM:    Perform a perfectly choreographed re-enactement of “Jai Ho” with Brad and Angelina.  All the brown people cheer.

12:00 AM:   Go to afterparty at Gwenyth Paltrow’s house.  You must have an Oscar statue in hand to enter, but I didn’t know which of my 27 to choose from, so I blew that joint.

1:00 AM:     Go to after-afterparty at Richard Simmon’s house.  Why? I don’t know, I just do.

2:00 AM:     Go to after-after-afterparty back at the Ritz Carlton.  Beyonce is riding a lion, and Jay-Z is riding an emu.  The theme for the party was Dr. Doolittle, so I guess it was fortunate I was already on my unicorn by the time I got there.

3:00 AM:      Close out the party and the night with a dramatic rendition of “Survivor” my Destiny’s Chilled, a Destiny’s Child cover group with Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, and Solange Knowles.  Beyonce falls asleep in a large-backed chair petting a white cat while the lamp shades her facial features.  Destiny’s Chilled looks terrified, but they do a great job.

REGULAR GLAMOROUS LIFE:

10:00 AM:    Wake up.

10:15 AM:     Wait around for my brother to come downstairs so he can make me scrambled eggs because I’m too lazy to do it myself.

11:00 AM:     Read the paper for a reaaaaaaally long time.

11:30 AM:      Wander around the house.

11:45  AM:      Look busy.

12:30 PM:       Go to the library  and peruse their encyclopedias, magazine, and large print sections.  Leave shortly after finding that the latest Mary Higgins Clark novel isn’t available yet.

1:30 PM:         Work out, but not to the point of sweating.  Wander around the gym a bit, using it as a time to get updated on Sports Center, as well as the latest gossip magazines.

2:00 PM:        Feeding time.  Anything in the fridge is fair game, even entire cheesecakes.

3:00 PM:         Wander around the house.

4:00 PM:         Get caught up on the 10-17 TV shows I couldn’t keep up with during the week.

5:00 PM:        Complain about being hungry, but be mysteriously absent when dinner is being prepared.

6:00 PM:        Feeding time again.  There is also an unwritten rule that if you do not finish before me, whatever is left on your plate is fair game.

7:00 PM:       Attempt to “conversate” with family unit.

8:00 PM:       Mock the stupidity of people competing on “The Amazing Race”

9:00 PM:       Decide between Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and The Good Wife based upon whichever has the most amount of nudity, witty reparte, and Jon Hamm.

10:00 PM:     Bed time.

So you see, I’m not really that far off from my pretend glamorous life.  Because at the end of the day, my life is pretty glamorous as long as Jon Hamm is a part of it.

The Great Pumpkin

Our dear Ben (baby #2) was a bit unusual from the very beginning.  For those of you who know him, this is not a surprise.  For those of you who don’t, well, hopefully this is entertaining, like a story about seeing the Virgin Mary in a potato chip is entertaining.  It’s just my version of a tall tale.  Literally.  Why is he remarkable?  Well, he weighed 10 lbs 8 oz and was 23 inches long when he was born.  Considering that the average baby weighs 7 lbs and is 18 inches long, it was an interesting experience, to say the least, to literally give birth to a toddler.

He was born on October 27, 1989 right around lunch time; appropriate that he arrived in time for a meal.   The Great Pumpkin had been delivered!  Unfortunately for me, it was a c-section without the benefit of anesthesia. It had a bit of resemblance to the scene from the movie Alien when the first little monster blasts through the guy’s chest.  I had gained about 50 lbs with the pregnancy (damn you Baskin-Robbins Jamoca Almond Fudge), so I’m guessing that it took a little longer for the anesthetic to get around to all the parts that needed to be numbed up (aka fat).  The surgeon got started a little too quickly and we ended up with some very interesting video and audio.  Let’s just say I have hard evidence of how much Ben owes me for all that I’ve done for him!  Maybe he would roll his eyes and sigh a little less frequently if I showed that tape on a regular basis.

I told you there was a good reason we called him the Great Pumpkin...

He arrived for his first visit to my room in an incubator meant for an average baby.  I’m pretty sure it took a couple of nurses to jam all of his parts into the tiny plastic box.  His face was pressed against the side with a look of someone in a too small snowsuit in the middle of July.  When we opened it up, it was as if a pressurized device was suddenly released.  Of course he was crying, but it wasn’t a normal cry.  He sounded like he had already gone through puberty, quite low and very loud.  No cuddling with this one, it was straight to the feeding.  His head would get soaked with sweat every time he ate, a giant burp at the finish and then fast asleep (from exhaustion).  This was his (and my) life for quite a while.

It wasn’t so much raising him, it was more like wrangling him.  I was like the Steve Irwin of parenting. He didn’t like to waste any time snuggling with me, endearing himself to his big sister nor cooperating with much of anything.  He was all about the action in the room.  He preferred to be held facing out, so he wouldn’t miss anything.  My favorite and most fun activity of all; cramming him into his car seat.  Think of trying to load a giant pissed off raccoon into your car 5 times a day.  Ben might not have had claws, but OMG he was wild!  He grew so large so fast, it was as if he was a subject in a top secret super baby growth experiment.  Kind of like how they fatten up a calf these days. He seemed to skip babyhood and go straight to toddlerville.  Once he was able to sit up and feed himself, his high chair was his favorite spot and my only job was keeping that plate resupplied.

You thought I was kidding? Now, you try to get this into a car seat. I dare you.

He quickly grew big enough to be a “playmate” for his older sister Anna. God love her, as she had to put up with what I liked to call ” Conan the Destroyer.”  She wanted to play house but he wanted to play house demo team.  She would plan to play school: she’s the teacher and Ben is her student, but most of the time the game was “put Ben in the “principal’s office again” for breaking the school rules. She would play quietly with her dolls, while he played his “throw those dolls against the wall while running screaming through the house” game.  Ben seemed to learn from experience only.  He already thought that he was smarter than me and had to see for himself that sticking his finger in the flame of a candle would  hurt.  Just the beginning of the thousand times I would say “I told you so.”

It was a relief when he was old enough to start school, mainly for Anna’s sake.  I thought it would be nice to prepare Ben for the kindergarten class he would be attending, just to calm any first day of school jitters.  After a chat with the teacher and a tour of the classroom, Ben turned to me with a look of complete disgust and hissed, “Mommy, they still take naps and they don’t know their ABC’s!  Mommy, THEY CAN”T EVEN READ!!”   (If anyone has a life quote that defines him, that one is it for Ben).

I'm sick of "Go Dog Go", get me "The Lord of the Flies" next!

Away we went on another of our many adventures with our “super” Ben.

Never average and never boring…sigh…fingers crossed….

In the Criminal Justice System…

On Friday evening, I was taking my laundry to the wash and fold, and I saw this sign taped to a lamp post.

Immediately, I lost my shit right there in the street. My roommate looked at me like I was a total nutcase. I do realize that this brands me as a naïve transplant- real New Yorkers growl and mutter angrily about things like this- but frankly, I don’t give a flying turd. I love Law and Order SVU. I LOVE Mariska Hargitay. I was devastated when Chris Meloni left the show. The first episode of this past season when Captain Cragen tells Benson that Stabler is not coming back and she starts weeping in the crib at the station house, just ugh. Heartbreaking. He really owed her more than that.

If I weren’t at work today, you can be sure as shit that I would be out there trying to see what’s going on. In my fantasy , Dick Wolf himself would see me and be like “Hey! You! You look like somebody who should be on this show!” I could play any part he could think of; sorority girl wannabe at Hudson University with a sluttily dark secret, disgruntled shopgirl who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, terrified nanny who never meant for anything bad to happen, and the list goes on. My small part would be so memorable that it would turn into a recurring role, and Mariska and I would become buddies. I would start helping with her Joyful Heart Foundation, and we would totally bond over that.  She and I would have wine nights all the time and take Pilates classes together.

Mariska: I need a drink.
Me: You got it, gurrrl!

Alas, I’m just a receptionist with big dreams who has a mild to moderate obsession with this show. Oof. Still sounds kind of like an SVU character.