Do you remember where you were on New Years Eve, 1999?

I do. I was back from England on Christmas break. Single. A functional alcoholic...uh, probably. I say that affectionately. It is up for debate how I survived that year, learning to drink like a Brit. Rough.

My girlfriend Christine and I rang in the new millennium together at a house party. And I am straight, but she was truly my girlfriend that night. We gave each other a nice smooch at the stroke of midnight. I mean, there weren't any guys there except for Christine's brother and his friend. And we were not kissing them. There was no tongue, okay? Sheesh. Plus she's pretty cute. See?

And that concludes my college 'experimenting'. Anyhow...

When I look at that picture it boggles my mind that was ten years ago. I look like such a baby. No gray hair. A lot thinner. Apple cheeks. (By the way, Christine looks totally the same. I am glad she is so awesome or I'd have to hate her).

Ten years, a wedding, a baby and much, much more later. Crazy. I can't even imagine what the next ten years will bring.

Not so crazy? My new years celebration this year. I will be surprised if I make it to midnight. Maybe I will celebrate New Years with my east coast friends...and head to bed at 9 PST. That sounds doable.

Happy New Decade everyone!


Dear 2009, Good Riddance...

This year has blasted by. And thank goodness. I don't know how much more yucky stuff could have happened this year. Okay, I know it COULD have been worse. I don't even want to THINK about that.

2009 - A Crappy Year in Review.

I was laid off (but actually this is kind of a positive too)
  • M.I.L. diagnosed with lung cancer.
  • High school friend passed away after fighting breast cancer for five years.
  • Drama.
  • Brother in law laid off.
  • Did I mention drama?
But, in retrospect, many great things happened this year.

So, as this year (DECADE?!) draws to a close, I'd like to focus on the happy things. Because I anticipate many more happy things in 2010.

My Top Ten Good Things of 2009.

1) My husband. He teases me mercilessly. He stays thin even when he eats, seriously, like the worst, crappiest food in the universe. He makes me watch the Science Channel and MMA. He is physically incapable of putting the laundry in the laundry basket. And I'm still crazy about him. He is an amazing man, and after this year, I am truly amazed that he turned out like he did. He is a testament to the apple falling VERY FAR from the tree.

2) Babies! So many of my girlfriends welcomed little ones this year. A few surprises, many meticulously planned out, all delicious and wonderful!

3) B got a great promotion. He is finally getting recognized for the GENIUS he is - not even sarcastic - he is truly one of the most intelligent people I know.

4) The Sisterhood. What can I say. I love those hookers (and Brian, our, um, pimp). I can't begin to tell you what a huge difference these peeps have made in my life. I can't wait for our new challenge to begin (go check it out!) and for all our crazy adventures this year - including a 1/2 marathon. I AM RUNNING A HALF MARY IN 2010!

5) Kauai. Never has a vacation been more needed. That is all.

6) Reconnecting with B's Dad, Stepmom and Half Sister. The more I get to know them, the more I know what my life was missing. I'm so thankful for them!

7) The Whole Fam Damily. Even though some of them did hurtful things, I must step back and realize that they are human and not as perfect as I. Oh, I kid. Overall, I love my family and my husband's family very much. Some of them don't make the best decisions, but at least they are entertaining.

8) Old friends (you know who you are). I've had a lot of the same girlfriends since junior high (some even earlier - and I've picked up some more along the way). There's a reason they're still in my life. No, not because you have some horrible photographic blackmail material (hello, grunge years), but because you are all amazing women. I have a fabulous collection of girlfriends. Love.

9) Running. I love it, I hate it. But nothing peels off the pounds and keeps me out of therapy/off meds like good old pounding the pavement. Who knew?

10) My G-Rex. Is it sad that my 2 year old is my best bud in the world? I don't think so! He is just amazing. I can't remember (and don't want to) what life was like before him. How can you be in a sour mood when a toddler runs up, grabs your cheeks and kisses you. Impossible!

So, when I think about 2009, there was a lot of heartbreak, a lot of um, yes, DRAMA, and a lot of anger.

But, in so many ways, the bitter makes the sweet SO much sweeter.


Soooo Close. So Close.

I am so terrible at blogging lately. I need a more interesting life, seriously.

We had a truly lovely Christmas. Mellow and cozy, just wonderful. We stayed home, G-Rex opened his presents and played ALL DAY. He was the most enthralled with a fire engine - we picked it out last week on our shopping date. What we failed to realize is that it makes a siren noise. In fact, it sounds very real. So real, that when B was stoking our illegal Christmas fire (burn bans - boo!) and G-Rex set off the siren for the first time, we freaked out.

You know I won't be replacing that battery when it dies.

On Boxing Day (for those of you not familiar, the day after Christmas), we traveled north to my parents house.

I was looking forward to seeing my parents, of course, but kind of dreading seeing one particular family member who has a knack for always saying something completely rude and offensive, usually about my weight.

I dread seeing her so much that I have actually seen her in the grocery store and hidden. I know. I'm awful.

So, we made it through dinner and presents and were saying goodbye. I couldn't believe I'd made it through an entire family gathering without some kind of comment.

But, I wouldn't be telling this story if there was no comment. That would be no fun.

'Have you lost weight?'

'Yes, actually. I've been running.'

'Oh, how much have you lost?'

'About 20 pounds.'

'I'm so happy. Keep it up.'

We're fine to this point. Then it goes very wrong:

'Good, good! You used to be so beautiful when you were thin.'

Sucker punch. How do you respond to that?

'Um, thanks?'

But in my head I was doing a roundhouse kick to the head.


All is Calm

Christmas package shipped? Check. (Yes, I lied. Actually, they didn't even ask me if anything was hazardous as I had a crazy monkey child swinging from my arms).

Dark chocolate truffles with sea salt made? Check. Need to give them away, promptly.

Bailey's on ice? Check. I forgot how delicious this stuff is. Num.

Tree decorated? Check. Though half the ribbon has been pulled off courtesy of G-Rex. Gives it character.

Babysitter booked for tomorrow so the hubs and I can have a shopping/dinner date? Check! My father and step-mother in law will be arriving at three so we can do some damage at Toys r' Us. I think we're more excited about going to play than we are about our quiet dinner. I LOVE Toys r' Us. Love.

Good book and cozy jammies? Check. I'm finally getting around to reading The Angels Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I'm only about 50 pages in and it is already delicious. He is a beautiful writer, smoky, mysterious, heady. If you haven't read him, you must. Start with The Shadow of the Wind. Ah-maz-ing.

Tonight, I'm good. Totally content. Now, if I can win my Fantasy Football match this week, I'll be one very happy girl. Fingers crossed.


The Post Office Made Me Cry

Did you know that you can't ship a teensy little bottle of cologne via USPS Priority?

Well, I didn't.

So, after waiting in line for half an hour at the Post Office, with G-Rex in full destructo mode (by this I mean I picked up a million return receipt and customs slips, which were SO CONVENIENTLY placed right in toddler reach) , I made it to the front of the line. I was completely prepared - package taped up tight and addressed, everything in order. The postal worker lady asked me if I had anything fragile.

'Yes, just a bottle of cologne, but it should be okay, it's in bubble wrap.'

'Oh, you're going to have to take that out.'


Come to find out perfume/cologne can't go on airplanes. I called UPS and they wouldn't do it either. I wonder how Sephora and Macy's ship fragrance? They must have a special license or something.

So, here I was, a sweaty mess, but SO VERY CLOSE to having most of my Christmas tasks done - I just needed to ship gifts up to my brother and his girlfriend in Alaska.

Now I need a Plan B. And a tranquilizer. I totally cried when I got into the car. So frustrating.

So, two lessons learned today:

1) Do not take a toddler to the post office unless you want a full upper body workout and a nervous breakdown.

2) Honesty is not always the best policy. If I hadn't said anything, my package would be on it's merry little way to Alaska. Take note, kids.


Welcome to the house of the half decorated Christmas tree. Yes, this year we're rockin' the tree that only has bulbs starting out of toddler reach. And he's tall.

It's pretty sad, so no pics of the tree. Wouldn't want to depress anyone. But, I am starting an ornament collection for the G-Rex.

Here's his first:

He LOVES Frosty. Someone gave him a Frosty the Snowman book before he was even born, and now he can sing the song. Though it sounds more like: 'Rosty noman, jowwy happy so.' I need to catch it on the video camera. So precious, and potentially embarrassing during the teenage years.

This is G-Rex's stocking. I'd love to say I'm all crafty and made it, but this one comes to us courtesy of Pottery Barn Kids. Now I have to figure out where to hang it, as the mantle is easily accessible and I don't want to be saying NO! Don't touch! any more than usual.

And lastly, my Christmas mug. With mommy fuel. Yum.

For more Christmas decor, captured, frolic on over to I Should Be Folding Laundry.



I ♥ Faces Photo Challenge - Pets Only!

I've never done this before, but I'm throwing my hat - um, photo - into the ring for this week's
I Faces photo challenge. This week's theme is pets only...or any animal.

I chose to feature Curley, the camel currently residing at the garden center where my husband works. They have reindeer too. But Curley is definitely my favorite.

Handsome fella, no?

Check out all the other Pets Only entries over at I Faces!


Oh, the Butter!

Tonight, I commandeered the television and watched Julie and Julia. Yes, I have to take hostile and evasive action to watch a chick flick.

Did I like it? Yeah. Not as much as the book (how often to people actually like the move BETTER than the book?). But let's put it this way: I stayed awake. That's saying something.

Two other things:

It made me feel guilty because I am being so lazy about blogging.

It made me very hungry. I am highly suggestible as far as food goes. I haven't been watching Food Network lately because it is not conducive to weight loss. Top Chef? I love that show SO much, but watching the creation of so much glorious, beautiful, delicious food? Torture.

Julie and Julia even made me want to go out and pick up a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

But that would be like an alcoholic picking up martini glasses, just to have them around. For decoration. Since putting the cookbook into actual use would cause immeasurable suffering around my midsection.

I looked wistfully, angrily at my Weight Watchers cookbook as I was turning the lights off in the kitchen tonight. It was mocking me.

NO BUTTER FOR YOU. No souffle. No omelet. No duck l'orange.

(Okay, not like I'd actually whip any of these up)

On that note, I DID manage to finagle a cookie recipe out of my mother in law that my husband is crazy about. However, the recipe calls for two ingredients I literally had to hunt for: vanilla powder and golden syrup. And once I got home and read the recipe, I realized it is very cryptic about how to actually BAKE the cookies and I had to try baking them several different times. The final round got a 'Well, that's CLOSE.'

Really? REALLY? Whatever. I WILL figure these cookies out.

And that will take a lot of BUTTER.


Outside the Lines

We love coloring around here.

Too often, it is off of the paper.

Crayons are broken and eaten.

Toddler art is messy....

And wonderful.

His lines may not be straight, but to me, they're fine art.

For more lines, make a beeline for I Should Be Folding Laundry.



Adventures with Gas (Not the Methane Kind)

This morning started out beautifully. We were all in a good mood. G-Rex had a huge breakfast and was happily drinking milk out of a sippy.

B called and needed me to bring his laptop to work, which is about 35 minutes south of our home. Lucky for him (and me), I was planning on heading down that direction already. I had to pick up my Christmas cards from Costco, plus see if they have any flea medication because darn it all if Carl didn't pick up fleas at the kennel (so of course Sadie and all the cats will get them now too).

I loaded G into the car and immediately noticed the fuel light was on. No worries, quick stop and we'd be off.

The gas station was super crowded, but I got the last pump. Score!

I put about ten bucks in, thinking I'd fill the rest of the way up at Costco. I made faces at G-Rex through the window as I was pumping the gas. He was yelling 'Mommy funny!'

Then it happened.

I went to pull the pump out of my tank and the handle stuck. GAS STARTED SPRAYING EVERYWHERE. All over the side of the car, all over the ground, ALL OVER ME.

Oh yeah. Jeans? Soaked. Sweate? Gassy as hell.

I managed to stop the spraying, and surveyed the damage. I was COVERED. I put the pump back in the holster, fastened my gas cap and said a bunch of bad words before I got back into the car with my little mimic.

I was about halfway to B's work. I didn't want to go home. It would interfere with any possible midday nap. So, I decided to hit the next clothing store I saw and buy some pants. I had a t-shirt on under my sweater, so even though I'd freeze my boobies off, at least I'd be covered.

TJ Maxx was the first place I saw. I got G-Rex out of the car and hoisted him to my hip, where he proceeded to lean backwards and arch.

I ran to the rack with the sweats, knowing full well I wouldn't be able to try anything on. I figured I could deal with small, medium, large and elastic or drawstring waists without too much worry about fit.

I snatched a pair of brown fleece sweatpants. Which actually were not too hideous. Up to the checkout we went, G-Rex hanging precariously from the crook of my arm by his armpits.

And damn it all if they didn't have a bunch of toys right at child level at the checkout. There is a special place in hell for whomever designs these retail displays. For real. Within one millisecond, the trucks were spotted.

'Twuckeeee! Twuckeeeeeee!'

G-Rex turned into a full on eel child, somehow managing to dislodge all his bones and slide out of my grip.

I grabbed his hand and pulled him next to me.

And all hell broke loose. I'm pretty sure the rest of the people in the store thought I was beating my child.

Did I mention I smelled like I bathed in gasoline? Seriously, if anybody had lit a cigarette within 10 feet of me, it would have been all over.

Three people in front of me and one inept cashier later, we were back in the car. G-Rex with huge crocodile tears pouring forth, screaming so shrilly that he's literally going hoarse. Me, with my jeans off, wiggling into my new sweats. Wadding up the petro-jeans and sweater and stuffing them into the TJ Maxx bag which absolutely reeks like some god awful potpourri.

Potpourri, gasoline and a screaming toddler.

Yes, I do have a headache. Why do you ask?

Lunch, coffee and a laptop were delivered to B.

And we did make it through Costco fairly unscathed. No flea medication, but they do sell stamps. No post office for me, whoopee!

But I did have to walk through Costco wearing fleece sweats that were a bit too short, Uggs, and a white, sweaty t-shirt.

My kid, however, looked pristine.

Funny how that happens.


Guess What?

I haven't decorated the tree yet.

Oh wait. We don't even have a tree yet...

I haven't done any Christmas shopping except for G-Rex. Even though I spent eight hours shopping yesterday with Tiff and Jenn. By the way, I think I want to live in Toys R Us. I must have been deprived of toys as a kid because I couldn't tear myself away from the Little People, Playmobil or Imaginext. I am STILL waiting for my Barbie Dream House (my friend Andrea had the sweetest Barbie setup as kids. And I'm pretty sure we were still playing Barbies till we were twelve or so. My mom didn't like me to have Barbies, so I needed my fix. This is the longest aside, ever. Shoot.).

I haven't managed to get all the vacation laundry put away yet. I have this lofty goal of cleaning out the closets before I store everything, and making a trip to Goodwill. But as of right now, it looks like all my closets threw up.

I have not done any Christmas baking. Or crafts. Probably a good thing about the baking, because I kind of have a problem with baked goods. As in, they seem to attach directly to my ass.

I am all sorts of disorganized and unmotivated right now.

But, I have kept running. I HAVE TO. Because I have committed to run a freaking half marathon in June. The San Diego Rock and Roll 1/2, with Team in Training (more on that later). So, fear of humiliation and vomiting during the race is my motivation there. Whatever works. Plus, I finally get to meet my girls from the Sisterhood in the flesh. It's going to be stellar. I seriously cannot wait.

I have been reading. Vacation reading, my favorite. I read Push (the novel the movie Precious is based on) in two hours. It made my heart hurt. Don't get me wrong, I completely and wholeheartedly recommend it, but it was gutwrenching.

On the other end of the spectrum, I read both of Chelsea Handler's books, My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One Night Stands and Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. I LOVE HER. Anybody who can make me belly laugh in public whilst reading is good, very good. Just a warning. If you are easily offended by sex, language, sex, drinking, equal opportunity racial profiling, sex or bodily functions, you may not like her books. They're like reading the diary of your crazy college roommate. Because I never did anything in college in a drunken stupor that was completely stupid. No, not me.

Tomorrow, I will go pick up my Christmas cards, which I managed to design and order online today. I will go to the god awful post office and buy stamps.

Perhaps, if I can completely channel Martha Stewart (or at least Rachael Ray), I will bake some sugar cookies to decorate.

And I will keep them far away from the dogs.


Home Sweet Home

We're back.

We've been back a few days, actually. The dogs are back from the kennel. Load after load of laundry is done. Summer clothes are put away.

Kauai was GORGEOUS. Relaxing? Well, it was our first experience traveling with a toddler. Let's just say I could have used a prescription for Valium. At least for the first flight. Cause seriously? I just about lost it. I spent the entire six hours trying to keep the G-Rex from kicking the back of the seat in front of him. Yes, he is that tall. He could reach. The seat in front was empty, but you know how the whole row is connected. So the whole row feels the kicking.

And let's just say the couple in front of us was not pleased. Okay, I can't blame them, really. But OH! how I tried to keep my child in line. I don't think they understood that it could have been MUCH MUCH worse. As in dog whistle screeching. Crying on takeoff and landing.

Instead, the dude in front of me gave me the stink eye every single chance he had. Looking back, I should have just let the kiddo kick the hell out of the seat. Because either way, the guy was going to be an ass.


There was that.
And other than THAT, our vacation was incredible. We didn't do anything terribly special, but we had a few date nights, I got some quality reading time in, got some sun and we had the chance to spend time with my parents, whom we haven't seen a whole lot these past few months.

I had a chance to decompress, and now I feel like our life and our little family is getting back to normal.

Normal is good. I missed it!

Now? I'm in post vacation let down but luckily, I have Christmas preparations to throw myself into. Granted, I'm not a huge Christmas fan, but I'm going to try this year. I PROMISE.