Monthly Archives: July 2012

Llama time = Good times

In my family we have a tradition.  Well, we have many traditions, one of which is drinking mimosas and calling everyone we know on Christmas morning to sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and then hang up before they can respond.  Drunk Christmas crank calls rule.  So my family does have many awesome traditions but one of the them is attending the Llama Races in the small town of Fairplay, CO where my parents have a cabin.

If you have never heard of a Llama Race (and why would you) it involves a team of 4 humans dressed in ridiculous costumes and 1 llama racing on a 3 mile mountain trek up and down hills, across streams and over rocks.  In short, it is one of the most asinine things I have ever heard of, and one of the funniest things I have ever participated in.

My family and friends take it seriously.  We spend a year thinking up clever names (how many different puns on llama can one think of!) and stupid costumes.  We spend weeks making logos and bedazzling t-shirts.  Then we spend hours embarrassing ourselves in front of the citizens of Fairplay and the all the llamas of the region.  To us, it is not the fastest team who wins, but the best costumed, and we have been champions the past 2 out of 3 years.  (This year we were robbed.) Just take a look at Team Dolly Llama and tell me what team could possibly have  been better.

This year we may not have won, but we managed to have a great time.  The older I get, the more I realize the value of traditions… whatever they are.  I want my daughter to someday look back and tell her friends that every year her family raced llamas, and while this tradition may seem odd, it is her family’s tradition… and, well, her family is more than a little odd.

For more pics check me out on Twitter.

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Llamas

In Colorado headed up to the mountains to race llamas while dressed as Dolly Parton. Only in Colorado. Only my family.

Curious?? Pics to come…

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There’s No Place Like Home…Wherever That Is

They say that there’s no place like home.  But I have come to realize that I don’t know where “home” is anymore.  Tomorrow I am headed to Colorado.  The place where I grew up.  The place where my parents live.  The place I lived for 25 years.  The place I always feel instantly relaxed and yet totally exhilarated.  The place I always used to call home.  But is it home now?

Or is my home Los Angeles?  This is where I have made my family, my career, my life.  This is where I purchased a home that I loved and have filled it full of belongings and of memories.  This is home to my daughter… the only home she has ever known.  But despite living here for almost 8 years, California still doesn’t feel quite like home to me.

Here or There?  Colorado or California?  Either… or? Neither… nor?  Where do I fit in?  No longer there, but not yet here.  Am I home-less?

Or perhaps home to me is not a place but something else entirely… a person, a memory, a book, a look, a song, a smell.  Perhaps home is talking with my family over dinner on the back deck of my parent’s house.  It is sharing a bottle of wine and a lot of laughs with a good friend. It is discussing my day… good or bad… with my husband. It’s my daughter’s goofy smile.  It’s the sun on my face.  It’s an inside joke. It’s singing along to the radio.  It’s the sound of the lawn mover, the smell of pancakes, and the taste of chili.  It’s my husband’s arms.  It’s the exquisite, instantly recognizable scent of my daughter.

Home is not a place.  It is so much more.

Yes, this is home… and there’s no place like it.

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Random Thought: On Finding Joy in the Little Things

When you are a parent, joy comes at the most unexpected (and often needed moments.)  Like when you’ve had a rough day, and your child runs to greet you when you get home.  Or when you are at your wit’s end with her, and she suddenly just gives you a big hug.  Even an expected smile can fill your heart with more joy than you thought possible.

Or like yesterday:  While waiting forever for someone to help us at Babies R Us (don’t even get me started,) out of nowhere my daughter starts booty dancing and then moshing to some random 80’s song playing in the store.  She was dancing so hard that she fell down numerous times, and then picked herself up and started again.  She didn’t even notice my husband and I laughing our asses off nearby.  Her pure joy in dancing was transferred to us both.  Those 3 minutes made my whole weekend and made up for any other annoyances and exasperation that I felt.

I know that it is cliché (like that’s ever stopped me before) but truly, life with kids is about finding joy in the little things.  It is the little moments that make a big life.

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Mothers Don’t Get a Sick Day… AKA Vomitfest 2012

Back in the day, when I was a young college student and “boot-and-rallying” was a badge of honor, the name “Vomitfest 2012” would have implied a crazy night involving numerous shots of dubious quality, dancing on the bar 100% convinced that I looked fabulous, possibly an ill-informed bar-makeout session, and ending most definitely by kneeling before the porcelain goddess before hitting up Denny’s for pancakes, french fries and cheesesticks.  Now that I am a mom, the word vomit doesn’t conjure up nearly such grand images.

Vomitfest 2012 started as my nights rarely do with a dinner out with girlfriends. My husband was home with my daughter, and I was a carefree woman on the loose, free to enjoy a great restaurant with a wide variety of delicious dishes, which I would greatly regret later, and many drinks. Later that night, as my husband and I were going to bed, I started to get a raging headache and a fluttery stomach.  I joked, “Is it bad that I am ALREADY hung over?”  This might be the first time that I have ever said this, but oh, how I wish I was hung over.

By 2 am I was puking my soul.  After 10 minutes of vomiting so hard that I expected my head to spin around, Linda Blair style, I returned to bed, chilled and sweating.  I heard my daughter making a little noise and coughing a bit, so I looked on the monitor to see her calmly sitting her crib.  I repeat “calmly sitting her crib.” At 2 am.  Not crying (which is scary at 2 am because you know it’s going to be a long night,) not playing (even scarier as this usually equals an even longer night,) but calmly sitting up in the corner of her crib, hardly moving a muscle (the scariest thing I have ever seen, akin to Paranormal Activity.) My husband goes to check on her and after 10 minutes I hear him call my name.  I rush to her nursery and discover what looks like a horrific crime scene… an explosion of purple-black vomit (the result of some unfortunate blueberries for lunch) covering every surface of my daughter’s crib and my daughter herself as she lay on the floor, staring sightlessly into space.  My husband says, “Can you watch her?  I’m going to be sick.” as he rushes out of the room, and I am left with my filthy, sick daughter, wishing that I had something left to throw up.

Seeing my normally active-bordering-on-manic daughter laying on the floor barely blinking was probably the scariest experience yet in my short career as a mom, and I instantly forgot my own illness and snapped into Mommy Mode.  I swept my daughter up and began to hum while initiating the Mommy Mode Cleaning Cycle (when you don’t know what to do, clean!) opening windows and stripping off pjs and sheets. Somewhere during this time frame I was vaguely aware of the fact that my husband had returned with the news that he was also throwing up and, after briefly passing out in the bathroom, had called 911.  Even armed with that news, I was still quite surprised when halfway into my Mommy Mode Cleaning Cycle, 6 giant men stormed into my house.

Now I realize that my husband had told me that he called 911, but for some reason I thought that he had called a fictitious 911 advice line, where they had given him some sage advice and then hung up.  Apparently this does not exist.  And if you have never called 911 before, let me tell you a little secret:  when you call, they come… 6 big men and a fire truck and an ambulance.  I know this because I said, “Wow.  There are a lot of you guys.  So, this is what happens when you call 911?  I wish I would have known this when I was single.”   In my defense, I make really bad jokes when I am nervous and right then I was scared as hell.

Ignoring me, the six giant medic-firemen continued to storm around the house testing for carbon monoxide, while taking our blood pressure and asking all kinds of questions like, “What did you eat for dinner? Could this be food poisoning?” (We all ate separately. No.) “Could you be pregnant?” (Recoil in horror. No.) “Do you use recreational drugs?” (After this experience I am considering it, but… No.) “Do you have any known enemies who would want to harm you?” (um. swallow… run through a fairly long list of people I have offended in my head and decide that there is no one who would want to actually kill me…No.) “You go to Lake Powell?” (Yes. No. What…Huh?)  “I saw your photo there at Lake Powell.  We all go every year. It’s pretty cool.” (Now, I know that I’m not a trained firefighter or medical professional, but how is looking at my family photos helping anyone?  Just… No.)

Anyway, after of all this, they deemed our house free of carbon monoxide and determined that we had most likely all gotten a stomach flu at exactly the same time.  They did suggest that we take Lyla to the ER because she is so small and susceptible to dehydration.  We declined the fancy $1500-a-pop 5 minute ambulance ride and decided to drive our daughter to the ER ourselves.  So, armed with a plastic bag for me and a waterproof bib for Lyla, we headed to the closest ER.  After a brief detour so I could throw up in the parking lot, we made it inside and proceeded to wait… and wait… and wait.  My daughter, of course, didn’t get the memo that we were waiting and continued to throw up continuously.  I guess you truly know that you are a mom when you let your daughter throw up on your neck because you can tell by her frightened eyes that loosening her death grip on you is not an option.

After what seemed like an puke-soaked eternity, they finally brought us in.  They checked out Lyla and said that she was going to be just fine.  They gave her an anti-nausea medicine and some Pedialyte, and after a while they let us go.  On the car ride home she was already returning to her normal self, singing and playing with her toys.  By this time it was 6 am and after a 3 hour nap she was as good as new.  Her parents, however,were another story.  I have never been so relieved to see her tearing around the house, causing her usual chaos and destruction.  But as thrilled as I was that she was doing better, when I looked at the clock and saw that it was only 10 am and realized that we still had to get through the entire day… if I wasn’t already throwing up, I would have thrown up.  That’s when I came to harsh realization that parenthood is the only job that truly has no sick days. My husband and I had to take care of our daughter.  But who was going to take care of us?

Somehow we managed to tag team our way through a long, long (long, long) day with a little help from Sesame Street (for 5 minutes) Etch-a-sketch (6 minutes) and Goodnight Moon (11 times and counting).  Finally at 9 Pm, we put Lyla down for the night, slapped each other a pathetic high-five and passed out.  Lyla let us sleep for a blissful 11 hours and I woke up feeling… well maybe not 100% physically (or even close really), but in some ways even better than 100%. There’s something about that first day back after being really sick that makes you appreciate everything a bit more. I appreciate the energy and life in my sweet, wonderful, crazy daughter; I appreciate that I have a husband with whom I am sure that together we can face any obstacle (even when the obstacles are coming out of both ends); and I appreciate how damn good it feels to just feel normal.

Now I’m going to go celebrate life, love and health… by drinking till I feel like crap.

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Quote of the Day: On Health

“I heard a definition once: Happiness is health and a short memory! I wish I’d invented it, because it is very true.”

-Audrey Hepburn

It is amazing how great it feels to not feel awful.  Stay tuned for the tale of Vomitfest 2012…

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Random Thought: Why drop down menus are depressing

Intellectual random thought.  Hey, it’s Friday…

When I am filling out a form on the computer and it asks for my birthdate, it always depresses me how long it now takes to click all… the…way… down… to my birth year.  

 

 

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50 Shades = Female Viagra?

So the 11th thing that I did on my summer vacation was read all three 50 Shades of Grey books. (Thank god for e-readers, so no one knew what I was reading and why I was blushing.)

I really think that 50 Shades of Grey should be marketed as Viagra for women…specifically married women and even more specifically married mommies?

I mean seriously.  What could be hotter than explicitly hot sex, and love (sigh) with a hot but emotionally unavailable billionaire (and is there any word hotter in the English language than billionaire?  Maybe the phrase ” lonely billionaire on his deathbed.”)  Women go nuts over guys they can’t have, and the idea that you could be the one who wins him over and changes him… swoon.  This is similar to the male phenomenon known as “the stripper really likes me” syndrome.

All in all… sexy reading but not that well written, and by the second book I was already bored with the riding crops and floggers. I never thought I would use that phrase for many reasons, but it’s true.  There was so much of it in the first book that I was seriously desensitized to it by then.  How many different ways could a girl be trussed up, blindfolded, and spanked in a blow-by-blow (he-he. sorry.) account?  I do have to give major street cred to E. L. James and all the married mommies who have made this book a faster selling paperback than Harry Potter (Quidditch aint got nuthin’ on BDSM).  Way to take your libido into your own…um…hands ladies.  And husbands around the world… you all owe Mrs. James some flowers or at least a hearty high-five.

 

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10 Things I Did on My Summer Vacation

After 16 days, 3 countries, 27 hours of flight time with a 14-month-old, 5 hours of total flight time without baby, 12+ hours in a car with baby, 6 bus rides, 2 train rides, innumerable taxis, 2 sleeping pills, 2 all-nighters, countless bottles of wine, 12 gelatos, 4 lbs (a small price to pay), many frustrated screams, many, many nervous laughter outbursts (I tend to laugh at inappropriate times when I am stressed), 1 amazing wedding, 1 week with my husbands lovely family, 0 relaxation and too much laughter to count… I have returned.  And along with a small spare tire around my belly and a couple of crappy souvenirs (sorry family!) I have brought many stories to tell.  But, as I am still exhausted from everything listed above, I will start you out with the following list.

10 THINGS I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION

1.  Discovered that a baby screaming on a plane while all the other passengers are trying to sleep is NOT the end of the world.  As much as I was dying inside at the thought of being “that mom”,  I got over it.  And I am sure that the other passengers did too. Eventually. And even if they didn’t, I will most likely never see any of them again anyway.

2.  Learned the art of the afternoon nap.  Italians are very good at this.  It took me a couple of days and a couple of bottles of wine at lunch to learn, but I finally got the hang of it… just in time to come back to the real-non-napping world.

3.  Walked around in my bikini WITHOUT SUCKING MY STOMACH IN.  Hey, if 82-year-old Italian women with breasts that look like beach balls in a trash bag can rock a bikini with confidence, I sure as hell can too.

4.  Stayed up all night to confirm that, yes, currently there are nearly 24 hours of daylight in Norway.  Twice.

Bonus:  No getting up with baby, who was safely with her Grandparents in a different country.  Hallelujah!

5.  Made sand castles on the beach, paddled around with the entire family on a paddle boat with a slide, rented one of those 6 person bicycle-cars where you strap your kids to the front, and partook in other various cliche familial activities I swore I would never do – and had more fun than I have had in a long time.

6.   Gained 4 lbs.  This is only notable because I expected it to be much more considering my daily meal schedule in Italy:

Breakfast:  Americano coffee with latte frio.  Brioche and toast with Nutella.

Lunch:  Salad and grilled vegetables, followed by a first course of pasta or risotto, followed by a second course of meat or fish, followed by a dessert of fruit or gelato.  All washed down with a few glasses of white wine and sparkling water.

Aperitivo:  1-2 drinks made with Aperol, such as a Negroni  (gin, Aperol, and sweet vermouth) or Aperol Spritz (champagne and Aperol)  plus nuts, focaccia, chips or whatever the bar brings to the table.

Dinner:  Another 4 delicious courses, similar to lunch, ending with fruit and dessert.

Walk around town, ending with 2 scoops of gelato. Yum.

See… only gaining 4 lbs is pretty much a miracle.  Maybe I sweat off the rest of the weight on the night the hotel air conditioning broke.  Don’t ask.

7.  Spent hours and hours walking around the small Italian town of Cesenatico in the middle of the night when my jet-lagged and over-excited daughter didn’t want to go to sleep.  AND kicked my flip-flop an impressive distance when a cockroach crawled on my foot during one of these walks.

8.  Sang Itsy-Bitsy Spider in every single accent my husband and I could think of (British, Southern, Gangsta, Spanish, Indian,  Rastafarian, Alien, the list goes on and on…) in a desperate attempt to entertain my daughter after 5 hours in the car.

9.  Saw more peni (is this the plural of penis?) barely concealed in thin spandex speedos in one day than I ever hoped to in an entire lifetime.  I’m still recovering.

10.  Learned to let it go (kind of), take a breath and just laugh when my daughter didn’t behave as I would like.  She was in a new place with new food, new people, new schedule… new everything.  Is it any wonder that she doesn’t want to sit in her high chair for a 2-hour 4-course dinner, stay seated and silent after 9 hours on a plane, or sleep when WE wanted her to even though her body was telling her otherwise?  When I would get really frustrated, I forced myself to take a step back and just laugh.  Usually.  If that didn’t work, there was wine and gelato.

Until next time… Ciao!

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