camp planning

Congress has come to the rescue of the overworked air traffic controllers and frustrated passengers.  Wonder if there is any help available for another scheduling issue.  Summer Camp.  This is issue is multiplied by the amount of children you have.  So many factors go into it, personality of the child, their age, cost, how much mom wants to drive.

Here is a condensend version of my last couple of weeks. Wait, I’m still going through it.

best of: butt crack moms

Hey,

it’s a REAL gloomy day here.  The kind of day that made me run screaming from Northern California.  I don’t know how people do it in places where it is always overcast.  I think I would drink…more.

So, here is a silly video I did a couple of years ago.   I just redid my youtube channel and this is now my trailer.  Does it represent me?

LA Mayors Race: me pissed at Emily’s List

UPDATE: notice ping back in comments, this post was picked up by some outlets regarding this subject.  Yeah, for once it not just me!

 

LA Mayors race is STILL going on. Some developments have caused me to BREAK TIES and SPEAK OUT against politicos who I use to respect.   To recap, my pick Eric Garcetti came in first in the primary.  No one got 50% so now it’s between him and City Controller Wendy Greuel.

I left town for 2 weeks over spring break and somehow the Garcetti campaign cobbled on without me! Cobbled meaning continued endorsements and a rise in the polls.

two of the best guys in LA!

As soon as we got back I felt I needed to jump back in and within a day Rex and Vivien were playing at Chez Garcetti with Eric’s adorable little girl while I phoned voters downstairs with other volunteers and his wife Amy. Two days later Mark was cooking a show stopping dinner at a friends fab house to raise money for the Garcetti campaign.  The food was extraordinary. It was great to see not only Eric, but it was really great to see his whip smart wife when we weren’t canvassing!  Those of us seated by her were transfixed as she told us about  why they chose to be foster parents and some of the connections they have made over the years.  When she got up the rest of us were saying stuff like, “oh, what a great thing to do, how wonderful, don’t think I could do it.”  But, that’s not for the mics.

In front of the mic, my former old favorite Bill Clinton really ticked me off because he announced his endorsement for Wendy Greuel.  Sure, that’s his right, but why?  It’s a race between two Pro Choice Democrats in a city that Clinton has NO connection or history too. Keep your nose out of it. I haven’t been this mad at Bill since the Blue Dress.  Greuel supported Hilary in ’08, but dang it so did I.   Bubba, don’t you have enough going on?  Go bring medicine to Africa, somewhere you can be useful. Ironic, because I think Eric Garcetti has Clinton-like intelligence and charisma.  An ability to speak from the heart to all types of people. To be fair, Clinton hasn’t said anything bad about Garcetti. But, a group I USE to like has.

MY deep rage I save for Emily’s list.  They endorsed Greuel and have given her a pot of money.  Now, this group is about supporting pro choice women candidates, so I’m not mad at them for following through with their mandate.  Over the years I have given them money.  I gave them money to support women, not make sexist ads and tear down a feminist man.  Check this out:  Wow, Eric has nice legs and pretty blond hair. I’ve been to Eric’s house, I’ve seen what he drives, he does not live like Paris Hilton.   Garcetti was endorsed by NOW (California chapter of National Organization of Women)  He has a great record of supporting women’s issues, hiring women on his staff and addressing everyday concerns of women.  He increased parks in his district and put after school programs in the schools in his district.  This is about him being up 10% in up in the polls.

Also, if that picture of the blond came from a male led group cries of sexism would be immense.

Last year I stopped giving to the Democratic Senate fund because I realized, hey some of those people I don’t like.  I would rather pick my own candidate.  I feel that way about Emily’s list now. I will do my own picking.

 

Cruel online week

In case we had forgotten the past week reminded us that there are evil people in the world.

Most people are not evil.  More people ran to help the wounded in Boston than set the bombs off.

Online though mean comments run rampant.  I just got one

You are not a cougar. You are an old incompetent wrinkly cat that has lived beyond its years. You are so disgusting that your husband looks suicidal in every one of his pictures. You are the type of person they pictured when they added instructions to a bar of soap. If human intellect was all the water in the world, you would be the single drop of sweat rolling down a fat man’s ass crack. Shut the fuck up.

Thanks Mom.

Really, since there are millions of site I don’t have to shut the fuck up, you kind person can go to another site.  Gwyneth Paltrow totally bugs me, but I wouldn’t go on her site and tell her.

Worse than being told I have wrinkles and husband would rather die than be with me. I have two friends whose children have died and at some point amidst the out pouring of loving messages on their blogs they have both gotten the MEANEST comments in a sense blaming them for their children’s passing or saying that their kids are in hell.

Clearly, that’s not someone who has a beer and an ax to grind but truly CRAZY.  Crazy and Evil.

Look, if you won’t go up to someone you see at Trader Joe’s and say it to their face don’t write it online.  I saw someone at TJ’s I have no love for, or she for me, but I just buried my head in the yogurt section till she had moved on.

Oh, but wait I forgot, I’m not CRAZY.  Just wrinkly.

 

Hausfrau!

I always feel like I need to be doing when my kids are in school.  Advancing work stuff, or exercising.  Writing.

Not today.  I’m embracing my inner hausfrau.  I’m working on cripsy kale.  Some with red pepper spice for me, some without for me kids.  While I watch the Season Finale of Dallas. I went through 45 minutes of self loathing while I formulated this plan.  Then decided to go for it.

Here is what I have learned in the last 90 minutes.

1) who killed JR

2) TNT has really annoying repititve commericals when you watch their shows on their site.

3) pre cut kale doesn’t work well for kale chips because the stems are too pronounced.  Better to buy whole, tear.  Thus even though it’s a pain to dry greens, better not to get the pre washed type.

cut kale not as good

4) the salt ratio is best attained on kale when I mix the salt and kale and olive oil in a bowl as opposed to sprinkling on the pan

5) I have a little cougar crush on Josh Henderson

from perezhilton.com

6) with Kale, more oil is helpful

Let’s be honest.  In about 2 hours I pick up my kids, start on the homework, after school enrichment wheel.  It’s okay to test a recipe and watch one of my favorite shows.  Even if I have to write a blog to justify it.

NO Name calling

Our sweet Charter school won a National No Name Calling Contest.  Here is a video our friend narrated about the mural we won for. ( we, like I did anything).

We are underfunded, have chipped paint and bad drainage, but I love how our school teaches the students ( parents) how to resolve conflicts and to respect feelings

 

Thanks to our school dad and Huffington Post columnist  Bill Walker for spearheading this contest and always makes us aware of the power of hurtful words and the healing power of kind ones.

Road trip 2

Okay, so this is the part 2 of my Spring Break family adventure.  Not like Hangover 2… except I think they both had barf in them.

Just so you know what an awful mother I am… we pulled over while Rex was sleeping.  In the FRONT seat, he would only barf in the back seat.  Well, we wanted to redeem this sick ride and pulled over to see the Giant Redwoods.

There were almost no cars on the side of the road… a little bit off the highway… where we parallelled park to where you can walk in and scramble under and on these massive redwood trees.  The downed trees lay on the ground and the standing ones let in little sunshine so it’s a mossy, insulated carpet like world.  We locked the car with Rex inside  I was planning to only walk a few feet away with my brand new camera, but was so captivated I walked further.   I think ten minutes passed when Vivien and Mark were climbing over a downed tree asking me to climb up as well.

“no I better check on Rex”  Usually he is out for a long time when he sleeps in the car.

There was an old lady sitting on stump near the road.  “It’s like Avatar!”  She started talking to me like I knew her.  I was trying to be polite but felt I needed to get to the car.  Then I heard the shrieking.  Rex had awoken.  To an EMPTY car.  He was LOCKED in.  He was POUNDING on the glass.

“Excuse me”  I said as I ran to the car to let my trapped child out.

The kept talking, “if one tree dies they all die.”

I opened up the car.  He was hysterical. Poor baby.  I felt like crap.  Well, I really felt Mark should feel like bigger crap, because at least I came back.  He was still skipping around like a blue faced what cha ma call it.

Rex recovered fast and he liked the trees too.

the boy formerly known as traumatized

Then about 90 minutes later we were at our goal.  The country home of my former boss, mentor, dear friend, second dad Dr. Dean Edell He and his wife Sharon have a happy life there.  He is retired and has a great spread, kind of like his own little Yosemite.  I visited once before when Viv was 3 and Rex was in my belly.   The carefree days of thinking I had a secure financial future.

Dean and lil' Viv

It was great to see them.  They are dear people.  Sharon has a PhD in Geology and co authored the first book on California Oaks, so hiking with her I learned more than in most college class.  Bonus, no homework. It was great for my kids to just run and play and not scream at them for fear they were going to be hit by a car.

I really dug that the Edell’s said my kids were the most fearless kids they’d seen there.  Vivien went on her own little hike and came back with a deer jaw.  Later I walked with the kids and we saw the other parts remaining of the deer.  “This is how animals really are, it’s not like Disney” I said.  Really telling myself since I grew up in LA I thought nature was Swiss Family Robinson Tree house in Disney land.  Fiberglass looks so real!

It was too short of a visit.  Next time we have to stay longer.  Next time I’m not driving down from Portland!  The ride home was a tad brutal.  So brutal I begged to have a few hours of sleep at some truck stop motel.

The kids were kissing the house when we returned.  It did go through my mind.. “why did I do this? Why do I make the effort, spend the money?”  Ah, we ate great ice cream, saw great friends and saw deer bones. That’s why.

 

Step parenting is like…

I have recently been socializing with other step parents.  I hear and can share their frustrations.  Step parenting is like being the District of Columbia.  You pay taxes, but don’t get a vote.

In my recent read about Lincoln I discovered that he would NEVER have been the great man he became were it not for his stepmom.  His mom died when he was young, his dad was a simple, uneducated man.  Yet, he snagged a nice lady for his second wife who found Abe was practically feral when she entered his life.

put a dress on him and Daniel Day Lewis could play her as well

She got him educated, believed in him and, literally, the rest is history.

So, there would have been no emancipation proclamation without a step mother!!

Anyway, good time for a best of Cool Mom.  A visit from my mom about this subject. ( note, lil Vivien is 2, in the house I had to sell, pre Rex.  I got crap that I let her use a bottle, ah, kiss off)

post break break

We are back!  All the moms I see lately are saying something along the lines of “why did I take the kids on that long/complicated/ far trip?  I should have stayed at home.  It would have been easier for me.”  I well understand that feeling, but that this year I didn’t end up in an hour line at LegoLand made it all better.

Though there were minuses.  More about that later.  First we were in Palm Springs.  Mark worked the Palm Desert Food and Wine festival, we hung out at the pool.

With one night turn around the three amigos were off again.  Viv and Rex and I flew to Porltand, Orlegan ( as Rex calls it)  It’s near Oliver’s college so  the main objective was to see him.  I’ve tried my best to keep Rex off of planes, so this was a big treat for him.  Clocking in at 2 hours flight time seemed just right for him.  More than that and even cartoons wouldn’t keep him down.

I rented our car from “Super Cheapo”  things are a bit off, but half the price.  We got in late so the kids went right to bed in the hotel room while I stayed up like a general before battle studying the maps and guides of Portland.  “Okay, that side of the river is NE and SE, ours is SW.”  I crossed reference with the cheat sheet of good eats I had received from Judiaann Woo ( who I met at a Food Network audition back East) she works to help promote culinary tourism in Oregon.  An easy sell based on my experience. One of my fave of her picks was Salt and Straw ice cream.  OMG  I had strawberry, honey, balsamic ice cream. We were there doing the week, so no prob getting in, but on the weekend the line is a block long.  No, I didn’t go to Voodoo donuts.  They were near our hotel, but saw some   of our fellow guests in the hotel elevator.  Didn’t do it for me.I saved my fat calories for the ice cream.

Juiced up and ready to go

We jumped on the light rail in the AM, big treat for LA kids.  Boy do I love not wrestling with car seats.  “I AM COUNTING TO THREE AND THEN YOU BETTER BE IN YOUR SEAT 1-2…”  blah, blah.  During our days there it took us to the Zoo, to the Children’s museum, to the Forestry Museum.    One day we met my friend Lenore.  I have written about her before and her son Hunter.  Longtime readers might remember that Hunter died from cancer when he was only 3 years old.  He was a beautiful child who was always brave and calm during all his months in the hospital.  His parents loved him fiercly and I don’t know how they have, but they have carried on.  They have two little boys and it was great to see them and to talk about Hunter.  Lenore has a cupcake catering company, Lighting Cupcakes inspired by him and it also benefits kids with cancer.

Now, I really liked Portland and the main reason I did was good food and drink.  Even at the Children’s museum it was not bad.  In LA the same lousy concessionaire seems to run every public space.  El Crapo. Not here.  Here I even got an espresso.  Also, you go to a sandwich place and they have mixology cocktails! At night after tramping around doing things the kids would love I would say ” okay, mommy needs a good drink and meal” The kids obliged.  Even Rex was  pretty good.  Sure, I brought my phone, crayons, threats to call dad and have him take away toys if Rex didn’t behave, but mostly it worked.  Life is cheaper in Portland, no sales tax on anything!  No wonder everyone has been moving here.

We loved seeing Oliver.  Seeing his room, meeting his roommate, seeing his cool college, counting the piercings on all of his friends.  His little brother and sister have missed him.  I didn’t want to crowd him though, so we did lots of stuff on our own as well. ( I tried not to scream, “do you ever clean this room?” But, it did come out once.)  Powell’s bookstore is a great independent bookstore.  I could have stayed there for days.  I got a good book there for Mark, but decided it was mine.  Later I was bereft when I finished it.  This was after Mark had arrived and made his own trip to Powells.  “you can read one of my books.” He said handing me a book about all the deaths caused by Stalin and Hitler.

“Oh, I need a day.  I can’t jump from obsessing on the civil war to obsessing about WW2, let alone the pogroms.”

Based on Aisha Dornfast’s suggestion I took the kids to OMSI. The Parent Hack er was on a book tour so we missed that Porlander.  I kept calling this science center “omsi” like one word till Lenore told me I sounded like a dork, It’s “o-m-s-i”.  I guess a dork in Portlandia.  But, then they all wear big clumpy shoes, so ultimately, I fit right in.  For little kids skip OMSI and head to the children’s museum.  It’s IMPOSSIBLE to keep track of little ones in that vast space.  I lost Rex.  Could NOT find him.  Panicking I went to the front area where the ticket sales where and there was Rex calmly sitting behind the desk.  A worker had seen him alone and escorted him up there.  God forbid that had been an unkind person who took his hand.

“We are OUT of here” I snarled.  Angry at crowds and taking my eye of my son. ” Let’s get something to eat”  That fixes it.  Found some place behind a warehouse, it was tasty, natch, this is Portland.

I’ve been wanting a camera and where better to buy one than in the state with no sales tax.  I love my camera!! You can tell me if my photos improve.

A minus of the trip would have been that Vivien had a sore tummy and wanted to stay in the hotel room for a full day.  Except Mark was arrived so I popped on the cartoons for Viv, sent the men folk out and me and Abe and Jeff Davis snuggled in my bed.  I love a good read.  

We left the Rose city and had a nice lunch in Eugene.  After that the trip took a very bad turn. Lots of turns.

Rex kept barfing.  The winding roads were not his friends.  I climbed in the back of the car and held a plastic bag.  It was dark, it was raining.

“Pull over” I declared.  We rolled into a modest hotel in Crescent City.  As soon as we got him to bed Rex slept deeply. I was traveling with a six pack and some snacks and after that ride my tummy wasn’t so hot so a fistful of nuts a brew was all I needed.  Till I woke up at 3:30am STARVING.  There was nothing.  Kind of hell night.

Next day, Rex was all better.

Until, we got back in the car.  Mark held the bucket this time.  That’s it, we put Rex in the front seat.  The air bag thing was turned off and he rode happily along the winding roads in the front seat.  Doing it old school worked.

It was a hard drive, but worth it when we got there… ( to be continued)