Monday, July 26, 2010

Remember When?

I remember when my kids were little and all my friends were so jealous because my little ones were such great sleepers.

Now my kids are grown... and the sleeping thing? Well it's just not cute anymore and I doubt my friends consider me the lucky one.

Hey, it's 1:00 in the afternoon, do you know where my kids are?
Still sleeping.... Grrrrrr!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Adventures in Orthodontia

Nearly 17 months ago I made the decision to get my teeth straightened.

Yes, that means I'm a woman in her mid-forties who appears to be either going through puberty or desperately trying to cling onto any form of youth she can grasp. And you know, it wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't waited to go through with this until now. I mean, for whatever reason, I seem to be in one of the most high profile positions I've ever been in. Not that this means I have any form of power mind you, it just means I'm meeting people all over the region (with braces... myself, not the people I'm meeting), been featured in my local newspaper a few times (with braces) AND took part in a television interview for a Baltimore morning news show (with braces!) Whew! It's a good thing I don't spend a lot of time or money focusing on my looks... Oh wait, I have braces.

Anywho, there was a point in this orthodontic process which thrilled me to no end. I'd always had a gap in my two front teeth and when that gap closed and I could run my tongue along the inside, of my smooth, even teeth of my upper palette... Well, it all seemed worth it.
However, in May my 'pal' the orthodontist put a new wire in with big ugly posts attached and then added this thing they call a 'Chain'
Well, the orthodontist calls it a 'Chain'... I call it a 'Cargo Net' because believe me, there is nothing more effective for catching every size food particle imaginable and trapping it in such a way that even a sandblaster couldn't remove it, let alone a toothbrush.

Anyway, I can take the new goal posts framing either side of my top teeth and I can take the cargo net... The pain involved with these new apparatus only lasts a day or two. BUT! What I couldn't fathom was the fact that once these items were applied, my once uniform teeth, the ones that got all straight... the ones I could run my tongue behind and feel smoothness... STARTED TO SHIFT!!!
"Wait just a gosh darn minute Dr. Ortho!" I said after I made an emergency appointment to point out my teeth were getting crooked again. "Oh don't worry about it." he said, with the nonchalance of someone who obviously wasn't toting around Grandpa's tool box worth of metal in his mouth... "It happens and then we just install a corrective wire later."

"A corrective wire later?" Oh okay then, yeah sure... Whatever!
So now, one of my two front teeth has shifted to the point that I'm starting to resemble 'Nanny Mcphee'
and I'm supposed to remain happy with my decision to go through with this whole blasted braces thing. BUT, I'm not allowed to complain to my family about it because pay back is hell when you don't show enough sympathy for your kids during their years of orthodontic bliss.

BUT NOW!!! Now it's WAR!!! Because last week, at my regular appointment, I pointed out my obvious disgust with the 'Goal Posts'... the 'Cargo Net'... And what appears to be my future as Emma Thompson's stunt double. And guess what my orthodontist did to appease me? He said, "Today you get a present!"... "A present!!!" I said, with all the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning. "Yes, a present!" he said. Shortly thereafter his assistant came over with 2 packages of teeny-tiny rubber bands. And now I'm rockin' this whole look. After I finished making my next appointment at the front desk I wandered to the back and informed my orthodontist that the next time he had a 'Present' for me, I'd really like it in the form of a gift card.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And he's driving?

Today Computer Boy made plans to take a friend to the movies... But I had to work at the shop. So, a momentous occasion took place... My boy drove ME to MY destination, dropped me off (actually dropped US off, Nature Girl has been joining me at the shop), and drove away... by himself... alone... on his own... at the helm... Of MY van *sniff*

The tears? They're not so much the milestone my son has reached... They're really about my inner control freak screaming at the loss of... well, CONTROL!

Late in the afternoon my boy called my cell and the conversation went something like this:

Me: "Hey!"

Son: "Hey!"

Me: "So, how was the movie?"

Son: "Great! So, where are you?"

Me: "Ummmmm, you have the car SOoooooooo, I'm.... right.... where.... you.... left.... me. "

You know, it's really difficult to WRITE sarcasm but that's how I roll... So it's no wonder I have it dished up in heaping bowls full by my own children.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

High - 'Anything Can Happen Day'... How could I have forgotten the Peacocks?

Seriously, how could I forget 'Peacock Day?'...
Whenever we vacation we have a family tradition... It's called 'Anything Can Happen Day'... The rules are:
  1. Get in the car and drive.
  2. See what happens.
Yep, that's about it and its never failed us yet.

We actually had 2 'Anything Can Happen Days' on this trip. The first was a drive DOWN the coast. That was the day we discovered Crystal Cove State Park. The second was a drive UP the coast (not to be confused with our LONG drive up the coast to Carmel/Monterey.)

Sarah and I wanted to show the boys some of the sights we happened upon during our drive along the coast last year. Unfortunately, I forgot that we didn't stay on PCH (Pacific Coast Hwy.) that entire trip... At one point we branched off to Beach Blvd. which ran along the ocean and we took in some incredible sights in Long Beach. However, miss Beach Blvd. and PCH takes you into some neighborhoods where the term 'incredible' has a whole different meaning. Needless to say, the guys were NOT impressed.

Eventually I acquiesced and 'allowed' the GPS to point the way to Palos Verdes. We were getting hungry so my husband broke the other rule and that way to allow the GPS to point us to a restaurant. I forgave him because the restaurant was in a quaint little mall and I'm always up for shopping at quaint little malls. The bonus was the restaurant looked over an ice skating rink where we watched adorable little girls practice their spins and jumps (little jumps, but hey, even Kristi Yamaguchi had to start somewhere.)

Anywho, following lunch we got back on track with 'Anything Can Happen Day' when I forked over $2 to step into a machine that simulated a hurricane.... Having my hair blown into a tangled mess? Not something I'd normally be up for BUT, it WAS (say it with me now) 'Anything Can Happen Day.'

So we shopped around a bit and eventually found the cutest little toy store that soaked us for a $20 gizmo for my niece & nephew. But as we were leaving the store we noted a sign out front hawking a book about the 'Wild Peacocks of Palos Verdes.' I urged my daughter to go back in and find out more... yeah, okay, I HAD to go with her. What we discovered was there are hundreds of wild peacocks which were brought to the area YEARS ago, long before multi-billion-dollar houses littered the hillsides... Back when some foreign sheik owned all the land and determined it was MUCH too quiet up in those hills, so he shipped in a bunch of peacocks (notoriously noisy birds... beautiful but noisy.)

So the owners of the shop pointed us to a street called Strawberry Lane, which was quiet a bit further away then we had anticipated but thanks to the GPS we were able to find it.

At first we thought the lead was going to be a disappointing one but then "LOOK!" Nature Girl shouted from the back seat. "There's a peacock right there!" And as I slowed the van eventually we started seeing them everywhere! Some of the peacocks were quite bold and ventured right up to the van hoping for a handout but we were fresh out of breadcrumbs... Well, not quite, there were those stale 'Cheeze-its' in the back but we thought better... It simply wouldn't do to return the rental car with peacock dents all over it.

It really was an amazing sight though to see peacocks just lazing in peoples yards, hanging out on their driveways, sitting on their fence posts... And OH, what yards, driveways & fence posts. Nature Girl says she's decided where she wants to live when she leaves home............ Um yeah, good luck with that!

Since I was driving the following pictures are courtesy of my husband. So if you consider these less than stellar shots?.... It's his fault.

Anything Can Happen Day?... It was a real HIGH!

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

High-Low - California Vacation 2010

I said, Hello?...
Is this thing still on?

Allow me to just clear some of the dust here and let's get reacquainted, shall we?

A long time ago, a dear friend of mine shared with me a family game they used to play each night at dinner. The game was called 'HIGH-LOW'... Perhaps you've heard of it?

The object of 'HIGH-LOW' is for each member of the family to take turns sharing both the HIGH of their day and the LOW. It's a genius way of staying connected and understanding what each person might be either celebrating or grappling with.
Since it's been such a LONG time since I've written, I thought possibly, my own personal game of HIGH-LOW might help put things in a kind of perspective.

I'm rather rusty at this whole writing thing and I have to admit my feeble memory makes it difficult for me to compartmentalize ALL of the circumstances which have occurred in the last... Oh how long has it been? 6 months, 8 months? So instead I'll start with a recent event of which the details are still fairly clear... Our California Vacation.

So, here we go... The HIGH-LOW of our 2010 California Vacation:

HIGH - Seeing my little sister Dena (10 yrs. my junior) for the first time in what we finally determined to be, 18 years. For reasons still not entirely clear, my sister and I became estranged roughly 16 yrs. ago. We hadn't communicated at all since this past September. In fact, it wasn't until I saw my niece (Dena's daughter) singing at a school concert on YouTube that it even occurred to me we needed to rectify this situation. So I reached out and there was my dear little sister waiting with open heart and open arms to bring us close again.

LOW - Gaining obscene amounts of weight partly due to the nervousness of seeing my sister, her kids, my dad, his wife and my new brother-in-law, who my sister married just weeks before our visit.

This picture perfectly illustrates both my high and low, hugging my dear sister whilst the camera does little to hide my weight gain and road weariness.

HIGH - The California Coast.... Seeing sights so beautiful it literally brought tears to my eyes. Even though I was born in California, I was raised in what is known as the High Desert... In the High Desert, everything is brown, there aren't a lot of trees and not a lot of color... Therefore the memories of my youth are hued in sepia tone gloom. However, along the coastal regions there are a rainbow of colors everywhere you look. Flowers in brilliant Purple, Blue, Yellow and Orange. Succulents in soft greens and lavenders. The succulents grow wild right out of the face of the rock walls.

The Pacific Ocean and how it's colors change under the light of different weather conditions... Steel gray on an overcast day. Bright Blue under the Laguna sunshine. Clear Azure along the dizzying cliffs of Hwy. 1. It was all breathtaking and inspiring to my Art loving heart.
The view of CA. Hwy. 1 out the rental car front window - I'm glad my husband was driving for this part of the trip... Scary!

Julia Pfeiffer State Beach... I only remember this because I kept referring to it as
'Julia Roberts/Michele Pfeiffer State Beach'

Currently my favoritist spot in the whole world - China Cove at Point Lobos State Park

This picture reminds me of the 'Not enough hours in the day - LOW'... Because I could've walked this beach for hours on end searching for sea glass with my daughter.

LOW - Not enough hours in a day! Seriously, how can one see EVERYTHING there is to see with only 24 hours and at least 6 hours of that has to be devoted to sleep. It's just not fair!

HIGH - Time spent with my family. Sure the quarters were close.... 2 weeks of 4 people in the same hotel room.... But that night that we spent laughing until we could barely breathe, wiping tears from our eyes, all because of the way 'Nature Girl' talks when she's wearing her retainer... Well, it's a priceless memory, I'll always hold dear.I like to call this pic 'Man on Vacation!' - Taken at China Cove

A BEAUTIFUL shot of my favorite 'Nature Girl'

Computer Boy got bitten by the photography bug.

LOW - This trip was so great, I'm running out of lows.

HIGH - That evening at the laundromat with my sister Debbie.
Doing laundry a high, you say? OH YES!
Firstly, one can complete 3 loads of vacation laundry in one fell swoop at a laundromat. Secondly, it's pure one on one joy, if one does said vacation laundry with a sister one seldom gets the opportunity to talk with for longer than 20 minutes at a time. At a laundromat you're given an uninterrupted period of time to broach the deeper, more meaningful topics and finally get the chance to tell your sister how incredibly proud you are of her on a bench outside the facility. You know, it's kind of a metaphor... As the laundry got clean and fresh, so to did my relationship with my sister.

LOW - Coming home... Okay, not too much of a low... It's nice to be sleeping in my own bed again, without having to hug the edge of the mattress because my daughter is in the midst of her nightly imitation of Leonardo deVinci's - Vitruvian Man. The downside however is coming home means getting back to the grind... Getting re-acclimated to East Coast Time, Grocery Shopping, Making dinners, Doing Laundry without the laundromat or my sister. It means facing my continuing struggle to determine what my place is in this world... Hey, it's easy to forget about heady stuff like that when you're primary focus is, "What's the GPS say?"... "Are my camera batteries charged?" or "Where should we go for dinner?"For you East Coast people... Yes, it's July and Yes, I'm wearing a sweater because I'm sorry to admit to you that while you were toasting your buns at 105 degrees, we were attempting to stay warm with 60 degree temps.... Sorry, but I had to brag!

So for now my primary focus is, What's my place in the world and I wonder what I should fix for dinner tonight? But maybe getting back to blogging will help me figure it all out.

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