Wednesday, December 27, 2023
Thursday, December 14, 2023
Averson started going by "Averson" in preschool, when multiple kids shared her name and I had some very strong, probably illogical, responses to her being differentiated by her last initial. C had suggested it as a name when we were expecting her, and I was quick to explain that that was not a real name and he didn't know what he was talking about. I really thought he was trying to trick me into naming her after Allen Iverson. I stand corrected (obviously).
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
We have entered the wonderful time of year where we are all flooded with Christmas catalogues and gift guides and enthusiastic recommendations for the perfect gift for your brother's sister-in-law's dog walker. What we hear much less often though are the cautionary tales, the recommendations of gifts gone wrong, the "steer clear at all costs." Personally, that's what I'm looking for, and in the spirit of being the change I want to see in the world, I present to you my top three gifts not to buy this holiday season.
1) A digital picture frame for the grandparents. I know, coming in hot here. This one is ALWAYS on the "top lists for grandparents." And I admit, on the surface, it seems like a great idea. They don't have to pick their favorite pictures! It's a gadget that will delight and amaze their friends! The love the grandkids! All good points. What they don't tell you though is that while your parents may be savvy enough to link the frame to their albums, they likely are not savvy enough to put their pictures into folders or figure out how to hide pictures. Which means that Thanksgiving next year will get awkward VERY fast when you see the frame, squint a little to figure out what picture it is, and then realize that that's an angle and a situation you had hoped to NEVER see your parents in. Ask me how I know. My parents are dead, so they won't know that I told you.
2) Play-dough and slime. All I can say here is "WT actual F?" I am a ball of anxiety on Christmas day, panicked that a gift will be accidentally thrown away with the insane amount of trash we seem to create regardless of how many earth-friendly wrapping options I choose. It's neurotic and honestly not my finest quality. I do a lot to create holiday magic but I suspect that manically putting everyone's gifts in their own special box and then nagging everyone to keep track of pieces is not one of them. And every year I fail. But lo and behold, the one and only gift I would beg to fall headlong into the garbage can is the one that sticks around like a b-reel horror film character.
3) The slime that everyone suggests for adults' stockings. I know you've seen it, and in theory it seems like such a great idea. I fell for it. I really did. Last year every adult of driving age got a tub of the pastel colored goo and I gleefully put mine in my car, for use at stoplights/gas stations/car washes. It was going to change my life! I was going to become a "clean car person." But alas I did not become a clean car person. What they don't tell you is that this goo does not tolerate temperature fluctuations well (ala California in the summer.) So at a stoplight, when I channeled my inner Martha, I instead ended up with a handful of sticky snot melting through my fingers. It was everywhere, and every effort I had to make it stop just made the problem worse. I drive a manual. So when I say "everywhere" I really mean it.
Okay. Your turn. What's on the top of your Must Not Buy list?
Monday, November 27, 2023
I literally took a single picture on Thanksgiving. I didn't get any cute "cooking in the kitchen" shots or a posed family photo with the feast in front of us. What I did catch is this moment when all three kids were serving themselves pie and Eli dosed out the whipped cream straight from the can, the way the Lord intended it. And honestly, I'm not mad about it.
I have been reflecting on gratitude a lot lately. For someone who can fall down the green-eyed rabbit hole pretty quickly, it's a refreshing change. Sure, there's lots of things I'd love to have: a cleaner house, newer clothes, more vacations, animals that don't smell. But damn, I have so much to be grateful for. Like a husband who still makes me laugh and a house that I love and warm water and kids that are hilarious and sweet and like being around all of us. And whipped cream. Always whipped cream.
Thursday, November 16, 2023
Tuesday, November 14, 2023
So... a few months ago I reached out to my Disney travel agent and booked a trip to Universal and Disneyland, told my sister, and then promptly forgot all about it. Until about four days before we were slated to leave. And that's how you get to condense all your typical neurotic energy and planning anxiety from weeks and months to three short (oh my god why are days so short) days of selective laundry and throwing shit together.
I highly recommend it.
We hit this trip HARD. We drove down on a Friday (6 hours) and checked into a hotel that my Beverly Hillbilly clan just could not get over. I finally had to whisper-yell "act like you've been indoors before!" after the third exclamation over the lobby staircase. In their defense, it was a nice hotel. The best part though was the outdoor patio they had with a giant checkers set that inspired literal hours of playing various games and challenges
On Saturday we met up with my sister to go to the La Brea Tar Pits and the LA Abandoned Zoo. I did not have high hopes for either of those adventures but they turned out to both be a blast! At the tar pits you can literally find asphalt (not tar, the place is misnamed) bubbling up out of the grass. We poked a lot of sticks into it. And the zoo was such a cool, unique experience. It's the LA Zoo from the 20s and when it got decommissioned, they just... moved the animals? So now there's all these enclosures you can climb around in. It was gritty and weird and urban and pretty cool for all involved. Also, Eli had paint pens in his bag (I don't ask questions anymore) so everyone got to contribute to the community art.
Sunday was Universal Studios, with an early entry into Super Mario Land (or Nintendo World?) PSA: If you get to the parking lot at 8:00, you won't get to the actual park until 8:30. There were a lot of feelings about that. BUT. Nintendo Land did NOT disappoint. It's every fantasy every 80's kid ever had about being sucked into the original Mario Brothers. There are bricks to punch and everything is bright and cartoony and they have little mushroom benches that were the perfect place to people watch. Unfortunately my sister and her girls ended up stuck on the ride for over an hour in what was not the last ride they had to walk off of, so that was kind of a bummer. But we soldiered on! Sydney discovered a love for thrill rides, I took Averson and my 8 year old niece on the Harry Potter ride that we all loved, and Eli and C spent half the day collecting gold coins and geeking out together. There were a lot of good moments, but my favorite will always be the pure joy on Eli's face after he bought the Toadstool hat.