spicoli wins on Jeopardy!

Seriously. Spicoli, or his more clever dock working doppelganger, won on Jeopardy tonight. I'm telling you because I know you ain't into intellectual per suits, like me.

Really though? That last sentence makes the hair on my arms stand up and creates an overwhelming NEED for a red pen ... but I couldn't concentrate on the show due to the heightened 'I can't believe Spicoli is winning' mantra running through my melon.

brand spanking new

If you think about it, there just aren't a lot of ways to be totally surprised once you get past a certain age. Just about everything that happens has some parallel in your formative years. Heartbreaks vary in degree, but they all tend to hurt in about the same place. Broken bones, broken friendships, found money, great/horrid jobs, discovering you're a natural at anything ... they all carry a shadow of the first time you learned that tune, yes?

Two things break that order; the first is childbirth. Like nothing you can imagine. The pain, the terror, the joy, the anticipation, the ridiculous hopefulness of it all. I'm expanded in ways I had no preparation for, and it's great. Family. What a concept.


I am part of a network of amazing people. We call each other 'family of choice'. There are mothers and brothers and loads of sisters and cousins. My goddaughter Al prepared me for Rio; she let me know I could be in a child's life and I could be okay. The shadow of my past made that scary but I was able to look back and then never look back again. But still, there were expectations. Former lessons. Experience.


I have a cousin from this chosen family. When I first met him I loved him right away but I got the sense he was always standing next to himself. I saw an amazing man, my cousin of choice, bright and shiny and simultaneously he was distrustful of his own soul. I learned he was adopted and I thought, 'Man, the people who got to raise him are so lucky.' The reality was a bit different.

Over the past handful of years he's alternately struggled and soared. He confused me but, hey, sometimes family is that way. He married one of my best friends and I've had the pleasure of watching my cuz discover his own joy. It's been amazing.


Last week he found out he has a sister and she found out she has a brother. Brand new for both of them. I don't even ask him how he feels because I know he has no words. No past reminders. Nothing to draw on for how to feel. React. Act.

We had dinner last night with my cousin and his sister. She has the same beautiful vibe as my cuz. She's easy and bright and shiny and love. The family is expanding outside of DNA strands. The strands of the fabric of this Universe are much stronger. Much more reliable. Sometimes in this strange mix, joy just pops up in the middle of nowhere. It knows how to find us. How to grow. No experience necessary.

my mother-in-law is sooooo stupid!

Oh.My.God. She just called and said, "We would like to take Rio for a couple of days. Can we make that happen in the next week or so?"

Dead silence on my part. What raced through my head in 2.5 seconds:

*you want the kid who, at this very moment is eating Monkey Munch with no milk, as per her demand? Slowly? With a spoon? Very loudly crunchingly? Who said, as I approached with the milk, ' I said no milk. Put that back, puhwease!' while pointing at the refrigerator. And not looking at me.

*you want the kid who can spread 2 ounces of tinkle into 14 drops over 5 minutes so I can wipe her, administer a tinkle treat, clean the potty and do it again and again til her bladder is finally empty JUST SO SHE CAN HAVE MULTIPLE TINKLE TREATS?

*you want the kid who is fascinated with pointing out everyone who has big boobs and everyone who has little boobs, including men? Men with big boobs?!

*you want the kid who is requiring about 9 pairs of big girl panties a day as we are in the midst of training? and you'll have to be doing a pissload (hahahha) of laundry?

*you want the kid who can convince you to let her draw 'little gym good job dots' all over your body, including your nose, just because she asks so frigging nicely?

*you want the kid who boots you out of her room at night after you've told her six million stories about how great she did at the gym? Stories she asked to hear? Saying 'One more about the gym and Rio?'. The kid who then looks at you and says, 'Okay mommy. You can go out there now.', again with the pointing?

*you want that kid FOR TWO DAYS? hahahahahahahahahahaha!

2.5 seconds have passed. So I say, "Oh I'm sorry, just a bit distracted. That would be lovely!"

I plan to administer an anti-aging mask and then spend 2 days in an ambien induced coma catching up on sleep while assorted strangers do my housework with money that I heist from her over-flowing piggy bank. Hhahahahahahahahahahahaha!

update on ebay's egregious typo and entrepreneur's who gives a crap?!!

If you remember I tried to contact Ebay and Entrepreneur magazine re: advertising dollars and the sound they make as they go down the toilet ... no answer. Still weekly emails telling me to sign up and go to Ebay Live! and still the bad link for Entrepreneur magazine. And no response from anyone. Well, it is a busy world, yes?!

Speaking of busy ... we're heading to Connecticut tomorrow for a party. Then Vermont. Then back here. Lots of miles and lots of hoping Rio falls asleep in the car for just a few minutes somewhere along the hours being logged ...


She's taken to calling herself 'The Baby Monster'. I swear I didn't hang that on her, she just likes the sound of it. And refers to herself, third person mais oui, all the time. "The Baby Monster wants some juice!" , "The Baby Monster wikes playing on the water table!" all accompanied by a roar. The um, ah, interesting thing is when she speaks in the baby monster voice. It's the roaring, but with words. She sounds possessed.

Being a shut-in with her, I've quite gotten used to it. Today we stopped at a creemee stand for lunch and there was a young couple sitting next to us. The girl was 'you know' and 'like' and 'I was all' - ing her head off. Rio makes the baby monster face and growls, "Rrrr, the Baby Monster wants some ice creannnnnnn!" and it pierced the seemingly impervious veil of grammar murder and the girl just stared at Rio for a full, like, 5 minutes, you know? Right?

Cool stuff, huh?! Rrrroaaarrrrrr.

well blow me over

The Little Gym has a nicely structured way of doing things. Rio typically runs around the outside doing her own thing; complete with her own songs and dances and ways to use the gym equipment. As I've said before, the teachers are lovely about it ... so we spend lots of $$$ so she can run around in circles somewhere besides our house.

Last week, if you remember, she did 'the scary mat'. Today, well, prepare for boring mom brag.

Miss Dawn calls the kids one by one and they all do the same skill. Rio was circling when Miss Dawn called to her, "Rio! Want to come show everyone your forward roll?" and usually Rio says, "Nope!" and continues on with doing her own thing. Today, well, today she ran up to Miss Dawn, gave her a big hug complete with the big hug skrinchy face, and took her place and executed a perfect forward roll over the giant cylinder!

At least 4 of the mothers commented on how great she did. I am ridiculously proud.


The good parts of this job have no match in the working world.

oh, and i are totally stupid

Bank of America is running a special where you can get free museum tickets ... so I fall down the rabbit hole to see if there are any 'good' museums that I want to get to and I come upon this atrocity. I actually seized in panic until I realized that a mouseover will tell me the name of the state.

I really should give some thought to going back to school. Elementary school ...

*shoot. the link isn't to the page ... hit 'get details' and then 'find a museum near you' to see the source of my hives...


तहत इस हिंदी फ़ॉर रियो

The above says 'That is hindi for Rio'. Blogger comes up with the most useful tools!

So, she's drawing on her magnetic drawing board thing. I say, "How about if you write 'Rio'?". and she promptly makes a lower case "r", puts an "o" to the left of it, and plops an "i" right on top.



In other news, no one died today. No one that I am personally acquainted with, anyway. So, it's a good day.


Bear has promised that by May 31st I will be patent pending. At that point I can embark upon my journey to take over the world and make basic cable play better shows and make all baby wipes manditorily interlevered and require Massachusetts drivers to have to pass an actual driving test (because the only explanation for these lunatics is that the test is mail in and even then they can't be graded....) and I will personally fund research into ridding the mother-brain of guilt because every time I buy bananas this fact runs through my mind ... and finally, I hope to have enough money and power to buy or manufacture a coherent train of thought.

does it end?

We were just listening to the Sirius Pops station and when a thunderous noise was made, she shot up and out of the room. She peaked around the corner and said, "We don't have to listen to the radio.".


There was a thunderstorm the other night. Bear and I were out for a couple hours. My brother was having dinner with her and playing until we got home. When the storm rolled in she got really freaked out. They ate dinner on a little round rug in the middle of the kitchen. She sat in his lap.


I just put the call in to Early Intervention. I've been zipped back into the anxiety pit where 'my child has something wrong'. In that pit there is surround sound with all the ways, large and small, I am a poor mother. From pregnancy eating, to holding her too much, to being unable to comfort her when a large truck roars by. She runs from me. From everyone. Bolts.

I'm feeling very black hole today. Everything is pulling in so tight and hard, the gravity is affected. I need to breath. Oh, and decide what I'm wearing to the funeral of a friend tomorrow.


People. Yesterday was a banner day at The Little Gym.

TLG is a place we go once or twice a week. They have all these goals that they discuss in high and excited voices. Yesterday was 'ChallengeYourself Skill Day'. Great, I thought to myself, this oughta be good ... Rio is a 'Super Beast', so at least their labeling is fair and thoughtful! Anyway, I do find all the instructors to be lovely and pretty knowledgeable and very supportive. Rio typically completely and 100% does her own thing. And everyone professes to be okay with that....

Kids in a circle, singing 'Twinkle Twinkle' and shaking bells? Rio is jumping up and down on a mat across the gym.

Kids patiently waiting their turn to do upside down flips on the bar? Rio is sitting in a giant donut saying 'Look Mommy! I'm in the giant tuuuuube!'

Kids doing anything requested of the group? Rio is wandering about, playing, jumping, apparently unconcerned that she's missing anything.

So. There is a giant air mattress type deal that they have. Fully inflated it's gotta be 25' long and 10' across and maybe 3' high. When the teacher busts that out the kids go bananas. Well, the other kids do. Rio typically says, 'I don't go on the jumping mat. I don't wike it. I play with the balls!' or something like that.

One of the toughest parenting challenges presently on my plate is the I really, badly, whole-heartedly want to push my kid. Physically. Grab her hand and say 'C'mon! It's a balance beam! Get up there and balance!' or 'C'mon! It's a slip and slide. Just run and dive!' or 'C'mon! It's a giant air mattress for jumping! Sooo fun!' ... but she resists. And treads ever.so.cautiously. She is incredibly articulate about her refusal to try new things. 'Nope!' is the usual answer. Or 'I don't like the balance beam!' or any of a number of other refusals but never 'I'm scared', which just might quell my desire to physically place her on the balance beam and step back. Or set her down in the ocean when the waves are gentle. Or throw her up on that padded scaretron and shout 'You're okay! You're okay!'.

Knowing her as well as I do, I understand that she takes a rather long time to come around to the idea of new physical things. Once undertaken, she excels and I have a special song and dance I do and she has a special smile of accomplishment. But part of me is frustrated with her hesitance. And a huge part of me is horrified I feel that way.

We have many small victories. Yesterday we had a huge one.

Miss D busted out the giant mattress. Hooked it up to the acceptably loud inflating mechanism and started filling it. The kids all scrambled aboard for the ride of when it's filling up. So fun. Rio was at the bottom of a wedge shaped mat - inch worming her body up to the top and then spilling over onto her hands as she'd spin around at the top.

Suddenly, she looked at the mattress and walked toward it. Then she walked around to the end where the kids line up to file onto the mat in small groups and she got on. She walked a few steps and sat down. Kids were jumping and running and falling and shoving all around her. She sat for a few minutes, taking in the feel of being suspended and then she got up and ran down the mattress to the end. AND CAME BACK AROUND TO DO IT AGAIN! She ended up jumping a little bit and smiling that smile at me.

It was all I could do to hold myself together and not cry like a baby.

da na na na na na, you say it's your birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRETTY GIRL! Those kids are hardly wearing you down at all!

Go on over everyone! Wish her a happy birthday! Commission her to do some cards! Or just send a virtual smooch. Y'all know what you do best....

the best Mother's Day present ever

You may or may not remember this incident from a few months ago:

*We finally emptied the boxes in the garage onto the new bookshelves. When I got to a big box of my art books, we found the damage. Termites? Mice? Mold? Hard to tell but there were bore holes and crumbled boxes and ravaged books everywhere. I felt personally assaulted. Before having Rio I wandered upon Art History and fell immediately and wildly in love. I haven't had the time to pursue it in the least little bit since I naively signed up for the consuming job of parenthood. To see the books destroyed, literally turned to dust ... made me feel like *I* am disappearing. Little by little, holes chewed through, complete destruction in small but irrevocably lost locations.

Well, last night at midnight Bear came 'back from a work emergency' with a huge box in his arms. In that box was every single one of the books that had been destroyed - and more. I was literally moved to tears. When we came upon the destroyed books in the garage I was pretty much speechless. I cried, which upsets Bear hugely, but I couldn't even really talk about it. The cut was deep and complicated and I did what I always do which is to simply absorb the hurt and move forward. Alone.

When I opened that box last night, it was more than a bunch of books. It was the clearest signal yet that Bear really really gets me. Gets me when I get very quiet. Gets me when it's important.

He'll probably continue to be late. He'll continue to tell me he's out of clean socks, not running out of clean socks. He'll no doubt continue to pitch in a little less than is ideal, chew with his mouth wiiiide open, drive too fast and 'forget' to do the trash. But when it is important - really important - he's right on the money.

Thank you Bear. You are the best friend an accidental mom could wish for.

I'll be popular in jail, right?

Yesterday we noticed a weird spot on the Monkey's tongue. Bear asked if she bit it and she said no. He asked if it hurt and she said no. So no biggie.

Today the spot is bigger and a little different color and not just a little worrisome to gaze upon. So I called the pediatrician's office. Of course I hit google first and came up with A) geographic tongue and B) cancer. Yeah. So, to the doc we'll go.

But here's the thing. I'm trying to be all calm and cool but I am failing miserably. Here's what I said to the receptionist:

she: blahblahblah

me: I would like to bring her today and I don't mind not seeing her regular doc.

she: Sure thing. Let me just run this by the nurse

long pause

she: What does it look like exactly?

me: Actually, it looks like someone put out a cigarette on her tongue. She doesn't go to daycare and I don't smoke. Plus I wouldn't exactly put out a cigarette on her tongue and then call your office to complain about it.

she: dead silence

me: So, 2:30, right?

I'm sure social services will be there with dogs to greet me ...
*water table - $29.99
*bags of sand for sandbox - $20.00
*beer - $8

spending the afternoon on the back deck with my little brother and Rio who is first covering us with sand and then using ice cold water to wash it off - priceless.


Seriously? I paid to have this test done. Paid a LOT. I filled out pages upon pages and got the same result as this super quick test. The internet continues to marvel....

Your Personality is Somewhat Rare (ENFP)

Your personality type is enthusiastic, giving, cautious, and loyal.

Only about 8% of all people have your personality, including 9% of all women and 6% of all men
You are Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving.

bitter, sweet, and bittersweet

:: bitter ::

We met daddy for ice cream. Rio had 'tinkle treat' ice cream. Daddy had black raspberry and we shared a spinach, mushroom, onion, goat cheese calzone. Yum. Then I got a small black raspberry cone for the ride home.

It's a 5 minute ride from the ice cream joint to our house. She harassed me so steadily and with such sincerity for 'just one biiiite of mommy's ice crean [sic] cone' that I gave in. 'One bite,' I told her, 'and then give it back!' as I handed it back over the seat into her lair.

She would not give it back. She took a bite and when I reached back for its safe return - she kicked my hand. And smiled. And bit the bottom off the cone. She simply would NOT return my ice cream cone. I would reach back and she would lick it and smile wickedly at me.

We came into the driveway at a good clip and Bear was already getting out of his car and he could tell I had "the face" on.

bear: Wassamatter?

me: She will not give me my ice cream back! I get out of my door and zip around the back and open her door and she grabs the cone with both hands.

rio: It's not Mommy's ice crean.

me: Yes, it *is* Mommy's ice creaM and you said you'd give it back! As we both start to yank on the rapidly crumbling cone.

rio: No and this is off limits to you! And I finally pull the cone out of the tight little monkey grip.

rio: IMMEDIATELY after losing the cone custody battle... Can I have one more bite?

"Can I have one more bite?". The nerve of this kid!

:: sweet ::

Evidently she considered her rotten to the core actions while I walked down the driveway and retrieved the mail. She came running full bore at me and ran into my arms and gave me a huge hug and kiss. Awww.

:: bittersweet ::

We have to be in Connecticut for a funeral tomorrow. As long as we're making the trip, we're taking Rio's most excellent crib to Bear's sister for her new babies. So tonight we took Rio's crib out of her room and replaced it with her first 'big girl bed'.

Bear and I lay on either side of her, snuggling and making certain she was feeling okay about this momentous change. Especially since we both felt like bawling. She kissed us both and said:

Mommy and Daddy could go in their own room now.

could i love this house any more?!

While Rio and I were making tuna with olives, red pepper and hard boiled eggs, a medium sized army of adolescent termites set up camp in our playroom.

Luckily, the bug spray guy was just at the house spraying for the other bugs we suffer here, at the edge of the swamp. I asked about termites. 'Oh yah, you have them alright!'. So fucking cheery. 'How much to treat for those?' I asked and didn't even choke when he told me $1800.

$1800. And evidently we really really need it. At this rate we should be totally out of money sometime next year. We can tell Rio she can't go to private school because we spent all of her school money TO KEEP GIANT BUGS FROM CARRYING HER OFF TO A SWAMPY LAIR!

Frankly, I think we need more paving and less nature around here. What, exactly, is so wrong with a 'tree museum'?!


Sort of.

Now I have to go buy temporary toxics while we wait for an appointment with the bug millionaire...

so fun

I *could* clean the house, but this is way more fun!

promise of a new day*

I just received this in my mail from Bear. It would appear that the thoughtful, considerate, non-asshat I so happily (sputter, gasp) married has returned to the building. Happy faces all around AND interesting reading!

*As an aside, does anyone else remember when Paula Abdul made this video but she was in a binge with no purge stage? And the video was all 'pinched' to make her fit on the screen?! Ah, the excesses of the 80's. Although I must admit getting the biggest kick watching her on Idol. You just plain never know what's going to come out of the mouths of those characters ...

prepare for the overshare

If you're still looking, it's your own damned fault.


Where to begin? This may end up long and rambling and I refuse to edit, but I will concede to putting "+" at certain points and fleshing out said points at a later date.


It might be my fault that Bear doesn't understand when he's making me truly angry. I suck it up like a world champ because I lay the line way in advance and expect that everyone expects it's still in the same place. So, we had a major major blowout. It was so bad that:
~I told his mom he's an asshat
~I told my friends he's an asshat
~I figured out how much $$ it would take for me to move to Vermont and re-open my salon because that's money in the bank
~I looked at cheap houses on realtor.com
~I didn't say one word to him for days on end
~I didn't sleep in our bed


We had dueling therapy appointments last night. Bear has a guy and the guy has a woman in the office and I like Bear's guy ... Bear is not at all touchy feely with anyone on the planet except me and Rio. That's cool. But sometimes he gets going into places where I can't be there for him so I sent him to this guy. No '+' here cuz it's not mine to tell ...

It felt good to vent. Really vent. And say not nice things+ and feel like I was heard and understood. And reasonable. My anger is not reasonable. And it used to be on the out of control side+. Blowouts of epic proportions are like seizures for me - a patch of scorched earth remains in my heart/soul after the anger fades. It's bad for me.


People are dying and I'm not okay with it. A good friend said "You know a million people. The sheer volume of your circle means things like this happen." She's smart. I'm even more sad.


The therapist took a short history and we felt each other out. Not up. Just out. And I'm comfortable with her. I'm like that. I'm comfortable with most people and those I don't like always, every single time, always turn out to be bad people. So, I'm going to try to do some lingering work with her.

She said 'some people do anger and some people do sad, but very few people do both'. I do anger. No sad. Outward has always been easier than inward. Good thing or I might not have made it this far.+


I'm one in four. I have a daughter. I haven't felt this vulnerable since I was six years old.

i caught ebay with their pants down!

Ooo! Big scoop and I'd bet the folks at Entrepreneur.com aren't thrilled. I get quite a few emails each week because Ebay Live is in Boston and coming soon. I'm actually thinking of attending, but that is just my ADD speaking.

Anyway - they have 'titled' sponsors for the event. I'd imagine to have your logo stuck on emails going out to such a captive audience is fairly pricey. Well, when one clicks on the Entrepreneur link, one is sent to Entrepeneur.com. A typo! I'll bet the folks who park and redirect for click-through cash on Entrepeneur are scratching their heads. "Hey Frank, our site that relies on people who can't spell is raking in more than our porn sites!" .... hahahahahaha ....

Now, Ebay won't get back in touch with you unless, well, I can't think of a situation which would inspire the giant out of its slumber. Think I should alert Entrepreneur.com? Maybe I could get my subscription for free?!

**updated to add: I've emailed Meg Whitman and pitches at Entrepreneur magazine because I'd imagine someone actually has to read those. I'll keep you posted!