Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Going through the itty bitty baby pictures. Check out Cedra at four weeks. The chicken legs! The uncoordinated little hands!

Teenie Weenie.

Who knew that a mere 17 months later she'd be using them to tear live pigeons apart:

Naughtie Wattie. Give me a twenty, I'll rock your party.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Mama's baby, Daddy's maybe

'Twas a long Thanksgiving day at Cedar Oaks. Cabin fever was epidemic. Michael and his step-brother got a serious scolding from the 'rents for having sucked down a rare and expensive bottle of wine the midnight before without permission. That was the highlight.

My dear spouse managed to duck out of most of the day's social interaction by having picked up a copy of Freakonomics when we stopped to trot Cedra around the Targ├ęt in Redding on the way up. So while I spent Thanksgiving day chasing her around the cabin, trying to keep 90 year old McCoy pottery unshattered, an antique spinning wheel unspun and attempting chitchat with the world's two most pretentious rural cabin-dwellers, he sat by the fire, sipped the sanctioned wine, and read Steven Levitt. I could have killed him.

But turns out it was in my best interest. See, we've been dueling for six months now over the subject of Cedra's future sibling. The long-term plan called for a two-year span between them, but when the time came to take the subject seriously last May he wasn't ready. Fine, I thought; we were going to France in a few months and I didn't want to spend the trip looking down the hole of a Turkish toilet. But when we returned, he still wouldn't discuss it. September, October, November passed and there was no longer a chance of a baby with a summer birthday. Baby #2 won't make the school enrollment cut-off, and I'm looking at an extra year banging my head against the walls at home or an extra year of childcare that we can't afford. Remember all those posts where M. and I weren't talking? This was the issue.

He let me know on the way back to California this weekend that he's finally ready. I gleaned from the series of monologues I listened to on the ten hour drive that there were two major catalysts for this change of heart: the first was the stroller display at a swank Corvallis toy store. I know you're holding your breath, but no, it wasn't a Bugaboo. It was a mere Zooper. Zooper? Hhhm, I'd never really considered it. I was a staid Perego fan myself. But hell, now I'm a Zooper lover.

The second factor was chapter six of Freakonomics, entitled "Would a Roshanda by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?" The chapter includes lists of names categorized according to several themes, and among them are names that Michael has deemed "" Especially Asher. Asher? I'd never considered that, either, but it has now replaced Michael's previous first choice of "Eliot" for a boy. I'd always liked Eliot. I figure if you're going to spend three months of pregnancy looking down a toilet you can take some satisfaction in the fact that your son Eliot will spend his middle school years with his head in a toilet, as well. I mean, what's fair's fair. But whatever. Maybe it'll be a girl.

What does this mean to you? It means brace yourselves for some babycentric babble while I bide my time between now and that Clearblue Easy. And wish us luck.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sorry for Sunday's histrionics...

I haven't read the comments yet, I'm just not up to another spell of bawling. But many sincere thanks to anyone who said anything nice. I'll read them soon, promised.

We're in for a ten hour drive to Corvallis, Oregon this afternoon. My huz's sire is a Forestry prof up there in the land of the Ducks and the Beavers, and lives in the middle of nowhere in a log cabin they like to call "Cedar Oaks." What the hell is a "cedar oak," anyone? No one is allowed to spoil the precious hardwoods of Cedar Oaks' Martha Stewart-goes-to-the-Adirondacks interior with shoes, so we're all armed (┬┐footed?) with brand new cheap n' tacky non-skid house slippers from Chinatown. Supposedly it's cold there today, and anyone in SF knows that we've been basking in the '70s here the last few weeks. I'm a pussy in the cold, so more whine-tainted posts could ensue.

By the way, I logged onto blogger with Safari today and was shocked to see that my blog looks like ASS, everything is out of place. I normally use Mozilla, and thought I had the HTML under control. I'll fix this when we get back next week, bear with me.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Self-portrait Sunday

I've given my mother-in-law a lot of play on this blog, particularly of late. She's a nut, that woman, real blog fodder. A real laugh riot.

She makes me think of a story I read once, written by a college student with a prosthetic leg. This victim of childhood bone cancer had made it through junior high and high school by being the funny girl, laughing her ass off about her hilarious wooden leg fueled mishaps; her leg falling off at the skating rink, that kind of thing. Then, as a sophomore in college, she found herself suddenly bawling like a baby in the middle of reciting a formerly funny lost-leg anecdote to her Speech class. She'd realized that the story wasn't funny anymore. And furthermore, a big part of the story had never been funny at all.

My mother-in-law is crazy. But she's rich, and when you're crazy and rich that makes you merely eccentric. Her own mother is a diagnosed schizophrenic, with the interesting sub-diagnosis of hypergraphia or compulsive writing. If my MIL could only tap into the hypergraphia, maybe she'd finish the dissertation that will finally give her an official PhD in Psychology. She currently works as a therapist, although her clients keep leaving her as she diagnoses them with cases of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, or whatever she happened to see on the Discovery Channel the night before. She's dangerously engaging. She can talk a good talk. But make no mistake, she's crazy.

Some actor once gave a definition of tragedy versus comedy; Dutch probably knows who it was. When someone else slams his hand in a car door, it's comedy. When you slam yours in a car door, it's tragedy. My MIL recently learned that my brother-in-law Jeff, her eldest son, has taken out a life insurance policy to protect his wife and daughter in case of his early demise. She consequently jumped to the conclusion that his wife, Laurie, was going to hire a hit man and have him knocked off for the cash. That was comedy. My parents left yesterday after a week-long visit, and my MIL took Cedra for an overnight stay on cuckoo's nest row today. As she left I gave her a tube of Aquaphor and carefully explained the treatment for the diaper rash that Cedra has developed as the result of her mother forcing her to wear fashion tights seven days a week. She called me two hours later to inform me that she suspected my father of sexually abusing Cedra. No, I'm not laughing. That's a fucking tragedy.

I've been crying for two hours. I opened a cheap bottle of wine to console myself, and that's been a little more cathartic. I think I've hinted before that this blog, begun in January of this year, was actually a therapy assignment. I was supposed to keep a journal. But a journal requires introspection, honest feeling, sincere expulsion of heartfelt sentiment onto a written page. Hell if I was going to do that. It was much safer to compose a public blog, with the requisite expectation of providing entertainment, humor, comedy to the reader. I've been prone to depressive episodes lately without the help of this type of cruel catalyst. I don't need this shit. She's not funny anymore, and I don't think she's ever really been funny at all. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. I'll be here rocking back and forth in a puddle of my own piss all week.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Everybody's funny.

My parents are in town. I know it's low, real low to mock your parents, at least after you turn twenty-five or so. But they make it so easy.

They're staying at The Ovation, next door to the San Francisco Ballet. But when my dad gives a geographical description of the hotel's location, he says it's "across from that mosque thing," "that mosque thing" being CITY HALL. Seems that since late 2001, any building with a gold dome on it is a mosque to my dad.

In other news, we're going up to scenic Vacaville today. My mom's internet research indicates that Vacaville has a Guess factory outlet, and my dad is on a quest for Guess jeans like they made in the old days. The old days being 1985. Seems the pockets on the new jeans are too high, and they don't have darts in the front. I could add that they aren't acid washed either, but mocking your parents is real low. I didn't even know that Guess still made clothing.

In still more news, Cedra has turned into a nay-sayer. It sounds more like "nang." "Nang!" "Nang!" She's sitting behind me eating a bag of Chee-tohs provided by my parents and watching television. But my parents are supposedly keeping an eye on her, so will I put a stop to it? Nang! These people exhaust me.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Stop Week

Just want you all to know that this blog is going to suffer for awhile due to the veritable cornucopia of crap I have going on at the moment. Sorry. It doesn't mean I don't love you.

Thursday, November 03, 2005



She was crying because the pumpkin was too heavy to carry around. She'd already dropped it once, but was determined to pick it up again.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Solar-Powered Chili Piss Test

True to character, my Nutter-In-Law lives on the Palo Alto street where Ken Kesey and his chums beat a piano to death in an early chapter of Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

Forty years later, the neighborhood is full of old hippies, Stanford and NASA researchers who wear slip-on shoes because they'd forget to tie their own laces otherwise and, call me Scooter, an FBI executive. But he's not undercover; unless you ask the hippies maybe. It's a crew to rival the Merry Pranksters in its own way, except you better believe no one is going to be wrapped in an american flag 'round there. Except perhaps the FBI guy, but even he probably voted for Nader.

Well, these people still love to throw street parties, although the Hell's Angels or even the otherwise unavoidable Wavy Gravy never show up anymore. And they do one every Halloween. This year, as usual, there was the classic brew of smoking apple juice mixed with dry ice along with a pot-luck spread of Mexican-themed classics and the party host's special Chili. It never crossed my mind that the juice might be spiked with vodka, or a hallucinogen, or other, but I'm telling you: that chili tasted like piss.

Now, I know these people. I've listened to my mother-in-law, the neighborhood therapist, expound on their bickering, cat-fights, fights over each others cats, and each others lawns and kids and SUVs that take up the whole damn street. I've read snitty three-page notes left by neighbors irreparably insulted over borrowed pizza stones. And that chili smelled like piss, it tasted like piss (please don't ask how I know how piss tastes) and I wouldn't put it past these crazy vindictive Peyton-Place-meets-Amercian Beauty people for one second to piss in a pot of community chili out of pure spite.

I didn't eat it, and of course I didn't give it to Cedra. I did watch out of the corner of my eye as Michael ate his, but I didn't say anything because I'm not really talking to him these days. He ate a little, but not much. He didn't mention piss. Maybe I was just imagining the whole thing. But still, I've felt inexplicably guilty for not warning him. It says a little something about marriage when you occasionally think about dipping someone's toothbrush in the toilet, don't actually do it but do leave the toilet lid up on the off-chance that your 18 month old might do it for you, then still feel guilty for not telling him that his chili might be spiked with piss.

I wish to god I had pictures of Cedra in her Octopus Diva costume (can you believe that every kid in my MIL's neighborhood knew all the lyrics to "Octopus's Garden"?) but we forgot the digital camera and have to wait for my MIL's boyfriend to email us some. In the meanwhile, here's a picture of her in her pre-costume get-up. I love this outfit: