Tuesday, September 29, 2009

feeling the love.

paul e, who listens to fm 94.9 online up in huntington beach, sent me an email this morning, asking me to play some catherine wheel during my show today. i loooooove rob dickinson's voice and their song "black metallic" is so damn beautiful, so it made me happy to throw it on for him. i emailed him back to let him know about what time to expect it, and that was it - i played it around 11:45am, said it was for paul in huntington, and continued on with my show. about an hour later, he sent me this:

having a listener make you a "thank you" video? priceless. getting a "thank you" video that includes a poodle cameo? pricelesser.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

7 years. no itch.

it's funny that our seventh wedding anniversary somehow feels way more significant than the 6th or the 5th. why is that? we talked about that, way too loudly, over dinner on friday night.

we got a room at the pearl in point loma, a super cool little boutique hotel, and auntie j spent the night with f. i stopped at mesa liquor before we left and bought us two stone vertical 09-09-09s to share, since i am a budding beer snob who puts a finger over one ear and says things like "just a flutter of asparagus" when i taste a new one. we shared those and got some food at the restaurant there at the pearl and between the alcohol and the noise level, before long we realized we were YELLING across the table at each other. yelling things like "EVEN WHEN WE'RE PISSED AT EACH OTHER, WE KNOW IT'S GOING TO BE ALL GOOD!" and "THIS POPCORN SHRIMP IS FRIGGIN' AWESOME!" you know, a contemplative and romantic analysis of our relationship.

and it's funny. f gets us up at the crack of dawn every. single. morning - i haven't set an alarm since 2006. and so often, especially if she's not sleeping well for a stint - i dream about having a night off, a quiet night in a hotel to just sleep and sleep and sleep. but then, when i get one of those rare nights off, two things happen: i can't sleep, and all i do is miss her. for weeks leading up to our night at the pearl, j and i would joke about it, or when f got us up early we'd remind each other "one week! we get to sleep in in one week!" and then? i was probably awake 4 times last friday night, and when i looked at the clock after thinking i had totally slept in? it was 6:09am. not. even. funny.

put that on the "things i never understood until i had a child" list, that missing them when you finally get a break thing. my sister has three kids, each about four years apart, and she is one of the busiest, most giving of herself, most stressed mamas i know. but she is hardly ever away from her kids and when she is, she misses them. of course! but before i had f, i remember thinking - dude, are you NUTS? you are FREE (if only for 24 hours)!! i didn't get it at all. but there we were, at the pearl, talking about f. and my last night "off", i was thinking about f and j. and the last girls' weekend i went to... you got it. had a great time, but missed my peeps like crazy, funny how that happens.

so, seven years tomorrow, 9/28/2009. maybe it feels significant because we're getting closer to ten? i don't know why, but it does, somehow. it's our copper anniversary; i googled it. so, tomorrow morning, i'm giving him some Fehling's solution and a class D fire extinguisher. and a penny. i love him.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

putting the rad in radar, or, a list, pt. 2.

my last two posts have been such downers, and i want to make an attempt to balance my blog's chi with a happy-thoughts post, so here goes: a list of good things that are on my radar right now. (i have radar? really? i mean gaydar, sometimes. but radar? hmm.)

1. f. after a few months of out-of-sortsness and a string of not-even-close to sleeping through the night nights, f has been a peach lately. super funny, snuggly, loving, easy to deal with if she does complain or freak out. i think a big part of this is that she started in a new class at preschool, and she LOVES it and comes home pooped every afternoon, so she's been sleeping all night long again. that, combined with MAJOR potty-training breakthroughs means a happy camper. we'll enjoy it while it lasts! or, as my mom put it, "bwah ha ha ha haaaaaaa!"

2. f's new class. her lead teacher is GREAT with a capital G,R,E,A & T - loving but firm, always seems positive, good sense of humor, tireless, creative... i am so grateful. she has a new male assistant teacher who at first seemed a little reserved but has warmed up and clearly likes f too, so that rocks. and she's already learning new stuff: "baby starts with b! car starts with c! fun starts with z!"

3. j. we're celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary on monday, and he just thrills me to no end after 7 years. on our good days. which thankfully, are most. even when things aren't all rainbows and unicorns, we've found a groove by now that really works. and if we're totally bugged with each other, we deal. things have been really good with us lately. and we're getting a hotel room at a local uber-hipster spot this friday night - his sister, auntie j, is going to spend the night with f at our house. yay!

4. the hillcrest farmer's market. it's become our regular sunday morning plan, now, for f and i, and as if the juice-tastic organic strawberries, local free-range eggs and fresh kettle corn weren't enough, steve poltz sat in with the 7th day buskers a few sundays ago and bumped up the regular family jam quite a few notches. f was smitten.

5. ponyo. the hand-drawn animation, tina fey and matt damon, and the fact that no one blinks an eye when ponyo is a fish with a face who turns into a girl - it is our new favorite movie. so sweet, so rated g, so weird, so good.

6. entourage + top chef + project runway + tivo.

7. girls' nights out, moms' nights out, dinner with girlfriends, dates with j...

8. the holidays are coming! i am a grade-A sap when it comes to the holiday season. i drive around with the nutcracker on cd in my car, i decorate as soon as possible, i love love love it all, from oct. 1 through new year's day. and now with f's birthday in january, it just extends it all. bring it on!

9. the sense that i'm starting to make peace with the craziness my life has become. some women seem to transition into motherhood so smoothly, at least that's how it seems from the outside. me? not so much. i'm still transitioning, and maybe i'll always be trying to figure out how to make time for all the parts of my life i wish i had time for. and letting go of the hanging on to other parts that for now, are just going to have to wait - i'm getting better at it. it's just making more sense, even though it's still not easy. but i'm feeling more at peace with stuff, so i'll take that for now.

10. yogging with a soft j. we cancelled our gym memberships because we're pretty much living on the tightest budget EVER right now (who isn't, right?) so i've been walking around our 'hood in the mornings, and sometimes, even jogging. it's all about the iPod - kanye west "gold digger" > madonna "hung up" > positive k "i got a man" makes for a happy excerciser.

11. i'm going to stop, my fingers are getting sticky from typing all the sweetness.

Monday, September 21, 2009

when it rains.

every night when i tuck f in, one of the last parts of our routine includes thinking (out loud, for her) about the people we love. while her answers have included "san diego super chargers" and "dogs that like to lick me," she usually lists off family and friends and teachers. and after many more kisses and hugs and snuggles, she settles in to her bed and i lay down on the floor next to her bed while she falls asleep. this, of course, is just one little chapter in what we like to call at our house "the great sleep debacle of '07, '08, & '09", which as i've written before, is another post for another day. what i try to do while i lay on the floor waiting for her breathing to get nice and steady is to think about the people i love too. usually, i just feel grateful for the beauty that lives in our extended family of relatives and friends, and if i know of anyone who is struggling, i try to send them love and good good thoughts. lately, however, my list of people in our lives who are struggling is just getting ridiculous. i have a friend in her late thirties who is completing radiation after getting a double mastectomy and six months of grueling chemotherapy. i have an acquaintance, barely 30, who is in the middle of chemo for ovarian cancer. our sweet neighbor carly is in a coma in a hospital in bakersfield. two coworkers were hospitalized over the weekend - one, who is 35, had a triple bypass this morning, and the other has an infection in his leg that is extremely bad. i have a great friend who is unemployed, a friend who is dealing with infidelity, a friend who just realized she wants a divorce. and these are just the few who are top-of-mind right now.

so. is this just some odd cosmic timing? or does it have to do with getting older? whatever it is, my heart hurts for all my friends who are having a rough one. it feels good to lay there in the dark and send love out to each and every one of them while f is falling asleep, so i do. and then i think about all of our blessings, because hot diggity - of those, there are plenty. our borderline-pornographic homegrown cucumber, for starters.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the outside lights.

it's been a weird week so far. f has been awesome: funny, easy-going, loving school, snuggly and just a love-bug. it's been nice. a lot of things are good, in fact. but across the street from us, our neighbors have been living in what i can only imagine is truly an excruciating nightmare of a reality: their sweet sweet 19 year old daughter was in a horrific car accident last sunday afternoon and is now, from what we gather, in a coma.

she still lives at home, and we know she's in a band because her mom and dad are so proud of her and so supportive. at a neighborhood barbecue last summer, i was struck by how cute her mom was as she told me about carly and how she was following her dream with this band. her mom asked if i knew what "screamo" was, and it was so rad, that word coming out of her mouth. both of carly's folks clearly are so proud of their girl, with good reason.

about two weeks ago, a short white bus showed up in front of their house, and it sat there on our street all week as carly, her mom & dad, and the other band members took turns working on it. other neighbors pitched in too, and they put bunks in that little bus and took it to get new tires. last saturday morning, f and i met her parents in the street and chuckled about the bus and about how they had been kinda noisy working on it so late at night, trying so hard to get it ready for their first big tour.

and this past monday, it still felt like a normal day as my show got underway. but as i perused the radio station's twitter account, i noticed a "tweet" from a listener saying something about a local san diego band having been in a horrible bus accident near bakersfield, how two of the members were in comas. i had never learned carly's band's name, so when the person said the band was called "a city serene", it didn't even register. i googled bakersfield news, just to check up on the story before i sent a link out to the station's twitter followers, and i found a short article about a bad four car pileup that had happened sunday afternoon. i just gave it all a cursory glance at first - i was only looking to make sure this person wasn't full of it before i shared the story with other listeners.

i guess it was about an hour later when the same person who'd sent the initial "tweet" sent something out again, about how she was in a panic about her injured friends and how she wasn't sure what to do. for some reason, i went back to that article from the bakersfield news site, and i really looked at the picture of the accident. and then? i felt sick. the picture that was with the article showed a white bus all crunched up on its side, and it looked just like the white bus that had been parked on our street.

to make a long story just more crappy, i googled "a city serene" and sure enough, my worst fear was confirmed - this was carly's band, that was the bus they'd been working on. i called j, freaking out. and i really knew nothing - just what the article said, that it had been a bad accident and that all 6 kids (the band members are from 19-22 years old) had been life-flighted from the scene. i noticed on their myspace page that someone had already posted a bulletin about the accident and had set up a pay-pal fund to help with forthcoming medical expenses, so i sent out the link on facebook and twitter. the band's manager called the request lines and told me that carly was one of the most seriously injured in the crash, and i just felt so flipping helpless. he also asked me to mention it on the air, to send people to their myspace page in hopes that people would make donations i guess. so i did, but it all felt so surreal - carly is our neighbor! i mean, we don't know her well (she's never around - she's 19! and in a band! would you be around?), but we adore her parents! WTF, life?!? W! T! F!

as of today (thursday, four days after the accident), we still don't know much. i do know that her parents have been with her at the hospital since sunday night. their cars haven't moved and their outside lights are now on 24/7. and, i mean, it's those outside lights that just ruin me. seeing them on in the daytime, knowing it's because carly's folks are not about to leave her bedside as their little girl fights for her life. every time i leave or pull up to our house, i see those lights on and i think about what it must be like, as a parent, to be going through what they are going through right now, and it just plain breaks my heart. it's impossible to even begin to wrap my head around it. it takes my breath away even trying.

it took the local san diego news media about three days to pick up on the story, and today, the UT ran the most comprehensive story i've seen on the accident yet. yesterday, a local television station contacted me at the station and, having heard i am carly's neighbor, asked me to go on the air with them to talk about it. i told them "no thank you" as fast as i could get the words out - my gut just said, oh hell no. it just felt wrong - we know them! we are so worried about them! i mean, can you imagine? you are going through the most devastating event of your entire life and hey! there's your neighbor on the news talking about it! riiiight.

so, it's been a weird week. life is just fine for our little family, but i can't stop thinking about the family across the street and how as we are in our house laughing and singing, they are just suffering. i think if it hasn't been done yet, we're going to to mow their lawn for them this weekend, just pick up around their yard a little bit. we'll do more, of course. but mowing the lawn? doing neighborly things? we can do that - we'll do it with pleasure. it's the least we can do. especially if their outside lights are still on.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


putting these in the "holy crap! we grew stuff!" file:

and today's harvest:

vegetables! who knew? so much fun. even though our zucchini plant produced no zucchini, we killed a squash and a pepper plant, and six year old jackson called our eggplants "the ugliest eggplants i've ever SEEN!!", we still fell in love with gardening. up next: winter vegetables. wish us luck!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

thank god for kegels

...because these had me THISCLOSE to wetting my pants. filmmaker derek waters (you might recognize him as "party guest #1" from the movie "he's just not that into you") gets his history buff pals WASTED and then films them talking about a specific historical event. oh, and people like jack black and michael cera act out the scenes, hiccups and all. comedy gold, in my book!

this one involves a bit of vomit, consider yerself warned. but jack black as ben franklin? WORTH IT.

Friday, September 11, 2009

the neighberts

f has been chock full of gems lately, as far as talking goes. she's two-and-a-half and her language has just been crazy lately, all the words and phrases she's picking up. she's been telling j and i that we "are not good listeners," that we "get to be the line leaders," and that we "need to try and go potty." it's true, she just started in a new classroom at her preschool, so she's got new rules on the brain. but it is also a constant source of comedy at our house. "dad, you need to sit on the thinking mat," is one of my current favorites. she sings "mary had a little man whose fleece was white as stew." a couple of mornings ago, she picked out a peach from our bowl and wanted to eat it, so i said i wanted to feel it to make sure it was ripe. after i did and decided it was, i washed it and gave it back to her: she bit into it and then yelled happily, "IT WORKS!"

but i think the thing that is melting me the most lately is her pronunciations. "love" is "lub," my name is "huh-lary", piano is "pannio," and the neighbors are the "neighberts". now if she could just get "antidisestablishmentarianism" down, i'll be satisfied. i'm just having a hard time fitting it on the flash card.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

rock, paper, scissors

a good half-hour of my show today was spent arguing with my co-workers, off the air, about who gets to interview maynard james keenan tomorrow morning. tommy, garett, halloran, & i were all gunning for it, and it boiled down to a heated round of rock - paper - scissors. tommy won. which, in the end, i'm ok with. because, maynard:

the guy doesn't smile much. good luck with that, tommy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

sentimental value, or what the ocean had for lunch.

we went to the beach this weekend, because, y'know, we live in san diego and isn't that what we're supposed to do on the weekends? actually, we love the beach. i grew up in manhattan beach, just outside of l.a., and the beach is just what we did. all summer, every summer, all day, every day, literally. our neighborhood rule was that every kid had to complete two years of junior lifeguards before we were allowed to go to the beach by ourselves. and as we got older, different streets were the "cool" streets to hang out at. like, when i was in 7th & 8th grades, it was all about 8th street. all the buddies would meet there every morning and we'd just hang out ALL DAY. i remember scrounging up $2.00 in coins for lunch each morning because every day around noon we'd drag our sandy, shoeless little bodies up a couple blocks to el sombrero. we'd linger through the high heat of the noontime sun (or until areg gently nudged us out the door) and then we'd head back down to the sand at 8th street. the boys surfed, us girls bodysurfed, and late in the afternoon, we'd walk home. i love the beach.

j went to the beach as a kid too, but growing up in chico, CA, getting to the beach took some doing. when he moved down to san diego, though, it was on. when we were first dating, i bought him a pair of rainbow flip-flops, you know, because we lived in mission beach and i felt like he HAD to have some. he's gone through about 10 different surfboards since we met and now he can't wait to get a surf in whenever possible. he's at the beach more than i am. fortunately for both of us, f has apparently inherited our love for the ocean because seriously? she can't get enough. she's in the water as soon as we get there and then is never ready to leave. she runs to the water and then prances through the waves. prances, no joke! i can't think of a better word to describe her joyful little jumpy gait out there in the whitewash. and i just feel like saying "thank you, lord baby jesus, lying there in your little ghost manger, looking at your baby einstein developmental videos, learning about shapes and colors... thank you that f likes the beach and the ocean. not only is it fun and beautiful, but it's FREE."

so, we went to the beach this weekend. f's latest love is her boogie board that uncle bob just gave her: it's a yellow hand-me-down, just her size (meaning her whole body fits on top) and it has already gotten a lot of love. we had no sooner set up our creek chairs when she'd dragged her auntie j out with her, and off she went, catching waves and pearling and popping up to ask for more. j and i sat on the sand and watched them, cracking up. after auntie got tired, they came in and f asked me to take her back out, so i did. we were out there for a while and then j came out to take over. again, i found myself sitting on the sand watching f tear it up. she's so light on the boogie board that she spins around on the waves, ending up riding the wave in backwards or kinda sideways, and she just hangs on for dear life, ginning the whole time. after a few rides, j would just pick her and the board up together - he'd just lift it up with f still on it, walk her back out a bit, and reset her, ready for the next little ankle-slapper. it was awesome and it gave me that warm-mama-belly feeling - just that pure parent joy i'm learning about, when your kid is doing something that just tickles you, you know? gah. so good.

it was a great day at the beach, and all was well. we went home, i showered off, we started dinner. j went in to hose off too. but after about 15 minutes, while f was sitting at the counter eating an omelette (we've been watching "ratatouille" lately) j came walking towards the kitchen with a shocked look on his face, holding his left hand up and out at me. "BABY," he said. my heart did a little jump and my stomach seized up a little as i looked hard for the blood. because j has a history of some gnarly, bloody injuries, so that's what the sound of his voice + the look on his face had me ready for. "WHAT?!?" i said. "my ring," he said. "it's gone."

his ring. at first, i felt relief - relief that i didn't need to pack up f and rush him to an emergency room. and then, the sadness started to kick in... and then? it stopped. i was sorta surprised by that, that i didn't freak out or get really really sad, but i didn't. j felt terrible, and we just didn't really know what to say to each other for a little while. i knew he didn't mean for it to happen, and i knew he felt badly about it... and it just felt like there wasn't much to be said. he usually takes it off to surf, because the cold water makes everything (ahem) shrink. that day was the day he'd forgotten to take it off. and now, it's gone.

10 minutes later, he was online looking at titanium wedding bands. and here, two days later, i still feel the same mix of sadness and ok-about-it-all-ness. it's true, this is the ring i had engraved for him, that i put on his finger seven years ago at our wedding, the ring he wore as he patted my belly when we were pregnant, the ring he wore when he held a still-wet f for the first time that cold january night. but we're still married, we're still good, he didn't need stitches - it could be a lot worse. i'll miss that ring, and i think he will too. but life is good - we have each other, we've got our girl f, and our girl f loves the beach. i'm pretty sure we're going to be ok.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

hot hot heat, or, WTF? arizona in august?

it's not really a long story, y'know, about why we picked tucson in AUGUST as this year's family vacation. it came down to economics - the hotel room was free, we had coupons for free meals at the hotel, and flights & the rental car were really cheap. which is weird, because why isn't arizona a popular tourist destination IN THE HOTTEST PART OF THE SUMMER? it's beyond me.

the nice thing was, we stayed at a great resort and we were some of the only people there. so, the service was excellent, almost by default - i think the staff was so bored, every time we walked within their field of vision it was like "YES! something to do." there were five pools and most of the time, we were the only ones in the kiddie pool, which f just loved. j and i loved it because we could sip mai tais while sitting on the "baja step," which we learned was an extended third step into the pool which made the pool only about 2 feet deep until you got halfway to the... nevermind. whatever it was, f loved and we did too.

and really, i don't have much to report. despite (or, maybe, because of) the 100+ degree temperatures, we swam a lot, we went to see "ponyo" which f loved and sat through until the storm turned the ocean into some giant blue fish. we saw a hawk and a big lizard up close, and we learned all about javelina while at dinner with auntie corbie one night. kinda wish we hadn't. we went to bed early and napped when f napped. j golfed. f and i went to target. we got caught in a monsoonal thunderstorm, ran to our room, and watched it roll over us from our balcony. we ate and drank. we did not touch the cactus.

so: tucson. it was nice, don't really need to go back. but i'm super grateful that we had a family getaway, even if it was flying straight into the mouth of hell in the middle of summer. next stop: arctic tundra, mid-january. bring it on.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

working for the weekend

a few times a year, my job requires me to work for all or most of the weekend. my mom usually drives down from l.a. and stays with f for the weekend, and they have a grand old time together - f loves her "dranny". and for the most part, these long work weekends are really fun. coachella was one work weekend earlier this year, and i spent my days interviewing cool bands and the nights at the concert and drinking with my co-workers at the beautiful house the station rented for the week. can't really complain. it's hard, though, to fully let go and enjoy during these weekends - it's hard to get f off my mind. don't get me wrong, i definitely have a ton of fun, but it's always there, the knowing that f is there and we are here. i imagine it's like this for all parents, and maybe it will always be this way, and that's ok. it just takes some getting used to.

street scene rolled around last weekend, and as she did last year for street scene, my mom came in to town just in time to shoo j and i out the door and into our awaiting taxi. friday evening we headed downtown and for once, i didn't have to broadcast, so we just ran around, saw bands, and drank beer with our pals. it was awesome. we saw dungen, devendra banhart (who, despite a broken rib, got all sabbath-y on us at one point - totally awesome), band of horses (swoon-worthy), deerhunter, and a little bit of cake. and instead of wanting to stay and just go nuts like i've done at so many street scenes past, after a while, all i wanted to do was to be home, to be near my baby. so i did. went home around 9:30 and was happy as a clam to do it.

saturday, however, was my work day. f and i spent the morning with dranny and auntie j and we gave dran a break for a while too. because really? being one on one with a 2.5 year old for 48 hours? it's a little much, know what i'm saying? all in all it was a good morning and after i put f down for her nap, it was time to shift gears once again and get into work mode. i jumped online to do a little research on the bands i was scheduled to interview, put on my party clothes and headed back downtown.

things got off to an interesting start that afternoon: right as i was walking up to our backstage broadcast trailer, a big beefy guy was standing at the door yelling at our engineer jeremy. "you have five minutes," he told him. jeremy said he needed more than five minutes, and then the guy spun around and stormed off. seems i had walked up on the guy from the trailer company trying to kick us out of our broadcast trailer because the trailer company hadn't been paid for the trailer rentals yet, so they were locking all the bands and us out and going to tow them all unless they got paid. hmmm. our broadcast was scheduled to begin in about fifteen minutes at that point, so we decided to hold off until we knew one way or another if we were going to lose our trailer or not. do note that it was about 90 degrees in the shade that day, and as the minutes ticked on, more and more sweaty and disgruntled-looking band members and managers began lingering under the big tent that was next to our trailer. it wasn't looking pretty - you could just feel (and hear) how pissed off people were. but after about another twenty minutes of waiting around, we decided to just go for it, so on the air we went. it seemed like the bands were eager to do something that got the ugly trailer situation off their minds (or maybe they were just happy to sit in our air-conditioned trailer). i got to interview wes and matt from ra ra riot, chuck d, and silversun pickups that day, and all of them were great. and then i was done!

well. i was done with my part of the broadcast, but i had one more little work thing on my agenda: jack white. i knew he was due at our trailer at seven - halloran was going to interview him about his new band the dead weather, who were playing on the main stage later that night. so i went out to the beer gardens, found j, and brought him backstage with me and back into the trailer. we hung out with hal for about fifteen minutes when jack white came walking in and wow! he's a tall drink of water. he was not scary, as i had imagined him being - i mean, he's jack white! but he was friendly and open and interesting and interested. it was a really cool surprise and it was a thrill. between chuck d and jack white, it was a good day.

we saw public enemy, of montreal, l.a. riots, silversun pickups, and the dead weather that night, and then i started to feel it again: i just wanted to be home with f. i didn't want more beer or more music or more fun - i just wanted to be near my girl. so i went home, and i was one happy mama. my mom and f had a great weekend together and me? i think maybe i'm learning how to balance this whole mama/work thing, slowly but surely. maybe. two-and-a-half years into it. one long weekend at a time.