Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Very Martha Christmas and a Hulky New Year

For several years now we've gone the direction of less gifts, more quality time, and just in time for the economic downturn we cut down our stress and spending, leaving time and money for good food and handmade goodies. Of course, buying for the kiddies goes on, but that is soooo easy. One trip to Target usually does for Theron. And what couldn't be bought could apparently be made. I searched the entire internet world for Theron's requests: Hulk pants and a Ben 10 Alien Force jacket. When I struck out, I called forth all my mommy determination and hodge podge collection of skills to make them. Here is Theron wearing both on Christmas morning. Maybe Ash has a better picture I can upload later.Believe it or not, all those hours of reality t.v. really paid off in this case. In particular, Project Runway gave me the tips I needed to proceed. I learned how to approach drawing a pattern from an existing piece of clothing and how to sew knits. Then I just made 4 trips to 3 different fabric stores. I also used my own jacket for clarification.
Theron spent the week before Christmas with Grandma Mary and Grandpa Richard getting spoiled. We drove up Christmas Eve for our reunion. We were so happy to see his happy little face and for him it was like, meh. He even told me on the phone earlier that week that he didn't miss me. And it didn't hurt at all, it was good. Christmas morning we drove to Santa Maria to see Grandpa Flip and Grandma Rita, who is doing so much better by the way, and is home from the hospital finally.
On the way we saw RAINBOWS. LOTS of them. Full rainbows.



Rainbows along Route 166
We also saw lots of tumbleweeds and I think maybe I'm finally getting over my fear of them. When I lived in Texas many years ago tumbling tumbleweeds made fear bubble up inside of me because I thought - mistakenly I know - that if you run into a tumbleweed it a) becomes lodged under the car and b) catches fire which c) causes the car to explode into a fiery ball of flame. On this trip we saw one get hit by a truck and it just shattered. But don't get me wrong, I'm still going to avoid them when it is safe. And I'll probably scream a lot anyway.
We ate a lovely holiday dinner with a Martha Stewart roast turkey and all the trimmings. Ashley had to run to the store because I forgot a few crucial items and called to report that there was not even one single russet potato in the place. But he found others and they were fine. We also made Martha Stewart sugar cookies and frosting from the recipe on the powdered sugar bag. Grandpa rolled the dough and Theron punched them out. We all frosted. Grandpa had to dispose of the leftover frosting so I wouldn't eat it, and he did, after doing a taste test of which color was most delicious. He concluded they were equally delicious.
We wish you all the happiest of holidays.






Monday, December 22, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I can't post pictures just in case Theron peeks at this site somehow, but somebody is getting some good stuff and some of the stuff is coming off of the sewing machine. It's kind of exciting. One thing he asked for was a Chia Pet. He loves that commercial and he picked out the Christmas tree. So I thought Hey, that sounds like a fun gift. Then I found out that Chia Pets are about $20. They're supposedly hand made and, they say, it takes all year to make enough for Christmas. Oh, Really? Well, that may be true, but I'm not paying $20 for a gift that will languish for a while before taking a one way trip to the Salvation Army. So we saved $20.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Numbers

This last month I helped with the PTA Holiday Boutique.
They gave me some flannel and I made 16 pillowcases.

With my own stash I made 30 pocket tissue holders.


For our staff potluck on Monday I made 3 Martha Stewart meatloafs (one for home).


For our department lunch today I made 3 pans of Martha Stewart avocado enchiladas (one for home). I was able to do it by getting a deal on avocados at Superior Market - 14 for $2. That was $1 for 7, limit 21.

For the Secret Santa exchange I made one doll and one bag for the doll.
Ants I killed today - zero. I don't know what that's about.

Number of times Theron yelled out for us to come to his room last night because he was scared - I want to say 7 but I think it was more like 4 until Ashley gave him something else to be scared about. It was quiet until 5 a.m.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Count Down to Christmas

Wanna hear a joke? Underpants! Are you laughing? Cause that's good stuff.
How about, do you know where is the scariest place in the house? Behind the shower curtain. That's where we're going to hide all Theron's Christmas presents this year.
Grandparents, I mean, Santa, Theron is obsessed with Bakugan. It's okay to get duplicates because they trade them. He doesn't have any of the accessories, just the little balls.

Ash and I took sick days this week to actually be sick, which is no fun. The first day I was sick I didn't see even one ant all day. It was eerie. The next morning I turned on the kettle for tea and one happened to be walking right there so I burned his little ass. Good times.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Waahhhh!

The end of the holiday weekend - boo!
We spent the day with Grandpa Flip and Grandma Rita and gave thanks for family and Boston Market and really good pies from Ralph's. It was a very easy dinner that satisfied in the traditional way. Theron and Grandpa got in several pillow fights and even after a bloody nose Theron decided it was worth the risk to keep going, but no more blood was shed.
The drive up was so very beautiful. It rained the day before but Thursday was sunny and clear and all along the coast we saw flock after flock of magnificent pelicans in formation and when we were finally in the hills we saw the happy cows. Theron adapted the Richard Shindell song were were listening to (Are You Happy Now) to Are You a Happy Cow? and we sang it loud making the 'You' a moo.


Some of you are probably wondering who fed the ants while we were gone? Well, before Friday I would have said How sweet of you to worry, but our ants are full, thank you very much. They'll be fine for a day. Then we come back and find the greedy little bastards eating stuff they don't even like, such as sugar. Since when??!! Oh, well, Grandpa Flip told us about lemon-scented Raid and Ash says he would spray it even if we didn't have ants because it smells so good. So take that.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Season Ends

Saturday was Theron's last soccer game of the season. Somehow this time it seemed sadder. It was such a great group of boys and they really played well. Last year was a little chaotic but fun. This year we could see they were learning real skills and making friends.
The night before at practice the coach surprised them with the announcement that they would be playing against the parents. They thought that was GREAT. Unfortunately in the first round Ash and Theron took a tumble, and Theron cut his lip. But he got back in. Then he was shouting things like WATCH OUT FOR MY DAD! HE DOES TRICKS! I had the ball and he came at me. I said, "Oh, no!" and he said, "we're against you, Mom!"
When we first got out there I just had two hopes: that I wouldn't slip in the mud and that I wouldn't get kicked in the shins. After about five minutes my only hope was that my lungs wouldn't pop.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Multi-tasking Crash

This was a VERY busy week.

Let's see, Monday Sophie helped me get on the road to making one hundred bean bags to give away at a workshop on art and artifact handling on Friday. I was going to do them on my own time, at home, but the whole thing spiraled out of control and by Thursday nearly everyone around me was put to work. But Monday was the craziest day. Sophie downed an eggnog latte before work that gave her a headache, then we stuffed ourselves at India Sweet and Spice for lunch. We had our own little sweat shop going, I didn't let her stop for a minute: cut that, fill those, iron those, go to my car, etc. By the end of the day I could barely lift my arms. "I'm so tired, are you tired?", I asked her.
"Yeah, and I think I'm gonna barf".

Polypropylene pellet bean bag ready to have the tag sewn in.



Labels we made using twill tape and iron-on transfer paper. My helpers and I cut and ironed down 100 sets, and they came out so nice. It was totally worth it.

We had researchers in to photograph petroglyphs, that was interesting.

Ozge greets the researchers.

Anyway, the workshop Friday went very well and both Ash and I were relieved it was over. He was having sympathy stress so we were both ready to skip away. Everyone loved the beanbags and oh, yes, the presentation was fine, too.


We filled the weekend with soccer, a trip to the Observatory, and the yearly shopping trip at Felt Club where we saw the Gem Sweater lady, Leslie Hall, in person, selling spandex pants and cds. I went up with the plan to touch her but then I decided not to act like a weirdo. I guess I'm a little sad about it now.



Theron with the Hollywood sign in the background



On the Observatory stairs

We're also sad because Theron and Alan were supposed to meet for a movie this weekend but the fires closed the roads between us. Safety first. Madagascar 2 will still be there another day.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

He cracks himself up

Theron to Daddy: "How can I love a man who pinched my butt?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Mental Health Day

The ingredients for a successful mental health day include:

Good food
One of our favorite slow cooker recipes comes from Martha Stewart. Basically you just pour a can of Campbell's tomato soup over a roast and veggies with a dash of thyme. The hardest part is braising the meat first and keeping the ants off of everything.
Grooming

A bubble bath and a thermal pedicure from Olay. It REALLY works but they're not kidding about the thermal part - it gets HOT.
The boob tube
Roger Moore was on The View making all the ladies swoon. He was talking about how he learned to kiss and they went crazy. Then he leaned in close to Barbara and she pushed him away - very cute.

A celebrity sighting

At the Grove I saw Leslie Jordan from Will and Grace who played Karen's nemesis, Beverly Leslie.

No homework - for Theron (or us!) because it was Friday.


And I really do feel much better.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Afterglow

Of all the lessons to teach a little boy, one of the best is trying to explain why people cry when they're happy.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween!


Here's our little pirate. Earlier in the day he had a beard and moustache. I carved five pumpkins. I really tried to make sure that black widow had eight legs, but it's still scary, eh? To the left is our little Obama-lantern.I hate that this is hard to see, I just couldn't get a good picture with the bats in the air.




Theron designed the cyclops.
We went out trick or treating right at dark, saw some amazing displays, but in the end we only probably hit about 10 houses. This is what I don't understand about this kid. In our day you got as much free candy as possible! After about 6 houses Theron wanted to look in the bag to see if he had enough. Enough? Can you still carry that bag with one hand? Then, no, you don't have enough. In our day we filled that bag and there was good stuff that parents would never allow now - pomegranates, home-made candy apples and popcorn balls. You had to get as much as possible because it faciliates a successful sort: there's the GOOD stuff, the stuff to trade, and then the pile for Dad, because just like earthworms on the forest floor, Dads are the mulchers of Candyland. They eat the boring candy, the black candy, and anything else disgusting, and they like it because they know, like everyone else except my son, that nothing tastes better than free candy. After the sort you ate candy everyday at a rationed rate so that you were still eating it when the Christmas tree went up. Ashley just thinks Theron's never been candy-deprived so he can't appreciate it. Another parenting failure.


Ashley went to the school costume parade. Theron appears at about 16 or 17 seconds into it.


video

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's War

The ants. It's all about the ants now. We are so tired of those little monsters. We must be on top of the largest ant hill in California. They're on the iron while I'm ironing. They're in the linen closet. They're on couch doing God knows what. Before we even moved in they were all over Theron's shag carpet and we assumed they'd move on, but no. Theron leaves towels and blankets all over the floor to walk on like pavers on a garden path. He thinks the ants can't climb them. This poor kid hates bugs so much it's like every nightmare come true. He could write his own Goosebumps stories - Episode One: Who Left That Juice Box In My Room???!!!!
Sometimes they go away and Theron thinks he's safe in the bathtub, pitting Shrek against Spiderman, when the ants come out of the grout. We're hoping this will really teach him a lesson about keeping his room clean but it's a slooooow process. Today, Episode Two: Who Left Those Wrappers On My Bed???!!!
My assistant, Sophie, is the sweetest girl ever and she loves all creatures. She will tell you heart breaking stories about giant African millipedes. Last week at lunch Ozge said she was trying to scare ants off without killing them. Sophie said, "Just kill them, they're awful!" In my opinion if Sophie says kill them, they have to die. Ashley has laid out every over the counter poison available and this week they tried to kill him back. Monday morning Ashley went to take a shower and found a paper plate with pizza remains in the bathroom trash can crawling with ants (Episode Three: Wha????) He rushed it to the backyard, naked, and while running back he sliced open his big toe on the cement. I thought he needed stitches but he heals well.
I'm sad about what this has done to me. When I wash dishes I enjoy pouring hot water on them. I like to smash them and watch as they run for their lives. I think I'm going to come back and find they were scared off by all the many dead, but they keep doing what they were doing, looking for baloney or eggs. And then I feel even LESS sorry for them and the killing continues.
Oh well.
Next, on the list, pantry moths.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Better Late Than Never?

Last week I went for escargot and Kir royales with Mike and Erik and I returned a book to Mike that I've had for 27 years. It is a hardback first edition of Hotel New Hampshire. I know at first I kept it because I liked it. Then I probably kept it because I moved around a lot and always forgot about it. Then I kept it because I wanted to and figured he forgot about it. Then we moved and I found it again and thought, oh well. I probably only read it once in the 80's anyway, then the movie ruined it for me. Many years ago Mike lost virtually everything he owned - the story is best told by him - he had more books, and records, and expensive clothes than anyone I knew. So he started over, and again his house is full of books. It was our goal to read EVERYTHING. At one time he had money and now he has so little but he and Erik have a motto: just buy the book. Giving someone back a book he thought was lost with everything else, giving it back to someone who loves books - I felt guilty for keeping it so long, but my heart hurt more to see the joy it brought. Then he opened the book, which I hadn't done, and pressed inside was a boutoniere from some long ago school dance.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Halloweens Past

Here are a couple of costumes back when I had time to make stuff and Theron had no opinion about what he was. This is him at 3 months. He is a bee. This costume was made by cutting up one of daddy's t-shirts. The stripe is a strip of one sleeve slipped over the top of a yellow onesie - no sewing. The hat is the other sleeve that I sewed across the top and twisted the corners with yarn. The wings are backer rod with trash-bag plastic.
This is the bee with his bottle
The next year he was a chia pet. The costume base is a long sleeve shirt and pajama pants from a discount store, that I dyed with Rit, to be the terracotta body. The hat and the body are simple rectangles that I knit in a garter stitch, using a Rowan wool tweed and green eyelash yarn. The eyelash yarn is knit with the wool every third row. The closure at the bottom was a snap closure I cut out of an old onesie.



This year he wants to be a pirate. In order to get an eyepatch I had to buy a moustache and beard. Of course he had to try it out and now I find the beard, or piece of it? everywhere - stuck to the chair, stuck to my car keys, stuck to the kitchen cabinets. If it gets stuck to the trash can that's it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Done!


I finished the quilt this weekend and we presented it to Steven today. We all think it is the best one ever. More photos at Flickr.

Friday night I went on my own to see Michael's new play. I don't think I'll write the name because this is a family blog, but it was soooo funny. He wrote and starred in it, Erik did all the art and there were some of Erik's paintings in the lobby, too.
Last night were the Santa Ana winds that woke me up at 3. I laid there in fear as Ash slept. The winds were so loud I felt like we were on a ship in the eye of the storm. Theron got up at 4 and got in bed with us. He said, "It sounds like the ocean!". I agreed. Ash couldn't understand what I was afraid of.
A partial list includes:
- pinecones being flung at such high speeds they start breaking windows
- A tree falling on the car
- The house being wrenched from the foundation and landing on a witch
- The reason it sounds like we're in a storm on the ocean is because we are
I was hoping the wind would calm down by morning and if anything it was worse and I overheard the weatherman saying it has something to do with warm air and the wind rushing to the ocean. EEeeeiiii! I drove Theron to school and at the lot in the park, where we park everyday, he asked to sit on the cannon. (he loves to do that) I said, "What?! Look outside!" and we watched what looked like the result of several firehoses spraying dirt in every direction. Right next to an uprooted tree.
"Oh", he said.
p.s. Ashley says he can sleep through wind because he is from Oklahoma! He also says there is no way pine cones can become deadly projectiles.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Cute!

How 'bout some links today?
p.s. Mom or Dad, does anyone know what happened to my teacup collection???

Booty juggler game : By 4Mations
p.s. the 7th was our two year blog-a-versary. Time goes by so fast...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Apple Pudding

This is for Odile who has too many apples, from the book, Great British Cooking: A Well Kept Secret by Jane Garmey. I copied it from a library book 20 years ago and it never fails to satisfy. It looks good and tastes divine.

APPLE CINNAMON PUDDING

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup light cream
4 oz butter
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
4 med sized apples

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Beat eggs and 1 cup of sugar. Bring cream and butter to just below boiling point over a low heat. Remove and pour onto the egg and sugar. Fold in flour, baking powder and cinnamon.

Grease a square 9" x 9" baking pan. Pour in the mixture and arrange the apples on top. Cover with the remaining sugar and bake for about 20 minutes or until firm (I always seem to end up baking it for closer to 40 minutes).

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Project Time


A few weeks ago Ashley saw me cutting fabric and asked what it was for.

"Your worst nightmare", I said.

"Which one?"

The baby quilt nightmare, of course! This one is for our head curator/interim director whose baby boy is due in less than 2 weeks. I've just started this Flickr group to show the various patches. There are only two in there right now but I'll be adding as they come in.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Popeye: Pros and Cons

Pros: He endorses a healthy, though limited, diet rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, and folic acid.
Cons: He mumbles and solves all his problems with his mutant fists.

Conclusion: Though neither are good about using their words, Popeye's still probably better than the Power Rangers whose powers are a mystery. Popeye does not require spandex or a secret identity, he am who he am. Also, the characters like to sing and dance and it's really cute.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Odds and Ends





today at the farmer's market in Montrose



Theron's team, the Golden Dragons, are doing great. Unfortunately Theron thinks because defense is "his thing" he hesitates to follow the ball down the field to the goal. Overall we really like the team because all the kids seem to get along so well.


This is a picture of lunch a week ago in Chinatown.
from left: Lalena, Kianga, Kerry, Vanessa, Me, Peg
I'm showing the picture because it was legendary. The food was DELICIOUS. We go to lunch as a group every week for Fun Friday and this was one for the books. For instance, everyone LOVED the eggplant and the majority of us say we usually hate eggplant.
Scott took the picture with his new IPhone. Kianga's making a face because her Blackberry could do that too. Scott showed gentlemanly restraint in not engaging in the Blackberry/Iphone debate but Kianga doesn't let up on him so easily.

Anyway the food was better than I bet it is at this place.

Speaking of food, this culprit (culprits?) found an old KFC chicken pot pie, ate it in the backyard, and left muddy footprints all over an air mattress.




Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sneaky Legacy

Theron's teacher told us that he gets in trouble for "sneak reading". He's been spoken to and we take it seriously but it also made me miss Grandma Hope all the more. If she were here she would tell him how she would let food burn while she sat enjoying her book. She would make him laugh and make him feel proud to be part of a family that loves reading to a fault.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Still Here

Don't give up on us yet. This was probably the first time we got close to trying to unpack. Theron had a game on Saturday and pictures on Sunday. Oh, yeah, and practice Friday. At practice some British football players came to guest coach and it was very cute. The kids were really fired up. Theron said the guy kept saying "Mate" and he thought that was pretty great. I did not make the banner this year but I really really wanted to. However, the old banner got new life because another Green Hawks teams cut it up and reused it.
Anyway, more soon...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Getting To Know You

Tell me if this would annoy you?

You to a seven year old: Behave or else.
Seven year old: Or else what?

This is the the type of conversation Theron had with the principal, the first day of school, following similar exchanges with his teacher. Theron does these kind of things because he can't tell when he's making people angry and also because he really just wants to know. He does it to us all the time and we tell him it's none of his business, but he just can't stop talking. Almost never does Theron mean to be disrespectful, but I can see where people would be mad. Let's say the exchange was like this:

You: Please take this charge off my account.
Seemingly disinterested credit card company employee: Or else what?

You wouldn't say, Hmm, she must be a very curious person.

I was home sick when all this happened and tried to ignore the phone. After about 9 calls I finally picked up and Ashley asked if the school had called. When I finally went back to work today I had messages there, too, and I thought they all sounded so equally worked up that I couldn't really tell which one had come first. I give up much easier. Not Ashley, though. Pity the cable company service rep who thinks they can get rid of Ash by putting him on hold for one hour. Oh, no, my friend.

Even knowing Theron we still get upset at the constant questions. During the worst days of the move no one in the Birdyhead family had any sense of humor left. Ashley, by himself, was loading and strapping large items to the top of his car at least twice a day, after work. One day Theron saw him doing this and must have thought, Hey, Daddy, how do you do that to make sure nothing falls off? Instead he says, "Isn't that stuff gonna fall off?" When they talked about it later it turned out Theron didn't realize everything gets tied down. He just assessed the situation and thought he should say something.

Labor Day Weekend - I woke up Saturday morning with a sore throat and I didn't get out of bed to go to work again until today. Anyone who has trouble sleeping should get this cold because the main symptom after the sore throat, congestion, sneezing, ear ache, is extreme fatigue. Sleep was soooo delicious. There was a lot of sweating, though, I hate that. The funny thing is, my throat is still froggy, but I went to work and felt way more rested than I have since our move started. Not only did I feel rested, but when I wrote to my friend Mike this morning, instead of signing off as I usually do lately, with "Everyone is driving me crazy today", I couldn't because it wasn't even true as a joke. So, I think I got over a case of the Grumps, too.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Who Else, But You, Would Want It


For bedtime we're re-reading The Cricket in Times Square, in which Tucker Mouse sighs, "Where but New York could a mouse have ice in his Coca Cola?" Theron held his drink up in a toast this afternoon, declaring his version, "Where else but Los Angeles could a boy have pickle juice in a glass?"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Did you know that your seat belts are covered under your car's powertrain warranty? Did you know that they're covered even if someone broke one of them by wedging a Skittle in the buckle and you disclose it to the dealership?

Slowly we're unpacking and arranging our new life. We really like it here, it's so lovely and quiet. This weekend we got rid of even more old stuff. It makes me feel really good to know that someone else's little one will have one little thing they need. So many people have helped us along the way, we feel grateful to give it back when we can.

Theron starts school next week. He's a little apprehensive about going to a new place and leaving camp - change is hard. The realization of all these changes has caught up with him this week and he's feeling it, but we keep assuring him it will be great because we know it will be. He started soccer practice and maybe some of these kids will be at his school and maybe some of them live nearby and we can have playdates and a regular life. And he's so cute and grown up. His other front tooth is coming in but for now they're so big in proportion to his face, I told Ashley when I see him in profile, arguing some case or another to his Daddy, he looks like a bratty little squirrel.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Next Chapter

Ashley said today that he doesn't really need to make any more trips to the old house unless he wants to, so the next phase begins. Normally I get really attached to things and places, I think Ashley does, too, but somehow this feels okay. Leaving Echo Park is okay. Though the neighborhood is changing it's still not great for kids and where we are now, is, so as far as we're concerned that's what counts for all of us at this point.
Now the big sort begins. We've thrown away and given away so much already, but surely more can go, and again, we're ready. We have a covered patio and boxes are there awaiting attention. By the way, I had put out some very nice baby things on the sidewalk last week. Theron was distraught. But the next day, on the way to day camp, he said we should drive by to see if anyone took them. "I hope so" he said. And they were gone. Theron said "Yay!" And that gives us hope about what he's learning from all of this.
The change is good and we're really happy.
What we have learned:
- The Bissell Little Green Machine tackles stains like you wouldn't believe. THANKS, MOM!
- The public library has the forms for changing your voter registration.
- You can print out official change of address forms from the DMV website.
- You can actually do a change of address through the U.S. Post Office on their website and to verify your identity they charge one dollar on your credit card.
- Little kids can help by: Putting things in the shredder, with you close by; wipe things with a spray bottle and paper towels; vacuum a little; take things to the trash or recycle; water the plants.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Exhausted

Too much stuff. Dish pan hands. Pain. Arguments with 7 year old about what makes something a baby toy and why he doesn't need it anymore. Going over calendar to see what day one could call in sick or come in late - no, no, no, no, no - that was easy. Do laundry then put in bag for Goodwill. Fill boxes now according to size of objects, not type. Move it. Start again. And goodnight...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Oh, no, I'm so bad with the posting. When we started this move we thought 'how luxurious, we have a MONTH to be out of the old place!' Now we only have until Monday and the amount of stuff we own is just exploding from every crevice. We are so grateful to Grandpa Richard and Grandma Mary for coming down with a big truck. Ash and Richard moved the refrigerator, stove, washer and dryer. Big relief. Mom helped clean and go with me to dump our HUGE load of bags at the Salvation Army, then run away really fast.

But we're home now. It's a mess here, too, but it really feels like home and we're happy.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Theron says today, "Thank God for the weekend 'cause I need a break!"
This is what Theron's week is like: One day a week they go to the beach. Two days a week they go to the public pool. Wednesdays they take a field trip; last week it was Knott's Berry Farm. He says he doesn't like going to the beach. Do you know why? Because it's too sandy, that's why.
In the meantime Ashley and I have been taking daily trips to the old house trying to sort and pack and it just looks like a tornado went through. It's so easy at first to put books and cds into boxes and label everything. But now we just stand there not knowing what to do. Just looking around for like items - I don't know. Here's a chicken, a cup of pennies, the library book I convinced the library to take off my account because I swore I remembered returning it. I do remember returning it, and yet here it is in my house. Now I'm going to have to smuggle it back in.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Future


Theron: Sometimes the link to Netflix View Instantly on the desktop doesn't work and I have to go to Internet Explorer.
Me: Oh, dear.
Theron: (shrug) It's just irritating.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Where we hang our hats

So, just a quick post, we're now sleeping at the new house. Friday I came home and found out the phone and internet were turned off. I guess I missed the details of the shutoff timeline since Theron was dying in the car while the Ash was making the arrangements. Anyway, Ash and I talked about it for one second. If there's no phone or internet we basically don't have a home so I started throwing stuff in the car and told Theron to put his shoes on. He's all, 'Mommy, I don't have a shirt because you put all my clothes in the car!', but we found one on the floor and we were on the road. AFTER, I had run out barefoot to turn off the sprinkler and got stung by something in the lawn. Ashley was giving Theron a time-out and told me to put a baking powder paste on it. So I hobbled into the kitchen and put on the paste which then fizzed up. It's baking SODA! Sorry! I got some Benadryl and we were on the road. My throat started to itch and close up but we got here and set up for the night.
The cable guy came this morning to set up our tvs and internet. We finally decided to bundle the cable, phone, and internet. Duh, what a deal, why did we resist? We have 200 of the most requested channels for 3 tvs at almost 1/2 of what we used to pay. I'm embarrassed to say that at one point this afternoon ALL THREE OF US were on the internet watching cable tv in different rooms at the same time. The only reason three of us aren't doing it right now is because Ashley went back for one of the beds. I'm so happy this all turned out to be cheaper because we have to economize now and when Ashley said we'd have to give up the cable I agreed, but the new season of Project Runway just started and I don't even know who I like best.
My New Yorker was in the mailbox today. Ahhh...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lucky Seven
Theron's birthday was on a Friday this year and we went to Ventura. We thought Ventura's good, maybe hit the beach, stay in a hotel, the whole Birdyhead family loves to stay in a hotel. It should only take an hour. We left at 1:20 and got there around 3:40. Ashley took advantage of the down time by getting our phone service switched over. In the meantime, after about an hour of stop and go, mostly stop, traffic, Theron was getting sicker and sicker. I finally pulled over in Tarzana so that I could look at him and talk about what was specifically wrong because his little voice was fading. The poor little guy had stripped down to just his shorts, he had black circles under his eyes, and his stomach was heaving in and out. He looked like Elliot when he and ET were sick. He told me he was going to die now and he needed to be somewhere inside where it's cool, not in an air conditioned car.
I found an AM/PM Minimart and made him put on some flip flops to come inside. I told him to get anything and everything he wanted. He perked up after a blue raspberry Icee, Hulk-out flavored Air Heads, and Cool Ranch Doritos. I gave him a plastic bag just in case he needed to throw up blue and green. It would have been slightly ironic because the day he was born, seven years prior, I ate a blue ice thing and I threw it up. Actually I remember the midwife calling to ask how I was doing and Ashley told her I was throwing up in the bathtub.
ANYWAY, maybe he was just car sick. He seemed much better after that.
Then we got to Ventura and poor Grandpa had an equally bad trip. We were already exhausted but we were there to celebrate, so off we went to Golf N Stuff. That's Grandpa and Theron in the bumper boats. That was my favorite part. We played tons of games. In one corner they had the old originals like Pacman and Tetris and Galaga. They're probably the exact same machines we played on in the 80's. I was sad Star Castle wasn't there but that was really only fun to play with Beth and Joan. It was the only way to win: one person shoots, one person steers and one person drives. All three people scream. I played Centipede and I was doing really well and then my wrist starting going numb. Carpal tunnel!!! They need to retrofit the old games with ergonomic wrist pads. Dad and Theron played lots of shooting games and made a great team. Ash and I played a round of golf but we didn't keep score. Theron played a skee ball game called Scat Cat and knocked down TWO cats AND got the ball to bounce back. It was a once in a lifetime move.
Then we went back to the room to open presents.
Grandpa Flip and Grandma Rita got him these beautiful Harry Potter wands that are special made to be the exact proportions as the ones described in the books and they have such a nice weight to them you could believe they would really work. Below is Voldemort's wand. He also got Dumbledore's Elder wand.

The Dark Knight admires himself.
Then it was off to dinner. Theron got his favorite food - a plain cheese pizza with pineapple. Here he is declaring that he will sacrifice himself to eat the pizza, no matter how hot. He's wearing his new Ben 10 shirt that he says he is going to wear everyday until it is brown.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Changes and Farewells

Ashley takes another load of boxes over to the new place every day and spends his evenings planning the space. He likes it so much he hates to leave. When you look out the front windows you see the beautiful foothills. We've been going slowly because we can but we're actually really eager to just get this over with, so we'll be stepping it up. In the meantime we can reflect on what we will miss about our little Echo Park neighborhood. Let's see. Would it be:

The dog poop on the sidewalk, blocking the path?

The lack of parking and the increase of cars, all fighting for a spot? How about our neighbors who have four cars they spend all their time moving around?

The parking lot d.j. parties that go on until the wee hours of the night at the complex two doors down?

The roosters that don't just crow at dawn?

Or would it be the dogs on either side of us that treat our yard like their playground? How about the time one of them came through the fence, ripped our pool mattress to bits, and damaged our kiddy pool? When Ashley went to talk to the neighbor about it he suggested it was either a stray cat or the dog on the other side of us. I suppose it could have been Rosco since he is always back there knocking over flower pots, but he only stands about 10" tall and I don't picture him wading through about 16" of water, punching tiny holes in the vinyl liner with his sharp little toenails.

I know, how about the plucked remains of pigeons all over the back yard left by the stray cats with the weepy eyes who use our raised bed - well, our whole yard really - as a litter box.

Lockdown - we'll miss lockdown of our block, where we live, and twice Theron's school. Fortunately the first time the school was in lockdown (until 9 o'clock that night!) Theron was already off campus. The second time he and I ran and just made it out of the gate. Otherwise the cops close down the street, no one is allowed in or out, and the helicopters circle and circle.

Memories... Well, here's what we will miss: walking 4 blocks to the library. Theron and I would go twice a week.
Lotus Festival where there are fireworks two nights in a row and we could see them from Theron's room or we would just walk 3 blocks down there with beach chairs then walk home. Echo Park itself is very beautiful.
I'll miss being so close to downtown, Little Toyko, Chinatown.
I'll miss being 5 minutes away from Mike. We'll miss the newly renovated public pool, 4 blocks away.
Ash and Theron will miss the donut shop with their fabulous apple fritters.
There's probably more, it hasn't been all bad. Oh, I know, we'll miss our landlord who hasn't raised the rent in 4 years. He has been very kind and any unhappiness here has nothing to do with him. Every year he would leave Christmas presents and every month he cleaned up the yard.
Living here put us closer to Lumbini where Theron has had his most productive years ever. But we're ready for this positive change.

In the meantime, Theron is in a summer day camp through the Echo Park Rec Center and it's such a great deal. For one low price they go to the beach once a week, the public pool twice a week, and every Wednesday is a field trip. Today they went to Medieval Times to eat turkey legs and watch knights joust. We gave him some spending money and he bought himself a smoothie and a telescoping lance. It still tickles me that he can buy stuff all by himself. Not to say it's all perfect, Theron is still Theron and there is sometimes trouble, but we're dealing with it. He lost some privileges the other day and he was mad, but then he said to me, "Oh, well, it's okay. I have a long life to live".

Birdyhead had its first non-friend, non-family member comment last post!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Naomi is about to leave us for a new job so she spent the day teaching us the proper way to stuff mocassins. From left to right: Sage, Cecilia, Me, Naomi, and Peg looking for the grain of the polyfilla. Ozge was taking the picture. Naomi was such a good teacher we actually got a lot of work done . Ozge was the star, she finished a pair of sandals and a hat. Sage's first attempt had an Idaho potato look so he added some embellishments to distract from the craftsmanship.

There's usually nothing a pair of jiggly eyes won't fix.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We're Moving!

I used an exclamation point which makes it look happy, but in my heart, though I'm happy, I'm also making that Macaulay Culkin/Edvard Munch scream. Air conditioning - happy scream. 50% more rent - tortured scream. Parking - happy scream. At least 40 extra miles a day between us with gas at almost $5 a gallon - Aaarrrgghhh!!! Blue ribbon public schools - coming down off the ledge...

I don't like that at 41 I still have so many doubts about what is the right thing to do. There are so many reasons why this is a good thing, not the least of which is getting Theron out of the school here that rates 4 out of 10 and is currently on probation. Who's to say he will fair any better at a 10 out 10 school, but we have to find out. On one hand I dread that we are paying so much more money and still don't own anything, but on the other hand I remind myself that if we had bought a house when we got here we would have bought it in this neighborhood and we would have been stuck. I guess change is just hard and we don't really do it very often so it's irrational fear. Everything's great. It'll be great. It's for the right reasons. I'll have a dishwasher for the first time in my life. Yippee!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

And so it begins

I was eating pizza and I felt a piece of a filling come out. A new-ish filling. And I was so mad because these things aren't cheap and I was eating soft food, for goodness sake! So I indignantly made an appointment with my super nice dentist. My dentist is a really nice person and I think he does great work - I would know, I'm in there enough. I always feel kind of bad because I don't know how he does it but he always seems genuinely happy to see you and I'm sitting there in a lead apron so when he says "How are you?" with sincerity I don't know what to say. I'm normally there to give him one whole paycheck. Anyway, he had a look today and told me that the filling was fine, the thing that fell out was part of my tooth. Ha Ha! So now I need a crown. He was expecting this as the tooth had a big crack he was monitoring. So, kids, just because it's fun to use your teeth to crunch up ice and jawbreakers, or to tear things open, don't do it. It catches up with you. I loved my first crown because it was virtually the only all-white tooth in my head and though $1000 seemed excessive at least it's forever, right? Then I learned that even in the best of circumstances you can chew through a $1000 crown in about 20 years. And that is the lesson of the day. Take care of your teeth.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Fourth of July Weekend
Santa Monica - Theron and Ash in the center We think this is a German tourist taking a picture of her German tourist friends having California fun. That's Theron on the right. There were young people out promoting a new show called Burn Notice. We got a free Burn Notice frisbee, a towel, and some sunscreen, but we really wanted the umbrella!
Front yard fun with "fireworks" from the supermarket.
At 9 we went down to Echo Park to watch the amateur displays. It was smoky.



Sunday, June 29, 2008

Theron is home and life goes back to what passes for normal for all of us. Grandma and Grandpa got to know him a little better.
Theron: Can I take my shirt off?
Grandma: Why?
Theron: Because I'm going to turn into the Hulk and I don't want to ruin my shirt.
Grandma: Okay.

Grandma told him he could come back - after having him sign a contract for expected behavior. Theron's signed these kind of contracts before, he'll sign anything you put in front of him. Unfortunately I don't think he considers them legally binding. You might have to sue him.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

One Less Bell to Answer...

One less egg to fry. I should get to work on time ... but no. I thought all this extra time in the morning would result in all this extra work getting done. Yesterday I was disoriented. Today I spent 45 minutes looking for my keys. But more than anything we're happy Theron's doing okay at Grandma's. Today in art class he drew the Hulk and the Abomination. We miss him but he's doing fine.
Of course now that school is out there's plenty of non-pet road kill out there, fresh and of a managable size.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Day One - The Eerie Silence

The first full day of Theron at Grandma's. No one telling us he's bored. No one debating whether something is a treat or a snack. A snack or a healthy snack. It's so quiet...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Graduation Celebration

Well, our little guy did it - he tackled first and second grade in one year. I still don't know what we're going to do with him this summer but at least grandma is taking him next week while we figure it out. In the meantime we somehow completely missed the fact that the last day of school was TODAY not TOMORROW like we expected it to be. Not only that, the afterschool program was closed (thanks for telling us!) and at 4 o'clock I got a call from grandma, in Bakersfield, who had Theron on the phone asking who was going to pick him up. Mom was so confused about why someone would be calling her to come pick up her grandson that when he got on the phone and said it was Theron she said, "What's your last name?" She had more questions lined up but she recognized that indignant little helium voice.

When I got there he was in the office with the assistant principal and they were researching what jobs he could do to make a million dollars. He told her when he grows up he wants to make a lot of money and I said, thank goodness because Daddy and I obviously never aspired to that. I'm glad, too, because Theron's money is either in a ziplock bag or stuck together in little stacks around his room and I thought maybe he didn't fully realize what it is for.

Rebecca talked me into getting a Facebook page. I did it and it set off all kinds of new anxieties: will I have any Friends? Will people be disappointed in my page? Will they feel inhibited about me (old) seeing the pictures of them and their (young) friends having fun? But now I'm only a little anxious because I got a bunch of friends right away (it is like a real live network, wow) and there are other people not much younger than me that will be my friends. Hmm. Well, we'll see.

We heard a thing on the radio today saying that the power company will give people a $200 rebate if you give them permission to turn off your air conditioner at critical times. We wonder if we can sign up for this or if they check to see if you actually have an air conditioner. How about if we say they can turn it off ANYTIME? How much if we promise to NEVER use an air conditioner. And if we can get it retroactive to 2004?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Stay-cation

Ash needed some time alone today so Theron and I took a little trip right here at home, to Hollywood. We saw Speed Racer. The verdict: we liked the part where he fought the ninja and pulled his pants off. But the mom says it was toooo long. Whose idea was it to make a kid's movie over 2 hours long? Then we walked around the Chinese Theater looking at the footprints and getting pictures taken with various superheros and characters. Of course you tip them.

Darth Vadar said to give the money to Leia
. I hope Spiderman uses his dollar to buy some Shout.

The bird gave Theron a kiss, too.


We liked how this Batman looked Adam West-y.


Optimus Prime and Ironman gave us the most value for our money. We saw Spongebob, too, but I told Theron we were out of dollars.

Then we went to the Ripley's Believe it or Not Odditorium. I guess I knew what to expect but it still made me a little uncomfortable. I'm just glad Theron didn't hang around to read all the labels. They had one of those things that looks like a big funnel and you're supposed to race a dime, nickle and quarter to see which is faster. We did a dime and a nickle. The dime won. I said, "I wonder why" and he says "It won because it's worth more". We saw video of the tallest man ever born and a stuffed two headed goat. Theron kind of looked around and said, "The question about everything is 'how did this happen?'"