Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Behold the power of...THE MOM

While Mom is taking a nap and Mr. Blogger is not yet home, I'm going to try to dash off a quick, and most likely boring-ass blog entry. Not feeling terribly creative on three hours sleep.

Hey, why aren't I the one napping?

MB and I stayed up until 3:00AM to get everything finished for the Madre de Cleanliness (I don't know enough Spanish to tell you what that would be). Even though she said not to worry about, seriously. If it were YOUR mother's first time to visit your new home and YOU had the most fastidious, albeit newly "relaxed", mother in the world...wouldn't you stay up until all hours of the night?

We then also had to get up way WAY too early, but after I picked Mom up from the airport and we came home to drop off her was ALL worth it.

MY MOTHER, ladies and gentlemen, commented on how CLEAN everything was.


Well, that and she loved everything. The house, our furniture, the Christmas stuff...everything.

Then we went to Souplantation and ate way too much salad (IS there such a thing?) and she hath now pooped out. (We also sat and discussed just how Mexican could we be when she's only half and I can't speak Spanish. It's a long story. Assimilation, culture, the need to define oneself. You know, typical mother/daughter talk. Maybe THAT'S what exhausted her.)

So I have her all tucked in at the moment, but she needs to be up soon for us to go see my brother's family for dinner.

You KNOW the whole reason for this trip was to see the grandbaby. No problem. I can deal with that.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Or I could just douse the place in Pine Sol

We are not going to discuss the fact that I woke up with a really sore throat this morning. And that Mom gets here tomorrow. And the BIGGEST GAME OF THE YEAR is this Saturday.

Nor will I mention that my friend didn't end up coming to stay last night because he had a rotten cold, and we spent two days with him last week.

Nope. Not gonna talk about it. I prefer denial.

Anyway, moving right along. Last night we finally got Christmas decorations. We went a tad bit crazy at Michaels.

(My favorite is the lit-up polar bear that's on the front lawn. Oh my god seriously...he's the cutest thing you've ever seen. Except perhaps for pissed off cats. But I'll take a picture when we're done setting everything up. You WILL love him.)

But the most difficult decision was that of the tree...real or fake?

When I was younger, we always had a fake tree until the year my brother and I staged a revolt and insisted on real. I have always preferred the pine smell permeating the house. It just feels more Christmasy.

And Mom, I will do you the favor of not having to hear about how you had to supervise every little ornament's placing, for fear of imperfection. And the nervous wrecks my brother and I became over it. OR...of how we finally decorated all by ourselves when you were out of the house one year, AND THERE WAS NOTHING YOU COULD DO ABOUT IT. (I kid, because I newly-relaxed-madre!)

Good times.

So when Emily and I were chatting last week and she told me of her parents' SHOCKING decision to buy a fake tree this year, I felt her indignance. That's just not right!

But then you grow up and have to vacuum the needles yourself. You also have a somewhat neat-freak husband who just may go over the edge with the possibility of pine tar ruining the new carpet. (He didn't even like it when I sat the boxes on the carpet...THEY WERE DUSTY!)

So as we drove to the "real tree lot", we talked about the pros and cons. We stopped off at Michaels first to get lights...and made the mistake of seeing the trees they had. On sale. At low, low bargain prices. Ok, not that low. But discounted at least.

And we broke down and bought one. Emily, you may shame me.

I did protest it at first and kept talking about how I was NOT happy about this. But then we got home and poor Mr. Blogger had to put it together. It's 7 1/2 feet tall and pre-lit, so it was somewhat of a nightmare getting it right. As he lovingly arranged each, individual, single, solitary branch, I told him it didn't have to be perfect!

He looked at me with utter shock and stated, "It HAS to be perfect."

And you wonder why he and my mother get along so well.

But when he was done, at 11:30 at night, it WAS perfect. And beautiful. And HUMONGOUS. We haven't even gotten around to putting the ornaments on it yet.

OK, so it doesn't smell as good, but I'll buy some of those pine-scented tree air-fresheners you hang on your rear view mirror or something. What matters is that MB's happy and there's no mess and my mother will approve.

I'm kidding...sort of.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Power Hour

Every so often, and I wouldn't call it "frequently", I get a wild organizational bug that takes over me completely. I need to clean everything and go through closets and re-arrange my entire house.

The thing though, is that I am all too aware that this feeling is going to be very fleeting. So I am in some kind of race against the clock that will tell me to just screw it...leave everything where it is.

I'm frantic, I tell you, FRANTIC.

So when I get like this, I need to get everything done RIGHT NOW...or I may never come back to it. Mr. Blogger quite enjoys it when the feeling hits me at about 3:00 in the morning.

Given the fact that I have a friend staying over tonight, then my Mom flying in on Wednesday, I knew that the place needed to be SPOTLESS. I decided to tackle all the crap in the garage (including the ten tons o' memories from the ex). But in finding room for all that, the guest bedroom closet needed to be completely reorganized. Which led me to go through every box in there to find the Christmas stuff. Which led to one pile for trash, one for Goodwill, one to give to friends and one for which to find storage space. Which led to exhaustion.

But I wasn't quitting until it was ALL done.

Apparently someone else had other ideas.

At about 5:00PM, just as it was starting to get dark, the power went out. Boom. Complete blackout. We called the electric company and they said about 500 customers were affected and they were sending technicians to work on it. They also said to expect an approximate ETA of 9:00PM.


In my frenzied state, I decided to gather every candle in the house and KEEP WORKING. MB went to go get a flashlight and came back with the teeny-tiniest thing I've ever seen.

Note to purchase... flashlight bigger than thumb.

I had no idea how long I would be dealing with this so I kept at it. Of course, I also accidentally spilled candle wax all over my books, so that slowed me down a bit. But my anal-retentive husband spent hours cleaning those (hey, we each have our idiosyncrasies), so I was covered.

We ordered Italian food and pushed some boxes together to make a table so we could eat on the floor. It was even almost romantic with the candlelight. Or rather, it would have been if I hadn't been freaking out.

Then after a couple hours, power was restored, I shouted in delight, and then saw my handiwork. Not THAT bad considering I hadn't been able to see. OK, that leather jacket probably shouldn't have been in the trash pile, but I fixed that.

I got EVERYTHING done. We still need to actually put out all the Christmas stuff, but for now it's all in a neat pile of boxes in the living room. All I need to do now is buy a tree and decorate everything before my Mom gets here at 11:00AM on Wednesday.

Oh and clean the whole house, wash her sheets and towels and otherwise get everything ready for her white glove test.

I was talking to a friend on the phone last night who told me not to stress so much since surely, "she can't be THAT neat". Or, "I'm SURE there were times when you were growing up that HER home wasn't perfect".

Once the hysterical laughter died down, there was only one thing to say...


Sunday, November 27, 2005

"Watching" and waiting

I told you before of the OV-Watch I purchased this month. Remember, it's ridiculously expensive? Yup...I THOUGHT that would ring a bell.

Well, we programmed it correctly, started it on the right day, and I've been wearing it faithfully, ever night, for the requisite amount of time. And yet, every stinkin' day it says this:

Nothing like looking at your wrist every day, only to be reminded that YOU stupid non-baby-making loser!

As I was now on Cycle Day 12, I started to worry that there was still no sign of impending ovulation (the watch notifies you when you get to the four "fertile days" leading up to the big O, so to speak, and I still didn't even see anything saying THAT was coming).

I also remembered that I royally screwed up my cycle by taking the progesterone too early last month, so god only knows what my body's doing these days. I was starting to think my uterus may have gone on vacation. It's pretty stressed out and wanted to lay out on the beach with a good book and a Virgin Piña Colada. But I told it there was no time for such laziness.

I called the company and they said they would have a "product expert" call me right back. Yeah, right. At 4:00PM on the day before Thanksgiving. Oh wait, make that 7:00PM...they're on the East Coast.

But someone actually did. And she answered all my questions, and had me put it through a test mode, which showed that everything was working properly. Again, I'm not sure that made me feel any better though, since that meant it was my body malfunctioning, not the watch.

What a surprise.

So as we were watching Saturday Night Live last night, the watch switched itself to the new cycle day at midnight. And lo and behold...
Woo hooooooooo!

Now we may or may not actually get pregnant this time, but at least I know I'm not some kind of non-ovulating freak.

My uterus is thankful for the relief.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


It's not my fault.

I haven't been able to get on the damn computer because SOMEBODY got a new cell phone for his birthday and has decided to employ every bell and whistle on the Windows capabilities. I finally had to kick him off today, or else he would be editing wav files to make his custom ring tone...UNTIL THE END OF TIME.

But then, I gave it to him. Maybe it is my fault.

Thanksgiving was good...although our UnTurkey was looked at somewhat dubiously. My cousin was the only one brave enough to try it and I applaud her courage. The day was also a lesson in what exactly constitutes "vegetarian". Cooking in chicken broth, for example, does not. (They may ban us from attending next year.)

Honestly though, we had a great time and as far as I know, no one passed out or had any eyeball injuries. Although we did leave fairly early. Who knows what shenanigans may have transpired after.

Yesterday I had the somewhat challenging task of having to go to my ex's house to get all the crap I've been storing in his garage for oh...THREE YEARS. He was nice enough to keep a lot of my stuff when I moved to London and I honestly kept forgetting to go get it. But since we were both free on the day after Thanksgiving, that was to be the day...yippee!

Yeah, that was fun. But I made the grievous error of thinking I was only there to get some boxes and go. Nope.

Apparently this was also to be the time that he wanted to divide up more of "our things" that I guess we never got around to. You try going through tons of boxes, going through EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT, and deciding who gets what. I swear to god, it was like splitting up all over again. And he SOOO enjoyed that the first time.

The BEST part? Dividing up pictures!

"This wedding pic has mostly your family, so YOU take it."

Can you imagine the awkwardness? It was hot and dusty and I must have sneezed twenty times in there. Add to that "the laying out of the stuffed animals and quibbling over who gets the stuffed panda" and you have the day of sheer hell.

He's a good and decent man, my's just a horrific task no matter how you look at it. Especially when you consider that I left him, and although we're perfectly cordial to each other, I don't think he ever really forgave me. I still feel guilty knowing I "ruined" someone's life, even though it really was the best thing to be done.

You know how I do so enjoy people hating me.

Oh! I forgot! I also got to see MY cats, whom I picked out and bonded with and loved as my children...but had to give up when I moved...AND THEY RAN AWAY FROM ME.

The hits just kept on coming.

After HOURS of this, I came home filthy and my wonderful husband suggested we get out, go to dinner and take a breather. Thank god. Nothing like some chips and guacamole to wash away the day's challenges.

But now I'm going to need to go through all that crap and find places in the house to put it in storage. Can't tell you how glad I'll be when it's all over.

In the meantime though, I think it can all sit for a while. Well, except for Cartman...he needs to be free.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Didn't you love to put all the olives on your fingers and eat them off one by one?

Well I didn't think I'd have time to write, given my full and somewhat hectic list of activities scheduled for today. Ooooo...I just feel so needed...

Then the door knob, decorative plate, bolt lock and all, decided to completely fall out of the front door and everything went out the window. Or rather, door.

The locksmith just left after 2 1/2 hours of trying to first fix it, and then having to buy another that doesn't even match the other door. Whatever, the owner's paying and when and if we buy this house ourselves (Zee Medical van hassles notwithstanding), we'll redo the whole thing to our taste anyway. But now I'm stuck between what I was supposed to do this morning and where I'm going tonight. Screw it...I'll just do laundry.

Such an exciting life I lead. Although at this point, if I'm not puking, then it's all vegetarian gravy.

But at some point this evening, after meeting up with Emily for dinner, I need to get home and make the UnTurkey. Since of course, no one else in the world will want some, I only need to make sure it's good enough to feed Mr. Blogger and myself. We're heading up to family in L.A. and will bring it with us. Have fake meat, will travel.

Between getting everything done for MB's birthday and being somewhat bedridden, I had almost forgotten about all the Thanksgiving hoopla. But considering how many Thanksgivings I've missed due to illness, injury and poked out's never been my favorite of holidays.

My grandmother (Mom's mom) used to go to so much trouble and cook EVERYTHING (I think we brought a can of olives every year) for about 13 of us. The year of the aforementioned poked out eyeball, she had been coming to see me, by bus, every single day of my six week hospitalization.

When I got out just in time for the holiday, she still had to pull everything together. But just as we finally all sat down to eat (and say grace, being the good Catholics that we were...emphasis on WERE), she PASSED OUT.

Literally..."OK, let's all be thankful that Brooke is here, eyepatch and all, and dig in everybody..." BAM! She had reached her limit. That woman was one tough cookie and was worse than I am in admitting defeat or fatigue when it comes to GETTING THE JOB DONE. But se finito.

My uncle immediately scooped her up, took her to bed and there she stayed for the rest of the day. We didn't see her again. But DAMNED if she didn't pull off the usual amazing feast before she collapsed. (And when we were all calmed down and assured that she was in fact, perfectly fine, just exhausted...MAN did we laugh our asses off!)

I'm telling you...between both my mother AND father's sides of the family...there is no room for WIMPS!

I'm doomed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

On the day that you were born, the angels got together...

(Never thought I'd reference a Carpenters tune now, did ya'?)

Well, it's just that kind of day...


To my husband who is...


...(I could go on and on) HUSBAND IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!!!!!!!

Now don't be telling me all about how, no, YOUR husband is (although I applaud that and am glad you found him).

This is the day we celebrate MB...a man who has been my best friend, my partner, my doctor, my shrink, my LOVE...frankly, my EVERYTHING for the past three years.

I don't know how I was so lucky to have found you. I tend to question it every day. Am I deserving? Am I good enough? Am I the same in return?

But then I learned that you just THANK YOUR LUCKY FREAKIN' STARS and go with it.

I'm pretty sure everyone knows this story, but it bears repeating.

When I first went to London on vacation, I had known quite a few friends, friends-of-friends, acquaintances etc, who lived there and had offered to be my tour guides and show me all the native's ins-and-outs. MB was one of those people.

I had promised so many that I would be in touch when I arrived, and we would then meet up. It was just chance that the first person I reached on my first day there was MB.

Now, I'm not stupid. He did sound cute. And we had conversed previously, but this "first time ever to the UK" trip had meant so much to a girl that had been an Anglophile as long as she could remember (and you should have seen my pages-long list of things to do and see I brought with me...MB still teases me about it).

I would of course enjoy a handsome British dinner date, but that wasn't why I was there. So we met up that evening.

Holy moly was he cute! He took me for Thai food (and got even cuter when we discovered we both were veggies) and walked me all around. I kept remarking that the whole place looked like a movie was all so unreal. Well, that may have been the jet lag talking, but you get my drift.

He then suggested Sugar Reef to go dancing and when the gorgeous girl bartender came from behind the bar to give him a big hug and kiss, well, WHO THE HELL WAS SHE?! Turned out she was his brother's ex-girlfriend, but what the heck was up with my sudden pang of jealousy?

So after dancing up a storm (a GUY who liked to dance...what, did you custom order this one for me or something, God?), we sat on the couches and talked. Or tried to talk, given the volume.

I was starting to fall for this man...I knew it. I have never been one to hide my feelings either, so I thought what the hell and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Since I still couldn't completely read his feelings yet, it seemed the safe and semi-cute thing to do.

His face lit up with a HUGE smile and that was it...MAKE OUT CITY.

What an American hussy.

So the next day he took me EVERYWHERE. I have never walked so much in my life, nor been so incredibly exhausted at the end of a day. It was so great to have someone who was a native Londoner as your guide though, 'cause there was no end to the interesting stories, and short cuts, and off-the-beaten-path places to go. One of these included a boat restaurant on the Thames where we had lunch.

Pay attention...that last part will be VERY important.

When he took me back to my hotel, he asked if I would like to accompany him to a party his brother was having that evening (brother number three, not brother number four who had the bartender girlfriend...MB's the eldest of five took me forever to memorize them all).

But I begged off because I was so freakin' tired and jet lagged and had just reached my max for the day. I told him to have fun and he promised to come by in the morning for more sightseeing.

I went to bed at some ridiculously early hour and hoped I would be refreshed when I awoke. A cute boy would be arriving to take me more places and I was pretty excited about that.

But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...when I awoke, it was TO VOMIT MORE THAN I HAD EVER THOUGHT HUMANLY POSSIBLE. I was up from about 1:00AM until he got there around 9:00am...only to see me in the bathroom...cuddled up in a blanket...lying on the floor, because it had become just too difficult to run back and forth from my bed.

THAT %#&^$&*(^&@# Stilton and mushroom salad I had for lunch ended up giving me the worst food poisoning I have ever had in MY ENTIRE LIFE.

On only the second day of my 10 day trip.


I would now like to state that there is perhaps no more embarrassing illness to have in front of someone who is:

A. Essentially a stranger

B. Cute

C. Someone you had hoped to impress...not repulse

But in the FIVE DAYS it took me to get over this most disgusting of ailments, guess who came to my room and took care of me EVERY SINGLE DAY?

He called the hospital, he called my insurance in the US for me to see how I'd be covered, he brought me crackers, he CALLED MY MOM...well, he did everything.

I know part of that was the EMT in him that kicked in and wouldn't let someone in that much suffering go it alone. But what he did was truly beyond the call of duty. I mean really, can YOU imagine doing that for someone you just met?

When I finally got better, I was so upset that all my plans had been cut short, so I called the airline and extended my trip for two weeks.

We never left each other's side in that entire time.

I never called any of my other friends to meet up.

And we fell in love.

Around a month later, he came to see me in San Diego and proposed...about two hours after his plane landed.

There was NO DOUBT IN MY MIND WHATSOEVER that he was the one. And that he would love me and take care of me and be with me through whatever we would encounter. (Including all the immigration hassles entailed in wanting to marry someone from another country...that alone could have broken the closest of couples.)

I now call it the "True Love Through Food Poisoning" test. How could you let go of someone who had passed with such flying colors? (Little did he know it was just the start of many, many, MANY illnesses to come.)

But he's never made me doubt my decision to say yes. Not once.

So on this anniversary day of Mr. Blogger's entrance into the world, I would like to say first, THANK YOU M-I-L, and secondly, thank you to the man who taught me from just about the first day we met, what it means to have true, solid, all-encompassing love...



Monday, November 21, 2005

I may be toasting the occasion with that liquid crap they give you for a barium x-ray

Well! I think we can all see who everyone loves on THIS blog! (That's ok,'s the same way in real life...the man can do no wrong.)

But as much as I still want to puke my guts out and as badly as it hurts to be sitting up straight...I can't take not blogging ANY MORE!!

I am so bored, and in so much pain and this just really really sucks beyond all suckitude.

Do you remember the part in Boogie Nights where Scotty tries to kiss Dirk Diggler, but then is made to feel so foolish that he just sits in his car and says "Fucking idiot!" to himself, like, nine times or something? No? You don't? Ok, well if you did, that's how I feel. Except for the kissing part.

I just want to curse the living crap out of myself for doing this AGAIN. I missed EVERY SINGLE THING we were supposed to do this weekend.

On Friday, as I was getting my hair and waxing done, I noticed that my stomach was hurting particularly badly, but I thought it was just cramps or my IBS or something and tried to ignore it.

But by the time I was supposed to be driving to the nail salon, I had to go home 'cause something was definitely NOT RIGHT. I rescheduled the mani/pedi for today but...we'll see.

I'm supposed to go pick up the cake today and do other birthday-type preparations (again, not the place to be telling you quite yet but I can't wait to tell you the nightmare of trying to get MB's gift...can I just say that the EXTRA MONEY I paid to make sure it was here in time for the big day, resulted in its delivery to the WRONG FUCKING ADDRESS this morning? If I hadn't tracked it, then Mr. G Abramovich who signed for it would just be having a SWELL ol' time! Oh, but they're sending the driver to go pick it back up...yeah, can't wait to see how that pans out.).

And we have reservations tonight for dinner. His birthday is tomorrow, people. I HAVE to pull it together.

My temp is still hovering around 100, and that's not the end of the world, right? We've been on ER watch all weekend, waiting to see if it got so bad that I'd need to go. The nurse I spoke to there told me everything to keep track of, and my biggest fear will be that just as we're sitting down to his lovely, romantic, birthday dinner...CALL THE PARAMEDICS!

It wouldn't surprise me though. The real bummer? It wouldn't surprise Mr. Blogger either. I'm just that kind of girl.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Two days without a blog!

Well.... Brooke is sick, so this is MB writing a guest blog.

Firstly; No Emily, she is not dead... there is no need to send flowers. I know that because she writes her blog every day and usually in the morning, that as soon as a couple of days pass with...NO BLOG!...people immediately assume the worst!

Secondly; I'm sorry this is so late. (See above comment).

She called Urgent Care yesterday, (while I was at lunch with her step-dad, her brother, his wife and their seven month old daughter),and described the symptoms to them. They said that it sounded like pancreatitis! She has been resting and we have been checking her temperature regularly. I am ready to take her to the hospital if her temperature goes any higher or the pain gets worse.

So, in keeping with tradition, Brooke was unable to come to lunch with her step-dad to celebrate his birthday, (and mine), because she was sick. We also missed the Depeche Mode concert. She did tell me to go without her, but I wasn't going to leave her at home alone all evening when she was sick while I went to the concert! I did however go down to the sports arena last night and sell our tickets; I haggled with a couple of people and managed to get $120 for our tickets :-) I then went to DZ Akins , (a jewish deli not far from there), and got food for the "patient", (if she wasn't vegetarian I could have got her that old favorite "food for the sick", chicken soup!)

Some (small) consolation though: Not going to the concert did enable us to watch the USC vs Fresno State game last night. Both Brooke's brother and her sister-in-law went to Fresno State so we were cheering for them... (not quite as much as we might otherwise have been, as it occurred to us that if USC lost this game they would probably be much more fired up to win in their next game which is against UCLA!) Although USC won...again!... at least it was nice to see THEM have to come from behind for a change.

Ok, I guess that's it for me. Just wanted to let everyone know why you had not seen a new blog here for a couple of days and that I am taking good care of the patient.

"Normal service will resume as soon as possible".


Friday, November 18, 2005

They say it's your birthday!

I have to run pretty soon here because today is my Day of Beauty. Haven't had one since my birthday and it's time for maintenance. In other words hair, waxing, mani/pedi...woo hoo! (It was getting a little scary over here...)

But I need to get gussied up because, speaking of birthdays, Mr. Blogger's is on Tuesday, the 22nd and keeping in line with the "Birthday Week" tradition, the celebrations start tomorrow.

Just about everyone I know seems to have a birthday coming up. It's ridiculous. But we figured it's from all those people whooping it up on Valentine's Day! (Don't lie now M-I-L...we've cracked the code!)

After DoB, I need to go get cards and/or presents for SIX people! (Including both ex-husbands...yes we're friendly, and would you believe that every guy I've married has had a birthday in the same two week window?)

So tomorrow we're getting together with my step-dad (I HATE saying step, but you may get confused otherwise), step-brother (ditto on the step thing), his wife, their baby, his wife's dad and MB and me. We have three b-days to toast at lunch.

Then it's off to the Depeche Mode concert...where I plan to personally ask Dave Gahan to lead the crowd in a raucous rendition of "Happy Birthday". OK, maybe not. But I wish I could.

I have some other stuff planned for MB, but this would be a pretty stupid place to say it. Especially now that he sits down and reads EVERYONE'S blogs when he gets home from work. And list just keeps getting longer...

So even though my husband thinks I'm beautiful no matter what (and I think he happens to be blind in love, but that's ok), it's time to crank it up a notch. Or do the best I can anyway. OK, at LEAST cover the new gray.

And definitely THIS nail polish.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Here he comes to save the daaaaaaaay!

Well Mr. Blogger had an interesting conversation with a neighbor this morning as he walked out to The Van (which henceforth shall be capitalized as it seems to have taken on GREAT SIGNIFICANCE). I will now replay, with quotes completely based on hearsay.

"Hey, is that your van?"

"Yeah." (Sheepishly wonders...what now?)

"Well I was at the Homeowners Association meeting and I heard them bring it up. Are they giving you trouble about it?"

"Unfortunately yes."

"We had the same problem with a truck I used to have. Some old guy kept writing letters. I'm not sure which house he lives in, but he would NOT let it go. We finally just got a cover for the truck and that seemed to appease him. Something about the wording on the side bothered him." (Ah ha! Mr. Blogger notes to self that he will call Brooke and say he was right about it being old people with nothing better to do!)

"You have to be kidding!"

"Nope. Hope it works out for you."


So now we have to get a cover??? Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, may I present to you the oh-so-offensive van in question.

Does this look like some blight on the state of our peaceful, well-kept neighborhood? Is it an eyesore along the lines of a moving advertisement for something to which our women and children should not be exposed? Is it an offensive sore thumb, sticking out among the perfectly manicured other fingers on the road?

NO IT IS NOT! I daresay it provides a valuable service to all mankind. And when YOU, Oldie Von Oldstrom, are in need of a defibrillator with which to restart your FREAKIN' EVIL HEART, guess what?

MY HUSBAND HAS A GAJILLION OF 'EM! And he WILL be the one you call. Because HE is the one who trains others how to use them! And he was an EMT in London, so he knows LOTS and LOTS of stuff! Ask his wife and mother-in-law...they tend to go to him before any doctors nowadays!

And he's JUST THAT NICE A GUY, that he'll forget about how you made his life and his livelihood hell for a while. His wife however, well, she may remember.

And you really, REALLY don't want to mess with her.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

P.S. "F" off and die

I am NOT in the mood for this shit, but here is the exact letter we received yesterday (all bold, caps and italics are theirs, not mine):

Blah Blah Recreation Association

November 10, 2005

Joe and Jane Smith
12345 Main Street
San Diego CA 12345

12345 Main Street

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith:

It has been brought to the attention of the Board of Directors that you or your tenants are continuing to park a commercial Zee Medical service truck in the driveway despite our earlier notice of violation. Please be reminded that Section 12 of the CC&R's states:

"No commercial truck, camper, trailer, boat of any kind or other single or multi-purpose engine-powered vehicle, other than a standard automobile or an approved golf cart, shall be parked on any Lot except temporarily and solely for the purpose of loading or unloading unless parked within the garage."

We are hereby requesting that you discontinue parking this vehicle in the driveway immediately to avoid fines and possible legal action.

As this is your third (3rd) notice, you are hereby called to a hearing before the Board of Directors on Wednesday, January 18, 2006, at 3:30 p.m. in the clubhouse located at 54321 Main Street. The hearing will be held immediately after the meeting. If you wish to be heard in Open Session, you may do so or if you wish for a private audience with the Board in Executive Session, you will need to wait until all business has been completed. Failure to appear or to submit a written response to the Board, in care of the management company at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing may result in fines being imposed or other enforcement actions, per the Association's fine enforcement policy.

If you have questions or require further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Management via any of the contact information provided in the heading of this letter.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation.

Blah Blah Board of Directors

Of course I called AGAIN this morning to ask where exactly they're getting this misinformation. It was apparently due to a "letter of complaint". I swear to god, I'm going to start blanketing the neighborhood with letters saying 'WHO HERE HAS NOTHING BETTER TO DO THAN CAUSE US TROUBLE?"

When I commented that a hearing ON A WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON was not exactly the most convenient time for NORMAL PEOPLE WHO WORK ON WEEKDAYS, I was told that oh goody, there happens to be a meeting today and if I could email something very quickly, she would make sure it was submitted.

My response:

To Whom it May Concern:

Regarding the letter to 12345 Main Street, dated November 10, we would like to refute and/or state the following:

1. This letter is addressed to Joe and Jane Smith. I don't know the exact date, but am aware that our current landlord, Jody Jones purchased this home almost a year ago. As the tenants, we have sent any letters addressed to the Smiths as "Return to Sender" or "Not at This Address".

2. We therefore have possibly received more than one other notice, but to our recollection, this is only the second. After acknowledging the previous letter of approximately one month ago, I immediately contacted Ms. Snootypants at the Association and told her that our neighbors had in fact told us to STOP PARKING ON THE STREET, as it was in violation of association rules, and we followed their advice to ONLY PARK IN THE DRIVEWAY. This declaration was given to us in the form of an anonymously typed note left on the van's windshield.

3. We had now been told by the association that this was quite the opposite of the rules. We IMMEDIATELY abided by what Snootypants informed me, and have parked the Zee Medical van (my husband's company car which he drives back and forth to work) on the street ever since.

4. As a matter of fact, our next door neighbor (Nosy McNoserson) came over to complain of it being parked on the street and was quite shocked when we told her of your letter informing us she was incorrect.

5. Our two personal vehicles are parked in the garage and the van can therefore not be stowed there.

6. If it has been in the driveway AT ALL, it has only been for loading and unloading purposes, as my husband needs to do so with supplies. Overnight, it has WITHOUT FAIL been parked on the street.

7. After Mrs. McNoserson complained of it blocking her view, we have even taken the trouble to park it across the street, not in front of ANYONE'S home, so as not to disturb or inconvenience anyone any further.

8. As we have done anything and everything to attempt to make all parties satisfied, we feel any complaint which resulted in your letter is of little to no validity.

We therefore wish to respectfully state that the information resulting in the proposed hearing is false. Any fines imposed would be without merit and vigorously opposed.

If you wish to discuss this with us further, we would be happy to do so at a convenient time for all.

Brooke and Mr. Blogger

I CANNOT WAIT to see what happens next. I'm telling you though, if they even TRY to fine us, I'm installing a video camera to show where the van is parked EVERY FREAKING NIGHT.

They soooo do not want me at that hearing. TRUST ME.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Now that would be a good idea...tomorrow, in Spanish!

Because I too want to be a part of the current list-mania taking over everyone's blogs, I have decided to foist one of my own upon you.

But I am going to do one in SUCH a dorky fashion, that I am therefore assured no one will be copying the likes of little ol' me.


A-Z of Brooke's Obsessions, Past and Present

A - Apples
But you already knew that. When they were the mainstay of my anorexic diet, it would take me over an HOUR to eat just one. Hey, when that's all you get, you better learn to make it last.

B - "Bugger!"
Such an awesome British swear word that I have learned to use it all the time. The best part is that Americans have no clue just how dirty it is.

C - Cats
Again, a given. This is currently one of the few times in my life that I don't have one. MB wants one of these (he had two in the UK before he met me). Of course they're something like $1000 a piece. I want to rescue one from the shelter. We have obviously not yet found a way to compromise.

D - Driving
When we go somewhere, I almost always have to drive. I have some weird post-traumatic stress disorder over previous accidents I've been in, when I was the passenger and I WAS THE ONLY ONE HURT. And when poor Mr. Blogger does finally get to drive, I freak out at every little thing. He hates it with a passion.

E - Eau de Toilette / Parfum
(I'm really reaching on that one, I know.) My signature scent for the last year has been Pink Sugar and I think it has something to do with the fact that MB likes anything that smells edible. Seriously, it smells like I covered myself in cotton candy. He also likes me in Angel 'cause that smells like chocolate. Interesting...

F - "Friends"
I must watch this on average of three to four times a day. When you factor in UPN 13 in San Diego and TBS...last night alone, I saw SIX episodes in one day. Mr. Blogger does the same, so blame us both. I think I want this for Christmas.

G - Gervais, Ricky
BRILLIANT, brilliant man. MB and I watched "The Office" when we lived in the UK...RELIGIOUSLY. We even unknowingly bought each other the DVD for Christmas (the exact same DVD set of both seasons plus the Christmas special, mind you...we think so much alike!). It may take some getting used to for anyone used to a laugh track or in-your-face humor, but give it a chance. Oh, and now we're caught up in "Extras" on HBO. Ricky, we shall be the co-presidents of your fan club.

See above and below. Still one of the best places for our favorite shows. And MB likes the fact that, like the BBC, it doesn't have commercials.

I - Izzard, Eddie
I fell in love with this crazy, British, "Executive Transvestite" comedian the first time I saw "Dress To Kill" on HBO, many years ago. Buy it. Rent it. Borrow it from Mr. Blogger and me (we also have other DVDs of his, should you be interested). You WILL thank me. Clever, smart and freakin' hilarious...he just happens to perform in a dress.

J - Japan
Sorry, not the country, the group. You've never heard of them, so don't pretend you have. Well, unless you're British. (I'm sensing a theme here.) By the time I had discovered them in '83, they'd already broken up. But front man David Sylvian still puts out CDs. And when I was watching TV recently and noticed a VERY DISTINCTIVE voice singing a TIAA-CREF commercial...I FLIPPED OUT. That's a true fan.

K - Kids
Both the constant quest to have one of ours, as well as the wish to get to know MB's better. I won't bore you any further with my quest for progeny, but I will say this of the two precious British children to whom I talk on the phone every weekend: I adore them as if they were my own and still feel an immense sense of pride when they ask to speak to me specifically. Little kids speaking in British accents are quite possibly the cutest thing in the entire world. And MB's son and daughter are 10 times that.

L - London
Still one of my favorite cities in the world even though it became ridiculously expensive to continue to live there. Theatre, history, shopping, architecture, royalty...who wouldn't love it?

Became obsessed from the age of five when I watched The Double Deckers and announced I would soon be moving. I even carried my Double Deckers lunch box proudly, even though NO OTHER KID I KNEW watched this show. When I grew up and would ask anyone my age if they remembered it, no one had any idea what I was talking about. Until MB. Kismet people, kismet.

M - Mr. Blogger
(DUH!) The reason I live and love and appreciate all that is good. I STILL can't figure out how I got so lucky.

N - New York
See London. But again, a great place to visit although I'd never be able to afford to live there. MB begs to go on a monthly basis.

O - OV Watch
I recently bought this ridiculously expensive contraption, but I NEEDED something to tell me when I ovulate so I don't keep making the same mistake of taking the freakin' progesterone too early. Please keep all lecturing to a minimum.

P - Pizza
I think we could probably eat this every single day (mushrooms, black olives and extra cheese) and not get sick of it. But we don't. Honest. Just every few days.

Q - Queens, Specifically the Wives of Henry VIII
Again, a childhood-induced fascination, thanks to PBS and most specifically Masterpiece Theatre. It wasn't until years later that I realized just about everything we watched was a BBC show first. I therefore trace my first steps toward being an Anglophile to Mom making me sit down every Sunday night and watch more British mini-series than I can count.

R - Red
My favorite color since, well, forever. Surprise, surprise, it's MB's too.

S - Subscriptions to Magazines
I have more than I know what to do with, yet I just get so dang excited when one comes in the mail! MB just surprised me with a year's worth of Marie Claire for my birthday, so I can finally stop buying that one at the newsstand.

T - Travel
We don't do nearly enough, but I am finally going to accompany MB to London in January (haven't been in almost a year-and-a-half now, although he goes every few months to see the kids). Yes, I realize it will be winter. In London. And I hate being cold.

(Like you EVEN had to ask?) My alma mater and the cause of my apoplexy over sports teams. You thought I'd be ok when football season was over? Nope.

V - Victor Jr.
It was to be my name, since everyone just knew for sure that I was a boy. I have felt the cause of their disappointment ever since.

W - Wax
Turns out that my hearing loss IS because of that, so no ear infection as far as I can tell. Yay!

X - X
A GREAT L.A. punk band that I saw perform a number of times. And if "Los Angeles" is ever on the radio, it WILL be turned up to full volume and I WILL dance. In the car or not.

Y - Yoga
Seems as though I only do it when I kick into exercise mode and/or am pregnant, but I really do enjoy it. Trying to think of a "Y" just reminded me of that. I should go pull out my DVD.

Z - Zirconia, Cubic
ALMOST as good as the real thing and who needs to know? When MB and I were in Vegas and had just gotten engaged, we bought a "joke" CZ ring that looked just like a 2 carat solitaire...and everyone kept complimenting me on it! I was too embarrassed to correct them. My actual ring now is an heirloom from my grandmother and is gorgeous in its own right, but we keep saying we're going to get the fake one made with a diamond...SOME DAY.

Ok, looking at the clock, and allowing for a couple telephone calls received in between writing...that took me THREE AND A HALF hours to write. Never doing that again. It's too hard.

How do you people do this? Of course, when I was done, I thought of a hundred other things I should have written about.

Part II tomorrow?

Monday, November 14, 2005

At least I'm not in the hospital this year...YET

I woke up this morning with the inability to hear ANYTHING out of my left ear. It is completely blocked and it hurts like a mother! Therefore I can't say I'll be writing much today, since it hurts to even be sitting up straight. (Excuses, excuses...)

But it's not unheard of for me to have this (unHEARD of...he he...get it? Ugh.). I have a habit of having very waxy ears and from time to time have to get it unblocked. Before you take off now because this topic is so UNBELIEVABLY BORING, stay with me...this will go somewhere better. I promise.

The only bummer is that sometimes the blocked ears are a precursor and a warning that I'm about to come down with something. That just CANNOT be.

My Mom always said that she could tell I was about to get sick as a kid, 'cause I would get REALLY REALLY grumpy. It was also often accompanied by the ANGRY FACE. Mr. Blogger knows this well. Serious furrowing of the brow, downturned mouth, crossed arms...the whole bit.

Not Pouty Face though...that's for specific "I'm-NOT-getting-my-way!" usage. There's a difference.

So yesterday, EVERY LITTLE THING MB did was driving me nuts. He meant well, but it was just one of those days where I was so put out with the slightest annoyance, I had to literally leave the room. He is such a little puppy though, that when I get like this, his solution is to chase me down, hold me and tell me he loves me. That only annoys me more.

Come on must have those days too. I'm feeling pretty guilty here.

I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me, with the exception of assuming it was SERIOUS PMS. He's used to that. He can handle it. And best of all, he forgives me for it.

So Honey, I'm sorry for being such a grump yesterday. You don't deserve that, but well, you knew what you were getting a long time ago. That doesn't excuse it though. And I owe you a BIG hug and smooch when you get home.

But now that I can't hear, I have a TERRIBLE feeling.

And it IS my step-dad's birthday today...uh oh.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Since MB got to see my embarrassing high school are more from his child modeling days

I didn't always think it so, and often on those very dark days I sometimes forget, but I am a very, very lucky person.

Believe me, I can dwell on the negative and curse my wretched existence with the best of 'em, but today is not the time. Along with therapy, books, and far too much self-examination, this shall be part of my new protocol.

Positivity! (Yeah, even I'm gagging a little bit, but indulge me...)

One of the unfortunate outcomes of not speaking to my father for so long, was that I also didn't keep in touch with any of his relatives. My Mom's side has always been the one I considered "my" family, and although I knew none of Daddy's many brothers and sisters were really anything like him, it was a little difficult to justify a relationship with them, without having to go through him.

Well, there was the time my UCLA sorority was invited for a Pajama Party to a USC fraternity (a girl from my house was dating a guy from their house so I guess they thought they'd throw us all together and see what came out of it) and I ACCIDENTALLY WAS HIT ON BY MY UNCLE WHO HADN'T SEEN ME IN 6 YEARS...but I digress. (Shivers....)

But now that we're all in touch again, I couldn't be more thrilled. Mr. Blogger and I went to stay at my aunt and uncle's home in LA on Friday night (no not THAT uncle!) and we were treated with such hospitality, it felt as though we were their own kids. My aunt was especially killing me at how much she doted on MB...EVERYONE loves that man, I'm telling you. And you can keep feeding him and feeding him...he never says no. What mother doesn't love that? (He also never gains weight. Grrr.)

They were just so warm and inviting and I almost felt guilty that we were really only there so as to not have to drive up at the crack of dawn from San Diego on Saturday morning, for all our activities that day. We're going there for Thanksgiving now, which is nice considering it was going to just be MB and I sitting alone with our Tofurky. I shall be thankful.

From there we drove to a friend's home for brunch. We've known each other over 25 years (she's part of the high school friends' super-girl group) and hadn't seen each other since my 40th birthday bash last year.

Getty Girl is quirky and interesting and brilliant and lives in a 1920's home in the Melrose area. It's perfect for her artistic sensibilities. Nothing cookie-cutter for her.

She and her boyfriend made us an incredible (and incredibly healthy) meal and then...the old high school yearbook came out! Mine is still in storage, so MB had never seen it.

Oh the fun he had looking at Cheerleader Brooke and Student Council Brooke and Editor-in-Chief Brooke...all with out-of-control curly hair that would NOT behave into a Farrah feathered do and a weight that fluctuated from severely anorexic (Getty Girl remarked..."Oh yeah, that was the year Brooke ate an apple for breakfast, an apple for lunch and an apple for dinner. She was possessed.") to cutely chubby. (It irks me to no end how "fat" I thought I was, when I would now go back in time just to tell that girl that "YOU'RE FINE!").

We laughed at how cute she and I were and of course again spoke of what unfathomable angelic perfection all of us maintained. We were having so much fun, in fact, that I lost track of time and we had to then hightail it to Pasadena for the football game.

And M-I-L, she's going to try to scan some pics for you to see, so you don't even have to ask. ;)

I knew my old boss was going to be at the game as well this week, and we emailed that we'd try to look out for each other, but given that 80,000 some people were in the Rose Bowl as well, it didn't seem too likely.

So as I waited for MB to exit the restroom when we got there, I sat on a low rock wall and dialed Boss Man's cell phone. It's usually so loud that I knew he'd be lucky to even hear it. Now keep in mind, did you SEE the size of that stadium? There are probably 30 different restrooms alone.

"Hey there!"

"Hi...where are you?"

"I'm standing near where the band marches in." (His son is in the UCLA marching band and Boss Man's family was waiting to see him. But I wasn't entirely sure where that was.)

"Is that near Gate A?"

"Ummmm...I think? Where are you?"

"We're at the restrooms near Gate A."

"Hmmm...I think that's near us." (Really, I swear, we're both very intelligent people.)

"Well do you see me? I'll stand up."

"HEY! There you are!"

We were no more than 20 feet away from each other. How crazy is that?

It was SOOO good to see him. He was such a great boss, but then, as he says, The Company With No Soul bought us out and wheels came off. So we didn't get to work together that long, but it was long enough for me to appreciate that men like him don't come around every day.

He's funny as hell and smart as a whip. He was an empathetic and caring VP, and went to bat for us when needed. He didn't take shit from anybody, and expected you to do your best, but no one was more thrilled when you excelled.

And when I called him from my doctor's appointment, crying my eyes out after finding I had miscarried again, he didn't make me feel ashamed or embarrassed for showing emotions. He just told me to go home, not worry about my office, and take it easy. He really truly cared about all of us.

Then when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, we all lost it. You never saw so many co-workers pulling for a man they cared about so deeply; it went far beyond employee loyalty. We loved (LOVE) that man.

He came through with grace and humor, and I would have expected no less. He's been through so much, and continues to heal, and I am so in awe of his determination.

But when he announced he was leaving the bank, well, that was just too much. Thus, the mass exodus in the following months. No one could take his place. NO ONE.

So at the game, we hugged and introduced our spouses, and just generally caught up. His wife is exactly what I expected...adorable, warm and friendly. We lamented the loss of the old days, and complained of the way the new bank just had no appreciation for their employees, and wondered how those few who did stay on were managing.

He also told me he reads my blog every day, and I immediately worried that now that he knew me so well (I don't hide MUCH on this site), perhaps his view of me had changed. I'm embarrassed that I'm not back to work and sometimes feel whiny and wimpy.

But no, he called me brave. And an excellent writer. He sure knows how to compliment a girl.

With the game about to start, we again hugged, parted and vowed to stay in touch. We email all the time, so I don't worry. Plus, he offered to write another Letter of Recommendation. I'm DEFINITELY going to need that.

I haven't done this much socializing in ages. The whole weekend just reminded me again what joy and beauty I have in my life. As I said at the top...I'm a lucky, lucky woman.

Oh, and I forgot to mention...UCLA won. The cherry on the sundae.

Friday, November 11, 2005

In praise of emotional women

Is it POSSIBLE to get through an entire episode of Oprah these days, WITHOUT CRYING?!?! I ask because I'm looking for verification that I'm not a pitiable and pathetic blubbering fool, just your average Oprah-watcher. Perhaps I'm both.

But to make things worse, I even cry now at Ellen! Lately she's given away a car to a needy mom of five, a full set of new kitchen appliances to a little 10-year-old chef, etc. etc. etc. I don't know why I find this tear-worthy, but I can't help it! (Can you imagine what I'll be like when I'm pregnant...I'll just be banned from watching daytime TV in general!)

Thank god Ellen makes me laugh though, or I'd just give up. (And I just noticed that I have already used FIVE exclamation points, and I'm only on my third paragraph. When did I become such a CHICK?)

Yesterday alone, I bawled through almost the entire episode of Oprah. I swear, if anyone on the show starts crying, THAT'S IT. I'm gone. I not only lost it over the family that got a new house, I was whimpering while watching the first grade class at Disneyland.

"Oh they just look so haaaaaaappppyyyyyyy...." sob sob sob.

Is there something intrinsically wrong with me? Yes, yes there is.

My name is Brooke and I am an emotionaholic. (Hi Brooke....)

I once had a boyfriend who used to get SO MAD at me if I ever dared cry, he literally told me I was a freak. Of course, that only served to make me more upset, which led to the waterworks, which led to more fights...

Thank you dear friends, for telling me to dump his ass.

Unfortunately though, that relationship scarred me somewhat to the point where I was deathly afraid of ever being anything less than peppy around most men. Then I realized that's hard to maintain. ESPECIALLY for me.

Mr. Blogger loves me just the way I am though. But then again, he's a "feeler" himself. (You should have seen us watching The Notebook.) We are sooo going to be the old couple still madly in love with each other in the old folks home.

I know I'm not the only woman who gets choked up at both the joy of the new baby panda (and if you don't think that is the cutest thing you've ever seen, well, then I don't know what is), or the tragedy of the Jordanian bomb killing the fathers at a wedding. It's ALL difficult for me to deal with at times.

I don't judge anyone who isn't emotional, far from it. I often wished I could be so. Sometimes it's a pretty huge burden to wonder exactly when you're going to erupt. You read too much into EVERYTHING, you second guess yourself often, and you are so conscious of the feelings of those around you that if anyone ELSE is upset, you feel you somehow caused it.

Every time I blog, I even wonder if I've offended anyone or if anything I've said could be misconstrued. It's a freakin' nightmare at times, people!

But then I realize that there are many women in my life who are the same...M-I-L, Kona Girl, sometimes my Mom (although she's toughened up a bit... in a good way), and probably just about all the Hispanic women on both sides of my family. Except my late boy...was she ever NOT mushy-gushy. Except with her animals.

And I'm often reminding Kona Girl especially, that being emotional means not only being weepy, or sensitive, but loyal and loving.

We aren't all bad. Emotional women are capable of writing books reminding others to be kind. Emotional women are excellent mothers. Emotional women can change the world.

Just look at Oprah.

P.S. We're going out of town tonight to stay with family, meet a friend for brunch and then go to the UCLA game Saturday afternoon. (Woo hoo...stuff to do!) We'll be back pretty late Saturday night, so I may not have a chance to blog. Try to contain your emotions.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Daddy's girl

Last night, after Emily, Gary, Mr. Blogger and I went to see Kiwi and Mina in the hospital, we headed out to dinner 'cause we were all starving. Well, some of us were starving and envious of having beautiful babies.

The topic of course turned to blogging and I told them how on some days, I just SIT here thinking, what the HELL am I going to write about today?

Today is one of those days.

See, my life just isn't all that interesting. Not that I could talk about work even if I wanted to (see "Dooced"), but being home on disability doesn't allow for many ooo-weee-don't-you-wish-you-had-my-mile-a-minute-existence tales of glee. (This would also explain why I often write about my husband, because he is often the only person I see on a regular basis. Ok, he's also ridiculously cute and quirky.)

So instead I often reminisce. Or as Emily asked, "Are we to assume that when you tell a story, it means you couldn't think of anything else to write?".

Yes, Emily, assume away.

I think I have avoided talking much about my Dad for a while now. And for a good reason. We just never had much of a relationship. My parents divorced when I was very young, and frankly, my step-dad was more of my father figure. But the ways in which my father affected my life, and my self-esteem especially, are still being felt today. It's amazing to realize just how much a parent can influence a very small child. It's even more amazing to see how 30-odd years later, that child still wonders what she did wrong.

Before my Dad died last year from cancer, I tried to make sure we at least were COMMUNICATING (for us...quite a feat, considering that we didn't speak for 12 years at one point). I did the best I could, but there was no great moment of closure. I just hoped he died in peace. I never wanted any more from him than that.

I'm very aware that there are a couple relatives from his side that may be reading this, but I think they know me well enough to realize I'm only telling the truth.

But when my Mom mentioned in her comments to yesterday's entry that my Dad didn't believe I made my own birthday cake, I had to laugh. See, my Dad often didn't believe me.

It's weird but true. He told me it was due to the fact that he was a judge, and that was simply his nature. He had to be dubious in order to thoughtfully question the "truth". From there he would be able to best make an informed decision.

But helloooooo? I was a kid, not a district attorney arguing my case before his court. I was a GOOD kid who never really got into trouble. Why not believe me? Come on...take a chance!

My Mom was a teacher all my life, so naturally she used those skills in raising me. I therefore knew how to read at a very, very young age. When I was about 1 1/ 2, my Dad came home from work (I used to get SO EXCITED when I saw him coming up the path!) and scooped me up in his arms.

I grabbed his tie and turned it over.

"Jaaaaaay. Ceeeeee. Penney."


"Jaaaaaay. Ceeeeee. Penney!"

"(Brooke's Mom's name)!!!"


"I think the child can read."

"I know. I taught her."

"Well that's not possible."

Of course it wasn't. I had apparently memorized which ties were from that particular store. And Mom and I were in cahoots to pull one over on him. Oh the hijinks my Mom and I came up with!

Yes, Daddy. I could read. I also equally freaked out my grandmother by reading the cans of food on her shelves, but at least she knew I wasn't put up to it.

And my nursery school teachers also accused me of memorizing books when they saw me reading to all the other 3-year-olds...until they kept giving me book after book to test me. What always makes me giggle about the nursery school incident though, is that all the kids had figured out my abilities way before that. They just kept bringing me tome upon tome to read to them. No judging, just "Here! Read this one!".

When I was in seventh grade, I was Snoopy in our school's performance of "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown". On a break to reset the lights during a dress rehearsal, all us kids went outside to play. Why we decided to play "keep away" on the cement amphitheater steps is beyond me. Of course I fell. Of course I fell face first without putting my hands out to break my fall. Of course that resulted in one IMPRESSIVE shiner.

It was a black eye to rival Rocky's. Not like me to do something half way! (Now THAT I got from my Dad!) But not to worry, the show must go on...I squinted my way through all the performances. The pictures of me in that show are a flippin' riot.

When I went to see him on our usual Sunday visit, I guess it was a little hard to hide the multicolored puff ball that was my eye.

"Who hit you?"

"NO ONE HIT ME! I fell."

"You can't fall without naturally putting your hands in front of you.'s reflex. So who hit you?"

"Oh my god...NOBODY! I just fell in a weird way and didn't even realize it until I was down. There was no time to break my fall."

"Impossible. Must have been your mother. You're obviously covering for her."

"MY MOTHER DID NOT HIT ME!!! Why won't you believe me?"

"Your step-dad then."

I guess Daddy didn't get that ours was not a household in which disagreements were solved through title bouts. I gave up.

Many years later, after the 12 year intermission, I was now an adult woman with a career and a husband and RESPONSIBILITIES. I could hold my own, right? Nope.

We went out to dinner and he ordered a drink.

"Are you going to have anything?"

"Oh, no thanks. I don't drink."

"Are you an alcoholic?"

"No Daddy, I'm not an alcoholic." (Exasperated sigh that NOTHING HAS CHANGED in all that time we didn't speak.)

"So what's the problem?"

"I just don't drink. It's no big deal. I never have."


"Nope. Never even tasted alcohol. Just never appealed to me."


"You don't believe me."

"Well, surely you've had something. For some reason you don't feel comfortable telling me why you've stopped."

I would love to tell him that his obsessive control issues were unfortunately handed down to me. I'm literally AFRAID of ever being in a position where I am not in absolute control of my faculties. I have done no drug, smoked no cigarette, taken not one sip of spirits...even through the college years when I had to hold many a friend's hair back as she puked up all the jello shots.

Look, I know it wasn't ALL bad. I look EXACTLY like his side of the family and they are lovely, lovely, warm and wonderful people. I got his voice and love of performing. And as much as I joke about being an English Major in the womb (having come from both a mother and father who valued a good book above all else), the truth is that the man used to read me A Child's Christmas in Wales every single holiday season.

I will also never forget the time that he literally choked up telling me how much it meant to him that I told him I loved him.

I am my father's daughter in more ways than he probably ever realized. I hope he watches over me and is proud of the person I've become. And I really hope he BELIEVES ME when I say that I will get through this particular rough patch in my life right now.

But of course I will. He would expect no less.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I think I've been blogging to procrastinate on the cleaning though

First off...


Born to Kiwi and hubby on November 8, 2005 at 9:33 PM.

Kiwi was induced yesterday morning and we waited all day to see if we'd be able to visit the anticipated new arrival, but visiting hours came and went. I guess Mina has already established that she will be doing things in her OWN TIME, thank you very much.

But the flowers and "It's A Girl!" balloon are still in fine shape and will be brought to the happy family today instead. I couldn't be more thrilled for them and to Mina: I wish you a life of much love, health and happiness!!

So until Mr. Blogger comes home and we meet up with Gary, Emily and the wife and others to all bombard the poor child, I have some big SuperWife plans for today.

First, I'm going to clean the house. My mother will attest to the fact that I usually only do this under threat of taking away all privileges and imminent grounding because "I have HAD it with this pig sty, YOUNG LADY!!!"

It's not that I was dirty as a kid, so much as messy. As a matter of fact, my room always smelled of shampoo and bubble gum, so it wasn't necessarily a bad place to be, just full of clothes and books and albums (yes, ALBUMS, you young 'uns) ALL OVER THE FLOOR.

And it made my neat-freak, SERIOUSLY anal-retentive mother INSANE.

She's lightened up a bit since, well, either that or I got neater...maybe a combination of the two.

I have to admit that we do have a housekeeper who comes every couple weeks (feel free to call me a brat, but MB and I both HATE cleaning), but he isn't scheduled until Sunday and I have people coming over tonight!

Hmmm...maybe Mom did have an influence after all.

Then after all that doesn't end there! I am going to make THIS. Yes, I, the Queen of Not Cooking, am going to sit and peel and core and chop apples and it's going to take FOREVER.

But MB got all excited when I showed him the recipe (which I found through John, who linked to Millie, who then brought me to Mrs. DoF). He couldn't let me off with the EASIER recipe for apple crisp...nooooo. He wanted the apple cake dammit.

I have to admit though, that as much as I hate to cook, I have always liked to bake. (Shhhh...don't tell anyone or I'll be forced to prove it with Christmas care packages or something equally against my nature.)

I made my first birthday cake at four-years-old and was forever hooked. I'll never forget: it was cherry cake with pink frosting. Sounds somewhat putrid now, doesn't it? What can I say...I was in love with sugar...and the color pink.

My feeling is that regular food never brings the ooohs and aaahs that desserts do, so if I'm going to even remotely be bothered, it better be for something appreciated!

With the exception of cookies and brownies and the occasional cinnamon roll, I haven't baked anything in ages. Now, however, who am I to deny my husband when he is working so hard these days...making up for the fact that I continue to sit on my lazy ass every day, waiting for the time when the thought of going back to work-related stress doesn't send me into an anxiety-riddled tailspin.

But if it turns out horribly, I'm blaming his not choosing the apple crisp.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The not-so-friendly skies

Oh my friends...the rich ARE different from you and me.

VERY different. So different in fact, that it apparently doesn't occur to them that they're making the rest of us feel like schmucks.

(Yes, I'm very far from poor, and I DO appreciate that...but wait 'til you see this. THEN, you'll understand.)

I SOOO wanted to like all bloggers. In my previous entry I applauded their right to tell us all about what floated their respective boats, and by all means to detail it in their own inimitable ways. I waved the white flag proudly (I was not ALWAYS so kind) and was determined to appreciate everyone's right to put their lives' minutiae any way they wished. It might not be MY way, but what would the world be without a little flavor?

Then ALL that sticky-sweet goodwill came to a dramatically screeching halt when I read THIS.

(Go ahead...go read it. In DETAIL. I'll wait.)

I am fairly certain this woman has a blogging trackback feature that has now allowed her to notice my blog linking to hers. And she's probably all excited. And now she's here. I am SOOO going to get the nasty comment back. Oh well...

Doryn, I would like to tell you this. First, I will give you that you did say the word "fortunate" in that post. You also have a link to donate to breast cancer (waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down at the bottom) and that is very kind of you. You obviously have a talent for web design and are quite prodigious, given that you have three sites out there. Additionally, many of your posts are things that I, an admitted girly-girl AND previous Londoner, can appreciate.

But that particular detailing of the ways in which I will NEVER fly...that was too much. Sure I'm envious; that's a given. And yes, I have flown first class in my time (what is with the bullshit of Virgin calling it "upper" class opposed to those of us in LOWER class??).

However, given that my Brit husband Mr. Blogger and I OFTEN fly back and forth from San Diego (or L.A.) to Heathrow, I would like to tell you of our general experience. And I think I may crib a bit here to make my point...

Hubby is headed back to London and he couldn't be looking forward to his 11 hour flight on American Airlines LESS!

He has flown MANY times this year and he HATES it (this most often has to do with the fact that I usually cannot accompany him due to our budget). We are unfortunate that his company doesn't pay for his flights home, so he gets to go Coach on American!

Sometimes, when he has racked up enough frequent flyer miles, he gets to go BUSINESS!

With your ticket, your wife drives you to the airport. Usually, she has to drive 2 1/2 hours to LA since that's the only way to go non-stop. When you get to LAX, the wife's car pulls up to the parking garage, where a homeless man is often waiting to greet you!

YOU check yourself in and take your luggage, ALL the while the parking garage charges you an arm and a leg!! When you get to the terminal, you have a special line to go through because you have spent so much money with American and are now a Gold Member, but you still have to wait for security. Yay for special lines!

Then you go through the interminable X-ray lines until you get to the gate, and sit and wait with the bottle of water you just bought for $5.00. In addition, they have bathrooms, in case there are certain bodily functions you want done or if you want to wash your hands while you wait for your flight....and the wet floor sign is always up, but at least it's clean!!

On board, each seat is crammed in so that you cannot move your legs. You obviously have your own television and a scratchy blanket! There are sometimes a pitcher of water and plastic cups in the back near the bathrooms that you can walk up to if you'd like a drink, or you are served at your seat...when they finally get there!

After your meal, which was not the vegetarian one you asked for and therefore prevented you from eating any more than iceberg lettuce and chocolate cake, the freak in the seat next to you asks if you would like a hand or scalp massage and continues to annoy you throughout the flight!

You can eat when they serve you, and won't get anything again until about an hour before you land! Yes, 11 hours of no cell phones, no email, no food, with crap movies and a permanent stiff often does one person get to have this time alone? It's Hell!

Next time Doryn, I will know enough not to read your site, as it only makes me feel bad about the fact that I will never have Frette sheets, and that my husband, whose exquisite taste would lead us to bankruptcy if I weren't so tight with his spending, will be INSANELY jealous after he reads this.

But he would like to know...what company DOES your husband work for???

Monday, November 07, 2005

From now on, NO ONE is allowed to answer the door

Mr. Blogger and I were completely lazy on Sunday, until the point where we realized that we had ABSOLUTELY NO FOOD in the house. That will always motivate us right out the door.

So about 2:30 in the afternoon, after watching his Father Ted marathon on BBC America, MB finally went to go take a shower. I was still lounging about in my sweats and t-shirt, unwashed hair thrown into a bun and too-lazy-to-put-my-contacts-in so I'm wearing my glasses ensemble, completing the hobo librarian effect I was going for.

Kona Girl called to tell me all about her weekend in Vegas and we were JUST getting to the juicy part where her girlfriend decided to chat up The Sopranos at the next table when...the doorbell rang. No one ever rings our doorbell. Well, except the hoodlums.

I tried just ignoring it, although since our doorbell is as loud as Big Ben (AND plays the exact same tune), it's a little difficult. I was even whispering to KG in the hopes that the nuisance would think no one was home.

Nope. It rang AGAIN.

Not only was MB in the shower and unable to help me, but I was looking like a NIGHTMARE of laziness. Plus...HELLOOO...I'm on the phone! Then the pain in the ass at the door knocked as well. As though we would hear THAT better than the clanging chimes.

I gave up and just decided to answer it. Surely there was a fire in the neighborhood, or at the very least Ed Mc Mahon was appearing to hand me the million dollar check. It had better be THAT IMPORTANT.

Imagine my joy at just a little old lady. And extremely PUSHY little old lady.

"Well HELLLOOOOO! You must be Brooke. I met (Mr. Blogger) a few weeks ago when I was standing on the street waiting for my ride. I'm Nosy, your next door neighbor. I just feel so un-neighborly for not coming over to say hello sooner!"

I was holding the phone in my hand as I stood at the door. I mean really, can you NOT get the hint? Apparently not. I had to rudely hang up with KG (which really pissed me off because I felt SO BAD about that) because this lady was all smiles and ready to chat.

This whole thing reminded me of the witch and warlock couple who lived next door to Rosemary in Rosemary's Baby. You know how the old lady is incredibly annoying and eventually just barges in with such regularity that Rosemary's husband is forced to AGREE TO GIVE THEIR UNBORN CHILD TO SATAN.

Yeah, it was like that. But without the Satan part. As far as I know.

(Oh, and the next time, if ever, you happen to catch that movie, notice the calendar in the kitchen marking the best days for them to conceive. But they happen to have a big fight on the Big Night though, so the hubby drugs Rosemary and she ends up thinking she hallucinated the whole "having sex with a demon" thing. The day she conceives through devil insemination? October 4, 1965. That was my first birthday. Rosemary had sex with Beelzebub ON MY BIRTHDAY. Lovely.)

So Nosy proceeds to COME INTO MY HOUSE, because of course she is still friends with the previous owners and wants to point out things such as the fact that I have an herb garden in my backyard that I never knew about. And the tile on the windowsills is specific to our house since the owners' grandson did it. And he's some kind of tile whiz, don't you know? Well, THAT, in addition to being a Harvard grad.

Lady. I look like shit. I feel like shit. I was enjoying my conversation with my best friend and you interrupted it. I'm highly aware of the fact that my husband may accidentally come strolling in here in his underwear. WOULD YOU PLEASE LEAVE?

But we all know I'm a big fat chicken who was raised to be polite and social, so I let her go on. And on. And so forth.

Then she asked to speak to MB. Um, ok, let me go get him.

He was in the middle of shaving but quickly dressed and came out to say hello.

The REAL reason for this pop in...

"Hello (Mr. Blogger)! Listen, don't park your van on the street. I can't see when I have to back out." (Notice, no "please", no "could you", no "I would appreciate it if...".

Ah ha! So SHE'S the one who left the anonymously typed note on his windshield months ago, asking him to park it in the driveway, because he was in violation of the Homeowners' Association rules. And sure enough, after doing so to meet HER needs, we get a letter in the mail FROM the Homeowners' Association saying to park it on the street. NOT the driveway. Or else we'll be in violation of blah blah blah.

It's his freakin' company car lady. He drives it back and forth every day to work. It's only the size of a regular van, not some behemoth tractor trailer or something. Since YOU don't want it on the street...and THE ASSOCIATION doesn't want it in the driveway...and his company would prefer he not leave it in some abandoned parking lot...what would you recommend?

She was JUST SHOCKED to hear about the letter we got saying it could not be parked in the driveway. I even told Miss Nosy how I called to clear this up since SOMEONE had written us a note telling us the exact opposite. So she told him to park it across the street. Sure, in front of SOMEONE ELSE'S house.

We smiled and nodded and MB said he'd do his best. But come on! Telling someone not to park their vehicle in front of their home because it inconveniences you in some manner?? I should probably also point out that there is so little traffic on our street, I can't imagine who it is she's "not seeing" when she backs out.

If anyone has some mammoth motor home or something and would like to help me be petty...give me a shout. I have a the perfect parking space for you.

"We have NO IDEA where it came from! It's not ours."

Sunday, November 06, 2005

If I knew how to download the sound effect of someone having a temper tantrum, I would make THAT my headline


I don't want to hear, "It's only a game."

I don't want to be consoled over the fact that "at least we had an undefeated season for an awfully long time".

I don't want to hear about how we weren't the only previously undefeated team to lose today.


Look, I'm not a lunatic. I KNOW that the world does not begin and end with UCLA football. I know there is poverty and famine and suffering in the world. I know that this is not, in the scheme of things, of the utmost importance in my life (little things like battling anxiety and depression while trying to make a baby would take that title).

But I can't help it.

Aren't we all allowed to have something that we're passionate about? Emily was equally upset when they killed Xena, wasn't she? Lissa cursed the powers-that-be when they took Dr. Pepper off the shelves in Australia, right? And if anybody ever dared to tell Gary that Hurley stopped making clothing, what would he have left to wear?

So I am wallowing in my disappointment right now and trying desperately not to make Mr. Blogger pay the price. He's a smart man though; he knows that we will NOT MENTION THIS for the rest of the week. He is also to keep all sports pages away from me, lest we AWAKEN THE SLEEPING DEMON OF ANGER.

The one bright spot today? John named me to his list. Thank you Mr. Boston College Kid Whom I Don't Even Know. You are a riot...keep blogging. (And I do reminisce A LOT, don't I? I should watch that.)

Next Saturday is a home game and I will be there to cheer on my team. That's one thing I learned from never give up. And you don't stop supporting someone (some team?) just 'cause they had ONE LOUSY DAY.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Love Bug

Can't sleep, yet again, so I figured it was time to get up and blog.

And poor Mr. Blogger hasn't been getting much sleep either since I looked up at the ceiling and saw a GIANT CREATURE (later determined to be a cricket), and woke him up to get it. I had been lying in bed reading and suddenly saw something out of the corner of my eye...can you imagine that thing dropping on your head while you slept?

But rest assured we almost NEVER kill bugs around here and generally just trap them in a glass and set them free outside. See? My love of all beings even extends to the creepy-crawly ones. OK, except ants; I draw the line at those. But spiders are beneficial. Spiders EAT ants.

The circle of life.

So this whole saga reminded me of my old "cricket story" (the judgmental and/or TMI-squeamish should probably look away).

But the way I look at it, this is MY blog, with stories about ME. I've shared everything with MB so rest assured, he doesn't care. And I won't be DETAILED for crissakes, but let he who goeth without sin blah blah blah. It's a pretty funny story as bug stories go.

(I've probably built it up so much by now though, that it shall be HIGHLY disappointing.)

A gazillion years ago, while separated from husband number one, I was sent to a management conference in Palm Springs. It was my first time to go, and I was oh-so-excited at spending the whole weekend discussing "TEAMWORK!"...yes, in all capitals, and yes, with an exclamation point.

All the managers from my company were sent and most brought spouses and/or boyfriends/girlfriends since it was all on the company's dime. Not to mention they had put us up in this all-suite (condos, really) complex that was very very cool. I didn't have anyone to bring at the time, so I had this big living room/kitchen/bedroom set-up all to myself.

When not spending the whole day in meetings, we all went out and had a pretty raucous time. Who knew bank managers could let loose? But get a little liquor in 'em and let me tell you, their employees would have never believed it. (That's what pictures and blackmail are for.)

Being the teetotaler that I am, I just danced and danced, and then made sure everyone made it back to their rooms ok. I had a GREAT time though, so don't feel too sorry for me. And for those who do know me...since when did I need alcohol to be uninhibited?

Afterwards, at around 4:00 in the morning, I sat up in bed in my flannel jammies, reading a book and just generally trying to relax. Right then something ENORMOUS whizzed past my head. Book flying through the air and blankets now thrown about 5 feet away, I slammed the bedroom door behind me and ran out into the living room.

"Front desk, may I help you?"

"I have a giant bug in my room and I was wondering if anyone could come do something about it."

"A what?"

"A giant bug of some sort. I don't know exactly. But I've trapped it in my room and I'm not going back in there."

"So you'd like us to do something about this bug?"

"Well, if you can. Maybe someone has a can of Raid or something? If you just bring that up, I can deal with it."

"Let me see what I can do and I'll call you back. But we're a little short handed right now due to the hour, so it might take a while."

"OK, sorry. I can always sleep on the couch. Don't worry about it." (I was starting to feel like an idiot for even asking.)

A few minutes later...


"Hello ma'am, we have someone who is going to come up and help you with the bug situation." (I'm getting the feeling they all just had a good laugh about it downstairs and then drew straws.)

"OK great."

"But he's just getting off of his shift so don't be alarmed if someone knocks on your door and he's not in uniform." (Who else is going to be knocking at almost 5:00AM?)

So Mr. Bug Killer appeared. And he was really tall. And really cute. And I was in flannel jammies with a washed face and therefore not exactly at my most alluring.

He went in the bedroom to do bug battle, while I sat in the living room and listened to furniture flying and the bed being turned upside down.

He finally got it...just a dumbass cricket.

When he told me that, I was so embarrassed for being such a typical chick, and I thanked him profusely.


"What are you reading?"

"OH, um, well, John Irving. I love his work. Really, just anything he writes. Do you read much? I mean, is there anyone you like in particular?" (I babble when I'm flummoxed.)

"I'm actually in college right now, so I don't have a whole lot of time to read for pleasure. Plus working here as well, there isn't much time for anything really." (I'm calculating the age difference as we speak.)

"I had just gotten back from going out with my friends and thought I'd read a little before going to sleep. Just trying to wind down you know...he he." (VERY nervous laughter 'cause I still can't figure out what Mr. Cute Hotel Man is doing sitting next to me.)

"I should probably let you get some sleep then. Unless you want to talk? Are you tired?"


So we talked....for hours. IN THE LIVING ROOM. Really. He turned out to be a very sweet guy. And a gentleman.

But you can't help but stop and think...there is a strange man in my hotel room and the sun just came up. No one is ever going to believe this. About ME.

Theeeeeennnnnnnnnn...we did a little smoochin'. (That's ALL I'm saying. You guys freaked out when I talked about making up with my husband...wouldn't want you to have an aneurysm at this. OH GOD...the comments I'm going to get...)

And he drove out to see me in San Diego the next weekend.

In the end, he was too young, and we were too far away from each other, but for a while we had fun. It was also a relief to know that leaving my husband didn't mean I would forever be alone. And in a strange way, I think Mr. Bug-Killing Hotel Man was put there, long ago, to help me to realize that something better was out there for me.

So as Mr. Blogger caught tonight's cricket, and I applauded my hero, I thought again about how lucky I was to have him.

But he isn't just my "something better". Frankly, there is NOTHING better.