Friday, December 31, 2010

and you thought the Gingerbread Stomp was some end-of-year weirdness and UPDATE***

WEIRDNESS UPDATE: Now we're nearing 2,000 hits for the "funny church signs" post. I was so dreading the end of year wrap up that all "good" bloggers seem to do. I think this is my answer from the universe. I'm not having any end of the year resolutions, look-backs, look-forwards, etc. (maybe Single Dad, if he's reading this, could make me a personalized funny church sign?)

HAPPY NEW YEAR you thousands of readers!

photo courtesy of my old friend Mary Angel who sent this to me years ago!

I just checked the stats on my blog and saw over a thousand hits which is basically more than double what I generally get by this time of day -- maybe even triple.

What the heck?

Well, when I checked keyword analysis there were literally hundreds of queries for Funny Church Signs from, and I have a post from earlier in the year with a photo of a funny church sign. The title of the post is Saturday Swearing on Sunday Night.

These internets are strange, right? Too bad every click didn't bring me a dollar.

The Annual End of the Year Gingerbread House Stomp

For about the fifth or sixth year in a row, The Husband led and we both watched as our boys (and one of our oldest friends who luckily happened in at the right moment!), in true Lord of the Flies style

stomped the gingerbread house.

To bits.

Yes, I know it's weird but it's also strangely exhilarating.

this was about when I started screaming NOT TO EAT IT, ESPECIALLY NOW!

The Husband tried in vain, with gestures, to stop him from eating it.

The picture I took of Henry, running like a crazy nut down the sidewalk, hurling gingerbread, didn't come out. I guess I am thankful for that.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Forward thinking,

King Midas

albeit sobering.

Yes, we must encourage people to work to the best of their abilities and discourage free riders wherever we can--but it seems only decent at this moment to admit how much luck is required to succeed at anything in this life. Those who have been especially lucky--the smart, well-connected, and rich--should count their blessings, and then share some of these blessings with the rest of society.

Sam Harris' A New Year's Resolution for the Rich

To read more of this extraordinary post, go here.

I'm not kidding

It rained again in Los Angeles, and we had "nothing to do."

So this is what we did:

made GIANT gingerbread men (thank you Trader Joe's for your $.99 sale on the kit)

cleaned the bathroom (this is what it looked like all day)

made cinnamon bread (that bread tasted as amazing as it looked)

made pizza -- with fig jam, mozzarella, arugula and prosciutto

did laundry -- all day

gave good mom comments to violence creatively enacted on the new Lego train set

continued to be affirmative when new items were added

wondered what will happen when my Russian gas-mask-wearing, military, NASA kid grows up

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Portrait of the the Artist

as a Young Man is certainly not one of my favorite books, but I remember a certain passage inside of it so well that it feels like yesterday when I first read it, or savored it or hung, suspended, in it. Today, in 1916, James Joyce published it, his first novel.

He was alone. He was unheeded, happy and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and willful and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the sea-harvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight and gayclad lightclad figures of children and girls and voices childish and girlish in the air.

A girl stood before him in midstream, alone and still, gazing out to sea. She seemed like one whom magic had changed into the likeness of a strange and beautiful seabird. Her long slender bare legs were delicate as a crane's and pure save where an emerald trail of seaweed had fashioned itself as a sign upon the flesh. Her thighs, fuller and soft-hued as ivory, were bared almost to the hips, where the white fringes of her drawers were like feathering of soft white down. Her slate-blue skirts were kilted boldly about her waist and dovetailed behind her. Her bosom was as a bird's, soft and slight, slight and soft as the breast of some dark-plumaged dove. But her long fair hair was girlish: and girlish, and touched with the wonder of mortal beauty, her face.

She was alone and still, gazing out to sea; and when she felt his presence and the worship of his eyes her eyes turned to him in quiet sufferance of his gaze, without shame or wantonness. Long, long she suffered his gaze, without shame or wantonness. Long, long she suffered his gaze and then quietly withdrew her eyes from his and bent them towards the stream, gently stirring the water with her foot hither and thither. The first faint noise of gently moving water broke the silence, low and faint and whispering, faint as the bells of sleep; hither and thither, hither and thither; and faint flame trembled on her cheek.

"Heavenly God!" cried Stephen's soul, in an outburst of profane joy.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bad Mother, the day after Christmas

I've been picking up crap all day in the house, the day after Christmas the plastic and the wrappings and the empty plastic containers the foam bullets and the torpedos a helicopter blade an errant lego crumbs of a house and a candy red-nosed reindeer. I've screamed a few times, how I hate it when I scream, when I yell how I don't want to be that kind of mother but I am and as I jumped on top of the blue bin of papers trying to tamp it down, tamp it down and let it go all the way to the bottom to make more my littlest one the one who asked for more when he got so much he cried that he hated his life hated it all it was too much stuff, he said and his face looked puffy and his eyes were red as they dripped and I felt sorry, his brother coughing in the bed with a peanut butter sandwich that I'd screamed I'm not making more food at ten o'clock at night when you eat junk all day and I know the reason why your mouth hurts why you might be getting sick is because you've been eating junk, junk, for days. Who is this screaming? When he asked me to play, his lanky body strumming the fake guitar to love me do like a man he looked like a beautiful man and I sat on the couch for a second to watch and when he asked me to play I said no. Bad mother.

All is bright

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

Peace on Earth
Mercy Mild

For some reason, I couldn't properly scan my Christmas card this year like I did all those other ones (it must have been some sort of protective measure taken by Tiny Prints?). So here are the pictures and greeting for Christmas card 2010. I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve**

Christmas Eve, 1968

Oh, my God, Here's the Earth coming up. Wow, is that pretty!

-- Astronaut Frank Borman, the first human, along with Jim Lovell and Bill Anders, to see the Earth from space

As nations and individuals we are interdependent. It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Christmas Eve, 1967

** Thanks to my friend, Bob Cohn, for the inspiration this morning!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

This has nothing to do with Christmas

so it's a break in that sense. And it's been quite some time since I posted an I Smell Bullshit rant. Lots of sarcasm, here, and bitter, coping irritation.

Yesterday, I took Sophie to The Neurologist to discuss The State of Sophie, Inc. We went over various medication options over tea and cookies (only one medication left to try) and Sophie demonstrated one of her larger seizures, spontaneously, for The Neurologist's edification. We left with a prescription for locosamide or Vimpat, the prettier name, wished the good doctor Happy Holidays and went on our way.

Today, I took the prescription over to The Pharmacy and several hours later received a call from The Pharmacist.

Hello! We spoke with your insurance company regarding the Vimpat, and that drug is not covered on your plan. However, they suggested you replace it with Lamictal, which they will cover.

With my mouth hanging open (Lamictal? Now the insurance company is replacing anti-epileptic drug suggestions from my doctor?), I told The Pharmacist that no, we can't just take Lamictal, a drug that Sophie was on over five years ago for about seven years and that I guess I would call the insurance company and see what was up. The Pharmacist told me that he would order the drug anyway, that it cost $367 for the three week supply and that he hoped we could straighten it all out.

Here's the Christmas part of this post:

Ho!!! Ho!!! Ho!!!

I made the call to The Insurance Company (Anthem Blue Cross) and spoke briefly to an enthusiastic clerk who advised me to have The Neurologist call The Insurance Company for an authorization for medical necessity for the Pharmacist for Vimpat for Sophie. Then he wished me Happy Holidays and is there anything else I can help you with?

Ho!!! Ho!!! Ho!!!

Winter in Los Angeles

I read this poem today over at The Writer's Almanac and because it's about Los Angeles, I thought I'd repost it here:

Toward the Winter Solstice

Although the roof is just a story high,
It dizzies me a little to look down.
I lariat-twirl the rope of Christmas lights
And cast it to the weeping birch's crown;
A dowel into which I've screwed a hook
Enables me to reach, lift, drape, and twine
The cord among the boughs so that the bulbs
Will accent the tree's elegant design.

Friends, passing home from work or shopping, pause
And call up commendations or critiques.
I make adjustments. Though a potpourri
Of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Sikhs,
We all are conscious of the time of year;
We all enjoy its colorful displays
And keep some festival that mitigates
The dwindling warmth and compass of the days.

Some say that L.A. doesn't suit the Yule,
But UPS vans now like magi make
Their present-laden rounds, while fallen leaves
Are gaily resurrected in their wake;
The desert lifts a full moon from the east
And issues a dry Santa Ana breeze,
And valets at chic restaurants will soon
Be tending flocks of cars and SUV's.

And as the neighborhoods sink into dusk
The fan palms scattered all across town stand
More calmly prominent, and this place seems
A vast oasis in the Holy Land.
This house might be a caravansary,
The tree a kind of cordial fountainhead
Of welcome, looped and decked with necklaces
And ceintures of green, yellow , blue, and red.

Some wonder if the star of Bethlehem
Occurred when Jupiter and Saturn crossed;
It's comforting to look up from this roof
And feel that, while all changes, nothing's lost,
To recollect that in antiquity
The winter solstice fell in Capricorn
And that, in the Orion Nebula,
From swirling gas, new stars are being born.

-- Timothy Steele

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

just consider yourselves family and scroll on through

In case you hadn't heard, it's been raining here in sunny Los Angeles for days and days and days. Our backyard is a muddy ocean, but we're warm inside, making cookies and driving each other nuts. Sophie is sleeping and sleeping (and seizing and seizing). It was thundering and lightening -- weird, weird, weird -- and I'm just this shy of becoming a weather conspiracy person (you know, blame it all on the Pentagon). I just snapped a rainbow that is arching over the house across the street but I think you've seen enough photos for now.

Stay tuned for the super-8 family movies.

More Merry, cause I'm tired of posting carols

Henry makes his first appearance

maybe my very favorite

Oliver makes his first appearance -- 2001

Christmas Cards

Every year I make a Christmas card. In the early years, I really MADE them -- I bought paper and paint and stars and glitter, I took pictures of my baby, then two babies and then three and glued them on the card. Slowly, over the years, I made less and less, used the computer more and more and now order the card like millions of other people. But I don't think there's anything wrong with that -- it's a card, a greeting, a message that yes, we're still here and they're still growing and we're grateful for another year. It's to wish you

Peace on Earth and Mercy Mild.

1995 - New York City

1996 - the card that inspired a sermon

New Year's card, since we'd moved to Los Angeles

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Carol of the Day

Although the quality of the video is poor, I love this music.


To Know the Dark
To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
- Wendell Berry
I'm over at Hopeful Parents today.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Carol of the Day

Oh, Lord, it's been raining ALL DAY and my boys are driving me insane. Angels we have heard on high is making me dance --

figuring it out

This morning I'm trying to figure it all out what to wear what to bring how to plan what to say for the solstice for the shortest day of the year how to stop Sophie's seizures and answer the question what are we doing today, Mom?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Carol of the Day

Thanks to my dear friend Moira over at Dream Dogs Art for this video/Christmas song idea. Visit her here and read more about it and the artist.

Blog Gems - Air Your Archives #5

This week, our host Jen over at The King and Eye has posted the prompt Your First Blog Post. 

You can read mine HERE. (It's actually my second, since my first just explained the title of the my blog). Blog Gems - Air Your Archives is a really fun linky, and I highly recommend it!

Stumbling toward ecstasy

It's been raining in LA for three days, and despite the gloom I am grateful. I went to bed with the intention to dream, and I did so. I am grateful for that. Rebecca at recuerda mi corazon is hosting a Sunday stumbling toward ecstasy community. Stumbling toward ecstasy sounds good on the tongue, slipping out of dreams and sleepy out of bed, sprinkled with rain.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Carol of the Day

Rainy Day in LA Horoscope for Virgo

You long for a resting place to catch your breath as inevitable changes increasingly infringe on the status quo. You might try letting down your guard today only to be surprised when someone does something totally unexpected that prompts you to question your assumptions and your conclusions. Be smart and don't let yourself get attached to your expectations. Your best strategy is to roll with the waves of change until they settle back down.

Christmas, Hanukkah, Holiday Schmoliday and Dishwasher Detergent

I know there's always a whole lot of ruckus this time of year with the conservative folk bemoaning the demise of Christmas.  I read somewhere once that this was completely fabricated by the likes of Rush Limbaugh (ouch, it hurts to even type the name!), but nevertheless, each year the theory is trundled out and amidst all the commercial frippery we are called upon to witness the "heathenization of our youngsters."

If you'll forgive the curse, I think it's a crock of sh$#%.

Yesterday, both my sons performed in two different holiday music concerts. Oliver, in elementary school, where minds are still supple and impressionable, played the triangle. There were skits about having gay parents; there were skits about compassion and dignity and respect. This is a school that is unapologetically progressive. All the music was original -- not a single carol or jingle bell rock or dreidel was invoked, and guess what?

Oliver claimed that the triangle is goofy, but he wore a zip tie...

It was fantastic and Christmas is still coming to our house!

Over on the other side of town, Henry, in middle school, dressed with his classmates in black dress pants and shirts and sang a series of holiday songs.

I know I'm biased, but my son is seriously handsome.

Some were traditional religious carols and others traditional Christmas pop. Individual students sang solos, played violins and clarinets and cellos. People stood and cheered and clapped. Because this is Los Angeles and so many people in our neighborhood work in "the business," there were a whole lot of big cameras. It was fantastic.

That whole thing about "taking back Christmas" is just boring, if you ask me. It's right up there with the "take back America" thing and the "I'm not letting no government come between me and my doctor" thing. Just the other day I listened to a long story about how Americans are complaining that their dishes are not getting clean anymore, and the reason why is that detergent companies have taken phosphates out of dishwasher detergent. Hallelujah, is what I say. If you've been living under a rock somewhere, you might not be aware that phosphates pollute the water, cause algae bloom and are generally bad, bad, bad, even if they do remove those stubborn water stains and fingerprints from your glassware. I heard a woman on the radio complaining about it and she said in a very thick Southern accent that I'm going down to the hardware store and buy me some phosphate to add to my detergent because I'm not sure I trust these people who are saying it causes the algae bloom.

Ahhhh, we Americans and our priorities.

Merry Christmas and you can take algae bloom and dying waterways and shove it.

If you think it's offensive to juxtapose a little good old-fashioned liberal political talk in with your kids' holiday schmoliday music concerts, don't read any further because I was just going to tell you about the dad at the school that is now a mom...


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