Sunday, July 30, 2006

Wishing Star

I don't know how they do it, maybe it's their innocence, but kids have an uncanny ability to send their cherubic, but still piercing, arrows straight through our parental hearts.

For example, my daughter has become obsessed with dogs and getting a puppy. And by obsessed, I mean every book she checks out of the library is either a doggie reference book or a dog story. We no longer read bedtime stories together. Noooooo, we have to read a book called the Dog Bible--which is basically an encyclopedia of dogs, dog history, dog breeds, dog care, dog training, dog trivia, etc. She visits a website about suitable dog breeds for children as often as we will let her. I'd venture to say that she knows more about dogs and the various breeds at this point than most veterinarians. And she is relentless. She asks every day, many times a day, when she can get a puppy, despite the fact that we already have dogs. Yes, that's dogs, plural. ("But mo-om, I want my own puppy.") For weeks this has been going on. This is worse than some girls' obsession with horses.

Our answer is always the same--not while we already have multiple dogs. You'd think, since the answer is always the same, she'd get the idea. Maybe she thinks if she keeps asking, I will, in a moment of sheer forgetfulness or insanity, give her a different answer. I get it, I get it: She REALLY wants a puppy.

I've got to say that this has really been getting on my nerves.

Until she up and does something that (almost) melts all my resolve.

One day recently, we found the following note, written in her almost-second-grade handwriting, under her pillow:

"Dear Wishing Star,
I wish for a puppy. How long will it take for a wish to come true? Will my wish be granted?
(Insert daughter's name here)
P.S. My bed is the blue bed with flowers on it."

Well, I caught my breath and my eyes filled with tears. If this were an older kid, I would assume that the note was meant to manipulate us into getting a dog. But darling daughter is still young -- at the point where she still kind of believes in the tooth fairy, wants to believe in the tooth fairy, even though some friends have told her there's no such thing. And she never even mentioned to me or her dad that she had written this note. Not a word, not a peep. Not even when she didn't get a return communication (as she sometimes does from the tooth fairy, as you will see below). This clearly was between her and her wishing star. No, I don't think any manipulation was intended.

The longing in her note--along with the directions about where to find her bed--nearly broke my heart. She's done this to me one other time, as well. Whenever she loses a tooth, darling daughter usually leaves a note to the tooth fairy under her pillow asking for the gift she'd like in exchange for her tooth. One night some time ago, we retrieved a note that asked for "a pair of really real wings. So I can fly." She didn't want a book or money or a toy. She wanted to soar.

Her notes brought me back to a time when I also believed such things were possible--and not just as a faint, sweet memory, but with a visceral I-just-traveled-back-in-time jolt. I remember how it FELT to have such hope. Don't you remember when you felt as if you had a direct line to the universe, and someone or something would respond to your entreaties, however unreal they might be? I think this reminder of innocence and hope is a bittersweet gift our children give us, and I so wanted to make her, this little girl who still believes in magic and wishing stars and tooth fairies, happy. But I couldn't. At least not in the way she wanted. I could, however, help her maintain her sense of magic and wonder a while longer.

And so the tooth fairy responded with a note--but one that had to tell my sweet girl that even the tooth fairy could not bring her wings. One that said that only fairies and other naturally winged creatures were allowed to have wings in this world, but that she could still fly in her dreams.

I'm feeling guilty about the wishing star taking so long to respond to dear daughter's appeal, but I've been weighing what to do. Should I just let it go--and maybe cause a little of the magic to go out of her world, or should I respond, as I did on behalf of the tooth fairy--in such a way that mixes fact and fiction, so that she can remain a little girl, full of wonder, a while longer?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hot, Hot, Hot

Okay--I think I've got this west coast heat/humidity wave figured out.

The East Coast summer got tired of the East Coast (and who wouldn't in the summer?) and decided to vacation in the West. Unfortunately, silly Summer didn't realize that it would be bringing the east coast heat and humidity with it. (Yo, Summer, ever heard of packing light??).

Remember that old Ben Franklin saying--Fish and visitors stink after three days? (I think I at least paraphrased it right. . .). Well, someone needs to remind East Coast Summer that it has now outstayed it's welcome, and then some. Time to go back home. Vacay is over. Been nice knowing you (not). We're tired of you barging in here and taking over. You've cost us too much and made a mess of our place. We'd like our home back, along with cooler temperatures,
drier days and lower electricity bills.

And don't let the door hit you in the low pressure system on the way out.

And while I realize it's wonderful out here, East Coast Summer better not be thinking of making a permanent move. That's one illegal immigrant I'd happily deport.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blog Notes Part Deux

In fairness to my dad, of whom I made fun in my last post, I do understand that people have varying levels of privacy with which they are comfortable, and my openness may have been a bit too, too for my dad. (A shout out to my husband, who pointed out he has similar issues about privacy. Uh-oh, I married my dad). And, in this case, I think gender probably has something to do with it. While most women of my generation--or close thereto--have commented on how funny and on-target my bra post was, I think most men don't get the need to talk about it, in much the same way they don't understand the excitement about the bra itself. I suspect that with women, we relate to our bras and breasts in a different and more multi-faceted way than men do. Okay, that's probably stating the obvious. But with us, our breast are rather more of a pedestrian thing--yes we are concerned about sexual attractiveness--but that is not the sole way we think about our assets. We also think of them as a source of nutrition for our babies, and then there is simply the chore of dealing with them on a daily basis--not just in terms of looks but also in terms of comfort and maintenance. (Doing the monthly breast cancer check is hardly the stuff of romance. More like the stuff of abject terror.) Hey, they're a part of our body--and in the end we don't tend to idealize them the way men do, and, for many women, at least, they most certainly are not all about sexuality. That's just one component. (At least once we're past our teen years). As such, for many of us (again--I wouldn't deign to speak for all women), we probably treat and view our breasts with more irreverance and, at times, indifference than men would. Now this is not to say that this part of our anatomy is not important to us as women, but, as a part of our bodies, the mammaries simply are demystified. Trust me, I wouldn't be writing about somebody's male parts in the same way I would my own body parts. I was going to say that men probably don't think of their organs primarily in a sexual way--but then I realized that was just stupid!

Okay, enough anatomy. . . . back to blogging thoughts. . . .

My mom's initial reaction to my blog--before having read it, mind you--was to tell me that I should be writing as a profession, to make money.

Hold on a sec, wait, what's that sound????

Oh, yesssss, that's the sound of all the writers who are much more talented and serious than I am howling, HOWLING with laughter.

A couple of my friends had concerns with the blog that had nothing to do with the blog itself, but with my self-description. While I'm flattered that you guys care so much AND take me so seriously, I want to say: MY TONGUE= FIRMLY PLANTED IN CHEEK. I was just trying for a wee bit humor. So, to those of you who were worried that I wasn't living my life, but waiting for it to begin--no, I'm fully aware that my life is happening now and I'm enjoying it and living it as best I can. I'm merely trying to figure out what else I'd like it to include. That is, in fact, one of the reasons I began to blog. And, as with all of us, some days are better than others.

As for those of you who are concerned about my self-image as an underachiever, well, perception of underachievement is relative. If you knew who some of my law school classmates were (and some of you do), you'd understand why I might somewhat jokingly refer to myself as an underachiever. But I wouldn't worry too much about that either. I'm working toward the life I want to live, and that's good enough for me. (Thank god for therapy, no??)

I also remind anyone with concerns about the larger ramifications of "putting myself out there" that I have an audience of maybe 5 people--and that's being generous. Hard to see how much damage that can do.

So, it has become clear, early on, that some of the stuff I write about here will offend or worry some folks. I guess that's to be expected--nature of the beast, and all. But please know, there are times when I'm just trying to elicit a chuckle. And please do take everything with a grain of salt. I'm a firm believer in poetic license.

Final comment: This is who I am--take it or leave it.

Blog notes

Haven't written in a few days. Have a number of ideas percolating, but have been too busy or too tired to write much--hazards of momhood in the (hellishly hot) summer.

Before I get to any other ideas, I wanted to share some thoughts on this blog and blogging in general--some of these thoughts having been generated by responses by friends and family.

1. Blogging is a great way to avoid paying bills. Which I should be doing right now. I've been looking for new ways to procrastinate, and this is significantly more fun than scrubbing the toilet or cleaning out my closet.

2. Blogging can be, and probably is in my case, a wonderfully narcisstic endeavor. Where else can one write about oneself, one's thoughts, offer to share them with others, and assume they will (a) read them and (b) find them fascinating? Of course, in my case, I only know of one person for sure who has read this blog more than once (thank you!)--and it is neither my husband nor any other member of my family. So much for inflated self-image.

3. My Dad's reaction to my blog postings was to send me an article from CNN about a British woman in France who was terminated from her job in a hoity-toity advertising firm (also British, need I say more?), because of her blogging activities. Basically the firm felt her postings reeked of impropriety and reflected badly on the firm. My response to dad was manifold:

First, I am unemployed, and even if I were employed, I would hope it would not be at a stuffy firm. Been there, done that. Second, I am not writing about said non-existent employer in my blog--even anonymously. Third, while I wrote about cleavage, I did not post a picture of my or anyone else's cleavage--taken at work no less-- on my blog. (I like my bras, but not THAT much, people).

My dad, clearly contemplating my future employment prospects, worried that I would be too identifiable from my blog. First, this posits that there are actually enough people reading my blog who might both take offense AND otherwise have considered hiring me. Low odds, indeed. Hmm. See above re blog readership. Also, there surely are many middle-aged, unemployed, infertile, former lawyers named Karen in Los Angeles. I mean, REALLY.

Okay, I can no longer procrastinate on the shower front--I have an appointment to keep. I've got more on reaction to my blog, but I will post later. And please forgive any typos, grammar errors, etc. I don't have time, as I usually do, to edit this post. Ciao.

Friday, July 14, 2006

. . . Thanks again

Okay, my husband, after having read my ode to brassieres, wanted to know why I hadn't yet waxed rhapsodic about my new computer. Which he bought for me as a "surprise." Inasmuch as anything I've been dropping hints as broad as the Grand Canyon about for months can be a surprise. Who am I kidding? Those weren't hints, they were bang-him-over-the-head-with-a-cast-iron-frying-pan demands. Of course, given his level of sensitivity to such things, he probably perceived them as the most subtle of nudges.


Anyhow, he got me the new MacBook with Intel processor---he even sprung for the BLACK one. (And what's with Apple, charging hundreds of dollars more simply for the color black? It's the same bloody thing inside. The sheer greed is appalling. Then again, the black does look soooo much cooler.) It's my first laptop and my first Apple--and I have to say I do like it. I like it, like it, like it, dear. I really like it. In fact, it was part of the reason I've been inspired to start this blog, that and the fine work of Cybele at (Check it out--if you're a candy freak like me, you'll love it!)

When you can tote this little sucker around anywhere with you, it really makes writing when the mood strikes so much easier. I can go from room to room with my kids as they need me, and I'm no longer tethered to the computer in our overheated greenhouse of an office. (That, by the way, is what happens when you enclose a former sleeping porch on the second story with all glass. What WERE they thinking???) This is both a good thing and a bad thing. On the one hand, I can get important stuff done, like catching up on all the good goss on Eonline, wherever I am. On the other, I no longer can get away from the kiddos with the excuse that Mommy has to work on the computer. "Bring your new computer wif you," says the 4-year-old (Speech therapy is going so well. . . ). Despite this further reduction in my privacy (bathroom privacy having long been history), I still feel I come out ahead, and the portability of my Mac has stepped up my productivity. For someone who doesn't have a "real" job, that is. And let's face it, as soon as my kids mastered the mouse, which was scary early, I never had a chance. I was always competing with those cute little buggers for computer time. And they throw much better tantrums. So, I ended up with all this kids' stuff cluttering up my computer. . . Reader Rabbit, Stuart Little, Dragon Tales, Clifford, but no Teletubbies or Boobahs, thank gawd. There were more kid-related icons on my desktop than adult ones. It's so nice now not to have to share. They can play, I can play. It all works out nicely. And I've told them that they never, never, never get to play with mommy's computer. I will not share.

I love setting a good example for my children.

Despite my repeated thanks, my husband continued to need reassurance that I liked my gift. (Um, would the fact that I spend more time with it than with him be a clue??) The other day, less than a week after I got the computer, I noticed finger smudges on the exterior and on the touchpad--the one downside to this chic new little black Book. It was driving me crazy, so I asked my husband how he cleaned his computer (a Powerbook, if you must know). He handed me some Apple wash and a special lint-free cloth, and I proceeded carefully to erase every fingerprint from the ebony surface of the computer. While I was performing this task, my husband asked, yet again, if I really liked my new computer. I looked up at him, eyebrow cocked, and asked him what I was doing. "Cleaning your computer," he replied, somewhat confused. "When was the last time you ever saw me voluntarily clean ANYTHING??" I asked, and I went back to polishing my Apple. And dear hubby? He hasn't asked whether I like my computer since.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Do you realize how hard it is to focus on writing when you're watching The 40-Year Old Virgin? Just try it sometime. You'll see what I mean.


Thanks, y'all, for all the positive feedback you've given me! It's hard to put yourself out there.

Now, can anyone think of a better name for this sucker?

Monday, July 10, 2006


Do not walk into, bump or otherwise touch an illuminated Halogen lamp. Especially not the glass part. It is fucking hot and you will get horrifically burned.

This public service announcement has been brought to you buy the Idiot's Guide to Burns and Other Stupid Accidents.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Never, never, never underestimate the power of a good bra. I had forgotten what wearing a good fitting bra can feel like--and let me tell you, at least in my rather limited life--it approaches heaven.

Because I have endured endless fertility treatments and borne two children over the last 10 years, my breasts have seen more fluctuations in size than Pamela Anderson's, on a WAY smaller--- make that a WAY, WAY, WAY, smaller--scale. I was going to say "seen more ups and downs" as opposed to "fluctuations in size," but frankly, the only direction in which my boobs are travelling lately is down. And that leads me to another question--how is it possible that someone with barely any, um, leverage, can sag? I never thought it could, much less would, happen to size 32 me, but hey apparently when it comes to National Geographic breasts, God has made sure not to discriminate among the sizes. Big, small, infitesimal, somehow gravity manages to grab ahold and pull. Hmm, do men stretch out like that? (And I'm not talking breasts). I do not think I want a visual survey.

Anyhow, it had been a couple of years since I'd bought new bras and my current ones were ill-fitting, constricting and uncomfortable. I let this go on for months until I just couldn't take it anymore. I had an unusual hour free during the day and popped into the local lingerie/bra store. You know the kind. The one with the old ladies who size you up apprasingly and manhandle your precious pearls into one sling after another, then personally rearrange them for the perfect effect. Sounds creepy--but it really is the breast, um, I mean the best. (Okay, that was just bad punning. So sorry). The sensation of suddenly having my breasts supported instead of squashed was liberating. It might sound counterintuitive to feel liberated while being contained, as it were, but it is much more liberating than just floating free. Ask any woman of a certain age--or bra size.

It's interesting, I've gone from hating padded bras (back in my perky days, when natural looked, well, natural AND good) to refusing to wear anything but padded bras. And there have been great strides made in bra technology. Man, I can go up a bra size, add killer cleavage and have it look like ME! Why anyone without a medical reason (say, mastectomy) would want to go under the knife when you can just walk into Saks and have a whole new set within minutes is beyond me. Cheaper, too.

Men simply do not understand the pleasure of a good fitting bra, although they have been known to appreciate the effects of a good bra. I was prancing around, gleefully re-trying on all my bras post-purchase, positively singing with joy, and my husband looked at me like I was an alien, albeit one with really good cleavage. . .which in turn led him to some leer-worthy ideas--most of which involved removing my bra. But he simply could not understand how good it felt to be wearing the bras.

The next day, in contrast, I mentioned to a friend who was visiting how great it felt, and she immediately knew what I was talking about and launched into her own story of her recent bra purchases. We bonded for a good half-hour over bras and boobs and mutual admiration of our newly supported assets. Now that's what friendship is all about.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Good Life

I've been thinking a lot about mortality lately. Not so much my own, as in general. And that of one of my dogs. And that of one of my friends. It's been a rough week.

Although it may be the cliche of all cliches, hitting my forties has caused me to reevaluate all sorts of things in my life. Yes, ye olde mid-life crisis. (How can I be mid-life, when I still feel 25?--See? Cliche, cliche, cliche. Now if I could only figure out how to type the "e" so that there is the accent aigu over the "e" in cliche, I'd be set.) What makes a good life? And am I living it? A Good Life, the life I'm supposed to lead?

As for this week, well, among other things, I'm facing the fact that one of my dogs, who's around 14 years old, is probably going to die sooner rather than later. I've been avoiding thinking about it, except in the most fleeting way, for some time now.

She had been finding it hard to get around because of arthritis and seemed so sad. So the vet put her on some NSAIDS (yep, the same anti-inflammatory stuff they give human arthritis patients). A few doses of that (what I thought was a) miracle drug, and she was like a new dog. So much so that our other dog perceived her as a threat to her alpha status and attacked her a couple of times. That coupled with a lot more activity than usual, caused her to re-tear the cruciate ligament in one of her hind legs. It must be called the cruciate ligament because it causes excruciating pain when torn. (I know, I know, it's not. I imagine, without looking it up, that the two words share the same Latin root having to do with "cross"). She was hobbling around on three legs in the most pitiful way.

Now, NSAIDS have a tendency in dogs (I don't know about other animals) to cause liver damage, so after about a month I had her liver enzymes tested. They were sufficiently elevated above the normal baseline that we had to stop administering the NSAIDS. The effect was almost immediate. No longer cheery, she was stiff, slow--and just looked so sad. The vet started throwing around phrases like "quality of life." Reading between the lines was not too difficult; he was using vet-speak to prepare me for the rather sooner than later decision I would have to make about euthanasia.

I couldn't bear it. She was my first dog. And (don't laugh) my canine soul mate. You know how sometimes you just know upon first sight that some person, be it friend or more, is connected to you in an intense way? Well it can be the same way with pets. And so it was with me and my dog. She was a rescue, had been abused and trusted no one easily--especially men. Yet, when we saw each other it was as if she instantly knew she could trust me, and we understood each other. She had the deep, melancholic eyes of an old soul. Even more telling, she immediately liked my then-boyfriend, now husband. The only male, at first, she was not afraid of.

To this day, almost twelve years later, she still wants to be with me more than anyone, and gets agitated when I leave the house, often waiting by the door (or going outside and barking incessantly) for my return. Even if the house is full of other people.

Someday, I'll tell her story. She is an amazing dog. And with us she has had a very good life (although with the advent of my kids, she did not get the attention she once did). For now, I find myself unable to think about the time when she will no longer be a part of my life. On the one hand, I want her with me always, and on the other I do not want her to suffer unnecessarily. I will soon have to make an impossible choice---and I can't bear it.