Sunday, December 27, 2009

The prodigal daughter returns

We're back home now and off again tomorrow to spend a snowy week in Santa Fe. Thought I'd share some of our visit to southern California.

Smog makes for killer sunsets. Though the smog was not as bad as I remembered it growing up.

I brought a car load of toys which we piled in the corner but my kids found these plastic bags in the garage and decided they were more fun. They are actually zipped inside. With a peephole for air. I call these immigrant bags since they're the kind you see in the international baggage claim. I bought them for a buck each in Israel and gave my mom a few. Good for storage. Or time outs. Scratch that. Way too much fun for a time out.

I bought my daughter these rad Vans shoes with neon colored skater monsters on them.  When I was ten my friend Andrea and I used to paint our Vans in all kinds of crazy colors and we told my mom that Vans wanted us to start selling them in the store. Well Andrea thought that would be funny and I knew my mom would believe us and that it would end badly, which it did. I saw Andrea on this trip and told her that I'd designed these for Vans. She almost bought it.

Required trip to a cafe with Grandma.

Classic southern California. My husband and I did see a movie while in town (he flew down for the last day of the trip). We saw Up in the Air. I liked it. Could have waited for video though. High fives to Jason Reitman though for making some pretty good movies, almost rivaling his dad's Ghostbusters.

We spent a lot of time at the art gallery where my mom works because my son thinks he works there too. Thankfully there's also a carousel nearby.

I call this one Two Cherubs.

One amazing discovery on this trip was the Bowers Museum Kidseum. When I was about five or six years old my mom sent me to day camp at Bowers Museum with Jason Stern and I hated it. We both did. We both still talk about it. I'm sure it was awesome in theory. I remember we learned about bees. But I just wanted to get home every day. Sound like someone else we know and love from this blog? About ten years ago they opened a kids museum that's only cultural dress and play from around the world. Imagine giant bins of international dress up clothes and masks the size of your preschooler. It was outstanding and we were the only ones there (on Christmas eve day) and the kids had a ball.


More when we return from New Mexico. Happy 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

In the news

I'm in Orange County. And in fact we're having a great time. I drove down with my kids on Monday and they were spectacular for the seven hour drive. The key is gum. They like to chew gum and I don't usually let them but I gave them all the gum they wanted on the way down and it kept them very quiet. The other trick is duct tape. Just kidding.

And it's lovely weather here too. We've been enjoying ourselves. I even got to have a mini reunion with a few friends from high school who live in the area. It's fun to reconnect now that we have kids. Whenever I see old friends I'm reminded of the mean trick that although we age on the outside (which actually isn't even the case with these friends who look as beautiful as they did in high school) we are basically twenty-five years old forever on the inside. I'll never forget when I hired a sixteen year old babysitter who called me Mrs. Rosen and I was like what the hell, I'm not that much older than you? Until I realized I was twice her age.

Anyway, I've been taking a lot of pictures this time around which I will share when we're back home and I have a cable to download. I have a lot of "blog entries" in my head, one of which is the fact that I've started to store things in my brain in terms of blog entries which sometimes makes me want to stop blogging altogether. Today and yesterday I've been thinking a lot about television and how I'm glad ours barely works. My mom has a nice TV plus cable so I have my pick of a zillion channel which means I can't excape the news. If you can call it news. This is what's topping the headlines in Orange County:
  1. Tiger Woods and his mistresses and fortune and whether his wife will try to take the kids to Sweden and if he'll fight for them or if she'll try to get half of his billions or just settle for 55 million. Really, people? Who gives a fuck. My mom's boyfriend told me that this story hit a record for the most days on the front pages of major newspapers, beating out 9/11.
  2. A man in Brazil stuck more than 40 sewing needles into his two year old son over the course of a month at the prompting of his mistress to get back at is wife. I don't even know what to say about this except that I wish I didn't know about it.
  3. A nineteen year old woman from Anaheim threw her newborn in a dumpster behind a Mexican Restaurant in Stanton. She delivered the baby in a restroom stall and then put her in the garbage. Alive. What is wrong with people.
  4. Sean Goldman is headed back to the US from Brazil to live with his father David Goldman. I guess the boy was taken to Brazil by his mother five years ago and they never came back. And then she died in childbirth a few years later. And he's being raised by his stepfather. Hopefully New Jersey won't be too much of a culture shock. Right.
  5. Did I mention Tiger Woods? He's on again.
So I'm happy to live in my NPR bubble where I don't have to know about philandering golfers, voodoo inflicting fathers, dead babies in dumpsters or poor kids caught in the middle of bi-cultural marriages gone bad.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mental Accounting

Well I went to the doctor today because I'm sick. Again. I hacked up a green glob this morning that could have been a spoonful of wasabi. It was that green. And that solid. And I've been trying to stay well because we have some trips coming up. I've been squirting salt water up my nose and out my mouth which, if you've never done this, is really awful but does open up the nasal passages. Unless you have total nasal blockage and then water just sprays everywhere including out your ears because it has no where else to go. So I went to see my doctor. And she said just what I wanted her to say. You have a sinus infection. Go get this prescription filled. Because usually I'd just wait it out. Steam my head a few times a day. Spray some grapefruit seed extract up the old schnoz. But I am driving to my mom's (7 hours) with my kids on Monday and then we're all flying to Santa Fe a week later, so I can't risk it.

And thank god she gave me that prescription and made no mention of the five pounds I'd gained. Um, is your scale off? Yes, five pounds. I suddenly had visions of myself on whoever is replacing Oprah talking about how I didn't even notice that I was suddenly four hundred pounds because it just came on five pounds at a time.

After, I went home to get some work done, all the while thinking, where the hell did those five pounds come from? Maybe it's the bowl of cereal I eat every night at 10:00? Maybe I should exercise more than once a month? Those thoughts somehow stimulated my bowel. And I started thinking, that's a good two pounder right there. So really I only gained three pounds. And then I started thinking about how much my huge hooded sweater and bootcut jeans weigh - maybe a pound or more. The hood and extra fabric for the bootcut make the outfit very weighty, you know. And then I hacked up some more wasabi. Quarter pound at least. So then I didn't feel so bad. I had only gained like one pound, when you round down. Which I do. And since it's Hanukkah and I've been eating only fried food for the last six days, I feel like that's actually pretty good.

Then after I picked up my kids we went to Walmart to fill my prescription and I felt even better since most people there are twice my size. Which is why I had no qualms inhaling this giant potato, onion and green bean omelet for lunch (otherwise known as "leftovers omelet"). I mean the bottle says must take with food. I'm just following directions. It also says, follow with Nutella chaser. Swear to god.

What kind of mental accounting are you doing this holiday season?

Monday, December 14, 2009

2010 Calendars

No, I don't have them for sale. I didn't make an art calendar. I sort of missed the boat this year for seasonal merchandise. Even though working for Shutterfly for a year got me to think about Christmas in July and Valentine's Day in October, I still wasn't able to get the Mishmish Studio merchandising calendar on track for this year's rush. Alas, I'm a newbie. Come back next year maybe.

But as our family's resident Shutterfly expert, I'm in charge of the family photo calendar. This year I didn't anticipate how much the holiday season would affect my nascent business so between filling orders, researching kindergarten, doing another quick contract for Shutterfly and having my kids off school for the last two weeks of December, I decided to delegate the task to my husband. I basically set it all up for him and he just had to put the pictures in in a coherent order (birthday people get a lot of pictures on their page, that kind of thing). He did a stand up job and I'm just going back in for a quick edit. But we're missing some pics of my mother-in-law (this calendar is only my husband's side of the family - sorry ma, I'll make one for you too, but it might not be til February...) so I start going through the last few trips we've taken to Santa Fe when we've all been together, including my elusive sister-in-law who's in Israel and always studying for exams because her university goes on strike every three months. And anyway now she's in medical school so we may never see her again. And as I'm going through these pics I jump over to pics from my mother-in-law's Picasa site and it turns out that she has a zillion more amazing pictures. Meanwhile, I am listening to a new song that I love (on repeat, because I'm as obsessive as my own son) and I am sobbing because I love this family so much. The music and the images - what can I say? I love a good score. I hear so many horror stories about in-law antics and bad feelings and drunken blow-outs and, well, I hit the jackpot with this team. They do travel in packs, which can be tiresome, if you're, say, 32 hours postpartum, but I mostly love this style of full family love. It's what I'm used to from my side of the family too (um, you heard about the family band, right?). It's not even a big family, mine or his, but when we're together it's epic.

Here's the song. Play it while you browse through iphoto. Have a good cry.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wiped out

How is it possible that I gave birth to two people so completely different from one another? I tell you the recessive gene pool is expansive. Vast.

We're having trouble getting my son to wipe himself (sorry, that wasn't much of a segue). He's five. I'm sure this is normal and to be honest part of me wants to keep doing it because I do a better job than he does, but he should really be wiping his own ass (I keep hearing that little boy in Adam Sandler's movie Big Daddy,  I wipe my on ass! I wipe my own ass!). Anyway, my husband told him he's not doing it anymore and I said, I guess me neither. And then my son didn't take a dump for three days. This is what we are up against. So I said fine, I will wipe and then after, you will practice, as in wipe with no threat of getting poop on his fingers. We've been doing this for a week or so. And yesterday, when he didn't want to reach over to get the toilet paper because he would have to close his eyes so he wouldn't have to see the poop and then he might fall and land in the toilet (his words), I realized the extent to which he is not psyched about poop.

Compare that to a recent conversation I had with my daughter. She'd been playing in leaves outside and then came in and wanted her pants off because something was itching her. You mean the dried up maple leaves in your underwear? Is that it? I pull down her pants and a bunch of brown flecks of leaf fall to the ground and a very nonchalant conversation ensues.

her: (bending over to touch the leaves) mommy, is it poo poo?
me: no, honey
her: spider?
me: no, it's a leaf.
her: oh, leaf. (shrugs and giggles). Leaf is not poo poo mommy. Silly.

Same parents. Swear.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Put a plug in it

I can hear him whimpering in the other room. But I still have my ear plugs in so I can only sort of hear him. Yes, I have ear plugs in. My son has been screaming for the last thirty minutes. First, that his sister used all the tape (this week's obsession is scotch tape) and then, when his sister got sick of listening to the screams and decided she would rather take a nap (yes, she'd rather NAP than listen to her brother scream and cry. I can't say I blame her.), he started screaming about how he wanted to play with her.

I want to play with her!
I want to play with her!
want to play with her!

So I had no choice. I had to put in the ear plugs. Which actually don't do much but send a clear message that I don't want to hear this boy anymore. It didn't help (you should know that neither does holding him tight or snuggling or putting him in a naughty chair or spanking him. None of these things are effective when he needs to have a come apart). So I canceled Hanukkah. Can she do that? You bet your sweet latke I can. We're going to my brother's this afternoon to have dinner and celebrate and open presents and I told him that the other three kids would get presents and he would not. Well that shut him up very quickly. And now he is mopey, but he's quiet. Probably hopeful that I'll reconsider the cancellation. Which I will, but only after he has spent a good amount of time considering his errant behavior. It's bad enough I won't put lights on our house like our neighbors. Now I'm cancelling Hanukkah.
How's that for some holiday spirit. My kids hate me. Fa la la.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Uncle Johns' Band

I just had to share this because it cracked me up. Yes, I often rely on myself for the best laughs. My brother Johnny is very excited about the family band and has purchased music binders for everyone in time for our second practice which is tomorrow night. So he asked me if I could whip up a logo or something to slip in the front cover behind the plastic. Oh and think of a band name while you're at it.

Well, since he's the driving force behind the band and he's Uncle Johnny (to my kids anyway), we're going with the homage to Jerry Garcia, patron saint of garage bands, and calling it Uncle John's Band. And here's what our first album cover will look like:

Kristin on drums
Susie on vocals/egg shaker
Johnny on guitar/keyboard/vocals/sound engineer
Aaron on keyboard
Mook on bass

It has a certain je ne sais Partridge family appeal to it right? Truth be known, I didn't just whip this up. It's a drawing from my Story Birds collection, but it happened to have five characters and the possum happened to look JUST LIKE my brother Aaron so I thought PERFECT.

Time to fight off the paparazzi as I venture out for my daily coffee. These people are relentless...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Someone old and someone new

Say it together with me.
I just came back from a much needed, too short and deliriously enjoyable weekend in Portland, a place I had never been, to meet one of my newest old friends and one of my oldest new friends.

Aimee is someone I met online. Huh? Yes, I met her online. I commented on her blog. And then she commented back. And then we started emailing. Very long emails. The kind you used to send in 1996 before people stopped writing in conventional language in favor of short phrases with no vowels. Yes, those kind of emails. And it just happened we were both artists with MBAs (so incongruous!) and mommies of small children and makers of ketubahs and well the list of similarities goes on and on. And so, one day, when we were both feeling the need to get away, we hatched a plan to meet in Portland. And that's just what we did. We flew in Friday night, I met her at her gate and we didn't stop talking until she left Sunday morning. And we wandered around freezing Portland and talked our heads off, drank coffee, ate amazing food, bought matching sweaters (well, different sweaters from the same woman at the Saturday market) and got lost in Powell's bookstore. It was like we had known each other our whole lives. And that is why Aimee is my newest old friend.

And my oldest new friend is Jenn. Jenn lives in Portland and is chef and owner of Lincoln Restaurant and Culinary Artistry. She is someone I worked with when I was 16 and a counselor at summer camp. We hadn't seen each other in nearly twenty years. About five years ago we were in touch briefly. And then about 8 months ago I saw a little blurb on her in Real Simple magazine so I nearly had a heart attack and looked her up to find that she had opened a restaurant in Portland. I immediately wrote to her and we even spoke on the phone. So when Aimee and I decided on Portland I knew I needed to see Jenn too. We ate dinner at Jenn's restaurant on Friday night and it was amazing to be in the company of two incredibly talented and creative women. Catching up. Getting to know each other. And eating the most delicious food I've had in a very long time. Maybe ever. Go eat at Lincoln if you're ever in Portland.

Aimee flew home early Sunday and I spent the rest of the day with Jenn. More talking. More eating. And even though in some ways it felt like we just slipped right back into the our old friendship, in many ways it felt more like our friendship, or at least this chapter of it, was entirely new.

So there it is. A weekend of grub and gab with two exceptionally inspiring and supportive women. It was just what I needed. Because, friends, I am not great at reaching out. I'm shy. I get intimidated. I assume no one remembers me. But I'm finding that the more I do it, the easier it is and the happier I am to be connected.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Strange Bedfellows

My daughter has crossed the line. The last few weeks she's been crawling into our bed around 6:30 in the morning to snuggle and defrost her Popsicle feet and we rather enjoy it so we indulge this behavior. It's been a good stretch actually. For a while she was coming in at around 3:30 to sleep on the floor next to the bed or covertly sneak between us (her version of stealth mode means a knee in your belly and not a knee AND a foot). There was also that three day "my mattress is like a large diaper" spree. Check. But lately she's been going to be easily and sleeping the whole night in her bed.

But recently she's been coming into our bed with a host of friends. She doesn't just bring Julio. She brings Julio, Mousey, a soft doll that make crinkle noises and two small wooden dolls from her doll house. Yes, wooden dolls. Ever snuggle up to a wooden doll? Or rolled onto one at 6:45 am? Yesterday she brought all of those items plus the lamp from her doll house. And today she brought the animals, crinkle doll, wooden dolls, the lamp, her ladybug key chain chapstick and two magnets.

But I will leave my husband to deal with this burgeoning problem while I go away for the weekend. By. My. Self. Yes, friends. This mama has the weekend off. Full disclosure when I return. Or partial disclosure.

Now go make some time for you too. Let's report back on Monday.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Corner View - Corners of my home

I have been remiss in my corner view participation. Started by Jane of Spain Daily, it's a group of bloggers around the world who post on a weekly prompt. I just usually can't get my act together in time. This week's prompt was Corners of Your Home. So here they are, for better of worse. I left out the corners that were full of crap. Except for one corner that is desperate for a makeover. Can you tell a lot by someone's corners? Maybe...

I collect rag dolls. Porcelain painted faces? No thanks. I collect the soft kind and the raggier the better. Here are two from South Africa, that I bought in Israel and one from New Zealand.

We have a lot of books. Paperbacks. I can't bring myself to part with them. And I don't want them in boxes in the attic because then there's NO CHANCE I will ever look at them again. This way they're out of public view but easily accessible. You know, for when I want to reread Othello.

I have kids. Two in fact. One of them, the boy one, sleeps here. My friend Ayelet in Israel made those chickens. I wish she would sell them on ETSY or something but for now only sold in shops in Israel. The quilt is from a wonderful woman in an adorable shop in Rosh Pinna, which is a little artist town in Northern Israel. It has the Hebrew alphabet on it. And the image above his bed is obviously from Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree, one of the greatest books of all time. I painted this when I was sixteen.

Even more books. And some friends atop the books.

This corner is actually in our hallway. Kind of a peculiar little place. We turned it into a kitchen. With a view of the Andes...

Here is a quiet corner where I can relax (and nurse - back in the day). My Grammy crocheted that afghan. It's good to have a place to breathe when this is what your office/studio looks like...

Good grief.

Thanks for coming over. For more corner tours visit Jane and her people at Spain Daily. Vaya con Dios.