Checkbook Party 101

Okay folks- this is a long ditty...I tried to edit and cut it down- but I gave up. It is Saturday so maybe you are looking for a good novel or blog post to read. In that case here goes:
Checkbook Party: party given for the sole purpose of selling a product. A la Tupperware. Or Partylite (candles), or designer jeans…well just about anything.
The phrase was coined by my loving husband, who when I announced he would be on his own with the kids for a Friday night a few months ago- asked where I was going. When I told him it was a ‘candle party thing’…he said ’oh, no another Checkbook Party’- and the phrase was coined in my house from that moment on.
It is sad really, first you get the Evite, phone call or written invitation and you are excited. ‘Wow, someone wants me to come to their party!’….and then you read the fine print. This is not any regular let’s-get-together-and-drink party. Nope this is a party with a purpose. You are not going to be a guest at this party- You will be a CUSTOMER. Ah-ha! Now you know why you were is not your clever witty party jokes, or that you can bring a mean spinach dip… folks, you were invited because you have a checkbook. You were invited because every person the hostess knows was invited. The hostess was not selective- she asked everyone and anyone she knew (I was once invited by a neighbor I had never seen in person). But who cares right? It is a PARTY. So you put it on your calendar-why not?
The party itself looks remarkably like a real party- there is food, drinks and sometimes music. But strangely no men in site. Even the husband of the hostess is hiding in a room upstairs- or sent to the movies with the kids. Nope, no husbands, and no kids…but there ARE apple martinis. You decide to stay. You chat awkwardly with the strange collection of women: The hostess’s hair dresser, hostess’s sister, the hostess’s babysitter, mom’s from school and a few people who don’t even know the hostess but were brought along for moral support.
And then the unavoidable happens; the presentation begins. You look to the door and think ‘is there anyway I can get out of here?” Then you remember the hostess taking your purse and putting it in the guest room with the others. You are now a party hostage. You refill your martini and then sit down with the group and look up to the party presenter. OC Party presenters are like cheerleaders who have been to one too many Tony Robbins seminars. They are always ‘thrilled’ to be there and seem to smile continually. They show the candle/purse/cooking products like pros- with a silly story/joke/anecdote for each product. They always have a sale or a special on something. You listen and firmly plant your feet in thinking ‘ keep trying lady- but there is no way in heck I am buying’. And yet, inevitably by the end of the ‘show’ and after 2 or 3 martinis…there you are breaking out your checkbook. You never realized how essential candles are to your life. You absolutely MUST have that giant candle thing holder- even though you will never be able to actually light the candles with kids in the house without risk of burning the whole house down. You really really need those candles or lotion or fake designer purse or whatever. You decide to banish all other lighting EXCEPT candles in your home. You will now do everything by candle light. As you write your check you think to yourself 'this kind of party is a great idea': Cocktails, passive shopping and meeting new people…..will you go to the next Checkbook Party? YES! You bet-if you can read the invitation by candlelight.....

Making Memories is Expensive!

While searching the internet for an amazing birthday party idea for my 9 year old- I came across this interesting blog post, about a CNN article. Sounds complicated. Just click HERE and read. Hey I am all for making memories for my kids- but whats wrong with those memories being really really cheap? Read the article- I will make more sense after....god I hope I do.


They say that blogging helps you learn about yourself and others. So far I have learned:
  • I like to make lists
  • I enjoy writing in the middle of the night
  • I have a strange preoccupation with blog lay-outs (mine or others)
  • I have more ideas for my blog than I allow myself to post
  • I think I am super funny/clever/awesome until I push the 'publish' button (Then I think I am lame)
  • My life is funny and really great.....and surprisingly interesting to others
  • My best and closest friends have the fear of leaving comments.
  • My husband kinda thinks I am nuts- but still loves me.
  • I really really like to write. (apparently the English Degree was not in vain)
  • I could not live without spell check.
  • There are more people out there with my sense of humor (and that cracks me up...)

9 year old shocks Mom

My 9 year old son Jack took his big field trip to San Juan Capistrano yesterday. His 4th grade class took a bus to the train station in Fullerton, and rode the train (he got to sit on the top floor too) to the Mission. They visited the Mission and a nearby French restaurant (he is learning French in school so this was a double whammy learning). He was required to wear his dress uniform and was permitted to bring a Gameboy or other for the travel time and a snack. So where is the shocking part? First he told me he did not need to take his Gameboy- he wanted to ‘look at things’ while on the train. I nearly fainted from this sign of maturity. When I picked him up from school after his long adventure, he was eager to show me his souvenir. I had given him $30 which I knew was a lot- but he did just get straight A’s (okay one little tiny B+) on his report card and I wanted to reward him. I expected him to get a Mission Bell or a book with the money. But what did he get? He got one present for me, one for his dad, one for his brother and finally one for himself. I was so touched thinking about my little man in the touristy gift shop diligently picking out a gift for each of his family members and carefully doing the math to be certain he had enough money to pay for it all. And what did the angel select? A lovely crystal paper-weight for me, a neat plaque for dad and for him and his brother? ………GUNS. Yes. GUNS. Okay they are rubber band guns- but still not my favorite thing. Ordinarily- and if I had been there with him I would have said ‘no-way Jose’…..but I wasn’t there…and he could get whatever he wanted and he knew it. That night as I put him to bed, I said ‘you could have spent all the money on just you, ya know’…and he looked at me like I was nuts and said ‘why would I do that mom?’… I love that kid. He is also a chip off the old block (I am the block in this scenario)…the photo is one taken by him that day…..he said “mom it is really pretty there- you would like it”…………..right now I like him. A LOT.


I am there! Well, sorta.......

Well they have sorta found a spot for me on the The OC Mom's page at the is temporary...the editor said they are working on giving me a more 'real' spot with more visibility....but do I even care? It is a spot on the OC Register!!!!! Click here to see my name in lights. Go to the bottom of the page to the right under comments. Kinda funny they call me a 'super mom'... or go here for a direct link. Pretty please click 'recommend' next to my posts. It will bring you good luck. Or make you skinny. Or make you rich. I am such a liar.......
For now they are duplicate posts of what is on my site- but that will change soon. Yeah! Two places to blog! Twice the fun! And I promise when I get my 'place of honor' on the big OCMOM page I will link you in Monday they think.
From my Internet browsing in the middle of the night. 1938 Popular Mechanics Magazine......
"....the invention of the counter seat that also serves as a consulting the dial customers can determine whether to order fattening foods..."
Can you even imagine the horror of this invention? Can you? So not only do YOU see how much you weigh as you dine, but so does the soda jerk (what a jerk) and your husband and friends? Are you kidding me? What could this have done for business? Could not have been good...I wonder if any were ever even used.
Reminds me a little of "The Big Yellow House" restaurant that was here in the OC when I was a kid. They weighed you (kids only) as you went in and as you left to determine the cost of your meal. Amazing that place is no longer around....oh the horror of it all.
Kids and sleep. They just approach it differently. It is more of an option some nights than a necessity. You think after you finally get them to stop needing a midnight feeding you are home free…but to my amazement my boys STILL wake up frequently in the middle of the night. And it seems- they are not happy until I am awake with them. Now I am a girl who loves (and needs) her sleep- so it is probably the worst thing in the world for me to be woken up. But when my door creaks open once, sometimes twice a night I almost laugh at what I am hearing. Here are a few favorites….
* "My bed is wet…but I don’t know if its pee" (it was)
* "I have to go to the bathroom…and your potty is better than ours"
* "Mom, I forgot I have to have 3 paper towel rolls by tomorrow…can you go get those?"
* "Mom, is it normal for a hamster to be squeaking?" (thankfully -it is )
* "The purple man is falling off the cliff!" (sleep walking nightmare-yeah fun)
* "I think I might wanna throw up. Can I throw up in here?"
* "The stupid Disneyland fireworks woke me up! Can’t you call them and tell them to knock it off?"
* "Mom wake up. I don’t feel good and I need you to fix me!"
* "I think our neighbors are drunk. They are talking really loud. Go tell them to drink coke."
* "Is Dad home yet?" (this happens every night my husband is to return from China- even if he is scheduled to come home the following DAY)
* "Mommy- please can you shut off my brain? I can’t go back to sleep!" (Jack was 3 at the time)
* And my favorite, heard on a night when I needed it the most: "Can I sleep in here? I miss you when I close my eyes and you are not there…"


Oh-So Grateful!

This for a moment of gratefulness for all things modern and convenient.
This photo by Ester Bubley for the Office of War Information was taken to show typical living conditions for young mothers during the war. I can feel you all pawing the screen to rescue that baby from the table, so he won't fall off. Oh I am sure he fell off plenty. But let's talk about the horror of the mother's current chore: boiling the diapers. Yes, folks grabbing the family pan to clean dirty diapers. (Oh thank you God and Pampers for disposable diapers). How about the fridge? What would that even hold? A bottle of milk and some bacon? No wonder she has to to go to the market everyday...and walking no less I bet. I know, I know I can see the cord hazard from what looks like a toaster too....and yes it freaks me out too. How about the low hanging curtains over the stove? Safety was not job one back then....
Update: The baby's name is Joe and he died only 8 years ago, so apparently he survived the table falls, toaster to the head and a inevitable kitchen fires from the curtains. Good job Joe- you must have been a tough little guy. Want more? Visit Shorpy

Newsflash: Disney-Free Children Vist the OC!

It is hard to believe in this day in age that any of these actually exists in the state of California- but it is true. I have found children (three of them!) who have never, ever- EVER been to Disneyland! No I didn’t search the streets to find them- they are the children of my good friend Susan from Walnut Creek. Now granted Walnut Creek is a good 6 hour car ride away (5 if you have kids who don’t pee, but alas hers do)- so it is understandable she has not taken them to D-Land yet. But they are coming to visit me at the end of the month, and they are getting 3 day Disney passes…and we are gonna be all-Disney-all-the-time for those three days! The whole idea of it excites me… chance to show everything I have loved for my entire life to people who are not tainted by any of it! Susan is kooky (better-than-me) mom who limits TV time, doesn’t allow Gameboys, Playstations or Wii’s in her house. Yeah- she is doing the mom thing the hard way (probably the right way too- but I am lazy)…….Can you imagine how fun it will be (for me) to introduce Main Street as we walk in and I explain how Walt himself requested the trees be shorter towards the castle to help with the perspective, the miracle of the Fast Pass and the importance of an ‘E’ ticket, and of course watching their faces light up during Pirates of the Caribbean! Not to mention their first voyage on the Jungle cruise with my earliest comedy inspiration - the Jungle Cruise driver. Oh the joy of it all! What about the Magic Shop where Steve Martin once worked? I will HAVE to buy each of them the invisible dog leash and rock candy too...... I can still remember the true magic of going to Disneyland as a child (MAYBE once a year- not every other weekend like my lucky kids with their annual passes from grandma)….and I can’t wait to share this with my friends. Susan and her husband haven't even been in nearly 20 years! I can’t wait to show them EVERYTHING. But since that might be a little unrealistic (I have been known to be unrealistic when it comes to Disney)- I would love any pointers from readers to give me their “can’t miss” or “definitely avoid” suggestions!


The Institute of Official Cheer

There is one web site- that has given me more hours of laughter than any other single site/TV show/book or movie....EVER. I have been a fan of The Institute of Official Cheer for years. I am totally not exaggerating. It is so beyond just have to go there and see for your self. Start yourself off with the "Advertising is Good For You" section and then treat yourself to "The Grooviest Hotel in Wisconsin"......Oh gosh I wish I all of you were here right now, gathered around my monitor, drinking Mojitos and we would be laughing and laughing as we clicked threw the pages.....That would be a perfect night for me...but the next best thing is to pass this site on to you.....Enjoy. And Cheers...need a refill?

Don't Hit!

There are certain truths we hold true as mothers...things we simply KNOW to tell our children to do or not do at an instinctual level. 'look both ways, share your toys, just try the broccoli, chew with your mouth closed, say please and thank you' and the favorite of mothers of boys everywhere: DON'T HIT.
That is why my 9 year old's recent choice of after school activity has me feeling a bit conflicted. We tried basketball, baseball, soccer and football and nothing interested Jack for longer than one season. So I was pleased when he expressed an interest in trying a martial art. There was a studio up the street from our house with a large sign that read 'Martial Arts', so we stopped by, and signed up for classes on the spot (once your kid sees someone break a board with their FOOT it is a done deal)-He is now a totally dedicated (nearing obsessed) Taekwondo student. It took me two weeks to learn how to spell it- and had really no idea of what we were in for from this Koren self defense art.
The first week was fine. He got the cutest white uniform, learned to say 'yes sir!' with passion and began practicing his 'patterns' (like little dance routines, but don't tell him that). And then it happened: the class he learned to 'spar'. It was as bad as it sounds. First these little guys 'suit up' into padded shin guards, mouth guard,, gloves and helmet. It would have been a funny site if what happened next-didn't happen. But it did. The Master told them to begin HITTING. And so there he was, my sweet, passive child doing snap kicks and punches on someone else's child. And worse yet- he was GETTING hit as well. It was more than a mother could take. I tried chatting with another mom, I listened to my ipod, I focused on the clock...but I could still hear 'thump, grunt, thump, ugh, thump, slap.....' I thought it would never end. But it did. And as my sweating boy took off his equipment- he smiled and said, 'Mom that was awesome! Did you see me?'.....that was when I knew I had to put my genetically implanted mom instincts on the back burner for now.....because this was something I was going to have to deal with for a long long time. And I was proud in a weird way.....because he was pretty darn good at this fighting thing- for a kid whose mom never let him hit before. So now I have a revised mom-mantra...'no hitting, unless you are in class and Mommy's eyes are closed.

That Funny Life

This week: The OC Register rejected me as a staff photographer (apparently they need someone who shoots more sports- and well I say, if my kid isn't playing, I don't normally shoot it. So my portfolio was a little light in that area...) I was pretty darn bummed....and then....
This week also: The OC Register called and wants me to contribute daily to the The OC Mom Blog section! I won't be appearing for a few days.....but don't worry I will post easy links to it once I am up on the section for certain! Suz Broughton of Emphasis Mine and other writers I admire are there-so I am honored!
So I got a rejection from them and an acceptance all in the same week. Life is funny even when it isn't trying to be don't you think?


Sing and Be Happy

Record album from circa 1970... let's all sing and be happy with Little Marcy won't you? She looks a little demented, perhaps because she has no chin, or maybe the weight of the gi-normous bow on her head is pulling her head down. I would die to be able to hear how Little Marcy gotta guess it was adorable ala Shirley Temple for the hippie age.......daiseys where big then. And apparently plaid Christmas dresses...I think If I had this album as a kid I would have carried it around and tried to pass it off as me. In fact I know I would have. Pathetic. I wonder where this little Marcy is today? hey little Marcy- if you are out there, call in...we are worried about you.
update: I found her.
You gotta hear this

Dog People

Okay folks now is the time when I as a blogger tell you a little something about myself which may in-turn make me loose some of my readers. I know this to be a foolish act- but I feel compelled to tell you this about myself (its a blogger sickness) goes....I am NOT a dog person. I just am not. I have tried. I grew up with a dog. My friends have dogs. Some of my family have dogs. I have photographed dogs. But I just do not feel I need to own a dog-EVER. So it is particularly annoying to me when I seem to be confronted by people and their UNLEASHED dogs everywhere. They are at the park (although against the park rules), they are walking down my street looking for a place to do their business as an owner stands by like a little doggie servant, and this week I had a completely unleashed pit bull follow me around Starbucks. Okay dog people- ENOUGH. I am so glad you all have found a pet that you feel compelled to bring with you everywhere- but does that mean I have to worry about it biting me or my children? (and don't act that that never happens- it happens, watch the news). Love your dog, buy it clothes and dress it up, give it expensive toys and food- but do us all a favor: either leave it at home- or put the darn thing on a short leash. And don't even get me started on people who don't pick up after their dogs......I could really go on about that! (Note to reader: This blogger is not really the cold hearted pet hating person as she sounds...she is a bit of an animal freak actually, but it is just the leash thing she is trying to convey)


Your Sunday Comic...

For my fellow photoshop hard to know what is real anymore!
Want more? Check out: XKCD....warning, not all appropriate for children....(now you are gonna go look for sure aren't you?)