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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Emily & Amy



Emily & Amy are the names of a set of twins we know. Amy went from being my closest friend (geographically, she lived walking distance away) to moving out by Camarillo so we don't see her as often. :( And Emily lives in Orange County. But anyway, this post is not about them, it's about Lauren's dolls.
Amy is the pink doll above that Alex & Suzy gave Lauren for her birthday. She got her name because one day Lauren saw a family picture of me with 20 of my cousins. I named them for her and when I got to Amy, she repeated "Amy, Amy, Amy!" excitedly and carried the photo around the house chanting her name. So I suggested we name her doll Amy and she agreed.
Emily came from the UCLA Thrift store, where we make our charitable donations. We popped in to the store a few weeks ago to see what children's things they had and Lauren saw this dark haired doll in a miniature stroller and squealed with delight. She's at a young enough age that I can usually get away with letting her play with toys at the store but not take them home with her (she'll often lose interest before we leave anyway). But this time, she didn't get tired of pushing the doll stroller around and she really wanted to take her with us. So I bought her and we took her home.
I asked her what the doll's name was and she said what I though was "Emily". Then I said, "did you just say Emily?" and she replied "That's right". Talking to Lauren is really funny because she will have long monologues in Danish, or at least, we tell ourselves that it is Danish because it's not English (but Mona & Kristian can't understand her "Danish"). But then sometimes she has these moments of lucidity for a few sentences. She also talks like someone out of the 1950's. She likes to start phrases with "Say!" as in, "Say, what's this?". But she was very clear when discussing Amy & Emily's names.
So, Lauren, Emily and Amy are the 3 girls in our home. This means Jake and Ryan are finally outnumbered. And I'm sure they will not be the last dolls!
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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Old Friend

What is it about old friends that lets us hold them to a different standard than new friends? Or am I the only one who does this? I was thinking about this today because I got stood up for lunch by someone I've known for that past 8 years. Not a big deal, really, we were also meeting another friend, so just the 2 of us went instead of all 3 (well, 4, Lauren was there). Then friend #1 apologized profusely afterwards. She got the days mixed up and just forgot. The funny thing was, I didn't care, and was not at all upset. Later, she called to apologize a second time. I feel more bad for her that she feels like she upset me to have missed it! (And I don't think friend #2 cared either but maybe she was upset?) And it's kind of cool that she did forget, because that's the kind of thing I might do and this way I get a free pass if I do it to her. :)

Anyway, though, I was thinking about how if she were a new friend maybe I would have been iritated and wanted a really good excuse but that since we have a long history of friendship, this, had this even been an issue, would have been but a small blip. But with new friends, when you're just learning about each other, the slightest misstep can derail the whole thing. One unreturned phone call or email, unacknowledged gift, one empty "we should get together soon" promise dangled but as yet unkept can mean so much more when you don't have a lot of good history to balance it out.

Conversely, I was thinking about how some of my best friendships have been made when I was thrust into situations with people where greater responsibility ended up happening than we first would have thought. One time, the first time I hung out with my friend M., she was visiting from Europe and didn't know Los Angeles that well. She mentioned she sewed, so I offered to take her to the garment district sometime. We would have only been there a few hours at most, but my car got a flat tire. She ended up having to wait with me for AAA, go to the gas station with me, drive really slowly back nervously on surface streets on the doughnut tire, and buy new tires. The whole adventure took all day, and by the end we were good friends.

In fact, the first time we hung out with H. and his wife, we also had to call AAA! (That time the car was new and I was unused to daytime running lights so accidentally left theregular lights on and drained the battery). They also waited with us while the tow truck came. I guess you can try to be so funny and charming and interesting for new people, but at the end of the day, you're just some loser who left their lights on in the parking lot. Cuts right to the chase, huh?

Anyway, I guess making new friends has been on my mind because I feel pressure to move so that Lauren can go to a good school, etc. We may have to do it one of these days. Where is up for intense debate, but if it involves any kind of commute from where we live now, we'll be making some new friends. And just when I finally feel really settled in Los Angeles. I've lived here the second-longest of any place in my life. Scary to think of having to meet new people again. Not to mention losing all of you, those of you that we see in person on a regular basis, those who won't want to make the drive to wherever new place we end up.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bye-bye






This series of pictures is funny. We're getting ready to leave my parents' house and my mom is photographing Lauren, who at first is happy and excited to be reading her book. Then gradually she realizes she's leaving and starts to cry. She misses her Nonna already, but by the time we'd gone a few miles, she was happy again, because she got to eat Oatios.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Pizza party results!

The ultimate conclusion was that we need to have another, bigger, more thought-in-advance party with more pizzas! The Coop won by a landslide but it wasn't quite the fair contest. Here's what happened:

Ryan got a large cheese pizza from Victor Junior's (~$16) and I got a large cheese pizza from The Coop. ($9.75)

My dad was going to bring "some pizza from that place downtown where we always get them for work" only his admin assistant got it for him and didn't check the box. It turns out she got the "everything" pizza. So he and Kristian ate it. The rest of us didn't eat meat or didn't like one of the many toppings.

Rob couldn't come last minute due to a huge project dumped on him at work. Vejune was also sick with the flu at home and he'd have to leave her alone to be here. He would have stopped by anyway, but late, but I told him not to worry about it. As I said, this was meant to be a small *fun* gathering, and if you're having a stressful day then I would not want to add to his tensions by having him come here with all of that going on.

Mona and Kristian had a shitty day too, because a repair person was supposed to come "between 1 and 6" to repair their washing machine, and then the guy never showed up. I told Mona not to worry about the pizza they were going to bring, because with the 3 pizzas we already had, it would be plenty for 5 adults and 3 very small children.

So, they came and we ate. Here are the observations: The Coop's "large" is cheaper but smaller than Victor Junior's. I found that Victor's uses provolone cheese which gives it a sharper taste (which I slightly preferred, but I was the only one). The other people liked The Coop best of all. Ryan was surprised that he did, he thought he preferred VJ's. Also, by the time everyone had assembled, the pizzas were only slightly warm. Due to the day being in the high 90's, no one wanted theirs warmed up. So the tastes could be different if the pizzas were piping hot.

I conclude that more research is needed. :) I think since it's almost time for him to move, that we should have a "welcome back to LA Steve, and let's help you find the best pizza" party. Or pizza for Ryan's birthday party. Or for Father's Day. Or Arbor Day. Or just because it's Tuesday...

Oh, I should mention that unfortunately, Victor Junior's is closed on weekends and The Coop is closed on Mondays. Absence makes the heart grow fonder!

Oh, and more about The Coop: It's *not* in any way affiliated with The Coop at UCLA (which was there for years and had pizza that was so-so at best, but is now a Taco Bell). More than 1 person has asked me to clarify, and in fact we avoided the place for years because I made the mistaken assumption. The owners are really nice, at least, I think they are the owners because there are 2 people who are there almost every hour the place is open, and it seems like they own the place. Anyway, they let me bring Jake in and fuss over him and Lauren. When I told the woman about our little party, she got really nervous and said something like "oh, I wish I knew. I didn't think the sauce had enough basil in it today" and started getting nervous about it until I explained that this was a small gathering of friends, not the Times food critic or anything. :)

The only bad thing about Coop is that you have to bring cash, they don't take credit card. Also, if you wanted to eat there, you can't. It's just a pickup/takeout place, no counters or tables to eat. Very low overhead--do one thing and do it well!

Monday, May 07, 2007

pizza party


I came up with this idea that I think is so brilliant I don't know why I didn't do it sooner. We're going to have a party where everyone brings their favorite cheese pizza, and then we'll do a blind taste test to see which is the best. I'll have bowls of toppings but for purity and true comparison, it must be plain cheese.

In fact, I like the idea so much that we're going to do it more than once. The first one is this Wednesday at 6:15, just a small gathering . Mona & Kristian and their kids are coming over and Rob, probably Vejune too. Possibly some other people, if you read this and want to come. We'll have pizza from The Coop, Victor Junior's, and Rosti. We'll see how this goes. If you want to come, just show up at my place with a cheese pizza. We'll have drinks and dessert, and toppings! Consider this an invite, but really, if you don't want to bring a pizza, just swing by and hang out anyway, and if you are busy but think this sounds fun, we'll do an encore another night soon.

Mmmm, I am getting hungry!

Bruiser

If you saw Lauren today, you'd think I'd enrolled her in a baby boxing class. She has cuts by her eye, scratches on her arm, hand and foot and a bruise on her cheek. What's happened is that she's discovered walking. As *the* ultimate form of transportation. She's getting pretty good at it, too, but she still falls a lot. Even on carpeted, completely child-proof areas, she manages to injure herself. She fell in the living room, while tearing across the room to show me a book, and smacked the book against her cheek, causing the welt and a lot of tears.

The funny thing is, the band-aids I wrote about here, she is afraid of! When she cut her arm, I tried to put a Band-Aid on but she screamed and tried to tear it off and became frantic when she couldn't get it off, so I took it off for her. She cried another few minutes and then resumed playing and forgot all about it. Don't most kids love to get Band-Aids? Seriously. I remember from babysitting that kids always felt all better when they had a cute Band-Aid. I'm sure I'd recall if any of them screamed in terror after getting bandaged.

Something I don't quite know what to do about: my kid is becoming a bully. First, she's been bothering Jake a lot more, and gets a kick out of pulling his fur really hard. I am pretty good at keeping her away from him but when I was out and my parents watched her last week, she grabbed a good handful of the skin on his face and he finally snapped at her and growled and not exactly bit her but grazed his tooth on her forehead. A definite "disciplinary nip". My mom said she did not cry but looked absolutely shocked. Anyway, the other day she grabbed a huge hunk of 4-year old Karen's blonde hair and came away with a fistful. This is extremely disturbing to me. I don't know what I can do beyond "NO!". I don't ever want to hit my child, she's too young to reason with so I can't "give her a timeout" , but I don't want people (and dogs!) around her living in fear. Suggestions?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

TSA

i just read siobhan's blog entry about TSA's new website's "extremely useful function"

i went to the TSA website she raved about and got this message several times:

Security Checkpoint Wait Times

The Security Checkpoint Wait Times service is currently unavailable.

Wait time data is currently being refreshed and requires a brief disruption in service.
Please check back in 5 minutes.


TSA is on my shitlist b/c i, like paris hilton i had stuff stolen from TSA employees. in 2002, coming back from aruba through o'hare on my honeymoon, i had a bag stolen with my wallet, digital camera and all of my honeymoon photos. :(

what happened is that since i look like such a terrorist, when i was going through the metal detector, i was pulled aside for secondary screening and they had to wait 10 minutes or so to find a female employee to frisk me. in the 10 minutes that i was separated from my bags, someone made off with them. it took over 2 years from me putting in the claim until when they finally paid me, and in that time, they depreciated the value of everything. i think i got about $200 or so. not enough to buy a new camera, even, let alone the cost of replacing all my ID cards, new wallet, the cash i had in my wallet, etc. and it took OVER 2 YEARS. wah! but the worse of it was losing all of my honeymoon pictures (which luckily were all rated "G" but on someone's honeymoon, you never know the kind of stuff that *could* have been on there if we were into that sort of thing)