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Sunday, December 14, 2008

"No, but thanks!"-a 32 month Lauren update

This update's almost half a month late. The above quote is one of her favorite things to say lately. "Lauren, do you want to take a bath now?" "No, but thanks!" "Do you want some more milk?" "No, but thanks for asking!"

The biggest news in her life this month is that after Thanksgiving, Lauren decided on her own to give up her pacifier, or "passo". One day I was about to give it to her and she said "I'm all done with that. I don't need it any more." This was great news, I'd been wondering how to wean her from it. By this point, she only used it in situations where we'd want her to sleep. Right before bed, in long car trips, before a nap. Whenever she'd wake up in the night, if I'd give her the "plug" (another word we call the passo), she'd usually go right to sleep. So it's been a difficult few weeks when she wakes up in the middle of the night and now that she doesn't have the plug, so wants to get up and have food or milk. Or talk. Or any number of other activities.

I posted about Lauren's imaginary friend Pinky. Well, Pinky now has her own imaginary baby sister, Leaky. Sometimes Pinky and Leaky get into fights and Lauren has to tell them to apologize to each other. Lauren would like to have a real sibling and when we were at a children's store recently, she brought me a baby swing and said "buy this for the baby sister I want you to get in your tummy". We're not even planning to have another child for a few years if we do, and I reiterated that to her. I pointed out to her that also, you can't plan gender. She was horrified at the possibility that she might someday end up with a brother. (Can't say I blame her! Oh, okay, he's not so bad at age 30, but Uncle Peach in his younger years...)

Lauren likes school so much that every so often, I will go to pick her up and she will tell me "go back to work!". But when I posed the scenario of her staying there all day, she told me that she wants to take her naps at home, then go back to school after she wakes up.

She has a new good friend at school, Jack, who has come over to the house to play. They are about the same height and he's a month or two older. They like to play together in the sand outside and pretend they're making pizza. I find it hilarious when they boss each other around. And then sometimes do the opposite thing on purpose. "Lauren, come up here!" "No, I want to go DOWN here now."

Sometimes when she gets home from school, she sings songs she learned there, and tries to play games or get me to be kid in the class. She calls me "my friend Mommy".

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

3 recent pix

 
 
 
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Do-Gooding

So, we sold a baby item on Craig's List last night. We felt bad for the people who were buying it, since they had a preemie baby in the NICU, and they had travelled a great distance from not the best part of town, so I gave them a few baby books and some other items for free. (Plus we had a really cheap price to begin with.) When they were leaving, Ryan said "We should have given it to them for free". I felt a little bad about it then, so when they were walking out, I asked them if they wanted some other things (which I was going to take to the consignment store where I'd get credit for other children's clothes & toys for Lauren). Ended up giving them a big pile of stuff. Then when they left, I walked them out and saw their brand new Mercedes.

Maybe I am particularly sensitive to this since at the moment, we have only 1 working car that is 13 years old and Ryan is borrowing one from his family member, but I feel like if someone has the cash to drop for a $80,000 vehicle, they should not be buying secondhand baby things on Craig's List. Actually, not even to this instance exactly. In this instance, the people never asked for free things, we just gave it to them. But another time I sold another baby item for at a low price and this pregnant lady came to buy it and said "I only have this much, is that okay?" after having driven all the way from Encinco. At the time, I was new to selling stuff and had put the cheap price to sell it quickly, not thinking someone would try to pay even less. Flabergasted, I just said "Um, okay". And helped her carry it out to her car, another brand new Mercedes.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

In case you were wondering how we celebrated chez moi, well, I made 2 apple pies and a little apple tart. We were planning to bring them tomorrow when we went to Ryan's aunt's house. A number of people in his family are nurses, so they often have to work on Thanksgiving, so they celebrate it in Friday some years.

Anyway, so for today I made a Muenster cheese wheel, Ryan's favorite. It is a kind of stuffed pizza with muenster cheese, parsley, garlic salt and egg inside and egg, sesame and a small amount of sugar on top. It sounds weird but it's really delicious the way the flavors come together. We had that for dinner, just that, not a billion side dishes like we'll have tomorrow.

So, spent 40 minutes peeling and chopping apples (I know this because it coincided with part of the time the dough was rising for the cheese wheel) and an untold amount of time on the crust. I was trying to cut little hearts out of the top crust and had just had it done perfectly when Lauren came by and grabbed handful of it and said "let me help". Redid it with a patch piece of dough and put everything in the oven. Let her help with her little apple tart, which would be for her to eat alone.

Later, when she woke up, I'd put the apple tart on the table and she didn't want to eat it at first. Went back in the kitchen awhile later and all that was left of it was crumbs. At first I thought Ryan ate it, but when I asked her, she said "I ate it, it was good." And then I saw proof that she did indeed enjoy the taste of apple pie. A Lauren-fist sized hole was missing out of the "not ruined looking" apple pie.

Ah well, perfection is indeed hard to acheive, and this will be another Thanksgiving without a Martha Stewart looking dessert from my house.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Almost Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for my grandma's no-fail pie crust recipe. Here it is:

4 cups flour
1 3/4 cups Crisco
1 tsp. salt

Chop all up with large serving fork.
Add:
1 egg
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water

Mix together, blend and chill for 15 minutes.

Don't handle pie dough too much, and it will be nice & flakey.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Talented Ms. Lori Fusaro




Those photos are two of my favorites from our photo shoot 2 weeks ago with Lori Fusaro. She just came in #4 for Fox LA's Best Portrait Photographer. Anyway, she's awesome. I wanted photos that would look timeless in black and white, and you could look at them 100 years from now and not be sure if it was taken now or 30 years ago or when. And she is so great at accommodating whatever we have in mind whenever we do photos. If Lauren's eye clears up, we may be getting Christmas portraits done soon. If not, Lori is in for a lot of Photoshopping!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fancy Nancy

Lauren's got a new literary obsession-Fancy Nancy. For those not in the know, Fancy Nancy is a character who likes to dress up in frilly clothes. I'd been getting sick of all those Curious George stories before bed, and Knuffle Bunny and the Clifford books anyway. I think it would be kind of cool if Lauren herself became "fancy" and frilly. I used to love playing dress up. It would be a nice change from her current fashion choices which are that every day she wants to wear one of Karen's old Disney Princess T-shirts and either red pants or one of the matching Princess skirts they came with. She can't dress herself yet but she can dictate in her shrill demanding voice, exactly which clothes she will wear. And if you put something else on her that is not preapproved, you will heard a tantrum all the way to school.

She doesn't know this but Lauren is getting 2 more Fancy Nancy books for Christmas. And a new Curious George book. She was supposed to also get the Knuffle Bunny sequel but she saw it before I could hide it, and was thrilled. We've read it about 20 times so far this week. She has it memorized, and reads it to Pinky sometimes. And we read the Eric Carle books sometimes now, too, but only if it's right before sleep because otherwise they're not as interesting, and she'll replace the book mid-page with a more action-packed Arthur book.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Musing on Real Estate

Today we saw some open houses in downtown Culver City, exactly where we'd love to live. We can walk to them from where we live now, but right now we are technically in Los Angeles, which is LAPD and fire and schools. We would love to live in Culver City proper, in a little house on Madison Avenue or one of the surrounding streets. But they are in the $900,000 range, which is crazy if you think about what you're getting. Teeny tiny 2 bedroom old houses, some have charms but others have been remodeled over the years and have been stuccoed over, linoleumed, or otherwise "upgraded" in some other decorating era. And most of them have very tiny closets.

If we did move, assuming we could ever pull it together financially to do so, I would miss a lot of things about our current place. But the #1 would be my bathrooms and #2 my closets. I am spoiled because I have my own bathroom, that's 2 1/2 bathrooms for 2 1/2 people. I have my own walk-in closet, so does Ryan, and Lauren has one that runs the length of her room. Early 80's architecture leaves a lot to be desired, but at least in that era of decadence, they designed lots of places to keep one's material possessions.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Stomping Grounds

Yesterday after I picked Lauren up from school, she'd been so good that I said yes when she politely asked if we could "please fly a kite". I had the dragon kite in the trunk, and she's just gone with me to a boring banking errand where she sadly noted that the credit union didn't have any lollipops or candy for kids the way they did when we'd been there last, around Halloween. It was an absolutely still day, with very little wind in sight, not ideal for kite launching, but she begged so I relented.

We were going to drive over to Kenneth Hahn Park, but after I passed the Credit Union and was looking for a driveway to pull into to turn around, I found that I'd arrived at Aidan's Place, a playground I'd been meaning to locate and take Lauren to. It's an "all abilities" place for disabled children and able-bodied ones. We parked and attempted to fly the kite in the large field at the park. Then I discovered that Lauren thinks that flying a kite is just running, dragging it behind you. She hasn't seen many of them aloft yet. But she was perfectly happy to take turns running and dragging it behind her ("my turn, my turn!").

Anyway, she spent a lot of time on the playground equipment and I was sort of looking forward to having her meet a handicapped child because then I could have a conversation about disabilities with her. I anticipate the first time she notices someone in a wheelchair and makes a loud comment at the grocery store and embarrasses me. But everyone yesterday seemed to be able-bodied and the conversation didn't take place. She had a great time there and we plan to go back to Aidan's Place every time we have to do any banking nearby.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bump in the Night

Last night right before midnight, I had just turned off the light and closed my eyes, lying in bed next to Lauren, when I heard a NOISE. This doesn't usually happen with Ryan home. I don't notice noises, or if I do, he usually causes them. Or I can tell myself he did. Or if he didn't, I feel safe with him there and I know nothing will come to get me. But last night, I was the big adult in the house. Lauren was sleeping blissfully. You know the saying "my blood froze"? I really felt that way. I was paralyzed with fear. The noise I thought I heard was the sound someone makes when they shut the folding doors in front of the washing machine, which is right outside of our bedroom door. It was loud and rattly, and it was inside my house.

I was frozen in place, absolutely still, for about...well it felt like 10 minutes but was probably 60 seconds. In that time, I did not hear a single other sound, so I slowly exhaled and then turned on the night light. I went back to sleep and slept fitfully until daylight. Then all day, I was thinking about the noise and wondering what it could have been. Our walls are pretty thick, but maybe I heard our neighbors open their door, through the bathroom window. At least, that was my working theory until Lauren was playing with her toys, and then left the room and later, when she wasn't anywhere near it, I heard her play kitchen sink go off. It is supposed to sound like gurgling water, but it suspiciously sounds like rattling doors, like what I heard in the middle of the night. Mystery solved, but I can't say I will be sleeping any better until we get a dog. Or at least until Lauren's "doggy" comes home.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Playdate

Today we went to a playdate with one of Lauren's little friends, and when I say little, I mean she is teeny tiny even though she's 3. At the very bottom of the charts for height and weight, and Lauren is at the top. A very cute and sweet little girl. When we went to her house, her mom had warned me first that she needed a nap at 11:30. So we were only there about an hour, I was in the middle of my tea and Lauren was having a ball discovering new toys, when the little girl announced that she wanted milk and her nap and said good-bye to us. Which I thought was hilarious because it's the kind of thing I can see Lauren doing. I love it when other people's kids also do things that are...well, normal for toddlers but would be rude if adults did it...because it's like social cash in the friendship bank account. Next time they come to our place, Lauren can grab a toy and say "mine, mine" around her or maybe even get away with a hair pull or two :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Adventures in Pretend Single Parenthood

Ryan is away on a business trip, which I don't necessarily want broadcast on the internet (I'm home alone, come and rob me!) so I will write these now and post them later when he's back. So I'm getting a taste of what single parenthood would be like. And realizing how very much he does around here that I don't normally even notice.

This morning was my co-op day at Lauren's school. Which meant we had to get out the door by 8:15 to park and walk in the door and clock in my 8:30 (or be fined). I had made her lunch the night before, and this time I even remembered to pack food for myself instead of begging bites of hers. We made it there in time and the co-opping went well. I had to explain to people about Lauren's chalazions (do NOT click that if you're squeamish!), how they are not contagious and don't affect her vision, they just look bad. And I had to explain to her teachers that when she says "I miss my doggy", she is not still mourning Jake, she likes to call her Dad her "Doggy" because they play a game where they pretend to be dogs and bark and play.

Anyway, the co-opping went well but then I had to go in to the office in the afternoon because I was unable to get any work done yesterday due to the lockout. Megan, who lives down the street babysat for her. (How do we know her exactly? She is a friend who is the sister of our friend's wife. And that friend is the college roommate of Ryan's law school roomate. But at this point, we're all just friends, really.) And babysitting is expensive! Not Megan particularly, she actually is probably slightly cheaper than the mid-range. But I remember as a kid getting something like $4 an hour. Now babysitters get $10-$18 an hour around here. And the $10 an hour ones are under the table undocumented people who don't speak English. Of course, I earn more than that at my job, but lately, I am also paying $3 an hour to park (since I gave up my $83 a month parking permit) and plus gas and then taxes, and it all adds up. So I'm glad I don't regularly have to pay a nanny.

Oh and the other funny thing about Megan is that Lauren picked her out for herself. She babysits for Ryder, Lauren's little friend, and one day Ryan and I were discussing going out or something and Lauren overheard and said "maybe Megan could babysit for me!" and then requested her a few times since then.

Anyway, I finished the work project, got home and put Lauren down for her belated nap. Then I tried to undo the hurricane Lauren aftermath and clean up a bit, made some dinner which we took with us to eat in the car on the way to the 6:00 mandatory meeting at her school. One parent from each family had to attend, and they had "limited childcare" for people who could not make other arrangements. That would be me at this point. I dropped Lauren off and she was thrilled to spend 2 hours with her favorite teacher in the big kids' classroom with their spiffy dollhouse. After the meeting, I took Lauren home and we cuddled and stretched out on the big bed, where she missed her "doggy" and put her head on his pillow and went to sleep.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mmmm, spanakopita

We interupt these Lauren adventures to bring you...spanakopita! Mmmm, yum! I have made a few recipes enough times that now I can finally make them without one by combining ideas from them all. Of course, mine are not authentic because I've never been to Greece (or really, even eaten at the Greek-Byzantine quarter). But here's what I do, more or less to taste. Thaw out 2 Trader Joe's frozen spinach bags. Fry a chopped up onion in olive oil. Add the spinach and some toasted pine nuts (maybe 3/4 cup?), 2 containers of TJ's crumbled feta cheese and some chopped parsley and dill. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon on top. Roll out some phyllo dough from Whole Foods and fold it into thirds, then put filling in, fold into triangles. That part is hard to explain in words but maybe the phyllo dough box has a diagram? Brush melted butter or olive oil on, bake at 375 for about 10 minutes, then flip them over and bake 10-15 more minutes. Delicious!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lockout

This morning in a bonehead move, I managed to get myself locked out of the condo. I was borrowing Ryan's "red car" (which is actually his mother's car that he's in turn borrowing) because mine is still in the shop. I was really tired after I dropped Lauren off at school and Ryan off at work and went back home and parked. Got out and as I closed the garage door and as it was closing, I had this sinking feeling that something wasn't right. Sure enough, instead of my big ole ring o'keys, I had just one key, to the red car.

Figured, no problem, I'll just let myself in with the spare key that I keep somewhere mysterious on premises for the cleaning lady. All of the neighbors do this too, you'll see people groping around under doormats, etc. and moments later, they have a broom in their hand. Only, my spare key was missing (later located on the bookshelf right inside the door.)

Got out my cell phone and called my dad, who was coming in to town later for a meeting. This was around 9:00 and he wasn't coming until 1:30. He told me he could swing by and let me in, if I still needed him by then. I tried to think of Maguyver style ways to break in but, in a way this is comforting for my home security, my place is really hard to break in to. I could have done it with a really tall ladder, but I didn't have one. I knocked on my neighbors' doors to see if they could let me in to the garage, but no one was home. I thought briefly about searching around their doormats, etc. in case they also kept a garage key there, but I thought that would be a little bit weird.

I checked email from my phone, and there were messages from my boss about how urgent it was that I finish a project she'd sent me earlier in the morning. I could *see* the laptop that I would not be using, right there on the table taunting me. I called her to explain. So instead, I spent a few hours gardening on the patio, transplanted two plants to donate to Lauren's classroom (they asked for some) and moved others around. I then walked up the street and caught the bus to her school, picked her up, got back on the bus headed home, and stopped for ice cream, took a nice slow walk home and we played in the back yard until my Dad showed up at 1:30 with his key.

The bus is very frustrating, since it is supposed to run every 15 minutes but sometimes there are 2 in a row and then none for 40 minutes, it's really a "when we feel like it" schedule. But the Big Blue Bus adventures should really be their own post...for another day!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Adventures with Pinky

It's a good thing I just watched "Lars and the Real Girl". Pinky, Lauren's imaginary friend, is staying with us. We were getting ready for bed, and when other stall tactics didn't work ("Mama, I'm HUNGRY and I need FOOD in my hungry tummy!" which gets me every time because what mother wants their child to go to bed hungry?) she made an appearance. We had to go downstairs to open the front door because Pinky was waiting outside and she was getting cold.

According to Lauren, Pinky "looks like me a little bit, she has eyes just like me but she has stwaight haiw". "And she is very tiny, and sometimes she talks, but not a lot, just a little bit. And I can understand her but you can't."

Now when we eat, we have to also set a place for Pinky, and give her imaginary food, or sometimes second helpings of Lauren's favorite foods, which Pinky will then "share". And we have to leave a little room for her on the couch, but not a lot of room because she's not very big.

Sometimes Pinky also has a brother named either Leeky or Geeky and Lauren will ask me to babysit for Pinky's brother while she plays with Pinky. Pinky likes the color pink a lot. When we were at Ikea, Lauren saw a bubble gum pink dresser that "Pinky would like that a lot!" but not Lauren because "that's not my style. This red one is more my style."

I have been trying to think of how best to leverage the Pinky situation to my advantage, and if used sparingly, I can invoke the "Pinky prefers" tact. For example, we should all good to bed right now because Pinky is tired.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Car Separation Anxiety

Not me, it's Lauren! (Well, I miss it a little bit but no tears yet) Today she had a fit that we had to drive in the red car and she wanted "my blooooooo car, right NOW!" So, I drove her over to Venice past the repair shop, so she could see the car parked in Dave's shop's driveway, so she would know the car still existed. Instead, it made the situation much much worse. She started screaming, "my car, my car, MY car, my CAR!" and was inconsolable. The last time we got it back from the shop, for weeks afterward she'd say gratefully, "I'm SO GLAD my car is back."

Friday, November 14, 2008

My wallet was getting too heavy anyway...

Little blue car is in the shop again. One of those "funny but not really" stories. I noticed that the fan wasn't working, so no AC or heat could blow out. I drove it home and asked my dad to take a look at it last night. He went down to look at the first problem, came back up a few minutes later with a second one. He told me that the ignition tumbler broke. In other words, he took out the key and the car kept running anyway. And then further attempts to fix it just caused the key to spin in the lock. So, we drove it over to the mechanic's and then tried to figure out how to get the engine to stop so we could leave it there overnight. I thought just disconnecting the battery would do it, but no. Like an Engergizer bunny, it kept going and going. My brother figured out something on the phone and told my dad and we did it and it worked.

But today, a call from Dave (yes, it is sad that I know my mechanic so well we're on first name basis, I even recognize his voice just from how he says hello) that he needs to order a part from BMW and it will not be here until Thursday. Or, he could replace the ignition with a cheaper after market part, re-key it and give me new keys and it would be ready by Monday. Because I like my life complicated, I opted to wait for the official part on Thursday. (Okay, really it was that I didn't want to deal with another set of keys different from the door keys.) It will be $550 for that, alone, and then another $100 at least for the fan thing that was originally broken. Which he can't examine until he can get the ignition/key thing fixed of course, so he doesn't even know for sure if it is *only* $100.

Well, it was nice having a small amount of money in savings, while it lasted. These dollar bills seem to have other people's names on them as fast as they enter my life.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yum

I just made these chewy granola bars from a recipe that Catherine Newman's blog linked to. They are very good. TOO good. Someone has to come over right away and help me eat them or else I won't be able to fit into my jeans next time you see me. Just saying.

And, I've made tomato soup from Mona's recipe, which is more or less this:


Recipe: Bake 4 pounds tomatoes, 1 yellow pepper, 1/2 onion, 2 cups water, 2 T. brown sugar, 2 T butter for 1 hour. Add 1 t. thyme. Put all in the blender and eat. Or rather, drink.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Paolo has a home!

I just wanted to update you all, since I'd posted about him before, that there is good news! Paolo the dog has a home! A man adopted him!! How do I know? Google blog search, "Paolo + dog". Surprisingly, there aren't that many dogs with that name and there are a few more West LA Shelter blogs that I didn't know about. Two of them wrote about it here and here.

This is especially good news for us because really, there were days where I considered adopting him myself and spending the money to send him to a trainer and then having him live here, when he really needs a yard to run in, and it wouldn't have been an ideal place for him. Oh, and Lauren kept asking if we could take him home. At least if we rescued him, he wouldn't be euthanized, which rarely happens at that shelter. (At THAT one, it happens way too frequently at other shelters that perfectly healthy, adoptable wonderful dogs get killed every day.) He had been there since April, though, so every day was potentially his last. Anyway, back to the good news, he is OUT of there and that is GREAT!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Facebook, my new addiction

For the past few months, I've been addicted to Facebook. I don't know why it took me so long to sign up. I was an early adaptor of Friendster, Orkut, and LinkedIn a few years back. They lost their shine after a little while. But Friendster is so much fun because it tells you not only what people look like now and what they're up to (like Classmates) but what they are doing minute-by-minute (like twitter, which I never got into) and who they recommend, what books they're reading, or whatever other pieces of info they want to put out there.

And one of the best features is the tagged photos. I might even dust off the scanner, climb up the stepladder to the depths of the back of the closet, and post some old pictures of my friends and then tag them so it shows up on their profiles. Wonder what I have shots of? Be afraid, be very afraid!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Crush on Lauren's Behalf

Today I co-oped at Lauren's school and there is a little boy there who, if we suddenly had to have arranged marriages for our children, I would arrange right away to marry Lauren. He is adorable, he is very smart and his parents are English professors. He is 2 and is on the verge of reading, can already count and name all of the different kinds of dinosaurs, loves books, eats politely at the table, has never bitten or hit anyone, and is very helpful at cleanup time. Once he's potty trained, he'll be perfect! And, he picks Lauren to be his hand-washing buddy and he throws the ball to her when they do circle time. She told me that she might marry him, but only if she is not allowed to marry Anisa. And presumably, after she marries Ryder, Max and Zachary. (If I did not post already about this, she admits that she wants to marry Zachary solely to gain access to all of his toys! His mom and I are quite amused by this.)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Like a Blonde Joke

I wish I had pictures of this, I really do. It's just that we were too busy DOING the thing to document it. Lauren found an old kite in my parents' garage and decided she wanted to fly it, just like in Mary Poppins. So, picture Ryan running around with the kite trailing after him, not on the ground but not quite in the air either, my parents shouting instructions to him about how to get it to sail. Then me running, attempting the same. Then my dad tying on some rags to the tail. Then the wind stopping completely and us finally giving up.

But Lauren declared, "we did it! We flied the kite!".

Saturday, November 08, 2008

You Can't Go Home Again

Recently I visited UCSD and had lunch with Ross, a professor I used to work for. He is doing great, BTW, for those of you who know him. He is exactly the same happy self and doesn't look a day older. Still traveling a lot and has an office with a fabulous ocean view. Tenured life very much agrees with him (not that untentured didn't)!

Walked around campus and wow, has it changed! When I was a student there ten years ago, it was very sprawling. I have memories of times in the middle of the day when I'd walk from one building to another in the middle of the afternoon, and if it wasn't during that 10 minutes rush between classes, I'd be the only one out. Now, I don't think that solitude and tranquility could exist there anymore. It has become very built up. The field where we used to have SunGod is now some more engineering buildings. Parking structures exist by Price Center, where before we had to park in sprawling lots at the edge of campus. The edge of campus has been pushed further back. Some baseball fields are now buildings.

But most surprising of all, the Price Center got pregnant and had triplets! There are about 10 times as many restaurants and the bookstore expanded as well. We quickly grabbed a T-shirt for Lauren (per Ryan's request) which has Snoopy on a surfboard. Though I remain on the hunt for that elusive T-shirt I've seen people wearing but never see for sale. It says, "UCSD Football. Still undefeated after all these years!"

Friday, November 07, 2008

Little Blue Car





Lauren in Papa's 1969 Karmann Ghia, aka, "The Pipmobile", which allegedly will become hers when she turns 16. Judging by the look on her face, I do not think she will let Papa forget that promise! She asked me if she could drive it "just once, a little bit."

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Princess traffic

My dear friend Jenna uses the phrase "princess hours" to describe places that are only open when most of the world has to be at work. Today I had lunch with a friend and drove around during princess hours, and man was it great! I flew on freeways and for once, had to watch my speedometer because I *could* speed. For a brief second, I even thought of living in certain far away parts of town and working in others. Until I remembered that 20 minutes at 1:45 equals 2 hours at 5:30. Oh well.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Headlines and footnotes

Persuing some international news sites for headlines about the U.S. Election, I liked this one: "Barack Obama élu : cette fois, le monde dit merci à l'Amérique". ("Barack Obama elected: This time, the world says thanks to America"). There were some other very interesting and optimistic headlines in the UK as well, none of which I can find at the moment because I waited too long to write this and it's yesterday's news in the rest of the world. Current headline at Financial Times, based in London: "Obama hits the ground running".

I'm not ever sure if I can access this stuff because I'm special (okay, because I VPN in through UCLA and I am a former FT subscriber so might have a cookie) or everyone can see it. I was shocked recently to learn that not everyone can read "Blood" Journal. I have it through UCLA's JSTOR subscription with seamless access. So the nice article link I provided on a work site won't work to outsiders. Which is hardly anyone, but you never know who was dying to read it and got sorely disappointed. Probably some Transylvanians. Okay, now I am getting silly and it's time for bed.

In case you had not figured it out, I decided to attempt participation in NaBloPoMo and post every day for the month of November. Which will be difficult because I have to send the laptop off for repair AGAIN. A small black plastic piece cracked off in the lower right part of the display, loosening some screws and now the hinge is loose and it is hanging by a thread. Before it disintegrates completely, and while it's still under the 3 year warranty, I'm sending it off to Lenovo. But maybe Ryan will let me use his. And for tomorrow, back to more Lauren stories. I know that is all my readers care about anyway. G'night!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Voted

I voted. Wasn't so bad, I went at 6:45, and the whole round trip from walking out the door, crossing the street and going to the church where the polling place was, giving my name, getting the ballot and voting, took 15 minutes.

I was going to take Lauren so she could see the political process, but she's still napping upstairs. I remember my mom taking me with her in NY as a kid, and they had play voting machines where we could "practice" pulling the levers. My voting experience tonight had no levers to pull, it was poking little holes in a ballot. Not hanging chads, though, the holes I poked generated an ink circle.

I had worked out in advance how I was going to vote, based mainly on reading the OpEd pages of the LA Times (and not agreeing with every suggestion on every proposition, but using their opinion for local judges, figuring I knew nothing about them so I'd let the Times figure it out for me). I don't like Bernard Parks so I voted against him.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Curly Girly


Today some old ladies at Ralph's were overcome and couldn't help but to pinch Lauren's cheek and boing her curls. After they left, she gave me an exasparated look and said "I don't like that. I don't want attention. I wish they would leave me alone. It's RUDE."

ALTHOUGH...last week I we were going to visit a professor friend of mine and I tried to get her to jokingly ask him about the economy in Iceland (how cute would that be, coming out of a two year old's voice?) and she said "No! I don't want to be known as funny. I want to be known as pretty."

And speaking of funny, or lack thereof, we were watching America's Funniest Home Videos tonight as Ryan paused from flipping channels. Lauren's reaction? "That's not funny. That's just stupid. It's dumb."
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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Shower

This morning when we woke up, Lauren looked at me and sleeping Ryan and said, perplexed, "who is in the shower, Mommy?". It was raining. It has only rained two times in her waking life, so far. It has rained overnight, or even while she was napping, but this is the third time she's seen rain, live. Of course, by the time we got dressed and outside, it was sunny as usual.

But, she does have a raincoat, rain boots and rain hat ready, just in case the clouds burst again!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

"I'm Something Else"- a 31 month Lauren update

"I don't like your style, Mommy. Take the black pants off. Wear the white ones instead."

"I'm not cute. I'm not beautiful. I'm something else."

"Pinky is my baby sister. I will help you, Pinky. I show you how to do things. I help you, I'm a good big sister for you." "Where does Pinky live?" "In my tummy." "When will she get born?" "Not for a loooooooooong time...Next week!"

So besides dictating fashion choices for the whole family ("wear the bluebiderry shirt, Daddy"), denying her attractiveness, and inventing imaginy siblings, Lauren's also been busy attempting to run away from home. She packed her Elmo suitcase with her toothbrush, a wooden toy hamburger bun, two juiceboxes and a soccer ball, and attempted to leave. Conversation went more or less as follows:
"Mama, open the door. I'm going to Alpine."
"Oh, how are you going to get there?"
"5 South."

We also have a similar conversation on video, since she repeated the attempt the next day as well.

Halloween was fun around here, even though Lauren would not wear any of her 4 costumes (that would be the princess ensemble she insisted on weeks ago, the ladybug suit my mom got, or the giraffe and beagle costumes from last year). She did condescend to wear an orange shirt in the evening (with red pants, in typical Lauren style). We never get trick or treaters unless we invite them, so the Maucks (minus the ladies) and the Velezes came over and some neighbors darted in and out. We were left with 4 pounds of candy, plus our next-door-neighbors gave us their stash in case anyone came later (they're new, they don't realize no one comes to townhouses in condo-apartmentland where we live, even though we have our own spookily decorated front doors). Today we gave all of it to Angelo next door, who is 13 and too old to go trick or treating with his little brother.

Last year, Lauren was still subsisting mostly on baby food and the confections of the season were lost on her. This year, you could definitely say she is AWARE of candy. And how to move chairs over and climb on them as ladders and reach and grab a handful of M&Ms and then shriek around the house delightedly, leaving little chocolate handprints on the walls and once-white carpet.

We were all sick last week with a cough which was no fun because Lauren had to miss school, which meant I missed work. I am on antibiotics which I am enternally grateful for and so glad I live in the 20th century where strep throat goes poof after a few days on amoxycillin. Lauren somehow did not get step, but we all have bronchitis as well. The family that coughs together, stays together!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Funny Valentine

Lauren's been more polite lately, beginning her requests with "May I...?". She's decided on a self-imposed uniform for school. She insists on wearing red pants and a pink shirt. Luckily she has some pink shoes with red trim so it ties the outfit together somewhat. But she does look like a little Valentine. :) I'll post some pix one of these days...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

2 1/2 year old! A 30 month Lauren update

Lauren's got a new home-her "mouse house". We cleaned out the luggage closet under the stairs and I'm going to paint it pink. We bought the soy based fume-free paint and she picked out the color. We put a yoga mat in there and a pillow, and her pink hippo chair. She's got a nice view of the TV. My dad installed touch lights and he is going to put in shelves so that we can still keep some luggage in there, but it will be above her head.

She's come up with some funny lines and she's starting to embarass me with what she comes up with. At school when I dropped her off the day after she'd been sick, she announced to the teacher "I got diarrhea just like Mommy!" (and for the record, I was perfectly healthy.) The day before, she asked me what I was doing and I told her I was online checking to see if applesauce was okay for her tummy. She replied, "oh are you on fruits.com?"

Another time I told her to drop some plastic toy she'd put in her mouth and give it back to me. "Give, give!" I commanded her. "Why did you say that to me like that, Mommy?" "Because that's what you tell a dog with something in its mouth. Give." Then she burst into song to the tune of Elmo's "You'll Use the Potty" song: "You'll do it, you'll use the dog words!"

I watched Baby Laurel the other night and this disconcerted Lauren. She sat on the OTHER side of my lap and told me, "*I'm* your baby. *I*." But then, she continues to spread the untrue rumor that I have a baby in my tummy. Another little boy at Lauren's school told me that his mother is pregnant "and a little baby is going to come out and play with me". I haven't seen his mother for confirmation, but I wonder if it's true or if lots of 2 year olds like to make up this story. Or maybe that's where Lauren is getting her ideas from lately.

She is now one of the older kids in her class, since the potty trained 3 year olds moved up. She's taken on the role of comforting friend. To the point where, she likes to practice at home by commanding me: "you cry now, Mommy. I feel you better."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Me at Lauren's age


In case anyone was curious. We definitely know Lauren gets her curls from D-Daddio but I think she's got some of my features.
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Impressive

This post will be boring to some of you (ahem, Steve) but those who are into crafts, should check out Impress's website. It is so inspiring, it makes me want to spend tons of money on their products and spend all day making handmade greeting cards or invitations. Seriously. The link I provided right back in the first sentence takes you straight to their page with examples of things you can do with shaped paper punches. I would love to have every single product they sell, and lately the pumpkin punches for Halloween look especially fun. I might even have to have some kind of party I can invite people to, just to have an excuse to make fun invitations.

The Princess has found her Halloween Costume



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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Italian Festival

The Feast of San Gennaro is this weekend at Hollywood & Highland. We're going, we had a blast last year, and I even ran into an old friend from summer camp from almost 20 years ago there! Not sure yet which day we're going but let me know if you'd like to join us. I am, for those who don't know, 1/4 Italian from my mom's mom and proudly so. What does this mean? I am picky about my pasta, I love black olives and black licorice, and I was raised with the saying "food is love!" :)

The thing of it is, if you add up the rest of my ancestors' countries of origin, I might have more blood from some other country (England? Germany? Wales?) but they came here so long ago that the culture is lost. But my Italian great-grandparents came to Ellis Island in the 1910's and we still have cousins in Parma we can visit, and beautiful names and family recipes to draw from, and I think it's just great. So I plan to go and get a cannoli and some pizza (both of which are from Southern Italy so would've been foreign to my ancestors but I can enjoy them now anyway) and have a delicious time. Who's in?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Well, that explains it

I tried to donate blood today at the blood drive next to Lauren's school. Got all the way through the extensive paperwork (Tricky questions like"Have you ever paid someone for sex who has had homosexual sex with a man?") and waiting around and then the prick of the finger and the wait while they tested my hemoglobin. And guess what? It was too low to donate. :( They gave me a pamphlet on anemia and I drove immediately to Trader Joe's to pick up some high-iron foods. There is iron in my prenatal vitamins, but I have been slacking on taking them, since I'm not actually pregnant and not breastfeeding as much.

The sheet has the symptoms-fatigue, headaches, feeling light-headed, shortness of breath, dizziness, pale skin, ringing in the ears, rapid heart rate. check, check, check, check, check, check, check, [if I had the time & interest to check my heart rate maybe] check. But of course I thought that state of health was normal for someone with a small enthusiastic child constantly sapping my energy. And when I wake up in funky curled up positions after sleeping next to said child, of course I have some headaches, fatigue, etc. But maybe this is not so normal and with a little iron, I'll be back to my peppy self.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

New Paddy Wagon

I saw this Zigo thing (if you're too lazy to click, it's a bike trailer that goes in front instead of trailing behind) just now and it seems cool. However, why can't they engineer some kind of seat where the toddler pedals the parent around? We are happy with our Ibert seat right now, but it will only last another year or less until Lauren reaches 38 pounds.

If anyone was wondering what to buy me for Columbus Day, this would be a good gift. :)

Greek fested

We ended up going on Friday night. Ryan went with us. We had a great time. Reeeeeally long lines for the food, I'm talking 40 minutes or more, I waited. But worth it! Delicious spanikopita, olives, feta, mmmmmmmmmmmm... While I was waiting, Ryan took Lauren on a helicopter ride (a carnival one, not LAPD or anything!) and they saw the dancers. Lauren shook her heiney, too and wanted to get on Ryan's shoulders so she could be the tallest girl in the Latin-Byzantine Quarter.

While I was waiting, a guy near me gave up waiting and left, but before he departed he gave me his almost filled up passport. We needed to spend $21 more and then if we turned in the passport at the entrance table, we got a gift bag. Coincidentally, $21 was the exact amount we spent on food. The gift bag was surprisingly, things I'd want. There was some chai hot chocolate, CDs, some makeup (presumably a Greek cosmetics company), shower gel, shampoo & conditioner, a checkbook cover & calculator & pen set, a Greek Fest T-shirt, and some coupons and gift cards to Daphne's. Score!

Anyway, if you're sitting around tonight bored and want to get out and do something different, one last chance to go. And please, can you take Lauren with you? :) She'd like to go again and I'd like a night of free babysitting!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Greek fest

LA's Greek Fest is this weekend. Lauren & I are going, we had a lot of fun last year. Live music, dancing, carnival rides and delicious Greek food, what's not to love? I am not sure yet if we'll be there tonight, tomorrow night or Sunday. If anyone wants to join us, let me know.

Oh, and my mom was doing geneology on our Italian side and it turns out I'm part Greek, that is, in B.C. or something, our ancestors lived in Greece and migrated to Italy.

Either way, man, Mediterranean food is the way to go. If I could only eat Greek and Italian food the rest of my life, I could die happy. Right now I'm munching on some Artisan olive bread from Ralph's which is so so so so good I wish I could upload a chunk of it onto blogger for you all to share!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

"Kids"- a 29 month Lauren update

"What are the kids' names at my sool?" "I want 2 mommies like Jake has." "I love you like three mommies". "Papa, you can fix anything." . "Daddy, thank you, you're my hero!" "One more thing, one more thing to tell you..." "I can't do that!" "I don't have time!" "I pulled Sadie's hair today at sool. I don't push Dennis because Dennis is my best friend. Dennis tells me not to push him but Sadie didn't say not to." "I want a nap. I don't want a nap. I want a nap. I don't want a nap!" "I wanna go to the playground right now." "Can we go to 'lexa's sool and play with 'lexa?" "I want to give this book to Baby Lolo. I share. " "What are the kids' names? At the party? Right, Sienna and Amber. I like Sienna. She a nice girl. I played with her. We girls, girls in the tent." "I got a boo boo on my toe. This other toe is okay. I'm okay. I'm fiiiiiiiiine" (through tears.) "I wanna go to Dr. Woo. I wanna go right now. I don't wait. I can't wait." "Thank you, Daddy, for the Band-Aid. You a nice man. You help me."

"Lauren, Aunt Jan can look at your toe. Did you know that she is a nurse? And Ammy went to nursing school, too." Lauren: "*I* go to nursery school!"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Three Good Ones

I've been taking Lauren to the West Los Angeles Shelter every week, and we look at dogs. For me, the first few times I went to an animal shelter, it was very sad. Many, many dogs are euthanized and they all look so pitiful and helpless. But now, in LA at least, we have an attempt at a no-kill policy. At the West LA Shelter, there are some dogs that have been there since last year. While it's discouraging that these dogs don't have homes, it's encouraging that they are still alive. (They euthanize very old, sick or very aggressive dogs, and if the shelter is overcrowded, all bets are off.) I used to volunteer at the East Valley Shelter, and for me, the best way to cope was to only go once a month or so. By then, completely different dogs would be there, and I could tell myself that many of them found happy homes. If I'd gone each day, I would have realized what really happened to most of them. That is why we ended up saving Tony the dog. But I digress, this was meant to be a happy post.

Lauren loves to go with me to visit dogs, in our ongoing quest to convince Ryan that we are ready for another adoption, and we know the West L.A. dogs so well that we have our favorite friends. Here are the top 3 adoptable, easy-going, loveable souls that we like to pet through the bars each week:

This is Paolo the pit bull. He has such a sad face (looks happy here but in person he absolutely pouts!) and has been there so long-since April. He's a volunteer favorite. Very sweet, loves to lick and wiggle and wag. Completely submissive. Doesn't bark much.




Apple: This "beautiful on the inside" lady is quite noble looking, with a curled tail and a wrinkly face. They think she is part sharpei, I think she has some Doberman in her. Completely melts with joy when she sees us. Presses her body up against the bars of the kennel and wants to be scratched and petted. She rolls over for belly rubs (yes, hard to reach through the cage bars but we manage.) The kennel card says that a woman found her on the streets, and took her home where she lived for a few months until one day the woman's other two dogs attacked Apple. She did not defend herself, and suffered injuries requiring medical attention. She was brought to the shelter to get better and be safe.




Here is my new friend. She came in only a few days ago. I have been calling her Love. She doesn't have a kennel card name yet. I cannot imagine why no one has adopted this purebred Dalmation yet. She's five years old and very sweet, submissive and optimistic and waggy-tailed. She knows "sit" and she is so eager-to-please. She is the one I could most imagine actually bringing home without any time spent at Brandon's or worrying about her around strange situations. She's very calm and impressive.
If anyone out there is looking for another dog, let me know. I would love to keep an eye out and help you rescue a great one. Meanwhile, Lauren & I will keep visiting and petting dogs through the cage bars and doing high-pitched baby talk to them to cheer them up and sending good vibes their way and hoping for all of them to get wonderful happy homes.
Oh, and one more thing-if you ever have old bedding or towels that you want to toss, instead take them down to your local animal shelter. They can always use them and the dogs don't care if they're out of style/faded/stained with bleach or whatever. Or give them to me, I'll be headed that way.

Fiesta Ballona with 'Lexa









Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another "only in L.A." moment


Today, Ryan was taking out the trash. While he was dumping it, he went back inside to get more and when he came back, someone had stolen our bedroom waste basket. It's kind of funny, I never gave the waste basket much thought until today. I vaguely remember us buying it years ago, at Linens & Things probably. It was that fake leather looking kind, like the one pictured above. No, I didn't have a photo of it, I just did a google images search and found something close. Anyway, now I actually miss this item that I never gave a second thought to in years. Probably the person who took it thought Ryan meant to throw it out.

I emptied out one of the baskets holding some of Lauren's toys, and put it in the room where the old waste basket was, but it just doesn't look right. Our bedroom is the one room in the house where all of the decor seems to come together and match (or at least not clash horribly) and I suppose now we will have to to invest another afternoon shopping for a new waste basket. I know, I need real problems!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Musings on Nicknames

When my cousin was about 10, he informed the family that he was now to be known as Charles. My response? "Oh, that's nice, Charlie." And at least I didn't still call him "Cha-Cha". :)

But now I have been thinking about nicknames recently. I've got an impossibly hard to pronounce first name that's Swedish and most Americans have never seen it before. My brother as a small child came up with a nickname for me which is the first three letters of my name. And friends and family call me that as a term of endearment. But, I don't introduce myself as that, I use my full first name. And it's very weird for me when people introduce me as my nickname because it makes it seem as if they are instantly elevated to the status of family member or close friend. It's as if they are calling me "honey" but not in a good way but in a creepy way. I instantly stick out my hand and sort of reintroduce myself with my longer real first name but people don't seem to get the hint, maybe it's too subtle since I don't want to hurt the feelings of the friend introducing me.

I got an email today addressed to my nickname by someone I don't know that well who must have been introduced to me this way. And, I don't think I have ever heard my in-laws call me by my actual name, probably because Ryan usually calls me "hon" and things so they don't get to hear it much.

What's funny is, I do have a work nickname that I don't mind a bit- "B". My office buddies talk to me and about me with just one letter and I'm fine with that. I even sign emails "-B". This worked out well in my old office but now it's confusing because my current boss and another co-worker share that initial. Now I've got newfound empathy for those Bobbys out there who just want to be called Robert.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fashion shoot




Lauren models Ralph Lauren.
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Disneyland



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new family member

Josie the fish. Lauren wanted to get her "purple lady fish" which she would name "Zibadeff" but when we got to the pet store, she pointed to this blue male fish and said "this is Josie. I want him. He's my fish." So, he's moved into Paco's home and is swimming around contentedly downstairs. Lauren has pretty much ignored him since he's arrived, which is frankly a relief since in his last days, we were urged very often to "tell Paco something. You talk to Paco."

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Easy Money

Last night I did another focus group, and it was such easy money. $100 for 2 hours of sitting in a group and giving my opinion. I thought I would put together this list of companies in the L.A. area that pay for focus groups. Feel free to add more in the comments section. I've had a lot of expenses last month, especially in the wardrobe department, getting ready for the trial. And I had less hours at work so a smaller paycheck. So every $100 extra helps! Anyway, here are some that I have used and highly recommend.

Plaza Research
Adept Consumer Testing
Schlesinger Associates
Adler-Weiner

Yahoo Consumer Testing
Sony Consumer Testing
These last 2, I don't know how I found them or they found me but the meetings were in their offices in Santa Monica.

But a good way to find these opportunities is to browse the 'Etc." section of the Jobs listings on Craig's List.

What is it like to do a focus group? Usually you start out by answering some questions via email and then they contact you by phone to ask you follow-up questions. If you fit their criterion, then you find out when and where the group meets. Here are some groups I've done:
"people who make over __$k per year and have never used self-tanning products"
"people who occasionally wear colored contact lenses"
"mothers with an infant who have a Maclaren stroller"
"women aged 24-35 who use Yahoo groups"
"people who buy ice cream at Ralphs"
"people who print online shipping labels through the Post Office's website"
"women who wash and condition their hair once a day"
"mothers of babies in diapers"
"Bank of America customers with mortgages elsewhere"
"people who have heard of but do not use Kiehl beauty products"
"women who buy energy bars"
"people who earn above __x$ who are going to buy a car in the next year"

Sometimes the screeners will be desperate to fill a certain group, and will ask you questions in such a way that gives you hints as to what they're looking for, which is how I found myself in a focus group for "women who often drink lite beer". Luckily on that one (it had been months since I'd had a beer), what happened was that I showed up, they had too many people, so they paid me $100 anyway, and sent me home without me having to participate.

When you get to their office, they usually have sandwiches or pizza, cookies, sodas, and then they bring you into a room and ask you the same questions again to make sure you fit the client's criterion. Then they dismiss one or two people sometimes (and pay anyway!) and then the rest of you sit and talk for 2 hours about whatever the subject is, around a small conference room table. Usually there are 8-10 people or so in the group. There is a 2-way mirror with at one end of the room and a moderator at the head of the table.

They usually pay around $100, but it ranges from $75-$400 depending on how long you're there, and if there is"homework" then you usually get more. The homeworks I've been given have always been collages, where I had to cut and paste magazine photos relating to a theme.

Please comment if you have done any focus groups. What were they about? And do you have any new companies I can add to the list? I think this will be interesting. :)

Monday, August 04, 2008

My crush

Drove this guy home on Saturday. What a cutie! And I got a kiss and everything. Such pretty green eyes and such a good cuddler. Lauren approves, Ryan not so much. Don't worry, I won't act on my feelings but you all should check him out in case anyone else is in the market...

"Spirited Child", a 28 month Lauren update

Lauren's asleep upstairs right now, which is a minor miracle, since avoiding sleep has been one of her goals the past few days. She avoided a nap today. Yesterday, she fought it but then conked out at the dinner table while we were out having pizza with Meredith and Gary. When we got home, she kept asking me "what's the lady's name? Maiwy diff! I like Maiwy diff!"and then she put a blanket around her head and pretended to be Meredith. (No, Meredith does not wear a shawl nor have pink hair!)

She likes to pretend to be other people, and is fascinated with acting. She likes to pretend to be Leora ("I'm Wyder's mommy! I gots a baby bwother in my tummy!") or my lawyer, Dave ("I'm Davey, I got a tie on, see!") Today on the way back from Trader Joe's, we happened to walk past a play rehearsal at Media Park and stopped to watch part of it. She was completely captivated. We wanted to leave after awhile of standing up, holding grocery bags with melting food, but Lauren kept begging, "one more minute." We agreed to take her back to see the real performance.

"Sool" is going well. I'm trying to help her with pronunciation, so now she can call it "sss cool" but she usually slides back into the "sool" sound. There is one problem there though, she keeps pushing two smaller children, Dennis and Claire. Lauren tells me "I no like Dennis. He is yucky." With Claire, she just hugs too enthusiastically and ends up hurting her. Today at Ikea, Lauren got bad at a girl who took a toy she was looking at (of course, this was Ikea, they had a hundred more identical ones for sale!) so Lauren shoved her and then immediately stuck out her hand in a peace gesture and said "Sawwy. I sawwy" but the girl was scared and ran away.

Ikea, for Lauren, is this paradise that she loves to talk about and visit. She likes it even better than Disneyland. Actually, we went to Disney a few days ago and she had an okay time but didn't seem all too thrilled to have to wait on lines. "I'm ready. I want to go NOW. I'm ready right now. I don't wait. I can't do that. I go up there. I go myself." She also got very upset that she was not tall enough for certain rides, notably the swings. I would not have chosen to take her to Disney at this point in her life but my 13 year old cousin Elizabeth was visiting and wanted to go, and Ryan's cousin works there and could sign us in for free so we went.

Elizabeth was with us for a week and is now staying the second week with my parents. Lauren took a liking to her and tried saying "Zidabeth" and "Ezibadeth" and then after a few days, told her "you are Coco" and called her Coco the rest of the week. She wanted to sleep with Coco and when she was tired and cranky, she said "Coco, go home!" but then when Coco left, it was "Coco come back!" Other places we took Elizabeth (and of course Lauren): the Getty Center, Hollywood Walk of Fame & Mann's Chinese Theater, UCLA, Santa Monica Pier, Westwood, Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mulholland Drive, Greystone Mansion, and also she went on a Sony Studios tour with my mom. We were out driving in Bel Air when the earthquake hit, and none of us noticed it. The tram at the Getty was shut down when we arrived, though, and we had to walk to the top. At the top, we found out about the quake.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

RIP Paco the Fish

After a short illness, Paco the Fish passed away this morning. His body is lying in state in his former home, a goldfish bowl, until funeral arrangements can be made. (Until I can flush it down the toilet). Lauren said bye-bye to him and was sad for about 1 minute and then came up with a cheerful thought-"now can we get a big dog?".

Saturday, July 26, 2008

We won!! We won!!

Yesterday, after a 5 hour deliberation, the jury came back with the plaintiff's verdict! I am sooooo happy! No, I'm not going to "get rich" over this but the jury voted for full reimbursement of past medical bills and lost wages and for another amount as well. I won't see the money for awhile, the attorneys have to meet and negotiate expenses, etc. and that meeting isn't until September. I am just so relieved. There is a lot more I want to say about this but I'd rather wait to comment more specifically until everything's resolved and the check is in hand. But if you're interested, ask me in person and I can elaborate.

Oh, but one detail-my lawyer was a friend from UCSD who works out of SF and this was his first trial! So it was especially exciting to be there for his first win. He's been practicing law for 4 years or so and his cases always settled before this, or he'd been assisting on trials but this was his first on his own and he did a great job!

I have to say, besides the lawyers, obviously, another guy who's really benefitted from the trial is my dry cleaner! I had to wear 5 suits all week and now they all have to get cleaned. Usually I can be in jeans all day, I don't have a "dry clean only" lifestyle these days!

More importantly, I have my life back. It is such a weight off my shoulders not to have to worry any more about this, and about testifying and all of the money we'd spent on this and all of the time it sucked up. I mean, I had to worry about things like "oh no, I have pink eye, what if it doesn't go away before the trial and makes a bad impression on the jury?".

And, I can go back to work again (I'm going to be in the office more now for meetings & things that Lauren's in school 3 mornings a week) and I will have more free time for seeing my friends. So, let's all get together again soon!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Karma

Think good thoughts and send good vibes my way today, please! And for the next few days. I'll finally (cross fingers) be having the trial for that car accident 3 years ago. Just can't wait to get it over with. I am so so so so nervous about testifying and about everything. I'm realizing I don't like public speaking (duh! most people don't!) and I don't like public confrontation, so about the worst thing to imagine is having to defend myself on cross examination in front of a group of strangers judging me. Yeck! Can't I just text it in?

XXOOXXOOX,
Me

UPDATE: Got all dressed, went down there, and the trial couldn't proceed yet because not enough jurors had shown up today for jury duty! Grrrrrrrr..........save your good vibes for me until tomorrow, I'll need them all then!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

First Day of Sool




Lauren wants to go to "sool" every day. Above, pix from the first day. She loves carrying her lunchbag and making friends. I don't feel like typing about it right now b/c I'm tired but at least, you have some visuals.
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Friday, July 04, 2008

Please?Okay!: A 27 month Lauren update

What frequently happens when I write these monthly Lauren updates is that "the fans"(Ryan & my parents) tell me "oh she's been doing that since before this month. Which may be true, but if I haven't written about it before, it goes in that month. So here're some:

Lauren likes to demand/order things. "You will pick me up." "More pizza." "I want ice cream." I respond, "are you asking me?" (or sometimes just give her a raised eyebrow look) and then she says, fast and all in one breath, "Please?OKAY!" to answer for me.

She is saying absolutely everything, though she still has her Boston accent so other people have a hard time understanding some words. My parents were watching her and thought she was asking for "tacos! Please?OKAY" but she was really saying "crackers". She will tell me she wants to wear "Joss shut"and that means her Curious George shirt (see top picture in previous post). She has definite clothing/style preferences and if tired, tantrums if they're not met, such as when "Joss shut" is in the laundry. The yellow Beastie Boys T-shirt in the second picture was also her choosing. ("What are the boys' names, Mommy?") As was the pairing with my pearl necklace. (Real pearls that I only wear on special occasions but which Lauren would love to wear/ruin while, say, splashing in mud puddles)

She loves to have conversations, and wants to keep the dialog going even if she has to repeat herself or say "I don't know" or "I think about it" or "you tell me". "Daddy, do you know about rocks?". "Mommy, do you have a golf story?". She decided to become a cook when she grows up, but then changed her mind and said "doctor". Did not like it when I suggested she could be both, ("I don't have time"?)and switched back to being a cook.

She's very into pretend games now and she'll hand me, say a plastic cup, and say "this is penne pasta. I make it for you." or "this is cake. It's Daddy's birthday." She will say "My name is 'phia, my mom is Barbara..."and list off Sophia's family members. She still loves to sit in the driver's seat and pretend to drive the car, and one day she insisted she would really drive. I told her she was not old enough, and she said "I got my license, see?" and held up my parking wand for the garage at work!

She can count to about 18, say the alphabet (sometimes she gets stuck, though and says "ABCDEFGHIJK...we do it again!...ABCD..."), and recognize shapes. We were in my mother's bathtub and she said of the tiles, "these are squares" and they were. :) She's known her primary colors for awhile now but she asks me questions about the difference between teal and aqua.

She's given to bouts of declaring "I don't want to be little" and "no, no taking me!" when I try to pick her up against her will (usally for a diaper change). But if I don't carry her and she wants to be carried, she'll say "carries, please pleasey please Mamma. Hooooooooooold me" in a pitiful voice. Sometimes she'll shake her head furiously and say 'I'm NOT cute, I'm NOT." She likes to boss everyone around, and when we drive, she'll suddenly shout out "turn RIGHT. No, no, this way" and get indignant when we drive straight anyway. If you ask her her name, she will laugh and say "heiny!" or pretend to be someone else or say "you tell me!"


For transportation purposes, L prefers "carries" or if she must be in a stroller, "carseat" which is the Sit & Stroll. But minor miracle happened a few days ago. After months of shunning the bike, citing a fear of the helmet (we then got her a new Elmo one, which she would wear but still wouldn't get on the bike), she finally asked me to take her on a bike ride. We went on the bike path over to Noodles (baby & kids resale store) and she said we were "two ladies wearing helmets" and that she wanted an umbrella because there was so much wind, so she could fly like Mary Poppins. We also looked for ducks on the creek next to the bike path and when we found some, she said "thank you, Mommy, showing me ducks. Thank you taking me on the bike. You a good mommy. You my best friend." It was the prefect way to spend our last Monday morning together. Next week, she starts nursery school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

Shirley Temple



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