Archive for December, 2006

Home for the holidays

December 23, 2006

Just finished the mad holiday candy-making ritual, hosted by my cousins. The hunks of chocolate for melting that I had stashed in my luggage made it through security (I was a little worried it might be mistaken for plastique.) Melted chocolate in dark, milk, red, green, and white is smeared all over her table, microwave, refrigerator, and counters; it was smeared all over the toddler as well, but the toddler was easier to dip into the bathtub than the kitchen. The chocolate-wired kids, theirs and mine, have gone upstairs and are blissfully entertaining each other. My two younger kids each have a large bag filled with chocolate Santas on sticks, chocolate candy canes, wreaths, and tiny stockings to take to their grandma, aunts, and friends at home.

    Meanwhile, back at Grandma’s house the tree is up and decorated, the presents are wrapped after a crazy day of shopping on Thursday, and the stockings are hung, in spite of the fact that I needed to take work on vacation, and spent hours yesterday at the local library trying to get it done. Tonight I’ll be washing and chopping mushrooms and beets to be cooked tomorrow for Christmas Eve dinner. And, I expect my husband and oldest child to eventually arrive this evening (they should be airborne, however, their delayed flight has yet to take off). And hopefully their suitcases will come with them, some critical holiday cheer is packed in those suitcases. I’m a little worried, but not too much.

    Because, for now a full day and a half before Christmas morning, all is at peace. (Knock on wood.) Merry Christmas to all.

Smart move—not

December 19, 2006

I’m about to head out to the East Coast for the Christmas holidays. For once, I thought way ahead, and a little over two weeks ago packed up big boxes of winter jackets and hats and scarves and gloves and sweaters and shipped them East. Since I didn’t have my Christmas shopping done at that point, I figured I’d fill the suitcase with Christmas presents and catch up with the clothes when I got to New Jersey. Brilliant strategy, or so I thought.

It was 29 degrees when I woke up this morning in Palo Alto. I sent my kids rummaging through their drawers to find something to wear. Unfortunately, there’s not much in there right now besides shorts. I told them about someone who lived in  my dorm in college, a guy we called the mad Hawaiian, who would stroll around in Michigan’s 20-below winter in his shorts. They were not impressed, and, I expect, will stay in their pajamas all day; that’s the one warm thing they have that I didn’t send ahead.

Meanwhile, we’re off to celebrate Christmas under 70-degree skies, unless there’s a major weather change. We won’t have that white stuff to play in, and the sleds will stay in Grandma’s basement, the hats and gloves in the shipping boxes. And we’ll be overheating in our warmest sweaters.

Is this just a fluke, or a strange new weather pattern brought by global warming that has come to stay? I moved to California to get away from cold winters; this is not what I signed on for.

Sex, rhinos, and ferris wheels

December 12, 2006

J0195554 Activists announced today that they are opposing construction of a giant ferris wheel in Berlin because it might affect the sex lives of the black rhinos in the Berlin zoo.  Really.

    I’m thinking, wow, I’ve heard about a lot of excuses, from I have a headache to we might wake the baby to Grey’s Anatomy is on TV. Heck, I’ve used a lot of excuses. But “Honey, I can’t have sex because someone built a ferris wheel down the street?” Come on.

    But I didn’t want to jump to conclusions. I did a little research about rhinos. Maybe they’ve got vertigo issues, I thought, and if they noticed a spinning ferris wheel they could get dizzy. I’ve had vertigo, it is not an aphrodisiac. Not an issue, apparently; rhinos are so nearsighted, they likely couldn’t even see the ferris wheel. Then I stumbled on a description of rhino sex. To show his interest in a female, a black rhino brushes his horn over the ground, charges at bushes, rushes back and forth, and frequently sprays urine. The female often rejects his overtures. Duh. It ain’t the ferris wheel that’s the problem here. These Rhinos need charm classes.

    And I know where they can get them–our good ol’ San Franciso Zoo. Our mama rhino has birthed 14 babies so far, I doubt it’s because dad is rushing around trashing their pen.

Santa Doesn’t Carry Prada

December 12, 2006

Santa isn’t the only one carrying an overstuffed sack. Didja see the New York Times article on New York women being physically destroyed by gigantic, heavy, tote bags? Did anyone else think these women are nuts because they’d rather spend a fortune on chiropractors, epsom salts, anti-inflammatories, and sometimes even surgery than give up their designer behemoths?

    Now I’ve been a New York woman, and I had a big tote bag that I carried to work—an indestructible grey nylon bag, still going strong two decades later; my kids use it for sleepovers. And in it I sometimes carried dress shoes (I walked to work in running shoes) and always had my stuff for the gym, an umbrella, and a sweater. I also had a tiny leather purse, carried separately, with my Daytimer, bandaids, a pen, my wallet, a Swiss Army knife with corkscrw, and a couple of aspirins. My back was just fine.

    You can’t blame the extra weight today’s New York women are hauling on electronics; a cell phone doesn’t weigh more than an umbrella. No, my nylon bag was probably one percent the weight of today’s trendy tote bags, most of which are thick leather and weigh too much even empty. One, according to the Times article, includes a half-pound padlock, some bloggers say it tips the scale empty at 20 pounds. And the must-carry’s appear to have expanded beyond belief. Sure, I figured women these days are packing a cell-phone or blackberry, but I was astounded by what else are considered essentials; one woman confessed to carrying $2000 worth of stuff, including her iPod, digital camera, piles of makeup, and a CareBear she’d had since she was a child. While my younger kids still take stuffies to sleepovers and on trips, it never occurred to me that the fuzzy creatures would go to and from work with them once they grew up.