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Saturday, April 30, 2005

If this is a dream....please don't wake me!

Something's weird in my world. I'm not quite sure what to think of it. I'm afraid to bite the bait on the end of the line because I know I'll find I've suddenly got a hook embedded snugly in my cheek and I'll be on someone's dinner plate. As you know, things haven't been going so smoothly and I've come to expect adversity as the norm. But somehow, there's been a reprieve of sorts and I find myself on smooth water. Perhaps it's just that I'm floating in the calm waters in the eye of the storm. Whatever it is, I'll take it for what it's worth.

On Friday, I came home from work, rushing into the hall bathroom because my back teeth were floating. Usually, this bathroom, the bathroom that guests would use should there ever be guests, is a complete and utter disaster. You see, it's the bathroom that the kids share as well. Two daughters and a son who can't seem to find it in themselves to keep this bathroom clean. More often than not, there will be towels in heaps on the floor, capless toothpaste tubes on the counter, untold numbers of dirty underwear astrew (or "buttfloss" as Charlie likes to call those slingshot pieces of fabric the girls wear), but NEVER, and I repeat NEVER, is there a roll of toilet paper to be found. I hurried to make it to the commode without wetting myself, panicking at the thought of not being able to make it the few extra feet to my OWN, safe and clean, bathroom haven. But what should I find when I sit and take note? The bathroom is clean! The towels are hanging on the towel bars, and not just hung nicely, they are color coordinated as well. There is no hair in the sink, no makeup or hair products on the counter, and damn if there isn't a new roll of toilet paper on the roll. Even though my "job" there is done, I sit there, perplexed. Am I in the wrong house?

As I walk out of the bathroom and make my way to the kitchen, I notice that there are no dishes in the sink. WHAT??? I can't believe it. Not only are the dishes from breakfast gone, the dishwasher is empty as well! This can't be. I MUST be in the wrong house. I walk into the living room. Surely there will be evidence there that teenagers live here. But no. No schoolbooks everywhere. No candy wrappers and empty juice boxes left around. The couch pillows are all where they belong; ON the couch! I'm convinced that I'm in the Twilight Zone.

At dinner that night, I ask the kids:

Me: Did someone clean the house today?

Averie: I did the bathroom before I left for school.

Caris: I did the living room and kitchen when I stopped home before play rehearsal.

Bryson: I emptied the trashcans.

Me: Are you all feeling alright? Do you have fevers?

They: No. We just thought it would be nice.

Me: Thank you SO much. It IS nice. (pause) What do you want?

They: (laughing) Nothing. We just thought it would be nice.

Now, let me just say that things in Parenting World have been on the sucky side. It seems that we are being met with obstinance at every turn. Yeah, I know, I glow when I speak of them normally. But please understand that NO MOTHER wants you to know that she knows completely why some animals eat their young.

**At 15, I can't usually understand a friggin thing that comes out of my son's mouth. His response to most inquiries are a gutteral wookie-like grunt. My pleadings to get him to take out the trash are often met with "in a minute". That minute came and went with the millineum.

**My firstborn middle child, Caris and I are SO alike that we butt heads with a frequency that gives me more than virtual bumps on my noggin. This week, we're having issues with communication; her lack of it, and our desire for it. We haven't been the best of friends this week.

**I usually have nothing ill to say of my Averie. She can tend to be a bit lazy when it comes to helping with the housework. But I give her lots of leeway because she works two jobs AND carries a mind-numbing 19 units in her sophomore year and STILL manages to find herself on the Dean's List. Caris, however, believes no leeway should be allowed. Still, she's come to be my advocate and will often pick up the slack in my defense.

Now, that having been said, this morning, I went outside to find Bryson washing my car AFTER he came home from surfing. Averie cleaned her room BEFORE she went to work. Then, when I took Caris to get her hair "trimmed", she actually changed her mind and asked the stylist if her hair was long enough to donate to "Locks of Love". I was floored by the gesture. So was everyone else in the salon. I sat and watched as they measured carefully to make sure she had the required 10 inches of hair to donate, and asked me to verify that her hair had never been colored or permed. They asked her three times if she was sure before they cut it. Then, after it was done, they handed her the cut braid and let her say her goodbyes. The whole time she was smiling as if she'd just opened the best present in the world. In my mind, I took back every nasty thing I though about her this week.

In the car on the way home, I asked her if she was sorry because I know how much she loved her hair. She responded; "Mommy, even if I didn't like the cut, I couldn't be sorry. Somewhere, some child needs it more than I do. Besides, this was something on my Life List that I've always wanted to do. And now I have and I'm so happy!"

It's one of those blessed moments that makes all the ugly, hard ones go away.

How Much Love? Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

That's A Wrap! Can We Go Home Now?

better known as Arcadia High School from "Joan of Arcadia" or in the real world as El Segundo High School. Posted by Hello

A Day in the Life of a Background Actor Posted by Hello

Brrrrr...Cold! Posted by Hello

Caris getting a makeup touch-up. Posted by Hello

That's Caris under the light canopy holding the blue jacket. It's between takes and the director is looking at the last scene on the daily monitors. Posted by Hello

Meeting other background actors Posted by Hello

Wardrobe change for the next scene. Posted by Hello

MORE Waiting Posted by Hello

Has he called "Action" yet? Posted by Hello

Waiting for Action. Posted by Hello

More lighting! Posted by Hello

Setting up the scene. Posted by Hello

Caris and Taryn in Hair and Makeup Posted by Hello

The Setting: New London High School. New London, Connecticutt. Otherwise known as El Segundo High School, El Segundo, California. Posted by Hello

Hurry Up and Wait

If patience is a virtue, then I'm a downright saint. Waiting is the name of the game. It's one thing if you're getting paid for it, but when you're just doing what a mom does, then hopefully you'll be satisfied with a "Thanks Mom, you're the best". Luckily for Caris, I'm satisfied. Plus, I got a few hugs out of it too.

Caris got a page from Central Casting last week. They put out a call for background kids for a feature film in production called "Yours, Mine, & Ours." You might remember the 1968 movie with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda where a widow with 10 kids and a widower with 8 kids meet and marry. This Paramount remake stars Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo. We don't often get calls for a weekend shoot, so this was something pretty cool. Caris' best friend Taryn was also booked and so her mom and I coordinated carpooling. On Sunday, Taryn's mom couldn't go, so Charlie got to "stand in" as her guardian and visit a set for the first time since Caris started doing background work over a year ago. It was nice to have someone to hang with. Though I didn't see him much since he was walking around watching how everything worked. He made me giggle with his wonderment at the process.

Movie shoots can run notoriously long and are, despite what people think, very unglamorous and sometimes very boring. I've learned over the 18 months that Caris has been doing "atmosphere" work that there is a lot of just sitting around. HOURS of sitting around waiting for set up, blocking, lighting, etc. By the time you hear "ACTION!", you have to be nudged awake by the person standing or sitting next to you. Hopefully they're awake.

Over the course of the first day we were on set, I noticed that the director, an amiable guy named Raja Gosnell, kept looking over in Caris and Taryn's direction. The Assistant Director then asked a group of the teenage background actors to form a group and he and the director started talking quietly to one another. He asked Caris, Taryn, and 3 others out of the 100 plus kids on set if they were interested in working late and then into production the next day. They'd actually get a credit if they agreed to stay. Apparantly, they needed this small group of kids to be the friends of one of the principal teenage actors. Hey, we thought, a credit as "Christina's Friends" on the screen is better than "Background by Central Casting", ya know? So, for the very first time, hundreds of takes, and HOURS later, Caris might have her first closeups because she's standing next to a principal actor. Then again, we know that all that work could very well end up on the editing room floor. That's just the way it goes.

I often hear parents on the sets of these productions complaining about the long hours of waiting and how boring it is. I see them nudging their children forward and pushing them to make themselves "seen" by the directors and producers. I listen to them as they talk to other parents and pull out their kids portfolios and talk about what projects they've worked on and the number of "national campaigns" (nationally run commercials) they have on their resumes and how they're SAG and AFTRA members. And then comes the inevitable question they ask; "So, what has YOUR child done?" I smile and say, "Well, right now, THIS is the project we're doing, and that's just fine for now."

I'll hear these parents complain about the food, or the production staff, or how their kids should be "treated better". I laugh to myself because I just come into it knowing that we're BACKGROUND. The pay isn't great. In fact, by the time Caris sees a paycheck, it's been "percentaged" to death. The management company gets a cut, the Coogan account gets a cut, and what she's left with after is around $68 for a day. The money isn't the thing for her. It's the experience. Where else can you get paid for taking a nap or reading a book until the director says, "ACTION!" and then see yourself on television or in a movie? Even if it is just the back of your head?

Ahhhh...movie magic. It's all a waiting game, but what fun when you're 17.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Teenaged Angst Interrupted

Well, you'll all be happy (as I am relieved) that everything turns out well in PromLand. Caris had a nice talk with the young suitor and let him down gently. As it turns out, he wasn't as upset as she thought he might be and had another date lined up "just in case". Then, after they talked, they went out with a group of other friends and attended a play together. She said he was fine and took it well and they still were comfortable in each other's company. All's well.

Caris didn't have much time to give it a whole lot of thought after, as she was booked as an extra in the production of a feature film and we spent the entire weekend on set in LA. This morning, it was hard to get up for work (me) and school (she); both of us quite exhausted. I'm late as it is now, but I promise to post the details and pics when I get home. For right now, I have to go put some sunburn cream on my poor fried face and get my ass off to the office. After the "glamorous" movie magic weekend (please sense the sarcasm) it's back to the "real world".

Friday, April 22, 2005

What To Do...What To Do?

Prom Time Posted by Hello

Being Gentle

I think that ZenChick has the idea. Along with all the other love I'm receiving from all of you, her words "Be gentle with yourself" have resonated in my mind and heart all week. That's exactly what I'm doing. I'm still taking it slow, and I'm being gentle with myself. Just as you're all being gentle with me and I love you for it. Thank you.

I think this is something that my sweet Caris is going to have to work on today; not just being gentle with herself, but with someone else. This morning when Charlie was leaving for work, he found a beautiful bouquet of red roses and a note for Caris. He brought it in and called Caris and then he came in and woke me up saying; "You might want to come and see this, Pua."

So out I go to the dining room while Caris is opening the envelope. It contains six more smaller envelopes, each with a number. The directions say she must piece together the poem puzzle to find out what the deal is. She's excited at first, knowing that this is an overture to a request for her to go to Prom. But with whom? We're all smiles as she gets through the first, then the second, then the third, but as it reaches the fourth and fifth, the smile on Caris' face begins to dim. Though she kept exclaiming what a lovely surprise this is and how much trouble someone went to...it wasn't the someone she was hoping it would be. Now what? The sixth envelope, which was the last, said how hurt this young suitor would be if she said no. Seeing as it's a month before the Prom, she was hoping that soon, the young man that her heart is set on would ask, but she knows he's a bit of a procrastinator. She doesn't want to hurt the feelings of the guy who DID go to the trouble of asking, but she says she wants to be true to herself as well.

The mom in me is at a loss. What do I say other than sounding stupid by saying; "Be kind Honey, he went to a lot of trouble and thought." I'm the mom who in Junior year had no date to prom because he stood me up. In senior year, my boyfriend decided a week before that he liked another girl. Two prom dresses never used. I probably would have gone with anyone...had they asked. And now here is Caris, with an invitation, but not from the boy she had hoped. Averie is calling out to her from her bedroom; "Call a friend...or call the guy you like and ask him yourself! Then you can honestly say to this other guy; 'Thank you so much for the nice gesture, but I already have a date for prom.'" Bryson's just rolling his eyes and laughing at her. God, I'm so happy not to be in high school anymore.

What would you do?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Getting back on the horse...

Averie under the marquis. Posted by Hello

Welcome to The OC Posted by Hello

Save Me! Posted by Hello

CPR? Hmmmm. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Out of the frying pan...

..and right into the damn fire. That's what life has felt like lately. No matter how hard I've tried to turn down the heat, it just seems to have a life all it's own. I've tried to create a gourmet meal, but for some reason, there've been too many cooks, and WAY too many ingredients. It just hasn't gone by the recipe. I'm overextended, overtired, overworked, over-overed. On top of everything else, the loss of cherished loved ones too close together (or at all) has just thrown me off kilter and I'm having trouble finding my feet.

I've spent nearly two weeks in complete darkness; trying hard, but barely holding it together. Sure, I'm going through the motions. I'm smiling, I'm functioning, I'm going to work, I'm caring for the family. But as I've said to a few dear ones who have been lovingly checking on me, I'm "functionally dysfunctional". Still, I can honestly say I'm doing the best I can. From the outside, you'd never know. In fact, the people at my work think I'm about the cheeriest person you'd ever want to know. I always wondered where my girls got their gift for acting because I tell people it couldn't possibly come from me. Maybe I'm wrong after all.

So, I could type away and lament the recent moving in of that dreaded depression bitch and all the crap she brought with her. But, I'm doing my best to concentrate on the joys. If nothing else, I have a sense of guilt that I haven't filled this page with the really wonderful parts of what makes my world spin. So quickly, I'm going to ignore the "Uglies". The people, events, and situations that have done their best (in my opinion, which of course, is momentarily warped) to make my life difficult. For the moment, I turn away from negativity, harsh co-workers, sometimes ungrateful children, and most especially illness and death. For the moment, I embrace the good and find joy in the journey.

Averie's play; "'Night, Mother" opened last week. It was a departure for the girl who fully lives in bringing laughter. She's the Princess of Comedy, but she put down her septre to give us the full range of her dramatic talent. I have to tell you, seeing as I'm in the dredges of a royal funk, this play was a tough one for me to get through. But I can't get over how amazingly talented my daughter is. I was blown away by her ability to portray the great pain of her character and play off the even greater pain of her character's daughter. I really believed that this 19 year old young woman was an elderly mother, haunted by her past mistakes and desperately trying, much too late, to heal her child's emotional wounds. I was as much moved, as equally proud. At the end, when the lights dimmed, nothing was heard for a few moments before the thundering applause but the audience's sobbing. A great indication of a successful show.

On the high school front, Caris and her friends excitedly prepared for the annual Sadie Hawkins dance. The theme this year; "Shipwreck Sadie's." Wanting to be original, and knowing that most of the kids would be dressing as pirates and the like, she and her posse decided that they would go with a beachy, SoCal theme and go as lifeguards. Their dates would be "drowning victim wannabes". Original, huh? *wink* The house has been aflurry with t-shirt painting parties and red sequin sew-ons. It's hard to imagine that someone can be suffering from depression amidst all this teenaged excitement. As I watched them giggle and paint and talk about their goofy dates, I wondered what I could possibly have to be sad about. It's good medicine to be around such exuberance. Quite contagious, honestly. And soon, I was caught up in the wave, yet again; giggling and painting away.

Coach Bryson has had two games since taking on the hockey world as a mentor. It's different to see him on the playing surface without his skates on..shouting the plays instead of executing them. The boys on the team, all of them 4th graders some of whom have never played before, seem to like him and do their best to do exactly as he asks them. He loves hearing them call him "Coach". They haven't had a win yet, but that's just not important in the middle of all this fun. It's all good in the world of puck.

When I'm stuck in the funk scrum, I keep telling myself to concentrate on these things. Like my son says; "Get it out of there Mom! Get it out of there!" How can I not?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Just Be Still

That's what I need to do right now. I know you'll understand.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Class Act

When I had just arrived to the mainland as an unhappy teenager (who would be happy being plucked from paradise to live in *gag* California?), the first friend I met was M. She was a rich girl; car, money, clout. All the clout you can have when you're 16. But what I loved was her attitude. She just seemed to command attention. Not because she had money, because she didn't flaunt it, but just because she had a presence about her. I adored her. I loved her outgoing, extroverted nature. Being shy, quiet, and self-loathing, I just wanted to be like M.

She got me my first job at her parent's restaurant. She, of course, wouldn't be caught dead working there. She worked at a clothes store in the mall. I LOVED working for her mom; doing office work here and there. The pay was great for a teenager just starting out; $10 an hour. Back in 1978, this was big bucks. Not to mention, it was a 5-Star, Continental restaurant, very well known in Southern California as being a premier destination restaurant. I could raid the kitchen anytime I wanted.

I worked at the Riviera, on and off for 12 years, and I've been a part of the Riviera "family" for 27. I went through two pregnancies there. The Riviera was known for only having male waitstaff. Unlike other restaurants, there was no quick server turnaround. The men that worked there, stayed there. And were happy to do so...it was, after all, a career and a vocation, not just a job. They were proud to serve there. We saw tons of famous people come and go, many of them always asking for the same server. The most popular server there was David.

When I first started working in the office there, David took me under his wing and showed me the world of continental cuisine and all the ins and outs of being a server. He walked me through the dining room, the kitchen, he helped me with inventory, reservation taking, and baquet planning. It wasn't even his job, he just wanted to help me. He said I shouldn't just be "stuck" in the tiny back office, I should know exactly how things worked in the front of the house too. He became an uncle to me and I adored him. His partner Roger was a server there too, and since I was the only girl on the premises (other than M's mom), they doted on me.

When Charlie and I met, started dating, and finally were planning our wedding; David and Roger were two of the first people we went to see. I showed off my tiny, little engagement ring, proud as could be, and they, being the gracious uncles they were, squealed as much as I did and made that ring seem like it was at least 2 carats. David planned the color scheme for my wedding and because Charlie and I had to pay for our wedding ourselves, David, with help from everyone at the Riviera, catered the food, and did all my flowers. Their gift to us, they said. We gratefully accepted. After all, we had no money and David had impecable taste. He turned our 5-and-Dime budget into Saks Fifth. We gave him little to work with. He created a masterpiece.

When I was pregnant with Averie, I worked part-time in the office at the Riv. M's dad, R, the epitome of the rude Frenchman, would teasingly call me names and say I was getting fat. I was used to him, after all, I'd known him since I was 17. He was known for his dry French humor and practical jokes. I could handle it...I thought. One day, nearly two weeks from my delivery date, he brought a handsaw into the office. When I asked what that was for, he responded; "Eet's to cut a hole into zee front of zee desk and make zee doorway beegger for your fat azzz to fit zru." I laughed. But after he left, those pregnant hormones kicked in and I started to cry.

David walked into the office and found me in tears. He immediately came over and wrapped his arms around me and asked me what happened. I only needed to say one word; "R". He replied; "Oh Honey, fuck that little French fucker. His brain is pickled from that French licorice shit he drinks. Besides, poor thing, his pecker's only an inch long. Did you know?" Within seconds I was laughing and David and I were on our way downstairs to the kitchen to share a slice of cheesecake because he said the baby "needed" it. As I recall, David said the baby needed a lot of food and he was always bringing yummy dishes back to the office for me. He took such good care of "us". He'd sit with me and we'd talk about everything under the sun. I could ask David anything, and I did. He made it seem so comfortable and so easy.

Charlie and I spent so many happy years at the Riviera. And David was always right there. With each baby, he celebrated with us. With each passing anniversary, he celebrated with us...as recently as our Super Bowl anniversary in January. He was a master at tableside preparations; steak tartare, bananas flambe. His culinary talents as well known as the kindness of his heart. For 27 years, people have come to the Riviera not only for their fine cuisine, but to wrap themselves in the warmth that is David.

Last night, M called. I heard Charlie in the other room say "No. Oh no." And then he walked quietly toward me with the phone. "Not good, Pua. I'm sorry." I slowly put the phone to my ear while Charlie sat next to me on the bed and listened to the sadness in M's voice; "Honey, I have bad news...it's David." No. It couldn't be. It couldn't be my David. My sweet "uncle" David. I listened while M told me that David was diagnosed with liver cancer only three weeks ago. He continued to work right up to last Saturday. Ironically, the very place we would have been on our wedding anniversary last Saturday would have been at David's table. On Tuesday the pain was too great and Roger took him to the hospital. He quietly slipped away on Thursday night, surrounded by the men he served with all those many years. They closed the restaurant that night. That's like dimming the lights on Broadway in honor of the passing of a beloved veteran actor.

David was a class act. I adored him. I will miss him. I will grieve for just a bit longer, but no more. He wouldn't want that. The show must go on.

Rest well Sweet David. Our kitchen raids may be over, but the sweet memories will live on forever. Thank you for all you taught me about life, love, and just being. I love you.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


It's 8:18. I've been up since 6:00. I've gotten the rest of the family up and on their way with full tummies and made sure they've all taken their vitamins. I've taken my son to waterpolo practice. I've fed, walked, and loved the pup. I've done a load of laundry, started another, and left instructions for the first person home to fold what's done. I've unloaded the dishwasher and reloaded it with breakfast dishes. I've showered and dressed. I have to be at work at 9:00 and I'm ready to go back to bed. When I'm off at 2:00, I have a full schedule until 7:00; one thing right after the other. It's only Wednesday and I'm exhausted. Tomorrow and Friday will be the same.

I know it seems silly, but I just wanna cry. Or drink. A lot.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Teacher's Pet

Last night was Ellie's first night at Puppy Kindergarten. No, I'm not smoking the pakalolo. Yes, you read that correctly. I've enrolled Ellie in Puppy Kindergarten. It's an obedience course for puppies sponsored by our city parks and recreation department. I just wanted to do things differently this time. I figured I'd SQUEEEEEZE it in between every other little micro-managed thing in my life. Yeah, I'm an idiot. Or at the very least; a glutton for punishment.

We were pretty lazy with Shanny. She was just around for us to love and for her to love us. For all her sweet traits, she unfortunately had her faults. She'd bark incessantly when the doorbell rang (I still miss that bark), she jumped up on company, and sometimes, she'd be temperamental and nip at people. The last part was a source of concern and often caused us to have to put her in a back bedroom when we'd have certain guests. On top of all of this, for some reason, no matter how hard he tried to win her over, she really disliked Averie's boyfriend. The guy works at a butcher shop for pity's sake. You would think she'd worship him, but no.

To our regret, we did her a great disservice because we did not socialize her very well. We just loved her and thought that's all that was necessary. Granted, when she came into our world, the kids were 9, 11, and 13 and THEY took every second of attention I could give. Therefore, I just didn't think about training a dog other than keeping it from peeing all over my house. That accomplished, all that was left was to love. And love we did.

I vowed this time around that I would do this "right". Whatever "right" may be. Like an expectant parent, I have read every puppy book I could get my hands on, I have watched videos, I have tried really hard to be consistant and diligent. Truthfully, it hasn't been much different than raising kids; lots of love and positive affirmation, consistency, and follow-through. Besides, when all the whining and begging was going on while trying to convince Charlie how much we needed a new dog, I might have mentioned that I promised to be responsible for training. Me and my mouth. So, last night, Ellie and I were off to school.

We were told in our registration forms what equipment would be needed; a training collar, a 6' leash, and some patience. Oh, and the puppy's shot records. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but shot records mean those papers that say what shots your dog has received. NOT, I repeat NOT their AKC Pedigree papers. I was in for a bit of a shock to find that I was the only one who presented shot records ONLY. After all, that's all I had. Ellie was not only the youngest puppy there at 12 weeks, she was also the only mutt. I was suddenly starting to feel a little out of place. Ellie of course, could care less. She had all the same stuff they had; a nose to sniff other butts, a butt to be sniffed by other noses. She didn't seem to feel out of sorts in any way. This was obviously my problem.

I shifted from foot to foot, answering questions like, "Ohhhhh, a chow puppy! She IS full Chow isn't she? Where did you buy her?" and "Does she take after the bitch or the sire?" and "Was she very expensive?" and "Do you plan to breed her?" Imagine the surprise on their faces when I told them that she's not pedigree, has no papers, we rescued her from the shelter, and we think she looks just like her Chow mom, but dad was just a traveling salesman that we have no clue about. For all we know, this sweet little fluffy thing could turn into a rather large pony-sized creature that will eat us out of house and home. Just a little mutt that we don't want jumping on company, nipping at Averie's boyfriend, and barking incessantly at the doorbell. And it would be a nice bonus if she knew how to sit and stay on command and could walk on a leash without tripping me and giving the neighbors a good laugh.

Class begins and I promise you that I'm not exaggerating when I say that Ellie is absolutely the smartest puppy in class. She caught on to the sit/stay within the first 15 minutes and actually watched intently as all of her other classmates jumped and bounced and sniffed and were very much puppies. I laughed to myself as I saw one owner after another trying, without much success, to get their baby Miniature Schnauzers, Australian Shepherd, Teacup Chihuahuas, Beagles, Alaskan Malamutes, and King Charles Spaniels to simply calm down and stay. It was all quite fascinating. One very well-put-together Newport Beach lady even had one of those little treat pouches like the dog show people use and tried to bribe her Shepherd pup to obey. It only served to have him figure out quickly that she had food with her and he wouldn't stop jumping on her. Finally exasperated, she took the pouch off and threw it in her car. That was probably my favorite moment of the evening because she'd been bragging earlier about how her dog comes from "champion lineage". Uh, lady, a puppy's a puppy's a puppy. You got food, that's all they're gonna think about.

Every 15 minutes, the instructor would say "Everyone in the middle for a Puppy Party!!" and everyone would bring their puppies into the center of a circle to let them socialize. Ellie would stand there and patiently let herself be sniffed and nudged and at one point, she simply found it all so boring and silly that she lay down and took a nap. Every once in awhile, she'd look up at me as if to say; "Are we done here? Cuz I'd really like to go home. I have bones to chew." With that, the instructor dismissed the class, giving us "homework" to prepare for next week.

I picked Ellie up and as we started to walk away, the instructor came over, patted Ellie on the head and said..."Now THERE'S a smart pup! What a good girl!" I beamed. Of course. I was dreading this class, but now that Ellie's shown me it's gonna be a dogwalk (forgive me) for us, well, these next few weeks just might be a whole lot of fun.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Since Charlie and I had to stay close to home this weekend for his mom's sake, we couldn't take off as we always try to do to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Even if it's just for an overnighter somewhere, we always try. But, seeing as how that wasn't possible, we didn't make any plans. When I talked to my sister Loke last week, she said "Hey, Phil and I are coming up to take you and Charlie out to celebrate OUR anniversaries (theirs is March 31, ours is April 3). We want to take you to our favorite restaurant; The Ragin' Cajun. You up for that?"

Now, of COURSE, without question, I want to spend some time with my sister. I don't need an excuse of any kind for that. BUT, whenever I hear the word "cajun", the first thing I think is "HOT". I might be naive, but I must protect my poor tongue. I don't handle hot food very well. In fact, I don't handle hot food at all. Even my 100 pound, 5'2", 17 year old daughter has an asbestos mouth and calls me a wimp. Fine. It's true. I am. So I say to Loke the very first thing that comes to mind; "Um, do they have stuff that's not hot?"

"Of course they do." She responds.

"Fine, let's go!"

So Saturday morning, Loke and Phil arrive and we have the nicest afternoon. We take them down to the pub where I proudly introduce my sister to everyone. They're excited to meet THE Lokelani of Lokelani's Kanake Nuts because they're going to be using her candied pecans in a new salad on their menu; "Lokelani's Salad" (pears, butter lettuce, candied pecans tossed in a light pear vinegrette) will debut around April 15th. Then, we head north to Hermosa Beach and arrive just a few minutes before the Ragin' Cajun Cafe opens for dinner.

Good Gravy! Charlie and I got quite an education in the joys of bayou food. I am IN LOVE with Boudin! I "mmmmmm"-ed my way through Jambalaya, Crawfish Etouffee and Red Beans and Rice. Yeah, my mouth was feeling the burn, but those pretty beads they were handing out helped make it all better. We left room for some bread pudding and pecan pie...just barely...and toasted our anniversaries (26 for them, 23 for us) with some Dixie beer and White Zin.

Last week I was feeling sorry for myself because I wouldn't get to whisk my husband away for some alone time. But today, I'm feeling grateful that my sister, as usual, came to my rescue and taught me just how much fun getting a little tail can be. Even if it is just gator tail.

Let the good times roll!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Where Does The Time Go?

From Squirt Bry to Coach Bry Posted by Hello

No Hockey? Hah! April Fools!

Grueling. That's what it is; grueling. God, PLEASE let me win the lottery. Not a lot, I ask you, just enough to let me go back to being the at-home-mom I'm meant to be. This working somewhere else, and THEN coming home to do my "regular" Mom/Wife work is killing me. That being said...

I came home from work yesterday just long enough to check on the puppy, let her have a little outside time, check my phone messages, and start dinner. Then I had to run and take Mum to chemo. Unfortunately, it wasn't going to be that easy. Because WHAT in my life is? It just wouldn't be the Pua Channel without some form of chaos. I press the flashing button on my answer machine to hear:

"Hi, this is Anthony, the hockey director at the Boys and Girls Club. Bryson, you need to call your team and tell them that they have a game tonight at the club. 5:30."

I step back and stare at the machine like it just sent my world off-axis. Well, yeah, it just did. What the frack? Bryson's team? HUH? I pick up the phone and call the club to speak with Anthony:

Anthony: Hello? This is Anthony.

Me: Anthony, this is Bryson's mom. I'm calling about the message you left for Bry about his team having a game tonight.

Anthony: Yeah?

Me: Well, I'm a little confused. What team? What game? Bryson isn't even playing hockey this season. (What I'm saying here is; "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?")

Anthony: Oh, I know he's not playing. He's coaching. (What he's saying here is; "Your son is coaching one of my Squirt hockey teams.")

Me: WHAT?????? When did this happen? (What I'm saying here is "Please tell me you're joking.")

Anthony: I called him on Monday and told him he had a roster. (What he's saying here is; "It's a done deal.")

Me: You did? (What I'm saying here is; "OHHHH, I'm SO gonna kill that kid.")

Anthony: Yeah. He said "cool". (What he's saying here is; "Oh he's definitely coaching, alright.")

Me: Crap. So Anthony..is there a backup coach for this team? I mean, since this is the first time I'm hearing about it...I mean, jeez, he hasn't even met his team and they're already having a game? What grade are we talking about here? Oh God, I don't believe this. I'm not sure he can do this.

Anthony: Ok. No, there's no backup coach. Bryson's it. The kids don't often meet their coaches until the first game, you know how that works, you've been through this for years, and he can pick up the roster now and start calling them and I have his jerseys too. This is a 4th grade team; all first-timers. And I KNOW he can do this because he's been playing here since he was 4. The club director wanted Bryson to ref, but we both thought he'd be an awesome coach for the Squirt level team. We offered both up for him. The ref position is a paid position; $15.00 a game. The coaching position is community service/volunteer hours only, no pay. Bryson chose coaching.

Me: (A brief moment of silence to soak it all in because this is going to wreck havoc in my already topsy-turvy world. Basically, I'M going to be the one getting him back and forth to the club for games, practices. God, here we go again.) *sigh* He's a good kid, isn't he? (What I'm saying here is; "He's a good kid, isn't he?")

Anthony: He's an awesome kid. That's why I really want him to coach these little guys.

Me: We'll see you at 5:30 Anthony.

Anthony: I knew I would!

Lord, if you let me win the lottery, I'm gonna clone myself. Cuz that's the ONLY way I'll be able to fit all this stuff in. *sigh*