Turning 30 & Other Chatter

So I didn’t get my list done. I mostly blame that whole campaign thing. Did you know you barely have time to breathe when you’re working on a campaign, let alone go shooting or ride horses or take a helicopter ride? Then the whole drama of coming home and everyone needing to readjust to the normal again.

Plus the holidays.

But it’s not the first time I’ve set out to do something and failed, and it certainly won’t be the last. So Imma gonna keep my list and try to keep on trying new things, because what’s the point of life if you don’t?

I haven’t been blogging much recently because … well because I haven’t really felt like it. There’s personal drama. A few of my closest friends are going through their own dramas. My political party is basically a circular firing squad at the moment, and everyone’s either yelling or ignoring each other. My taxes are going up.

“Hey everyone! Things are sorta crappy right now, but thanks for stopping by!” <– Didn’t seem appropriate. Neither did putting on a fake happy face and pretending everything’s hunky-dory. So I’ve shared a story here or there about something cool that happened, but I haven’t been sharing the ins-and-outs of my life like I normally do, mostly because there hasn’t been that much worth sharing.


So here’s what I know:

  • Barrack Obama only has one term left
  • This too shall pass
  • Getting older is better than the alternative, which is dying
  • I have some amazing friends that I wouldn’t trade for their weight in gold (that’s saying something in this economy)
  • My girls are amazing

Thing 2 cute story — This morning she hopped into bed with me after Leif went to work, and while nuggling asked me, “Mommy? You wanna know who I love more than even you and Daddy?”

“Who’s that, baby?”

“My sissy. Because she always knows how to calm me down when I’m crying, and then she makes me laugh.”

My heart melted. I want nothing more than for my girls in this life to be close to each other, so moments like this totally rock.

Other things I know:

  • Ashley is going to visit me in a few weeks — YAY!
  • Duck Dynasty is one of the greatest shows on TV right now
  • Convincing myself that cheese for lunch is a good idea because it’s not carbs is backfiring in the form of tight waistbands
  • I’m going to have to start running again
  • Something about endorphins

I just got off the phone with Justin, and mentioned my lament about my 30 List. He said, “Hey, you’ll still be in your 30th year, so you have time!” I told him he was wrong, it would be my 31st year, since a baby is in it’s first year of life, and immediately replied, “Well, by Obama math…” See? I have awesome friends.

More things I know:

  • Nancy is taking me out for my bday tomorrow
  • My mom is taking me out Sunday
  • Leif is staying home from work on Monday (the BIG day)
  • It’s atrocious that I have to turn 30 on a Monday
  • I looked it up, and at least I get to turn 40 on a Saturday
  • My dog desperately needs a bath
  • Sniff sniff … I, um, could probably use a bath too


Here’s to a better 2013, everyone!

Eavesdropping on Jenny & Ashley September 18, 2012

Ashley and I chat about Leif’s hair and turning over closets. You know, important stuff.

Listen to internet radio with Top 7 on Blog Talk Radio

The Shoe’s On the Other Foot

The number one question I’ve gotten from people when they hear I’ve (temporarily) moved to Boston is, “Where is your family?”

“Home in Sand Diego,” I say, and the response is almost universally, “Oh wow.”

Oh wow is right.

My main hesitation in accepting this position was missing this small chunk of my kids’ lives. Of course I’ll miss Leif, but he and I have a lifetime together, and he’s not growing and changing everyday in the same way that children do. I am missing two months of my kids’ lives that I will never get back.

It’s a heavy thing to realize, and the guilt! I couldn’t wear mascara the day I left, because it would’ve been running down my face with the tears I cried when remembering their tight little hugs and sad little faces when we said goodbye.

Sniff sniff.

I’ve been here a few days now, and have been in touch via phone and little FaceTime. The girls seem ok – happy even. As it turns out, the world keeps on spinning, even when I’m not there. They’ve gotten to and from school, friends’ houses, and spent afternoons at Gramma’s. They’ve done their homework, brushed their teeth, played with Daddy, and got tucked in every night.

They’re ok. And I’m ok, because instead of looking at this as time I’ll never get back, I want to see it as time that Leif gets to be the primary caregiver. Their relationship with him is going to grow even stronger as they depend on him in the way they normally depend on me. The bonds that form between their hearts as they figure out how to survive without Mommy will remain intact for the rest of their lives, and no one will ever be able to take away the knowledge that their daddy stepped up to the plate to take care of them.

So yeah, I miss my family like crazy. But I am so grateful for Leif to know that center-of-your-kids’-universe feeling. It’s crazy hard, for sure, and I know they’ll have their good and bad days, but they will learn to trust and love each other in ways that they never would if I were there.

Maybe I’m spinning, maybe I’m in denial, but I’m going to go ahead and call this one perspective.

Now I’m going to say a prayer that they all survive.

Steak and Emails

Yesterday in Tampa, I ordered a medium rare steak. On the rare side. It was just a steak kind of day. I’m usually a pretty easy-going kind of girl, but when it comes to meat, I tend to be a wee bit finicky. And everyone that knows me well is laughing right now, because by ‘finicky’ I mean that I will cry if my steak is overdone, and it is one of two reasons I will ever send something back to the kitchen. The other is mayo, because I seriously can’t stand the stuff.

Anyway, I’ve been known to send my steak back. One time at Flemings the chef even came out to my table, because the first time it was overdone, the second time it was almost completely raw, and the third time he wanted to make sure he got it right. Hey, I’m relaxed about a lot of stuff — everyone has a thing, and this is mine.

So Yummy

So back to this steak I ordered in Tampa. It was perfect, first time out. I may have shed a tear of happiness. So I did what I always do when I’m overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of something I’m about to eat, and I took a picture to send to someone I knew would appreciate it. In this case, it was my husband, because poor dude has been on the other side of the table many of the times my steaks have disappointed.

He was still at work back in California, so I emailed him the picture, with the subject line, “Food Porn.”

He wrote back, “Mooooooooooo!”

Then I said, “I love you,” because he made me laugh and I wanted him to know I appreciated his humor and appreciation for my lovely dinner.

He said, “I looooooove you … How many wives send their husbands porn at work?”

Because that’s how we roll.

Happy 10th Anniversary to My Darling Husband Leif

Look! Pink flowers!

I have loved sharing anniversary posts with you guys. I started two years ago on our eighth anniversary with a list of 25 reasons I loved Leif. Last year I wrote about my freak-out at the top of the aisle. This year, on our tenth anniversary, I want to tell you about the pink blossoms.

We are in Hawaii right now – Waikiki, to be exact – and I have seen so many pink-blossomed trees. Pink makes me happy, mmmkay? It makes me so happy that I picked it as one of our wedding colors. Black, silver, and pink. Elegant. Lovely.

Side note: A few weeks before our wedding, I sent Leif to the tux shop to get measured. He said he didn’t care what I’d picked out for him, so long as it was blue. Um, hi, Honey? Remember months ago when we talked colors and you said black, silver, and pink sounded wonderful? No blue tuxedo. Silly grooms.

The week before our wedding, there was a heat wave rolling through San Diego. Nelly’s It’s Getting Hot In Here was the number one song on the charts, and I had to agree with him. I was so miserable with the hot humidity I was actually tempted on several occasions to take off all my clothes.

Our wedding day, and our planned al fresco dinner party reception, grew nearer and nearer, as the heat topped the charts in the triple digits. I was too nervous about this monumental step I was taking to overly worry about my guests, but it was there in my mind. I don’t want everyone to be miserably hot at my wedding!

The morning of the 13th, I woke up so tired from spending the night before printing out the bulletins (maybe that can be next year’s story?), but when I opened the patio door of my parents’ house, I was hit with a cool breeze. The heat wave had broken.

The wedding wasn’t until six pm, but I stopped by the chapel and reception site to lend my hand to the last minute details. Family friends were busy stringing up twinkle lights into the courtyard trees where our guests would be dining mere hours later. Overnight, as the heat wave had broken, the trees had blossomed with deliriously wonderful pink flowers.

It was an encouragement I have always held onto: Even when things seem bleak and unpleasant … there’s always the possibility of pink blooms on the morrow. Thank you for so many flowers over the last decade.

Happy anniversary, My Love.

A Tale of Love … and a Suitcase

I have this super amazing suitcase that I love. I even put it on a list of 25 Random Things I Love last summer. It’s a carryon, so no checked bag fees or waiting at the luggage carousel for me, but it’s like a bag of holding with all the junk I can cram into it. I was in DC for six days last month, and I fit everything in there, including an extra pair of boots, my makeup bag, and my hair dryer. All four wheels are castors, so it just sort of glides along effortlessly.

I love the thing, ok?

This past weekend, Leif went a men’s retreat with his dad. He was going to be gone for exactly 48 hours. I assumed that he would cram an extra change of clothes, some clean underwear, and something to sleep in into a backpack and be on his merry way.

Nope. My husband decided that since he didn’t know exactly what the climate was going to be, he should bring half his closet. And then, without asking, he started packing it all into my suitcase. This would’ve been insulting enough on its own, but I was coming off of a few days of insomnia, and was feeling slightly cracked already.

What. Are. You. Doing?

Uh … packing?

Why are you taking all of this, and are you even going to ask me if you can take my bag?

Your bag?

Yes. My bag. My favorite suitcase. Mine.

I thought it was our suitcase.


Oh well.

And then he proceeded to toss eight pairs of socks into my suitcase. I proceeded to glare and cross my arms in a menacing manner. When that didn’t work, I tapped my foot.


If you break my suitcase, I will cut you.

I won’t break it.

You break a lot of things. You’re my bull in the china shop.

They disproved that on Mythbusters.

No they didn’t! The bull still knocked down one of the things! Just because the bull only broke a little bit doesn’t mean they’re graceful. If my suitcase comes home just a little bit broken, I’m going to be pissed.

More glaring.

Fine, take my suitcase.

Then I pouted in the living room while he finished packing. Thing 2 ‘helped’ him, all the while saying, “That’s Mommy’s airport bag. You hafta be careful with it, Daddy. Don’t break it or Mommy will get mad.”

It’s just … I love that bag, and if he breaks it, it’s not in the funds to buy another one. I could buy five Bota Boxes for the price of replacing that suitcase. Plus, if he broke it, I’d irrationally feel like he didn’t respect me by not respecting my stuff. Suitcase symbolism is deep, man.

When he was done packing, I hugged him, told him I loved him, and waved him off. I may have blown a kiss to my suitcase.

You are ridiculous. I love you.

I love my suitcase.

I know. I’ll take good care of it.

That’s all I ask. Have a great weekend. I love you.

And then he was out the door. I should mention here that one of the reasons I *let* him take my suitcase is because while he was looking forward to the retreat and spending time with his dad, he was not looking forward to spending time with nature. Nature and my husband have been enemies for over three decades now, as he’s allergic to practically everything that grows.

If being ok with him taking my magical suitcase made him feel better about going to the mountains with the pine trees and pollen and high altitude, then so be it. Because that’s what you when you love someone. You try to ease their burden when you can. Even if it’s grudgingly.

On Saturday, I randomly tweeted him, and we had this exchange:


And that is why I love him. He took my hissy fit in stride. And he brought my suitcase back intact. I guess he really does love me after all. :-)

Happy New Year, and Watch Out For DUI Checkpoints!

A couple of years ago, Leif went off to hang out with some guy friends to sit around a bon fire and smoke cigars, drink brandy, and talk about manly things like power tools and video games. My husband picked up a friend on the way, who happens to be married to one of my friends, so she and I had a marathon phone chat date once our respective kids were in bed or otherwise out of our hair.

Eventually, the boys texted to say they were on the way home, and my friend and I got off the phone. It took Leif way longer to get home than it should have. I was still trying to decide whether to be mad or worried at him taking so long, and mulling over that decision with (another) glass of wine when he finally walked in the door.

“What took you so long??”

“I got pulled over.”

Horrified, I gasped, “Did you get a DUI?”

“Yes, Honey. Then they let me get back in the car and drive home.”

Oh. Total blonde moment.

Anyway, we were headed home from wine tasting drinking with friends yesterday when traffic came to a standstill two blocks from our house. We had been driving for 45 minutes, I was not the least bit sober, and Thing 2 had been crying most of the way, because apparently that’s what she does now. Leif had had some wine earlier, but he was my designated driver, so he was careful to stay within his limits.

A block away from our house, the police had set up a sobriety checkpoint.

Since I’m me, I immediately notified Twitter of the atrocity, and then told Thing 1 to keep her lips absolutely zipped, and if she said one word out loud, I’d send her new bike back to the North Pole. I could just imagine, “But Daddy, you did drink wine!” and I had no desire to explain to Mr. Just-Doing-His-Unconstitutional-Job-Policeman that that had been hours ago.

She just nodded. Even Thing 2 stopped crying. It must have been a really good mom look.

We finally pulled up for our turn. Leif rolled his window down.

“Evenin’, Sir,” said the officer.

“Evenin’,” responded my sober husband. I kept my mouth shut, because if I opened it, I probably would’ve gone off on the fourth amendment and unreasonable searches and seizures.

“Have you been drinking tonight?”

Two heartbeats later, Leif answered, “Yes.”


The officer peered into my husband’s drained face, saw eyes glassy from listening to a three-year-old scream for 45 minutes straight, and I swear he was about to ask him to get out of the car and take a sobriety test, which of course he would’ve passed, but we all just really wanted to get home at that point.

I did the only thing I could do. I snorted. “I’d hardly call one glass of wine four hours ago drinking, Honey. Officer, if I were driving, you’d totally have to arrest me, but my husband is my designated driver tonight.”

The dude looked at me, and then suspiciously back to Leif. Thing 2, bless her heart, chose that minute to start screaming again. The officer looked in the back seat at the children, one of which had obviously been crying for some time, then back to us.

“Get your family home safely and have a good night.”

30 seconds later, we pulled in the driveway, threw the girls into bed, turned on How I Met Your Mother, and banished Leif’s sobriety with some more wine.

Bah humbug to illegal DUI checkpoints.

PMS. She’s a Witch. (The Kind with a B)

So every few weeks, I get into this strange mood where absolutely everything and anything bugs the crud out of me, and even though I know I should just let the nail polish spilled all over the bathroom by Thing 2 go, I end up softly banging my head on the wall while counting backwards from 100.

Then I remember that I’m a chick and I have hormones. So I pour a glass of wine and lock myself in the bedroom while the children proceed to absolutely destroy the house and I attempt to regain my sanity. As a warning, I might even g-chat Leif at work:

I am nothing if not considerate.

Then Ashley will ping me with some fascinating factoid about the dangers of sex swings (so she’s heard*) and how real friends will help you move bodies. In five-inch heels. In the mud. Everyone should have a friend like Ashley. But you can’t have her. She’s mine. Go find your own Ashley.

See? I’m totally moody. And apparently possessive.

Then Larry will ping me and tell me that my segment on his show is popular, and that will cheer me up, and also remind me that I have actual work I need to be doing, like writing about the crazy train that is Glenn Beck, but then the kids need feeding, cleaning, and tucking into bed, which requires another glass of wine and not a small number of deep breaths and then they’re down and wow two glasses of wine when I forgot to have lunch is a bit much so maybe I’ll make a sandwich first because I’m obsessed with sandwiches and that sounds perfect and tasty and delicious — and oh my gosh just go to bed and stay there!**

Finally finally finally get the kids settled (I think they were a wee bit skeered of Mean Mommy), sandwich made and consumed, and sat down at my computer. And then this post came out of my head instead of the one I was supposed to write.

I was going to write more (maybe) but Leif just came home. With more wine.

I’m outs.

*Don’t worry Ashley’s mom. It was purely contextual, I swear.

**This is what us professional writers call a run-on sentence. I’m using it purely as an example here of what you should never do when writing professionally. Or something.

Elsewhere On the Internet (and an Early Morning Story)

It’s 5:15 a.m. and I’m awake. I’ve been waking up at 4 recently, unable to go back to bed after my third bathroom trip of the night (thank you, childbirth) because by that time I’m no longer exhausted enough to drown out my darling husband’s snores with sleepiness.

Side note: Isn’t snoring the worst sound in the world? Ok, maybe the third worst, following nails on a chalkboard and cats in a blender. Not that I’ve ever heard cats in a blender. But I can imagine, and it’s not pretty.

Sometimes I can jam earplugs in and throw a pillow over my head and find a couple more hours of elusive rest. But I’ve had this cold recently, and the stuffy nose and the cough and poor tender head make me ache while I wait for the meds to kick in, and by the time they do … I’m pretty much awake.

By the time the clock hit five, I knew I was done, so I threw the covers off and headed down the hall to write this very post. The light was on. Huh. Strange. Stranger still was the sound of the TV. Ok, no longer strange.

Here’s what I found:

This little goober didn’t go to sleep until nearly eleven last night, even though she was put to bed before nine. It was the same old But I Need game, which (I’m pretty sure) children have played since the dawn of time. You know the one.

But I need a drink!

But I need to go potty!

But I need my night light!

But I need socks that don’t bother my feet!

But I need a hug!

But I need a different song on the ipod!

But I need to be tucked back in!

You get the idea. Anyway, my little non-sleeper was out in the living room watching TV. Which she is not allowed to do on school days. Apparently, she thought that rule only applied to afternoons and evenings, so she forced herself awake after six precious hours of sleep to enjoy some tunes.

New rule: No getting up until 6:30.

Except for Leif. If he wants to get up pre-crack of dawn and leave me to sleep in peace … I’d be ok with that. Love you, Honey!

So I wrote some stuff last week that I’d love for you to read. Click, read, comment, share – especially share. Word-of-mouth is where it’s at, baby. Plus, I really can’t afford fancy advertising. It’s ‘spensive.

The Occupy Wall Street goons are still on display. President Barack Obama feels their pain and understands their frustration. Iran thinks they’re swell. Iran also stones rape victims for ‘sexual immorality.’ As a general rule, I like not to agree with Iran on pretty much everything.

Obama called Mitt Romney a flip-flopping flip-flopper, which is completely true, of course. However, there’s this saying that come to mind about glass houses and throwing stones…

Priorities in Topeka are messed up, y’all. Social welfare programs and inflated benefits and pensions are not more important than legally protecting victims of domestic abuse.


My day began just before 8, as Leif was leaving for work. I debated going back to sleep, then remembered that the girls had been up until almost midnight last night, and would most likely sleep another hour or two. So I grabbed a Coke Zero and my laptop and started perusing the headlines.

Decide to write about Social Security reform and email my editor at The Stir to get the go-ahead. Promise her I’ll try to make it entertaining, because let’s face it – SS reform can be dry and boring.

Check on Twitter. It’s still there.

Check on Facebook. It’s still there too.

Don’t check Google+. Because I’m not sure if I care whether or not it’s still there.

Do some research for my article.

Just after 9, I hear stirrings from the kids’ room. They get up and immediately declare that they’re hungry. I decide that if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard I’m hungry since Thing 1 learned to talk, I’d be one of those rich people President Obama wants to tax so much.

The next 3 hours or so is spent feeding the natives, breaking up fights, responding to emails and texts, researching Social Security, and finding photos for a Home Economics Lesson I have coming up (soon, I hope), and consuming no less than 4 Coke Zeros.

Decide to take the girls to the beach. It is the last week of summer vacation, after all.

Hit the bank to deposit a few checks (yay!), then drive-thru for Mexican food.

Tacos! (Watch out for seagull jerks)

Beach. Kids have a blast. A seagull tries to steal my taco. I decide to tweet, “Seagulls are assholes. #fact” Before sending, I change assholes to jerks. Because I like to save my swear words for when it really counts, and jerks conveys my message just fine.

Hear from Leif on my iphone. He says he’ll be home by 8 to read to the girls and tuck them in. Decide to leave the beach just after 6. This is also known as the Wrangling of the Short Sandy People That Just Realized They’re Exhausted Because Fun Time Is Over and They Can’t Possibly Walk Back to the Car and Why Can’t Mommy Carry Everything Including Them?

Bribe them with promises of McDonald’s smoothies.

Car. Drive-thru. Smoothies. Extra-large Diet Coke for moi. Home. Showers. Bleach to clean the tub after an incident. Another shower to make sure Thing 2 is totally clean after said incident.

Start the laundry. Warily eye Mt. Washmore and sigh.

It’s 7:30. Haven’t heard from Leif, so he must be on the way home. He knows one of the only ways to really mess with my head is to not tell me (ahead of time) that he’s not going to be home when he said he’d be home.

Make dinner.

7:58. Leif g-talks me to say he’s still at work. 40 minutes away. Take a deep breath and count to 10, because I’ve heard that’s supposed to help with anger management. Decide that people that say that don’t have small children that interrupt you 8 times in 10 seconds to ask why you’re rubbing your temples and could they please have some dinner because they’re starving to death even though they’ve been eating all freaking day long.

Sit the girls down for their 8th meal of the day, grab the laptop, and start writing this post.

It’s now 8:50. Have not heard from Leif. He’s probably skeered. Have poured first glass of wine for the evening. Getting ready to throw the kids into bed as soon as this episode of iCarly is over.

Then will pour second glass of wine, write my Social Security article, do two more loads of laundry, pour another glass, and convince Leif to rub my shoulders. Forgive him.

After that? I guess that depends on how good the shoulder rub is. 😉

Update: 10:48 and Leif is finally on his way home. Article only half written. 2 loads washed and dried … not put away.