Friday, August 29, 2008

Liquid Courage

This is my kind of diary.

You're welcome.

Does Anyone Else Smell the Sucking Up?

McCain picked Alaska Govenor Sarah Palin for his Vice-Presidential running-mate.  It is a blatant bone thrown to H. Clinton supporters by the McCain camp.  However, Palin's "grasp" of the issues is sparse at best.  On those that she has expressed an opinion on, she is toeing the GOP line, but for most she hasn't even expressed an opinion publicly.  For a party that's been screaming about Obama's lack of experience, this is an absolute joke of a VP choice.  McCain is OLD (and I'd argue in the beginning stages of dementia and/or alzheimer's) and this is the person who will become President if he drops dead or becomes incapacitated?!?!?!?

I hope that any H. Clinton supporters who are thinking about supporting McCain, read some of the conservative right-wingers who are in orgasm over McCain's choice of Palin.  Having ovaries doesn't automatically mean she cares about or supports issues that H. Clinton would have gone to the mat to support.

McCain is sucking up to H. Clinton supporters and the far-right Christian conservatives, who would have thought that could be done in one move.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Buying my way into Heaven

So you remember what to do if you are old and mean and trying to buy your way into heaven?  Now you don't need to get stuck with needles - now you can REALLY Buy Your Way Into Heaven.  Don't like lines, prefer first class?  This is what they provide:

"How would you feel if when the day came to travel, you had to walk up that long flight of stairs to get into the clouds?  You just had a rough past couple of days and the last thing you need is to walk up an enormous flight of stairs.  After you reach the top then you get stuck in a long line waiting to get through those wonderful pearly gates.  Days, maybe weeks pass, and you finally arrive at the front of the line and the gatekeeper tells you that there is no more room.  Dang!  If you would have only reserved your spot with us, there wouldn't have been this problem.  You could have been sitting pretty with a first class ticket straight to the gates with zero waiting, but instead, you will be sent down to live an uncertain life filled with pain and anguish."

And for people you don't like, the asshole that cut you off on the freeway this morning, your can Reserve a Spot in Hell for them.

THIS is why I pay for internet service every month folks.

Deep Fried Twinkies in the Pouring Rain

So I took daughter, two of her friends and thing 2 to the State Fair yesterday.  Thing 1 didn't want to go, I can't blame him as he is still on crutches, but I needed someone to come with since I knew daughter and her friends didn't want to hang out with me - social suicide - so thing 2 was my pardner for the evening.  (Hardy har har)  It was pouring for the first two hours, what else is new around here, but cleared up about 7pm.
Does anyone actually eat deep fried Twinkies, Oreos or Snickers?  They look absolutely revolting.                                  

Daughter doesn't do rides so I got her to pose for me while she was waiting for her friends to get off of the Spinaroundattopspeeduntilyoupuke ride.  Then I had to get away so no one would see her with her mother, ugh!

Thing 2 in front of the cutest little piglets.  Pigs are not cute but I absolutely love watching the piglets.  They were running around chasing each other and wrestling just like puppies.  I think we watched them for half an hour.

Speaking of pigs, thing 2 made good headway on his underweight problem.  He ate a hamburger, fries, soda, pizza, popcorn and cotton candy.  Every half an hour I heard "I'm hungry".  He has taken the doctor's orders seriously!

Excuse the not so hot quality of the pictures, I didn't want to risk the good camera getting wet so I only had my iPhone to take these with.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Go Dogs Go! (apologies to Dr. Seuss)

I escaped from home on Saturday morning to help cousin take four dogs on a long walk.  One of them is hers, one is mine and the other two are her parents.  
Cousin has been looking after our golden retriever this month while motherinlaw is staying with us so I run away from home on weekends to visit my fourth child.  With the addition of aunt&uncle's two pooches, it was an absolutely hysterical walk.  They all get along and the wrestling matches wear them out.  A tired dog is a good dog.
Left to right, my dog Penny, aunt&uncle's dog Mickey, aunt&uncle's dog Reggie and cousin's dog Oscar.  I cannot believe we got them all in the back of cousin's car - it's a good thing they are all friends!
Penny racing in the stream where we walk.  Reggie the Scottish Terrier is behind her but because his legs are microscopic, he has a hard time keeping up.

I thought the ferns growing out of this log were beautiful.  This walk is simply gorgeous.

Mickey is so cute I can't stand it.  Aunt&uncle rescued her from the pound and guess that she had been abused and/or neglected.  She's very skittish but this time she seemed to warm up to me and even let me pet her.
Getting outside, playing with the dogs, taking a nice long walk and catching up with cousin who is one of my best friends was a great way to clear my head and regroup for another week.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Kick Ass - Ask Anyone

My family has often told me I kick ass (or maybe they said they were going to kick my ass?) but this is the first time I've been called a kick ass blogger!  Christy gave me this award in tandem with Stepmonster, along with a great new idea for future posts and a lot of nice compliments which made me blush.  Or maybe that was the wine...

So here are the five bloggers who kick ass in my book:

Jason is totally kick ass.  His writing is a great mix of irreverent and thoughtful with a lot of laughs and he always makes me think.  Plus I want to pick his brain about teaching when I get closer to being the dictator of my very own classroom!

Mid-Century Modern Moms is a great blog with nine different writers who post there.  I enjoy reading a parenting blog that focuses on the teen and young adult years since that is the hormone-laden parenting challenge I am facing for the foreseeable future.

I am in total awe of The Girl Next Door.  Not only does she live next door to her ex-husband, she posted a pic of her ass in granny panties on her blog!  Ok, it wasn't her ass - it was Mrs. G's ass - but The Girl Next Door THOUGHT about posting a pic of her ass in granny panties on her blog.  I am not brave enough to even allow such a thought to ENTER MY HEAD so I am in awe of TGND.

Lesbian Dad is an amazing writer and photographer.  When I grow up, I want to write as well as she does.  Her posts on feminism and political issues are always thoughtful and insightful - they make me think about things from a different perspective and in a deeper and more meaningful way.  And the photographs, OH-EM-GEE! as daughter would say!  Plus she lives in Berkeley - which is where I would live if I had a gazillion dollars or could chemistrify stuff well enough for UC Berkeley to pay me to get a degree like Mad Scientist Brother.

Frogdancer is another teacher - in Australia.  She teaches high school age, which makes her another PERFECT subject, er-person, for me to learn tips and tricks of the teenage trade.  (Ick, that sounds pervy.  You know what I mean.)  Her writing is wonderful (the more great blogs I read, the more I think I suck as a writer.  I need to stop reading. :-) and her four sons sound like wonderful, creative, talented kids who lucked out to have such a great mom to raise them.  PLUS she knits really cute scarves and hats which I will never be able to do because my fingers tie yarn into knots automatically - it's a DNA mutation I was born with and alas, I will never be able to knit.  So I admire Frogdancer from afar.  (Way way afar, Australia is a fucking long plane trip from Seattle!)

So there it is, I kick ass (or get my ass kicked) and so do all these other great bloggers.  

Go forth and read!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Build a House with Crap Already in the Garage - Brilliant!

Husband is the king of recyclers.  He is a general contractor and gets many great finds while doing business.  This is why we had to buy a house with a five car detached garage.  My car does not get to sleep in this garage because it is full of treasures.  I call it The Pit because it looks so awful and disorganized but husband can find anything in there.  Need a 4" ratchet-screw-nail-alan-wrench with a detachable bathtub nozzle?  He has one, I guarantee it.  There are windows, doors, trim, wood, light fixtures, hardware, kitchen cabinets...if it is used to build or repair homes or buildings it is in The Pit.  This is handy when we need stuff fixed, replaced or repaired but I refuse to go inside, it makes me crazy.

BUT - I have found the perfect solution for a bunch of the crap he's saving because it will come in handy someday.  Build a house with it! 

I found this at Offbeat Homes and the very interesting story behind the house is here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Guilt Trip From Me to You

I donated blood today and the volunteers practically fell to their knees in gratitude when I walked in the door.  Apparently their supply of my blood type, O negative, was dangerously low.  It was less than 45 minutes from start to finish, I got to catch up on my twittering and blog reading with no interruptions from my offspring and when I was done I got free juice and cookies.  Score!

So, when was the last time you donated blood?  You can give whole blood every 56 days and platelets much more often than that.  It's a super-easy way to make a huge difference in someone's life.  (Or to help buy your way into heaven if you are old and mean.)

Find out where your local blood center is and make an appointment to donate.

Pass it on.

Dogs sleep in the strangest places

Stepmonster with a dog in her lap, a dog next to her and a dog on her...boob?  Hey, Sancho the Chihuahua knows where the softest bed in the house is!

Now I have to go update my life insurance before she gets on a plane to flay my flesh from my body for posting this pic.

(It was Dad's idea, I swear!)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sometimes I Hate That Kid

I took Thing Two to the doc last week and it turns out he is underweight.  He is 4' 9" tall and weighs 71 pounds.  His BMI is 15 - the low end of normal is 18.  So the "prescription" is three hefty meals a day, three snacks of nuts, fruit and cheese a day plus 2 vitamin and calorie laden shakes (think Boost or Ensure) plus a bowl of ice cream every night at bedtime.  The high fat, real cream, super yummy ice cream.

As he scarfs down his bedtime "prescription" he asks me don't I wish I needed the same medicine that he does.

I almost strangled the little fucker.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beautiful Whidbey Island

Husband and I took Grandmother, Motherinlaw and Things one and two on a ferry ride to Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. It was warm but mostly overcast (surprise surprise) but we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. The ferry ride was, as always, a big hit with the boys.

Husband and Motherinlaw enjoyed the view from the restauraunt where we had lunch.

Grandmother and I on the beach in Freeland.

Thing Two caught a tiny crab and we watched it crawling around on his hands before we put it back on the beach.
This was a very nice family day and I only wished for booze once - a very good sign. The car ride was complaint-less which is a minor miracle with two old ladies and two 12 year old boys so I am going to call it a success all the way around.
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Digging Out the Black Hole - AKA Daughter's Room

Daughter left today for a one week sailing trip to the Canadian San Juan Islands with my Mom & Stepdad.


Sorry, I'll get a grip on myself now.  Just got carried away with rapture there for a moment.

This means that it is time for the annual BIG DIG of her bedroom.  I am a pretty tolerant Mom having been a total slob myself as a kid and teen, so I leave her alone about her bedroom 99% of the time.  She does her own laundry, brings dishes out of the black hole when I ask, and doesn't leave 13 towels on her floor to mold like I used to so I just close the door and grit my teeth most of the time.  But once a year, always when she is gone for a few days (or a WHOLE WEEK!  YAY!) I go through it, get rid of clothes she hasn't worn all year, clean every nook and cranny and generally make sure it doesn't qualify as a hazardous waste site.

This time I'm going to try my hand at some decorating too.  I've got some fun ideas involving her colors of choice (red, black and silver), paint, thin sheet metal, a disco ball and the sewing machine.  If I can get husband on board, it will be a lot of fun.  (If I can't it will be less fun with more arguing involved but I can operate a drill and hammer too so I don't really NEED his help.)  (Ok, I need his help for painting furniture, the paint sprayer scares me.  I might have to rely on bedroom bribery.)

I'm taking before pics today with absolutely no staging or cleaning up the disaster at all and then I'll take after pics so y'all can see if I suck or not at this whole decorating thing.

Friday, August 15, 2008

It's Not a Cultural Thing, It's Just an Age Thing

Having Motherinlaw here has made me think that perhaps some of Grandmother's quirks are not just due to her personality but also due to her age.  Grandmother is 92, Motherinlaw is not quite sure how old she is but it's in the range of 80ish and it is absolutely astonishing to me how alike they are in some of their behaviors even though they are nothing alike in their personality and are from two very culturally different places (Australia & Iran).

One example is when they are shopping.  They both like to push a cart.  I chalk that one up to age because their balance is not great.  But they are oblivious to other people in stores and take up the entire aisle, not moving aside for others who are shopping.  When we were at Target, they walked SIDE BY SIDE pushing carts, moving at a snails pace, and holding up everyone else in the store.  I finally had to tell Grandmother to MOVE because no one could get by her and she looked surprised - like she hadn't noticed there was anyone else there!  (I don't speak enough farsi to have told Motherinlaw so Grandmother got it.)  

Another thing they both do is interrupt.  No matter who is talking or what is going on, they will interrupt if they have anything to say, regardless of if it is pertinent to the conversation or not.  And everyone around them is expected to stop what they're talking about to listen to them.  Now neither one of them is a big talker so this is really less frustrating than it sounds and we laugh about it.  But it's curious how they both do it.

Many of their quirks are similar to little kids.  Grandmother can ruin an entire evening for everyone there if she feels she has been slighted and Motherinlaw bursts into tears if she is feeling left out or lonely.  Sound familiar to any parents out there?  Maybe as we get older we just think Fuck everyone else, I'm gonna go back to thinking everything is all about me - I've earned it.

I wonder if my own parents will morph into some of these behaviors as they get older.  My Mom has told me to whisper "grandmother" into her ear if she starts up and I suspect Stepmonster would cut my Dad's throat in his sleep should he ever try some of the shit that Grandmother and Motherinlaw do but it will be interesting to see if there is a magic age for obnoxiousness now that I am actively paying attention to it.

At least my life is not boring.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Go Go Gadget Go-Cart

Thing Two and his best friend bought this contraption from our neighbor for 80 bucks. The motor sounds like a weed-wacker and isn't much stronger but they sure have a good time with it. Thing One is looking forward to getting his cast removed so he can have a turn driving. Until then he is strictly a passenger.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

President Bush...Are You Kidding Me?

Did anyone else hear Bush's comments today on the Russian invasion of Georgia?

"Russia has invaded a sovereign neighbouring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people.  Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st Century" says President Bush.

Hypocrisy much?  So invading a sovereign nation is perfectly acceptable if that nation is not a neighbor and is not a democracy?  I don't know much about the intricacies of the current conflict between Russia and Georgia but I think that it's pretty safe to say that Bush's latest comments on it will make him - and by extension the United Sates - the laughingstock of the world.

I'm waiting for 1-20-09 with eager anticipation.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Punk Kids, Preppy Kids and Raves

Daughter went to a "rave" at our local library last night.  It was a city-sponsored event for 13-17 year olds with staff members chaperoning, three security guards and the police checking up on things regularly.  I took daughter and three friends, went in to find out the end-time and check that all was what I had read on the library email and then went home, letting the kids have fun.  

When we got there, I was highly amused at some of the outfits the kids had on.  There were several girls wearing rainbow tutus and one had a plastic tiara on.  Daughter and two of her friends were wearing what seemed to be every piece of jewelry they owned, daughter had a tattered looking denim skirt on with striped tights and a weird t-shirt.  Friend one had gingham checked skirt with a frill around the bottom and fingerless gloves, friend 2 had on v-necked shirt & jeans and friend 3 had on a Hollister t-shirt and hoodie.  (She was mortified since apparently none of the kids at the party had on Hollister or A&F clothes.)  The mix was interesting.

Daughter informed me that most of the kids there were either "emo" or "punk" while friend 3 falls into the category of "preppy" and friend 2 was in the middle since she didn't have emo or punk clothes on but lots of black eyeliner and her shirt didn't say Hollister across the front in gigantic letters.  We've talked about groups of kids before, and how they've changed since I was a kid, and daughter apparently identifies as "punk-alternative".  Friend 3 said that daughter isn't "emo" because she smiles too much and doesn't cut herself - I had to laugh even as I was cringing.  Cutting is more pervasive than I thought.  All of daughters friends know at least one person who cuts regularly or has tried it.  Daughter has another friend (she wasn't there last night) who is a cutter and both daughter and I have talked to her parents to make sure they know what she's doing.  She's in therapy now but I'm not convinced her parents are taking it seriously enough.  That's a post for another day however....

I used to think that the labeling was a high school thing but I am realizing now that it is much MUCH worse at the middle level.  Fifth to ninth grades seem to be when the kids are sorting themselves into groups and woe to the kid who doesn't fit in anywhere.  So I have one punk-alternative kid, one geek and one walking encyclopedia (that's what thing one's friends call him).  Curiously though, daughter seems to be a bit of a chameleon and has preppy friends and geeky friends as well and fits in well to several different groups of kids.  Her 13th birthday party last year was a riot because there were lots of kids here who never even spoke to each other but they were all friends with daughter.  Husband and I were heartily amused at their awkwardness with each other and we laughed at the way they all eyed each other while daughter mingled among them.

The girls had a wonderful time last night and met lots of kids that they will be going to school with in the fall when they start high school.  I was thrilled that the library and the city had put together an event aimed at the "alternative" kids and gave them a place to gather and hang out that was safe and supervised.  These kids are a very talented and creative bunch that are too often unfairly maligned by adults.

It will be fun watching daughter and her friends, no matter what group they're "in", grow up and develop their individual talents and abilities.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Look What I Made!

Things one and two turned 12 in June and I made the coolest cupcakes for their party. They wanted to have a Super Mario Bros. cake and had surfed the net looking for ideas. We discovered that there are some amazingly talented cake bakers out there with a buttload of time on their hands. I am not someone with a buttload of spare time for cake baking so I improvised. These took longer than normal cupcakes would have but not as long as this took. (Check out the link, seriously. It's a WEDDING cake people!) For those of you without gamers (total geeks) in your homes, these are 1-up (green) and super (red) mushrooms from the Super Mario Bros. Nintendo video games.

I made two cake mixes and poured the batter into a cupcake pan with the paper-thingys in it but instead of filling them 2/3 of the way full like you're supposed to, I filled them right to the tippy top so they would overflow and make a "cap" on the top of the mushrooms.

For the frosting I mixed almost all of one can of vanilla frosting with green food coloring (save some for the white dots) and another with red. You need a LOT of food coloring for this, I used one whole bottle of each to get it the right color and even then the red was slightly pink.
After I frosted them with the colored frosting I put them in the fridge because it was pretty warm and I didn't want the white dots to slide off the colored frosting. While they cooled off, I put the white frosting in a ziplock baggie and cut a teeny bit off one corner. Then I squirted the white frosting into circles on top of the 'shrooms. I just used my (clean) finger to smear the white around to make it smooth. Then back into the fridge they went.
The eyes are black construction paper stuck on with a hot glue gun. I figured that was safe since the kids are now old enough not to eat the fucking cupcake papers. (They used to do that, seriously. It drove me bananas.)
Start to finish it took me about an hour or so, not including cooling off time for the cupcakes. The worst part was cutting out the eyes.

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Here are my 12 year olds. I made them too. Notice thing one's sweatshirt covered in Super Mario Bros. characters. He's not a fan, he's a FAN!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I Love the Library

Daughter is in tutoring three afternoons a week because of her abysmal grade in Algebra 1 last year.  So three times a week I drop her off at 3pm and pick her up at 5.  It's too far away to go home so my laptop and I go to the library and make out like horny teenagers.  Sometimes I cheat on my laptop with a book or a few magazines, don't tell.

Now that motherinlaw is here, those three days are keeping me relaxed and sane.

I heart the library.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Elderly Complaints

WTF is it with people over 75-ish that makes them think they have carte-blanch to complain about every meal that is put in front of them?

I made dinner last night for husband and I and things one and two (daughter was out with friends), motherinlaw, grandmother, my mom and stepdad.  We had cotlets (meat, onion & potato thingies - they're Persian) rice, tadig (potatoes from the bottom of the rice - kinda like flat french fries with rice stuck to one side), grilled tomatoes, kick-ass salmon with onion & dill and salad.  I worked my ass off on it and both of the old ladies, um, I mean our lovely guest and my wonderful grandmother, had complaints about one thing or another.

Mom, Stepdad and husband all let me know how good everything was, even things one and two said something complimentary (they know what to do if they want to live to see another day) but the two old ladies only complained.  I know they don't realize they do this - grandmother is highly offended if anyone suggests that perhaps she is a wee bit negative in her observations about every fucking thing around her, but it is wearing on those of us who have to spend time with her.  I can't blame motherinlaw's whining on a cultural thing, she's super picky JUST LIKE MY GRANDMOTHER.

Is this an age thing?  Do I just bring out the worst in old ladies?  All I can say is that if they complain about another meal I fix for them, THEY can cook the damn dinner.  I will complain about the texture/shape/taste/look of whatever they make and push it around my plate without eating much.

Bring it on!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Goodbye Sonics

Sherman Alexie is my hero.

Basketball is not my MAIN sport with my Dad, baseball is. But the sentiment that Alexie shares is the same. In the article Alexie says, "In the days leading up to and following my testimony, my friends told me amazing and poetic basketball stories about their fathers, sons, and jump shots. These were love stories".  Sports, specifically basketball, were Alexie and his father's shared passion and obsession - it was their thing. And when they were together watching, playing or talking about basketball, they were sharing their love for each other. I learned to love baseball because I love my Dad and it was something we could share together.

I went to Mariners games in the now defunct Seattle Kingdome, sat in the cheap seats and ate peanuts with my Dad. Spike Owen was my absolute favorite player because he had my name - Dad's nickname for me was Spike. And Ken Griffey Jr. was a God until he broke my heart by leaving Seattle.

Little brother was born when I was nine and before long he too was a sports - especially baseball - aficionado. And when the parents divorced, it was Dad, brother and me every other weekend going to as many baseball games as Dad could afford, sitting in the cheap seats and eating peanuts.

We've been to baseball games at the shiny new Safeco field where the M's play now (they don't seem to be winning any more than when they were in the Kingdome but it's a much nicer stadium in which to watch them lose) and sometimes we bring my husband and daughter, both baseball fans.

When my brother moved to Berkeley to start grad school, Dad and I moved him down there and we all went to Oakland to watch the Mariners play the A's. And last year for Father's Day, brother and I flew Dad and Me to Berkeley and we went to Giant's stadium twice in one weekend to watch baseball. (We tried to get a Cal Bears football game in that weekend too but it wouldn't quite fit.)

I will miss the Sonics. Grandmother is a basketball fan and my Dad, Uncle, Brother and Cousin all played basketball in school. It's sad to see a team leave the city that they won the 1979 Championship in and the whole fiasco surrounding their move has been ridiculous.

But if Seattle loses baseball I will cry like a baby. Then I'll call my Dad and make arrangements for another baseball weekend, because baseball is our thing.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Two Cultures, One Marriage

Husband and I grew up in two different countries with vastly different cultures. English is his second language (out of three) while I don't speak anything else. He grew up in Iran in a Muslim household, I grew up in a secular household here in the States. He left home for a new life on the other side of the planet when he was only 16. I have lived in the same state since I was 5 years old and as an adult was always within a 25 minute drive of both my parents until two years ago when my Dad & Stepmonster moved to Vegas. Husband's father was an entrepreneur and his mother was a housewife while my parents have always worked as employees of large-ish companies. He grew up poor in a third-world country while I was middle-class in the richest country in the world. All these differences plus the fact that he is 13 years older than me and we married when I was only 19 meant a lot of obstacles to overcome for us to have a successful marriage.

My Mom says now that I was always a good judge of character, others tell me that it was pure dumb luck that our marriage has been so successful. I think it's more a combination of the two along with lots of patience and hard work on both of our parts. The toughest part has been reconciling our two very different cultures into one household.

We both decided long ago that organized religion makes people (mostly) crazy so the whole religion thing is totally not an issue in our relationship. Neither of us practice any formal religion at all. In case you were wondering. Which you were. Cause of the Islam thing. Just letting you know there's no crazies here.

Our kids all have Persian names. I never considered anything else because they are American kids even though they are half Iranian. Their names are the one part of them that reminds them of their other, more hidden, heritage. They know a little bit of Farsi thanks to their Grandmother's four and a half month visit last year and their father's occasional use of the more, um, colorful bits of the language. (We can all swear fluently in Farsi!) We celebrate all the holidays I grew up with like Christmas and the 4th of July along with Norooz and Shab-e-Yalda, two holidays husband grew up celebrating. I cook mainly Persian food, simply because I couldn't cook when we got married and husband taught me to cook many Persian dishes because that's what he knew how to cook. We also order pizza for dinner often enough to be as unhealthy as any other all-American household.

It was husband's suggestion for my grandmother to live with us. In Iran, this is simply The Way Things Are Done. (The fact that my Grandmother is a rockin' 92 year old sarcastic smartass doesn't hurt either - husband loves her!) Our multi-generational household is much more typically Iranian than American and has many benefits for us, our children and my Grandmother.

Husband is a risk taker when it comes to things like starting businesses and buying real estate. He has a true entrepreneur's heart and worked 24/7 when I met him. For Iranians, this is also The Way Things Are Done. If you want to get ahead - or simply survive - in Iran, you work hard at often 2 or 3 jobs and if you aren't willing to take a risk like start a business or buy real estate then you will have nothing to retire with. Not nothing except Social Security but NOTHING nothing.

I was used to a family where parents went to work from 8-4 Monday thru Friday and were home on Saturday & Sunday. They had paid vacations, health insurance, got a paycheck on Fridays and a free turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas. My parents could indulge in some of their hobbies and had free time everyday when they could sit down to read a book, watch a television show or play Uno with my brother and I. We weren't rich by American standards and the 80's were not a decade of prosperity for our family but compared to husband's family growing up, we were fabulously wealthy.

We have finally settled on, and are both happy with, a 6 day work-week for for husband about 85% of the time. That isn't carved in stone however - we are after all, self-employed - so sometimes he's swamped and works 7 days a week but other times it's slow and he's home by 2pm every day for a week or 2. Luckily the slow times usually fall in the winter. I don't ski or snowboard, so he'll take whichever of our offspring are interested up to the pass to freeze their asses off in the snow. (They say it's fun but I don't believe them.) Plus he's usually available for Christmas shopping while I am freaking out about my final exams.

We have made our own traditions and celebrations. It's a pretty bizarre smorgasboard of what we both grew up with sprinkled with our adult viewpoints and opinions but we're happy and have reached a balance between what is his and mine - now it is ours.

Our 15th anniversary is on December 31, 2008 and I love him more now than I did the day we married. We have made it work against all odds and have created a partnership that is the backbone of our family. And we laugh every day. I'm one lucky-ass woman.