Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Once again I am deep into the planning stages of the kids and my annual road trip.  For those of you who don't know me very well, my idea of planning is having a rough idea of where we're going.  Like which states.

A few years ago we drove from Seattle, Washington to Austin, Texas and back for fun.  In July.  Last year we hit Berkeley, San Francisco and Las Vegas on our annual trek on the nations highways and byways.  We've driven to Denver, Missoula, Salt Lake City, Portland, Boise and Pullman - all cities where we have friends and family living.

Believe it or not, we have a total blast on these trips.  We go in the summer because *d'oh* we are all in school and because that is husband's very very busy time of year for work.  He usually works 7 days a week, 14 hours a day in July and August.  This is because those are the only two months we aren't drowning in rainwater and turning green from the algae growing on our skin.  Husband is a general contractor so July and August is when the outside work happens.  So rather than sit around at home, the kids and I hit the road.

My kids are great in the car, probably because I've driven them all over the place since the time they were babies.  I don't like to stay home, so sue me.  They bring their pillows, iPods, Nintendo game player thingys, books and drawing materials and they're happy.  The secret is to ALWAYS stay at hotels with swimming pools when you have to drive all day, they can get all their excess energy out and will sleep well at night plus you can get them tired in the morning before you hit the road.  I love to drive so doing all the driving isn't a problem either.

This year the planning has to include the rest of the family who are going to pick up the slack in caring for Grandmother while I am gallivanting around the countryside with my offspring.  At 93 years old with two very bad falls in the last few years we have to make sure she is looked after a little more closely than in the past.  Of course SHE doesn't think it's necessary but SHE also thinks her hearing is perfectly fine and that I'm being paranoid by not letting her have a step-stool because she might actually use it.  Let's just say her judgement is biased.

But our family is the best and she will be fine while I'm gone and I will get a much-needed break.  This year we're going to Berkeley to visit Scientist Genius Brother from August 1st to August 4th.  Marvelous Mom will be joining us for this leg of the journey which will be lots of fun.  She came with us on our first long road trip to Denver several years ago and we had so much fun!  Then on the 4th we will drive from Berkeley to San Diego to meet up with the other Vegas Show Girl Bloggers - Stepmonster, Yo, Mel, and Christy - where we will do all the fun San Diego sightseeing touristy things as well as drink a margarita or three by the pool while my progeny try to drown each other.  On the 9th we will leave San Diego with Stepmonster in tow and drive to Las Vegas where we will stay with Stepmonster and Darling Dad until they kick us out of their house or August 17th.  Whichever comes first.

The kids are loading up their iPods with new music and audio books, I'm hitting all the used bookstores in the area for trashy cheap books to read and husband is trying to ignore my pestering him for a new and bigger car before we leave.  The poor man, it will be as much a vacation for him to just have us the hell out of his hair for a few weeks as it will be for us to get away!

Next year I want to go to Alaska.  And someday I'm gonna get on I-90 in Seattle and drive it all the way to Boston.  But this year we're visiting all the people we love who live far away.  And it'll be so much fun!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunshine, Koi and Turtles

Husband's Mom is truly a sweet lady.  She is very loving and a good sport about doing anything we want to do.  She isn't demanding and doesn't boss us around in our own home like I know some mother-in-laws do.  But that doesn't mean she isn't high maintenance.  *wink*  

Her health is terrible, largely because when she is home in Tehran she doesn't take her medications regularly or take good care of her health in general.  I have to give her all her meds when she is here because otherwise she doesn't take them.  Arthritis in her spine has almost crippled her and she cannot walk or stand for very long at all without horrible pain.  But GOD FORBID she should sit in a wheelchair!  So we haven't been going out as much this year.

And walking is v  e  r   y   s   l   o   w  with mother-in-law.  She and Grandmother are a couple of turtles now.  They've both slowed down a LOT in the last year and when we go shopping it is exactly like taking two turtles for a walk.

However, the Japanese garden at the Seattle arboretum is a great place to take someone who can't walk very far because it is full of places to sit and rest and enjoy the scenery.  So yesterday that is where we went.  Here is husband and mother-in-law...

At the entrance to the garden you can buy a bag of koi food for $1 so we bought some, started a koi feeding frenzy and the Things put their toes in the water for the koi to nibble on.  I can't get over how HUGE the koi are!

It was so nice to see the kids enjoying some time outdoors, relaxed and happy all together.  Daughter was watching a blue heron and the Things were watching the fish.  I think they would have happily sat here all day if we had let them.

Doesn't daughter look thrilled to be out with her whole family?  This is right at the beginning of the garden before the relaxing atmosphere had time to melt away her moody, sulky attitude.  It sure did the trick though, I plan on taking her there once a week this summer, by the end of the day she was ALMOST pleasant!

So far this summer has been a lot of fun, I dearly love having the kids home all day and not being a slave to a schedule.  We can do what we want when we want to and it is wonderful.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

STILL Thirteen!

More pictures from the big event! (And by the way, if anyone left a Konica Minolta camera case here at my house I'm holding it hostage. Bring wine because there are three teenagers living in my house now!)

These pictures were all taken by my BFF or her son, the very cute blonde in this picture with the Things.

Here is beautiful Marvelous Mom and lovely Aunt Sugar.

I am SO THANKFUL that husband enjoys cooking and entertaining because we had 30+ people at our house for this party and he never broke a sweat.  We make a pretty good team!

Here's blonde cutie again with Grandmother.  His mom BFF and I have been friends for almost 30 years - since we were in elementary school.  I was there when he was born and they are as much a part of our family as my kids are!

Here's me and my favorite grown up niece, not to be confused with the cutest baby nieces in the entire universe.  She graduated this month from the University of Washington with a Bachelors Degree of Science in Biology!

It was an awesome party but we won't be throwing another huge bash like that for awhile, I don't think my nerves could take it!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


So as of June 17th, I am going to be the mother of three teenagers for the next four and a half years.  Someone hold me!  Things One and Two turned 13 and because I'm certifiable and like to make a lot of unnecessary work for myself, I decided that throwing a gigantic party for them would be fun.

The party happened last Saturday and I'm still recovering.  Here are the birthday boys about to blow out the candles on their cupcakes.  I made three different kinds of cupcakes, regular and mini-sized, some with M&M's on top and some with Oreos.  Martha Stewart's evil twin temporarily possessed me.  They were really cute and not even as much of a pain in the ass to make as last year's cupcakes.

And this is Mother-in-law about to copy UP! and be carried away by the balloons!

These are the birthday boys and Aunt Sugar.  Aunt Sugar is Marvelous Mom's sister (and a twin herself) and the Things favorite person in the world.  In fourth grade they had to write essays about their favorite place and they both - independently and in DIFFERENT classrooms, with  different teachers mind you - chose Aunt Sugar's cabin as their favorite place in the world.  Their gift from her was a trip to visit her for a few days and lots of different activities like fishing and going to the ocean written down on slips of paper and wrapped separately.  They were THRILLED and can't wait to visit her and Uncle Sugar for the 4th of July!

Here are some of the crazy cupcakes I made.  Yummy!

This is only the first post of the Thing's Thirteenth birthday party but until a certain someone whose very cute blonde son took a lot of pictures emails those pictures to me I don't have any more good pictures to share with you.  (HINT HINT!!!)  She and blonde cute boy took pics of the cupcakes and decorations and I want to preserve the memories for posterity when the things tell me what a horrible mother I am, how I never do anything for them and how I'm ruining their lives.  Then I will show them the insane lengths I went to for their birthday party when they turned 13 and tell them to get the hell off my back and pass the booze.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Horror in Iran

I've been glued to the twitter feed about the events in Iran all day long.  Husband managed to get through to his sister on the phone this morning and she said it is so bad in Tehran that we should keep motherinlaw here with us longer than the 6 week visit we had previously scheduled.  Then they lost connection and husband couldn't get her back on the phone.

This video is graphic, don't watch it if you are super sensitive to blood, violence or death, but I think it's important for it to be available for viewing because protestors in Iran are risking their lives to get photos and information out of the country about what is going on.

The video of Neda's death may well be what brings down the current government of Iran, Time has a great article by Robin Wright about why.

I want the Iranian government to change just as much, if not more, than anyone else but I desperately wish that it didn't take the death of innocent people to achieve that change.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Arsenic and Old Ladies

I'm back and I have a good excuse for not posting for a long time, I've been busy dancing attendance on these two lovely ladies.  On the left is Mother in Law and on the right is Grandmother.  I love them both dearly but Oh. My. God.

Notice the walker in front of Grandmother.  She fell last week and conked her head on her bathroom counter hard enough to give her one hell of a concussion and make her brain bleed inside her skull.  She's fine now but was in the hospital overnight and the doctors adjusted her meds and instructed her to use a walker if she doesn't want to fall again and risk much worse consequences than a giant goose-egg on the back of her head.

This is her third fall requiring a trip to the emergency room but only the first that was a wake up out of a dead sleep and stumble outside to the car trip.  Thank God for small mercies.  I was scared to death once I felt her head and thought for sure that she had a fractured skull.  But damn if she isn't one tough cookie.  I'm pretty sure she's made out of flubber.

The last time she fell was ALSO during one of Mother in Law's visits.  I think Grandmother gets jealous of the attention.

Mother in Law is doing ok.  Her health is a lot worse than it was last year and communicating via sign language and elaborate games of charades is still exhausting but she's here and its going well.  The Things spend hours with her learning farsi and playing games, they are so unbelievably patient with her it just blows my mind.

She will be with us for another two weeks then will stay with husband's brother and his family for three weeks and then she will go home.  I suspect this will be her last visit here, especially if her health continues to deteriorate, so we are enjoying her while we've got her.  (Except for shopping, I LOATHE shopping with two old ladies.  It's like taking turtles for a walk.  And stopping every foot or so to examine everything in every fucking aisle.)

Here's me and my favorite crotchety old lady.

And my diet started today, apparently a side effect of going back to school is weigh gain.  Joy.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Maybe I DON'T Want to Visit

I found this map of Australia on Frogdancer's blog and I'm beginning to think that letting daughter go to Australia with Scientist Genius Brother for Christmas isn't such a great idea after all.  They'll be visiting Scientist Genius Brother's super awesome girlfriend and her family at their home which is located between convicts and giant spiders according to this map.

Yup, you read that right.  On December 12, 2009 I will be putting my 15 year old on a plane to San Francisco where Scientist Genius Brother will collect her from the airport, take her home for a night and then they will trek back to the airport the next day to fly to Melbourne, Australia.  She will get back to Seattle on January 5th.  My baby will not be home for Christmas!  She'll miss playing "Santa" with me and Christmas Eve with her cousins.  I won't get to see her eyes light up as she opens up all her loot on Christmas morning and her brothers won't get to give her one of the only two hugs they are allowed to give her every year.  (She only lets them hug her on Christmas and her birthday, that's it!)

On the other hand, she will get to spend three and a half weeks with her Uncle who is one of my favorite people in the world.  They will get to start building their own relationship without me as a go-between.  Scientist Genius Brother is a very special guy and by getting to spend that time with him, daughter will learn and grow and be a better person.  She will see an example of the kind of man I want her to look for when she is ready for love and a relationship.  And he will get to know daughter better and see what a smart, funny and witty niece he has.

I also strongly believe that kids need to travel and meet people from other countries to broaden their perspective.  Contrary to what many Americans seem to believe, the United States is not the only country on the planet and seeing things from other perspectives will help my kids grow up to be empathetic and well-rounded adults.  Insularity drives me crazy and I am going to do everything possible to make sure my kids don't fall into that trap so many Americans do.

Daughter is thrilled and excited for this adventure in her life and I am thrilled and excited for her.  I can't thank Wonderful Aussie Girlfriend and her family enough for opening their home and hearts to daughter and I know that Scientist Genius Brother loves her as much as husband and I do and will take very good care of our precious baby.

But we will miss her so much.  Letting the kids grow up might end up being the hardest thing we've ever done.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Translating Teenagese

I know there are some people out there who are unfamiliar with the English dialect commonly known as Teenagese.  So for your edification, I have written a short pocket translating cheat sheet.  Feel free to print and keep in your pocket for easy access any time you come into contact with a human of the adolescent variety.

"I know" = "How dare you suggest that there is information that I am unaware of?  I know everything and suggesting otherwise is an unforgivable offense to the natural order of the universe."

"I will" (when in response to the second - or forty second - request to do something around the house) = "I will do it when I'm good and ready to stop texting/talking on the phone/drawing/reading and not before then.  And even then I may or may not do it depending on the weather, my mood at the time and if Mars and Venus are in alignment."

"Mom" = "Do not talk to me, look at me, walk next to me or in any other way suggest to the casual onlooker that we might be related in any way shape or form or I will drop dead of mortification on the spot AND IT WILL BE ALL YOUR FAULT."

"MOM!" = "I am about to slay the other products of your womb in the most hideous and gruesome way possible unless you intervene and spare their worthless lives."

"I'm hungry" = "You never buy anything actually edible.  Why is all this healthy crap the only thing to eat in the house?  I demand you drive me to the nearest junk-food restaurant immediately."

"I dunno" = "I'm not really listening to you but I don't want to listen to your latest version of lecture 2.0 so I'll give you a fake answer to shut you up for the moment."

That is all I have for now but I am quite confident that this list of commonly used teenage phrases will be added onto in the not-too-distant future.

And Mom?  Dad?  Have I apologized for my teenage years lately?  I'm so so sorry!

Monday, June 1, 2009

School Project

I've been pretty lazy lately just posting photos but I have so much writing to do for school that blogging photos is just easier.  So here's another one.

For my girl gaming class we are creating a game and my group is targeting the 'candy-raver/scene/colorful goth' type teenager and because I'm the marketer I dressed daughter up as an example of our target customer and took her picture for our powerpoint presentation.

She's a pretty cute target market don'cha think?