The Chairman

We were originally going to name Zoey the Chairman. Her full name, of course being, Chairman Mao Zedong.

The resemblance is uncanny.

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But instead we went with Zoey. Mainly because I was leafing through a Jane Magazine  (remember Jane? It was my fave) reading the “You + This Move = Sex Goddess article and I noticed Zooey Deschanel was on the cover, and I thought, hey, that’s a cute name.

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BAM. Zoey it is. Her full name being Zoey Zosefenia, but I only call her that when she makes no-no in the house.

Who knew that Zooey Deschanel’s fame would sky rocket? Well it did, and it has inevitably left my dog Zoey with an inferiority complex. I mean how can a dog compete with an ukulele and those adorable thick bangs? She can’t. So what does my pug do? She gets cancer.

Blah.

On Friday, she went in for surgery to have it removed. I was a mess. I sobbed and snotted to the vet as I was dropping her off. It was not one of my finer moments.

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Here are her incisions. I thought that flowers would be nicer than scaring you with puffy, red stitches.

When I picked her up, she was loopy and jumpy. But after I fitted her with this jaunty baby tank top, she took a much needed 6 hour nap.

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Sweet dreams Zo Zo.

Over the weekend we’ve also been treating her as if she was an invalid. Strolling her around the park and everywhere else we went. It’s bad enough that we have her wearing Hudson’s clothes, but we are also pushing our dog around in a stroller. If she wasn’t recovering from CANCER REMOVAL, I’d be ashamed of myself.

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Aside from having to wear baby shirts for the next two weeks, I’d say Chairman Zoey is going to be alright.

Flower

If you ask me about Berlyn I might tell you one of many things.

Some days I’ll blatantly confess that she’s annoying. I’m not super proud of admitting this, but then again, I’m not super excited about her singing the same refrain from a princess song that her dance class practices to over and over and over again.

And she’s not even getting the words right. She’s all, “A princess inside you will grow, you are the new.”

That doesn’t even make sense.

And then Hudson chimes in, and starts his version, and she yells at him for getting it wrong.

::Pause for irony::

So, Berlyn, you think that the song goes, “you are the new?”

Those types of lyrics might work in an indy folk song, but not in a princess song fit for a 5 year old’s ballet class.

But other times I might admit to her being awesome. And brag non stop about her. Which is really uncomfortable if you are on the receiving end of this. I’m all, “That’s cool that your son is reading Cat in the Hat, that’s a good book. OH! Did I tell you that Berlyn is reading encyclopedias now? She started on X and I think she chose that letter because she’s so creative and not at all consumed with linear thinking…”

Please feel free to hold your hand in the air until I stop. Sooner or later I’ll realize you’re not enjoying what I have to say.

Bragging parents are basically the worst.

And then there’s the times that she surprises me, and I don’t have any idea what to say about her. Like the other day she was playing with her friends and they were having a good time inspecting a snail and picking dandelions.

Later that afternoon, she told me that one of her friends said, “I want to see Berlyn’s mommy’s boobies and flower.”

***

I don’t get many people that say they want to see my boobies and flower, so naturally, as you can imagine, I was stunned.

Er.

Umm.

Ahem.

Well Berlyn, what did you say?

I didn’t say anything.

Good. It’s not nice to talk about other people’s private areas. The next time they talk about that kind of stuff, just leave.

Okay mommy.

And thank you for telling me. You’re a good girl Berlyn.

But really, who am I kidding, asking her to leave right when things get interesting? The minute I hear the word boobies, my ears perk up like a Springer Spaniel, and I plant myself directly in the middle of that conversation.

I mean, who doesn’t want to hear about boobies?

But somehow I trust Berlyn will make the right decision the next time she’s faced in this situation.

Although I think boobs and other inappropriate things are hilariously funny (who doesn’t??). I will protect my children’s innocence ferociously.

As for what to do with this little girl that says she wants to see various parts of my body…I have no idea. Do I tell her mom? Do I advise Berlyn just to stay away from her? Do I sit quietly in my corner, and judgy-judge-judge her?

I’ve made the mistake of bringing something up to a parent before, and the parent just shrugged me off and made me feel like there was something wrong with me, not their child. Parents are weird sometimes. If my daughter was saying those things I’d want to know.

Yesh, when did being a mom get so hard?

Thoughts on Fair Food, Dog Cancer, and French Accents

We went to the Pet Expo this weekend. Not because I really wanted to, but because I was asked to go, and I try to participate in things so that I can feel like I’m a part of my community, and try to get over this aching impulse to flee from large crowds and tight spaces. But mainly I said yes because I love animals, and it was at the fair grounds which inevitability means FAIR FOOD. That’s right, y’all, roasted corn, kettle corn, deep fried corn, and frozen bananas…oh yes please.

There’s always money in the banana stand.

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I didn’t bring Zoey, and that felt kind of weird not having her there. It’s like going to a playground without your kid, except no one thought I was creepy. Instead I looked around at the majority of people, and thought, Woah! You people are cray-cray! I saw at least 4 people with baby bjorns, but instead of precious 5 month old human children, they were carrying their DOGS! I always joke with Pat that I’m going to put Zoey in a baby bjorn, and he laughs, as we imagine Zoey being contently carried around in the safety of baby sling, but seriously, we’ve never. Although I have zipped her up in my sweatshirt and carried her around the house, does that count?

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Leave it to the Pet Expo to make me feel normal. I mean, these girls are cramming a discontented chihuahua into a purse and and some how, by that small act, I feel more peaceful, because simple is mostly always better. Because here I am, pushing my two year old in a stroller, holding hands with my five year old and munching on some kettle corn. BTW, I apparently have three hands in this scenario, because pushing a stroller, holding hands with my daughter, and eating kettle corn requires three. Whatever. You get the idea. No one is crying or trying to escape a cramped purse, and that’s the stuff that makes my life feel cozy.

But, then there is that thing about my dog having cancer. I guess that’s pretty uncozy.

Zoey’s going in for surgery on Friday to have her tumors removed. I’m feeling a lot of things about it. Mostly scared. I just keep looking into her poo-colored eyes, and holding her jaw in my hands and shaking vigorously it while saying, “I LOVE YOU, YOU DUMB PUG!” I’m nervous that they won’t love her as fiercely as I do, and she needs so much love. That’s what she operates on. Food, eh, water, sure, but love is what keeps that asshole alive. And those people at the vet better not throw her anesthetized body around and treat her as if she was a piece of meat, and they better not kill her on the operating table because if they do, I will blow down their door armed with a oozy and vengeance. You think I’m kidding, Doc? Try me.

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And then there’s this nagging sensation that always plagues me. I want to move again. Somewhere far away, because I like to live my life somewhere between imagined and real. Because in that place of middle ground I don’t have to make any real decisions. I can just fetter back and forth, and rock myself into a daze of different. Dreaming of living somewhere else, a thousand miles away from family, loved ones, and my familiar places would only throw my brain into a spiral of sadness and tears. And what sense does that make? So I’ll stay, until I can identify why I want to move so bad. I need to place my finger on it so that it solidifies into an actual thought and not just some whim or ideal picture I’ve painted in my mind of what my life should look like. Because right now my life looks like this:

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And it’s good. It’s so good. It reeks of good. So I just need to shut my brain off, tell it NO, and smack it’s proverbial hand. But seriously, could you imagine my brain having hands? It be all, like, hello! I am waving at you (in a French accent, of course).

Boom, Bang, Bing

Sleep. That’s all I want to do. But at all the wrong times. I’m like when you were a teenager and you kept falling asleep in your icy algebra class, while everyone else is happily doing quadratic equations. Well, of course you fell asleep, equations are for losers. But then you stayed up all night drinking mystery fluid out of a plastic red cup (tisk, tisk, and no wonder why you’re sleepy!) and later you pass out on someone’s grandma’s couch. Only to wake up with an imprint of an embroidered flower on your cheek.

But with me there’s no mystery fluid, no algebra class, and the embroidered flower imprint is on my forehead.

True story: I almost fell asleep driving home one afternoon. I was coming home from something and I was some place, and some other people were involved. I can’t be bothered with details, but the important facts to know in this story are, I was driving, it was 2:16 in the middle of the day, my children were in the car, and I was sleepily fighting off the urge to drop my head into my chest on the freeway. Um, scary. And now that I think about it, it could have something to do with me listening to Ryan Adams croon his silky lullabies in the car, while I was watching a plastic bag drift listlessly in and out of traffic lanes.

Well whatever it was, a valley girl would have this say about it, um, like freak-kay.

Thankfully we made it home safely and no one died in a flamey car accident of death and destruction.

The reason why I’m super tired is not because I’m staying up late doing awesome things like learning Mandarin or baking a ton of delicious snackable treats (although I should…), it’s not because I have this weird disease, or a pack of worms living in my digestion track that suck the life force from my bowels, and it’s not because I don’t eat enough protein like my mom’s always saying to me, and that’s why I look tired all the time, and would I just eat a steak already?!

It’s because I’m pregnant.

There. I said it. We’re having a baby.

Correction, we’re having another baby. Because we already have TWO crazy kids…

And now we’ll have another one.

It’s like boom, bang, bing.

Three.

And I’m like oookkayy…?

But really I’m like squeeee!!

Because I literally love everything about a squishy puffy baby.

I love to walk around everywhere and have new baby in a sling and swat adoring hands away as if I have some delectable prize hidden in my pouch and everyone wants just one sweet taste.

I love to rock, and sing, and breastfeed.

OH MY GOSH, you guys I LOVE to breastfeed!

I’m going to breastfeed the shit out of this new baby.

You watch. Actually, please don’t watch, because you know, you might get an eye full.

So all in all, I think we’re going to be alright.

It wasn’t planned. And my thinking is that these things never are. It’s God’s perfect plan, and I’m just along for the ride.

We are excited, scared, and super chill about it, all at the same time.

And I had an ultrasound last week and I saw it. He? She? Baby. The important thing was there was one in there, and it waved at me. Well, no it didn’t. But I got to see it’s precious little heart beating, pumping and thriving.  I was a ball of nerves, but after the images flickered on the screen, all I felt was peace and joy.

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I know this photo doesn’t look like much it’s all blurry and blobby…but hey, it kinda looks like an Yosemite Sam mustache.

Well great horney toads, we’re having another baby!

Palm Spring Break

We needed a pause. A break to remind us what is important in life. A time to feel like the world stopped spinning just for a minute, so the sun could point its warm fingers right on us.

So we went to Palm Springs.

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We tried to sleep in, but our room faced East and the morning invited itself in our room at approximately 6:53 every day.

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We swam.

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Berlyn is a fish. But she would like it if you referred to her as Ariel while in the pool.

I layed like a sleepy lizard; letting the warmth tan my skin and…who the hell was I kidding, I was being lazy while Pat did all the hard work.

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The children had glimpses of love and sharing. It’s moments like these that my heart grows so big and all I can hear are the beats.

Ba-boom.

Ba-boom.

Ba-boom.

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 And next is the photo series of Berlyn and the Sun:

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We went to the Living Desert Zoo where we saw a clump of turtles fighting for the top spot,

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and a sleepy jaguar,

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and some birds,

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and a tiny fox,

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And lots of other things, like some giraffes and gazelles.

Steve Harrington, cool guy artist, popped over to the Ace Hotel and drew some drawings on the walls.

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We were delightfully fascinated with his renderings.

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Our room was amazing and we had this huge patio with a fire place. So we did what any thought producing family would do, hello? Yes, we had s’mores.

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Every night.

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The next day was a bit rainy, so we went modern furnature shopping and explored Downtown Palm Springs.

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But Berlyn (a.k.a. Ariel) still insisted on going in the water, so we swam.

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Hudson and I dipped our toes in and stayed bundled.

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Our last day in PS we went to the Parker for breakfast.

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 And had some more sun flair fun.

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And then we said goodbye.

But we will be back.

Because we’re always in need of a good reminder of what’s important in life.

My Love of Pug

I have a deep love for animals.

Some might call it unhealthy.

But I think those people are just jealous.

Sometimes I squeeze my pug Zoey so tight that she gives me this terrified look and then shoves her paw deep into my sternum in a mighty hope that she can escape me.

::PPPFFfffffftttt::

Yup, so tight, I squeezed a toot out of her.

You feel that, Zoey?

That’s how much I love you.

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The other day I took Zoey to the vet. It was a somewhat routine check up where they took my dog behind closed doors, poked and traumatized her, and later charged me 600 US dollars.

Steep.

Sure, there were other things involved, like a skin infection, ear infection, medications, and a biopsy.

Gulp.

Zoey had cancer before on her tail a year and a half ago, had it removed (the cancer, not the tail), and now lives a normal pug life.

Her having cancer before made me nervous about hearing the results.

Two days later the vet called. She told me things that I didn’t really understand, used words like mass cell tumor, and oncologist. I asked questions, and bit down on my lip when she told me the answers. And finally she made abundantly clear: Cancer.

Again.

This time it’s on her torso, it’s a skin tumor, so maybe they can remove it again. But removing it comes with certain complications, like apparently the doctors can be in surgery, cutting the tumor out, and suddenly it goes systemic, and instantly it poisons her blood, and immediately kills her.

Thus killing me.

Oookkayy.

So maybe we don’t remove it.

And what, slowly watch her suffer and die?

I can’t handle this.

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Zoey, don’t you realize you’re supposed to live forever?!

 

 

Water Bottles

I went to CVS yesterday to fill a prescription for Hudson. He has an ear infection. And I know there are a myriad of homeopathic remedies I can try before I wage a war on his delicate insides with an antibiotic. But I didn’t try any homeopathic remedies, I went straight for the amoxicillin: good and bad cells be damned!

But that’s not really what this post is about, it’s about walking into the store. The problem was that I could barely see the double automatic doors, because there were pallets of bottled water for sale flanking the outside of the doors and flooding out into the sidewalk, they looked more like a barricade than a proper merchandise display.

And then I thought, do people still buy bottled water?

I used to be addicted to bottled water in my first year of marriage. I’d go to Costco and hoist a gigantic box of plastic bottles filled with water in my cart.

I’d store the bottles all over my tiny apartment. They’d be kept under the bed, and in closets, in the fridge and out on our balcony. My apartment had become a fort made of water.

But now I’m reformed.

It took a while, but I just stopped buying it, and eventually I had no need for it.

Let’s pause for a minute and consider the absurdity of it.

Water.

The stuff that comes out of every faucet in your house.

In a bottle.

That you buy.

Oh, but you should’t drink tap water, it’s yucky, you think.

But tap water is highly regulated, and bottled water uses tons of oil just to produce those bottles, that you will eventually throw into the trash. Plus there are tons plastic chemicals that are leeched into the water via the bottles, and have I made my point yet?

I have a purifier in my refrigerator where I get all my drinking water, so I don’t actually drink tap water, but I will in a pinch. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I’ll get so thirsty that I’ll turn on the bathroom faucet and lap up water like a Labrador. It’s unsightly.

One of the best ways for me to break by bottled water codependency was to buy fun reusable bottles for me and my kids. Here are some of my favorites:

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Kleen Kanteen is the all-time best sippy cup for our kids, and we also have the insulated coffee canteen, it keeps my coffee hot for 5 hours! Amazing.

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This one is just cool looking. It’s by KOR and they call it a vessel. Which sounds fancy.

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And these bottles by Life Factory are great for both kids and parents. We have one for Berlyn and she loves it. Plus it affords her some popularity at lunch time, and that’s really what it’s all about, right?