Monday, December 13, 2010

We Have Moved

All the bugs aren't worked out yet, but my Wordpress site is up, running fine... and I'm posting. So update your bookmarks and the like to,
Nothing has change except the look and the address of the site, so if you like me here, like me there as well!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Being Poor Rocks

(Ok, not much... but hang with me here)

I, as I have mentioned previously, live in Palm Springs. I'm constantly surrounded by people with money. I'm not just talking a minivan and a house in the suburbs type of money... I'm talking MONEY.
It's not that uncommon to see a Ferrari or a Lamborghini at the grocery store. Noticeable, but not uncommon. There are more Mercedes and Jaguars than there are hoopty-rides in our average parking lot here, lets just say.
I actually grew up in a family with money. My Dad is a small business owner for a long standing and prestigious flower shop here in Palm Springs, my mom just traded her Escalade for something smaller, and they live in a very nice (but modest) home in a nice quiet neighborhood with manicured lawns galore.
My school had more rich kids in it than poor, kids who would drive Mercedes to school and throw giant, catered parties on the weekends.
I never liked those kids. Even back then, I knew somehow that poor people had it made.
After school, I would ride the bus from sparkly, posh Palm Springs all the way to the seedier town right next door called Desert Hot Springs. Kids rode their bikes in the street, and no one seemed to have a dad, and if they did, they didn't want to have one.
The dinginess attracted me in some strange way. It was more REAL than what I was used to. People were friends because they liked each other, not because their mothers' were friends or because they threw the biggest parties or because they both drove the same color Mercedes or any other status-obsessed reason.

The status-whores had always pissed me off.

Here were real people. Families loved and sacrificed for one another, friends would (and sometimes did) die for one another, the kids explored and played together on second hand bikes in the street and oftentimes didn't come in until dark.
The police roamed the street, after dark you would hear arguments ringing through the streets or the sounds of lovemaking coming from a dirty RV parked on the side of the road. It was ugly, but in all it's ugliness there was a real beauty. The beauty of the human struggle to survive. Maybe never to come out on top, but to come out alive, with your sanity and loved ones intact.
I've seen the struggles women have had against drug addiction, coming out clean on the other side, getting their kids back from the state and becoming an inspiration for those who still suffer.
I've seen an old man park by a food bank near Christmas, giving out envelopes with $100 bills and leaving before anyone knew what they had gotten.
I've seen families who have nothing... but feel they have everything they need because they have each other.
I've seen friends become family because they never had anyone else.

The people with money that I know, and will always know... they aren't happy. Mrs. Rich Woman takes her credit cards and buys some new shoes because she's feeling empty. Mr. Rich Man gives his kids stiff hugs and a Jaguar for their birthday because that's how he shows love. Little Rich Boy and Girl put their hand out to get love from Daddy's wallet and go on with their stiff empty lives and their expensive private educations and become what they've always known.

And Mrs. Rich Woman is in therapy and prescriptions up to her Brazilian wax-job.
And Mr. Rich Man has a mistress that makes him feel the way poor working class joes feel all the time.
And Little Rich Boy and Girl throw expensive parties and race their fast cars and get into the acceptable amount of trouble until they go to the acceptable expensive college and become their rich, miserable parents.

So don't pity me with my welfare Christmas.
I may not have chosen how bad things have gone in the past couple years, but my kids are going to shit themselves with happiness over the $60 worth of toys we broke ourselves getting. My friends are going to love the bevy of homemade cookies they're getting for presents. Our Charlie Brown Christmas tree with dollar store ornaments looks awesome and the kids just can't leave it alone for one second. We'll stress a little, the way everyone does when they've overspent money, time, energy and emotion. My hubby and I will argue so loud that the neighbors will take notice, and then we'll make love so loud that they'll knock on the wall to shut us up.
Because this is real. And we are happy.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Another Groovy Mystery

So, stage three of holiday cookie baking begun today.
I'm making huge plates of cookies to give as gifts this year. I don't want to just not give any gifts, but anything bought with cash is just out.
So far, I've made White Chocolate Butter Pecan cookies, Multigrain Cherrio treats and now I've made my Mom's famous Peanut Butter Drops with Hershey centers.

But wait!
Something strange appears to have happened while the cookies were cooling down!

I'ts time for another groovy mystery, gang!

Where did the missing confectionary delights disappear to?

Aha! It was Tyler.

If only he could say, "And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!"
Another groovy mystery SOLVED! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Not a Disaster Post

Even though there are both cats and Christmas trees involved.

I got a new cat.
She's so cute, her name is Oni, which is Egyptian for wanted.

We also got a Christmas tree. Our friends, Shannon and Warren brought it over. Despite what they said, it does NOT look like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

I'm baking cookies today. They make great gifts. I've never made Rice Krispie treats before so wish me luck.
I know this was a really short post, but I had fun.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Don't Rain On My Parade

And no, it wasn't a Pride Parade. This IS Palm Springs, but that happens in April.
Last night we took the kids to the Palm Springs Annual Festival of Lights Parade.
 We knew it was going to be one hell of a trip, and it was.

We walked the 3 miles to downtown, with Tyler wanting to get down the whole trip. We didn't get to slap the kids down on the lap of The Big Guy (you know, good ole' Kris Kringle) like we had planned, but that was just poor timing on my part. I didn't really know it was going to take that long to get down there. I think, with the way the rest of the night went, that actually would have been too much.

We did, however, see Santa while walking up the street. He was in a golf cart in the pre-parade area we had to walk through to get to Burger King (the Burger King whose french fries later saved our asses when the parade started.) He said hi to the kids, who, strangely enough, couldn't have cared less.
The whole time, I was worried about melt-downs, mostly with Tyler, who becomes overwhelmed after a day at church.
Honestly, we didn't really have any. I know, I'm surprised as well. Just the normal kid-restlessness... "Mommy-I-want-to-get-down!" stuff.

We had a hard time getting Tyler to look at the parade itself for an extended period. Which made me really think that I'm doing the right thing when it comes to getting him checked out with this neurologist person. He didn't freak out, he just... erm... turned off. He would sit down where he couldn't see the lights anymore and fiddle with the side of the stroller or his stuffed monkey for a few minutes.
My husband would try to convince him he was missing out on some great stuff, and he was. But he wouldn't budge until he was done... well, "recharging" as I saw it. He would say, "No parade!"

My sweet, concerned hubby was worried he was "spoiling it for himself" and I just saw the way he was acting, and worried.. worried... worried. Especially since Kendyl, who is 20 months younger, was having a blast and was even pulling on the sleeve of the lady next to us, as to say, "Hey lady! Are you SEEING THIS??!!"
It was a really awesome parade.

There were floats covered in thousands of Christmas lights, glowing marching bands, even crazy giant Macys-esque balloons!
We left a bit early, Kendyl was getting wiggly and Tyler was just done, but we got to see some of the end of the parade as we walked back. It actually got better reception from both of them while we were strapped in the stroller and on the road.

People waved at the kids from giant flatbed trailers covered in lights, and we saw THE WORLD'S LARGEST FARM TRACTOR! Which is actually the aspect that tipped the scales and made us a definite positive parade RSVP.
Tyler just HAD to see the World's Largest Farm Tractor!

And he did. And he was suitably awed, it didn't matter we were pushing him away in a stroller. He liked it better that way. We were leaving, that's what he wanted, and as a plus he got to see a gigantic tractor covered in lights. What more could a boy want?
When we got home, he sat quietly in front of the TV while we got him his juice and climbed right into bed without prompting, curled up and was out. We barely had enough time to kiss his head before he pulled the covers over it.
Even Kendyl was exhausted, keyed up and wiggly, but exhausted.
It was a good day. I expected it to be stressful, and it really wasn't. Thank God, or The World's Largest Farm Tractor... your choice.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

One Strike, You're Out

I once had a best friend.

There's pictures of us playing on the floor together in diapers. We lived 2 doors down from each other, and were at each other's houses every single day, playing My Little Ponies, or watching Strawberry Shortcake (at her house, she had the Disney channel, I did not)
We weren't really alike, but it didn't matter to us. We were a lot like Anne of Green Gables and her friend Diana (if you've ever read the book or seen the mini series.)
We were both little blondies, but the similarities stopped there. She was sweet and feminine and shy, she played the piano and had 3 older sisters to teach her to be girlie. Her rounded, freckled face was the very picture of sweet, innocent girliness.
I was skinny, wiry and poorly dressed. Unique and aggressive, I played sports and talked too much.
None of that mattered to us, we were best friends, and nothing in the world could stop the two of us.
She was one grade behind me in school, but the program we were in combined 2nd and 3rd, 4th and 5th grades, so we had class together every other year.
We were inseparable, swimming, biking and riding horses.
Then one year, I was in 5th grade and she in 4th, we had a disagreement on the bus. I don't at this time, even remember what it was. It might have been something really embarrassing, I was very sensitive to embarrassing moments and would even hide my face if someone had something embarrassing happen to them on the TV.
But I hit her. Right there on the bus as we were getting off.
She didn't speak to me for a week. I went to her house and apologized, which she accepted, but it just wasn't ever the same after that, and we drifted apart.
Junior High came and went, High School... she had gotten an eating disorder and her new found skinniness bought her the popularity I never even close to had. She let it get to her head, she admitted later, and felt crappy about never saying hi to me in the halls. (Even though she secretly came to me for advice on boys, after school hours when no one was watching)
Ever since that regrettable moment on the bus, I was always looking for that perfect best friend to take her place. Someone with whom I could share all my deepest and darkest secrets with, and I never found that person.
I had plenty of friends in High School, some of them even close friends, but no one ever took the place of the one I'd whispered and giggled with my whole childhood. The one with whom I'd become "blood sisters" with and then worried with about catching AIDS because we'd let our blood touch. The one who told me she didn't like my house because it smelled like cleaning products, but she didn't like her house either because it smelled like dogs. The one with whom we drank A&W root beer bottles together on her Suburban's tailgate with the label pointed towards us so it looked like we were drinking beer. I had lost all that when I lost my temper and hit my best friend in the face.
We are friends now, our sons are 2 weeks apart in age. She was at my house just the other day. I tell her I admire the marvelous grownup she's become. She tells me she's always loved my ability to speak my mind. It's just never ever been the same.
She's the closest thing I ever had to a sister.
I know, that as adults, we just don't have the kind of friendships we had as kids... that awesome "Stand By Me" buddies that we chummed around with as children, but I can't help mourning a friendship that was mortally wounded before it's time. Killed by my actions. A friendship I could never rebuild to the glory it once held.