On blogging and damp laundry

So, this is the end of November.  I did my best to blog every day this month . . . and I think I’ll continue my efforts even though some of my attempts are pathetic.  (I participated in NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month.)

When I started this blog ten years ago, it was just to share my daily life with a few friends.  For awhile, a lot of people I didn’t know were reading here and leaving comments (those were the days!) but now, we’re back down to just a few of us.  I am so glad that I’ve been blogging here for ten years, though.  I could never remember all the stories and thoughts I’ve recorded here.

In the past ten years, blogging has become more about marketing and branding and advertising.  Bloggers promote themselves and their books and their projects.  They jostle for attention and compete for sponsorships and free stuff to review.  People know what a “blog” is.  (When I started blogging, most people had no idea what that even meant.)

I was in the crowd at one point, even blogging professionally for awhile for a company.  Companies sent me products to review and I even got hate mail (a true sign of success, right?).

But now, it’s just me and my keyboard and my life.  So many topics are off-limits.  It’s not like I can discuss my 15-year old son’s exploits or my 20-year old twins’ jobs or my 11-year old’s moods.  I am aware of their need for privacy.  I know it’s inappropriate for me to tell the stories that don’t belong fully to me.

Blogging is crowded now with some thirty-one million bloggers in the U.S. (according to some statistics).  I am a quiet voice in a sea of shouters.  I’m not the kind of person to shove to the front of the crowd.  I don’t like to draw attention to myself.

I do like to be heard, though.  I love to tell stories.  I like to recount situations that made me laugh or cry.  And I’m devoted to remembering these days, even if I have to edit myself before clicking “Publish.”  (I wish I didn’t have to edit myself at all, ever, but I’m a realist.)  I am writing for an audience of one, really:  myself.  (Clearly, I am no marketing genius and I have no interest in building my “platform.”)


In other news, I realized last night that my clothes dryer was not doing its job.  The broken clothes dryer joins the broken dishwasher in refusing to work.  The appliance repair-guy should be here on Tuesday.

In the meantime, my house is covered in damp but clean clothing.  It looks like we’re building crazy cat-sized forts out of clean shirts and pants and bath towels.

And with that, I bid November 2013 farewell.  Seems like you just got here!


Looking back

Five years ago. Kindergarten.

Five years from now? Sixteen.

I’m guessing she won’t be dressing up as a pilgrim then.





Post-Thanksgiving Day Thoughts

While we waited for the parade at Disneyland on Tuesday, this family walked past us and then sat nearby.

They had three kids and all five of the family members wore The Incredibles costumes.

I tried to imagine growing up in a family where the mom and dad would wear whimsical costumes while spending the whole day at Disneyland.  What a hilarious family!  Are they as fun-loving as they appeared to me?

I don’t know but I like to think that they laugh and frolic all day long.

Just seeing them made me happy, so I surreptitiously took a photo while watching the parade.

And see that purple balloon?  It belonged to a child whose mother plopped herself into my personal space–without asking, really.  That balloon kept bopping me in the head.


Yesterday is a blur.


Today we slept in (glory to God in the Highest) and then I began cooking.  I left dirty dishes in the sink last night–uncharacteristically for me on the night before Thanksgiving–and so my work was cut out for me.

I didn’t even have a schedule planned, though I did have the foresight to actually purchase ingredients.  So, there’s that.

I got my 22 pound turkey in the oven by 10:40 AM and then began washing dishes and prepping side dishes while my daughter chattered incessantly and the Thanksgiving Day parade played on the television sitting on my kitchen counter.  (I can’t even describe how much I love having a television in my kitchen.  The previous owners of our house left it for us.)

I methodically prepared each dish:  stuffing, corn souffle’, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes and Crescent rolls from the can.  I cleaned up as I went and by 2:45 PM we were sitting and eating dinner.

And while I sat at the table with my four kids and husband I was sincerely so grateful for a peaceful household.  We went around the circle and talked about what we were thankful for and I actually think each of the kids meant what they said.  You know?  Sometimes it seems like they just recite what they think we want to hear.

Anyway, all that cooking and twenty minutes later it was time to put away leftovers and wash dishes.

Then, finally, a nap!   And not just a nap but the kind of nap you can’t rouse yourself from, the kind of nap that finds you drooling on your pillow.  (Or maybe that’s just me.  Don’t look at me like that!)

Now, I hear Christmas knocking at the door–not just knocking, but yelling and ringing the doorbell and banging on the door–and I just wish we could slow it down.  I’m not ready to drag out the Christmas decorations and put up the Christmas tree.  But I know it’s better to do it sooner rather than later.

Tonight, though–after all the cooking, the eating, the napping and even the working (on a holiday!) I just wish an elf or someone would do all the Christmas work.

Maybe I just need to find my inner Incredible and one of those red costumes.


How to embarrass your kid in one easy step

At Disneyland, while you are watching people walk by as you wait for a parade to begin and someone yells to his friend, “Hey Marco!” . . . instinctively call out, “POLO!”

Then laugh and laugh and laugh at your own joke while your kid rolls her eyes.

More tomorrow.  We left home at 7:10 AM and returned home at 12:50 AM.  I’m utterly exhausted.


We are heading to Disneyland tomorrow.  We live only a little more than an hour from the Happiest Place on Earth and furthermore, we get to drive in the carpool lane almost the whole way there.

I’ll be back with a fresh collection of photos.

We plan to leave at 7 AM and stay until the park closes at midnight.

I have packed ibuprofen and will be wearing sensible shoes (hot pink running shoes though I do not run unless being chased by snarling pumas). I’m bringing protein bars for my daughter who will be starving as soon as we get there and a bottle of water because she’ll be dying of thirst.

Now, though, I am rushing to bed so I can get almost-enough sleep to last through the whole day of fun and frivolity.



The kids have a whole week without school.  I am super excited by this because my daughter does school at home and that means I do school at home and frankly, I’m tired of fractions.  Well, actually, I love working with fractions but it’s agony helping someone else who is 11-years old work with fractions.  I’m tired of school at home in general.

I’m mostly excited though because I had fooled myself into thinking I could sleep in this week but already that fantasy has disintegrated.  Tomorrow my daughter is going ice-skating with a friend.  I have to wake up somewhat early and deliver her by 9:45 AM.

Then on Tuesday, we’re going to Disneyland and, as is our habit, we plan to be there when it opens–at about 8 AM.  That means we’ll be leaving by 7 AM (at least) and since the park closes at midnight, we will probably stay until midnight because we are party animals.  (And by “we”, I mean my 15-year old, his friend, my 11-year old and me.)  I will catch up on my sleep when I’m living in a nursing home.

That brings us to Wednesday.  I might be sleeping in that day!

Thursday . . . cooking.

Friday . . . sleeping?  Well, see, now it seems better, like I might be sleeping in at some point this week.


Today I bought my turkey and ingredients to bake four pies because pie consensus does not exist in my family.  Weirdly, there weren’t all that meany people grocery shopping at Ralph’s.  Maybe they were all at Costco buying pre-made pumpkin pies.

At my house there will be a 2/3 ratio of pies to people.  (If my fractions are correct.  I cannot guarantee that.)

Coconut cream.



S’mores.  (Sort of.  It’s a long story but the pie involves marshmallows, chopped up Hershey’s bars, cream, and a graham cracker crust.)

Mmmmm.  Pie.

No-Soccer Saturday

I slept in.

I walked the dog.

I took my daughter to lunch at Rubio’s.

I dropped off my daughter and picked up my husband and son.

We dropped off our son at work.

We went to a movie.  (Captain Phillips, very good.)

We bought cupcakes.

Every place I drove today, I noticed how beautiful the clouds were.  They were the type of clouds artists paint.  And when we were heading home from the movie, I noticed the sun sliding down the sky in a patchwork of clouds.  I suspected the sunset would be beautiful.

I told my husband that I wanted to go see the sunset.

So we dropped off cupcakes, picked up our daughter and raced to the beach.

The rest of this story can be told in photos.

Photo: We raced to see the sunset tonight. It sets so early now--4:39!


Let it snow?

For the first time since August, my daughter’s team does not have a Saturday soccer game this weekend.  The regular season has ended and now all that’s left is a tournament in December and the State Cup in February.  (Or something like that.)

I hardly know what to do with an entire Saturday without a soccer interruption.

Well, I do know what I will do.  I need to purchase the following items:

1)  Turkey.
2)  Toilet paper.
3)  Laundry detergent.

Not necessarily in that order.


We’ve had a rainy week.  The local weather forecaster said on Facebook, “We’ve got another night of blustery, winter weather in store for us tonight San Diego,” and I’m telling you, I guess I haven’t been here long enough not to laugh because that made me laugh.

Do you know what passes for “blustery, winter weather” here in San Diego? 

Better find our gloves and hats and fur-lined boots!

Find the snow shovel!

Buy some of that stuff that makes ice melt on your front steps!


Two years ago, I forced my kids to go to the beach at sunset to be photographed for my Christmas cards.

They were not thrilled.  The oldest boys do not enjoy the beach (weird) and they do not enjoy having their photos taken.

However, I found the entire experience hilarious.  I wanted them to all jump at the same time, but that seemed impossible. I laughed and laughed at their attempts.

But finally–after many failed attempts–this happened.  Close enough.


I know Thanksgiving is coming because people keep asking me about what we’re doing for Thanksgiving.  I explain that we’re spending the day at home and that I’m cooking everything and then I remember again that I probably should get myself to the grocery store to buy a turkey and other stuff.  I am not ready.

I’m just too busy driving my kids here and there in my free time.  (Tomorrow:  Daughter to class at 8:45.  Son to work by 9.  Work at 10.  Pick up daughter at noon.  Work again until 3.  Interrupt work to pick up original son from work at 2.  Pick up youngest son from school at 3:20.  Drop off other son at work at 4:30.  It’s really getting ridiculous.)

All I really want to do is lie in bed and read.  Who knew that I was living my dream when I was fourteen years old, wishing I could do something besides lie in my bed and read ?

Hurry, hurry, hurry

I would like to have a word with the genius who sets the timers for traffic lights.  I need to know why it makes any sense for the traffic light at this block to be green while the traffic light a block ahead is red.  This causes us to sit at a green light because there is no where to go because a block ahead, the light is red.

Dear Genius Who Sets the Timers for Traffic Lights:

You are causing me to lose my cool in front of my 11-year old daughter who pointed out that I seem to have come down with an itchy case of Road Rage.  Please reconsider how you have the lights set up because as they are now, nothing makes sense.  It shouldn’t take me ten minutes to get through a couple of intersections.

Love, Mel


In related news, I spent an hour and a half picking up my son from school (a mere 19 miles away) and then dropping off my daughter at someone’s house and then returning home.  I stopped by Albertson’s on the way home to pick up a few ingredients to make dinner.

And then, twenty minutes later, when I had dinner underway, I realized I had no milk–a crucial ingredient–and so I had to grab my purse and keys so I could drive to Ralph’s for two gallons of milk.  My boys drink so much milk, it’s ridiculous and I never know when we’re out because I promise you, I just bought two gallons a minute ago.

The good news is that I can drive to Ralph’s, buy milk and return home all within ten minutes, but only because there are no traffic lights between here and there.


Earlier today, I thought I had an idea for a blog post, but as you can see, all I did today (besides working) was drive around and yell at other drivers, so I’ve got pretty much nothing.  And if you were one of the people near me stopped at a green light or dilly-dallying after the light turned green or trying to merge AHEAD of me even though the merge sign for the lane closure was a quarter mile back . . . well, yes, I was giving you dirty looks.  I’m in a hurry, people!



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