Showing posts from 2009

The Best Handmade Stuff I Own

These are a few of my favorite handmade things... MY PHOTO PENDANTS Soon after Sarina was born, I bought a photo pendant of her to wear on my necklace every day. Unfortunately, it fell apart. The silver stem fell out of it, and the finish on the photo itself was sticky and got dirty. Lots of sellers handmake these types of photo pendants, but not all of them know what they're doing. I went through four sellers-- I think-- before finding the one who I will (heart) forever and ever. I found Rebecca Shaw on etsy . About every three months, I get a new pendant from her... and they keep turning out better and better. She's a perfectionist (like me), so I always know they're going to be cut and finished just right. And even better, she does these for just $9, plus $1.75 shipping and handling. A real labor of love. Everywhere I go, people stop and ask me where I got my necklace. I actually asked Rebecca to send me business cards with one of my orders, and I ran out of them. Makes


Imagine you were 18 years old, riding on the back of a pick-up truck as you worked a summer landscaping job with your friends. You're about to go off to college, and this is your last summer all together as a group. Then the unthinkable happens. Your pick-up truck collides with an 18-wheeler. You're launched out of the back and thrown onto the road, where your leg gets trapped and you get dragged 324 feet along the asphalt.That's what happened to Scott Rigsby, who lost both of his legs as a result of that accident. For many years, Scott was lost and depressed, and couldn't figure out a purpose for his life. Then, while browsing at a bookstore, he saw two physically challenged athletes on the covers of magazines. Inspiration took hold, and in 2007, Scott became the first-ever double-amputee to complete the Hawaiian Ironman triathlon... yes, the one that's televised every year on NBC. It's a crazy physical challenge that even most able-bodied athletes can't co

The proof that my child is better than I am

"Mommy, can we find some more of my toys to give away to babies who don't have any?" She wins.

Conversations with my 2-year-old

Saturday "I got a cut on my finger ankle." (Also known as the knuckle.) Yesterday "Mommy, what are some of the situations when we might feel exasperated face?" "Well, if we wanted to color, but all our markers were dried out, we might feel exasperated." "And if we came home and found out that Kira ate our whole house, we might feel exasperated." "Well... yes. Yes, we definitely would." Today "Mommy, if you did poopies in your diaper, I would change you."

Holy Pineapples, I Own a Dyson

It started about 10 years ago, when I became a homeowner for the first time. I inherited my grandparents' old Electrolux canister vacuum-- which worked just fine, but was a serious pain to lug around and vaguely smelly, and by the end, was being held together with duct tape. May it rest in peace. What I had heard was that there was this magical vacuum called a Dyson that made people-- otherwise sane people-- actually like vacuuming. It was the strangest thing I'd ever read. First I figured they were members of Mr. Dyson's immediate family, but it was just too widespread. His family would have to be speed-typing insomniacs to write all those reviews. How in the world could anyone actually write out loud that they LIKE vacuuming? , thought I. And it went even further than that; people actually wrote words like "I love my vacuum!" and "Vacuuming is fun now!" It was just crazy enough that I decided then and there that someday I had to own a Dyson. A neighbor

I'll tell you what's a little surreal...

Image see something about Nick Markowitz on TMZ. I tend to forget that this is a "media-interest" case because it's become very personal to me. But it was a movie, and stuff that gets made into movies... winds up on TMZ, I suppose. It's just an odd clashing of cultures. I watch TMZ and other such entertainment shows from time to time when I need to completely turn off my brain and feel jealous of some celebrity in a bikini, or feel smug because I have my life put together better than Amy Winehouse and have not yet had my nose fractured by walking into scenery at the Tony awards. I check in on Brangelina's brood and find out what antics Richard Simmons is up to. I don't go there to find out about a 15-year-old murder victim. And when I saw an online caption, I secretly worried-- were they going to say something tasteless as usual? Nope-- just the quick facts about Jesse James Hollywood's guilty verdict. What a relief. Same with the other entertainment site


The last picture taken of Nick Markowitz Today, a jury convicted Jesse James Hollywood of first degree murder and kidnapping. This conviction comes nine years after the crime: the murder of 15-year-old Nick Markowitz. He will be sentenced next week, and the only options are life in prison, or the death penalty. Given those options, I can say just one thing: YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All the way on the opposite end of the country from the courtroom in California, I couldn't be there. Instead, I stayed on the computer, with 85 tabs open so I could refresh, refresh, refresh every potential source that might break the news first. A woman on the Honoring Nick Markowitz group announced it first... I cried when I saw the word "Guilty." Nick's parents, Susan and Jeff, have had to wait nine long years to talk about this publicly; all that time, either a judge or the DA's office had asked them to remain silent. There were four other trials before this one, all res

Honoring Nick Markowitz

Several months ago, Susan Markowitz contacted me to ask if I'd help her write her memoir. Her only son, Nick, was kidnapped and murdered when he was 15 years old. This was the basis of the movie Alpha Dog , which starred Justin Timberlake, Sharon Stone, and Bruce Willis. After seeing the movie and reading about her story, I knew this could be the most important book I'd ever write. Susan spent several years in and out of mental hospitals and attempting suicide. As she explained it, each time she told her story in a group, suddenly everyone else realized they didn't have any real problems. Susan's first letter came to me one day after I was in court fighting for custody of my daughter, and I was very down. It was as if God was flicking me in the head and saying, "Here's some perspective for you." I hate that Susan has to be that perspective. But nine years after losing her son, she is remarkably strong and put together, and ready to do great things. This we

I gardened.

Why does no one use the past tense of the verb "garden?" Seriously. No one says, "I gardened today." Everyone says, "I did some gardening today." Well, because I am a linguistic rebel, I shall tell you that I gardened. And what I did when I gardened should truly astound and impress you, enough that I expect at least a few "ooohs" and "ahhhs" at the end of this post. I removed a shrub using nothing but a pair of old kitchen scissors and my bare hands. This is the shrub. These are the scissors. These are my bare hands. While I was performing this undeniably astounding feat (don't deny it, you denier), some form of beetle crashed into my ear, so hard that it drew blood, which I did not notice until I tried to pull my hair into a ponytail later and wondered how I got blood all over my ear. Furthermore proving, of course, just how much of an action-adventure heroine I am becoming. I am considering retitling this blog "Adventures of

She learned her "l" and that makes me sad

You remember how, just a few posts ago, I said my favorite part of the song "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" was when Sarina sang "I'm never gonna stop the rain by compwaining?" Well, without even warning me, she decided to start pronouncing her "l"s correctly now, so it's "complaining." It took all I had not to tell her she was saying it wrong and should go back to saying "compwaining." Darn you, progress! Darn you to heck! Her new favorite is when I sing "Anything You Want (You Got It)" to her. The other day, my dad said "You can have anything you want" when asking her what she wanted for a snack, and she said, "Roy Orbison sings that." But one of my new favorite Sarina moments came when we went to what was supposed to be a consignment sale at a community center, but when we got there, all the doors were locked. I had her in a carrier, facing me. I spotted a dad and young boy playing ball in th

If I were to lose my ability to write

Image are the jobs I could do instead: -Personal sticker applicator. I am tremendous at applying decals to things that need decals. I got this train table set yesterday, and it came with about 8 thousand stickers to put all over the board. Depending on your point of view, it's either impressive or scary how anal I am about getting those stickers exactly right. -Children's audio book narrator. I inherited this gene from my mom. We read children's books with great enthusiasm, voicing all of the dialogue with appropriately timbers. -Expiration date checker at the grocery store. -Chocolate chip cookie taster. -The person who happens to be standing around at tourist spots so people can say, "Excuse me, can you take a picture of us?" and hand me their cameras. I really like doing this. I take great shots, and I imagine them later saying, "We totally asked the right woman to take this picture. Best picture ever." -Baby hugger. -American Idol judge. What? I ca

I fixed the dryer.

I fixed the dryer today. Well, not so much the dryer as the dryer door. And not so much "fix" as just realign it and screw it in properly, which the repairman failed to do when he made it stop sounding like someone was lighting off fire crackers in it. Sometimes, it's the simplest things that cause the most consternation about getting divorced. You sit there on that first day after the big decision, thinking, "How am I ever going to do this? I have never put air in my own tires. I don't know when recycling day is. How do I make sure my pipes don't burst over the winter?" And it all looks huge and overwhelming, and then you just close your eyes and trust that you're going to find a way. And day after day, you do. If you let yourself feel it, each thing-- each stupid little thing-- feels like a victory. It shows you that you're more capable than you knew. Maybe especially if you have kids, there's the extra impetus to become more capable. I wan

A little about Sarina

She thanked me today... for changing the sheets on the bed for removing her socks for changing her diaper for taking her out to play "Thank you, Mommy," she says. "Thank you for changing the sheets." She wants to know what rhymes with "Joe" and "Blue," and where Meatball the Lion went, and if Aunt Peeka will come to our house soon. She wakes up from her nap and recaps her day for me down to the last detail-- such as that she was sitting on the Skee-Ball machine when she did poopies in her diaper. "I need to be held in the carrier," she says, and "I need my hair"-- which is actually my hair, which has been her security blanket since she was born. She tugs on my hair and wraps it around her fingers while she sucks her thumb when she needs comfort. So I haven't used hair products in almost two years. She made her public singing debut at my brother's 30th birthday party, using the Elvis impersonator's microphone. She s

Hello, World!

On New Year's Eve, I found a link to the video on Kelly Corrigan's homepage . It was a tough day for me; in addition to the holiday, it was my brother's 30th birthday and my daughter wasn't with us. So you could blame it on that, but I think it was something more. I watched that little video and the tears just came to the surface. Like I needed them to. Sometimes, it's a gift to help someone cry. I loved Kelly. Watching that video made me want to know more about her, so I read pretty much everything on her site. She talks about her father, a relentlessly positive person who welcomes each day by opening the windows and shouting "Hello, world!" And she talks about its effects on her as a child, feeling like the universe was actively rooting for her. I thought this sounded like a good thing, so the next morning I had Sarina, I asked her, "What do you think? Should we open the windows and say 'Hello, world'?" She grinned. "No, Mommy,&quo