Wednesday, February 19, 2014

ice cream WEDNESDAY (while the rest of the country freezes without the aid of icy treats)

we love Scoops

(we did pine for Miss Kitty and those long-ago Fridays)

he is a very good chair
through the security gate of a LACC parking garage,
down the street from the ice cream shoppe
(snapped & digitally altered by Ander)

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Kindred Spirits: As Now She and I Will BOTH Think of Anne and Smile When We See Puffed Sleeves or the Word 'Liniment'

I finished reading it to her tonight, and I cried big hot tears when I got to taciturn Marilla's longest piece of dialogue:
"'I don't know what I'd do if you weren't here -- if you'd never come...  It's never been easy for me to say things out of my heart, but...I love you as dear as if you were my own flesh and blood and you've been my joy and comfort ever since you came to Green Gables.'"
I last read Anne of Green Gables when I was in 8th grade, on the recommendation of my mother who had loved it as a girl.  I instantly, passionately adored Anne, and felt that somehow Lucy Maude Montgomery had reached forward through time and across the Canadian border and had written a book about me.  

But somehow, as I grew up, Marilla -- beyond the fact that she was the stricter of the two siblings who adopted Anne -- disappeared from my memory of the story.  I don't know if I simply didn't understand Marilla when I was thirteen, or if I didn't even notice her because she was a grownup, or if I did in fact notice but subsequently forgot all those passages that clue the reader into Marilla's often hysterically funny inner dialogue (which almost always runs counter to what she says out loud).  

But this time around, as I read Anne of Green Gables out loud to Aliza, Marilla came to life, spoke through me and to me, and broke my heart.

For her part, Aliza loved the book, and was touched by it, but remained dry-eyed throughout.  She was properly (and loudly) frustrated by Anne's years-long grudge against poor Gilbert Blythe.  She lulled herself to sleep each night by imagining walking arm in arm with Anne and Diana down Lover's Lane.  She twisted handfuls of quilt at the very mention of mean, mean Josie Pye's name.  She fidgeted, stood up, sat down, fidgeted some more, and was simply unable to sit still while worrying about Matthew.  And when she figured out the story's one sad plot twist just before it happened, she bleated, "Oh no!" and clutched her face.   

She felt that Anne grew up too quickly, wishing that more of the story featured the adventures and "scrapes" of a more Aliza-aged Anne.

I agreed, and cried big hot tears all over again (not so much about Anne growing up) as I read the following passage:
"'Why Anne, how you've grown!" she said, almost unbelievingly.  A sigh followed on the words.  Marilla felt a queer regret over Anne's inches.  The child she had learned to love had vanished somehow and here was this tall, serious-eyed girl...with the thoughtful brows and the proudly poised little head, in her place.  Marilla loved the girl as much as she had loved the child, but she was conscious of a...sorrowful sense of loss.  And that night...Marilla sat alone in the wintry twilight and indulged in the weakness of a cry."

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

A Prescription For a Serious Case of Post-School Snark

What I forced him to read today, for half an hour, before starting his homework, in hopes that he would slough off a couple of his newer nesting doll layers and remember what it was like to be nine.
If nothing else, it bought us all half an hour of bicker-free time.

The gist of the one-sided 'conversation' I had with one of the children today (but also a conversation I have with myself, daily):

I don't care if you're hormonal.  
I don't care if you're a boy or a girl.  
I don't care if you're the older or the younger child.  
There are no excuses.  

Snarkiness is lazy.  And mean.  And hurtful.

You are bigger than that.

Yes, your feelings are real, but that means they are real enough to poison the people around you.  You may remove yourself from our company for a short while to remember or imagine being X's age, and to remember who you want to be.  



Have a good cry.  

Think of this as time in a decompression chamber, between the depths you explore with your peers, and your home on the surface.  Adjust your attitude, your tone, and your expression.  Level off, and then come back to us.

You do not always have to be right.  You do not always have to have the last word.

But you do have to mostly be kind.

Monday, November 11, 2013


I did not want Zaza to cramp Ander's style on his post-THOR-screening "free range 'playdate'" at the Grove, but the big girls (who do not have younger siblings) WANTED her, and BEGGED and PLEADED to keep her, and made PUPPY EYES, and she so wanted to be included, and so I relented. 

They hid behind lampposts and trash cans and followed Ander and Mr. E. all over. They went into stores and found the most expensive items and laughed at them. They ate paninis and horchata and mint chip ice cream in the Farmer's Market. They bought matching $2 rings at Forever 21. 

All while I sat at Starbucks and browsed in the bookstore and the fancy dress shop.

Never has there been a happier 9 year-old.

(I only walked behind them for these 4 pictures -- and then they were off on their own for 2 and a half hours.)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

It Continues to Surprise Me

...that nowadays I can say, "We will be leaving for Grandma and Poppy's house in an hour, so you might want to shower," and then --

-- showers are actually taken!

-- teeth are brushed, and hair is tidied!

-- spiffy outfits befitting an at-home-and-very-Reform Yom Kippur break-fast are chosen, and put on, and accessorized!

And I am blindsided.

I walk down the hall -- all ready to nudge and nag and help the wee children -- and am so so so stunned to find these tall, young people, who have managed shower temperatures, and specialized shampoos, and electric toothbrushes, and combs, and buttons, and belts, and zippers, and shoelaces -- all on their own -- and who are now just passing the time, drawing, chipping away at math homework (???), waiting for me to get dressed.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

To which I said, "Hmm."

I'm going to make a Rube Goldberg device that makes a Chai latte!
It will be EPIC!
The only problem is, we only have one toilet paper tube...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

all is well: there has just been SO MUCH (growing, etcetera)

Two inches since I last blogged: at 5'9" he has blown past me, and she is gaining on me fast.

We have been and are ridiculously busy.

They both nag me (daily!) to catch up over here in ander-and-zaza-land, and yet they -- still and constantly -- want my face pointed at them.

Backposting will happen.  Perhaps even to fill in the gaps in last summer's adventures.  But right now there are strawberries and whipped cream and a pirate movie awaiting in the other room...

Sunday, June 30, 2013


She has begged for a month to get a pixie cut. 

She was tired of being hot.

She was tired of hair flopping into her eyes when she ran.

She was tired of fussing with barrettes.

But I wanted to make sure it wasn't a whim.  And I suppose I needed time to convince myself and Ander and Dubbadad that it IS her hair.  

To buy some time, I bargained with her (all the while assuring her that even if she was bald I would think she was beautiful and amazing).  I told her she could get a good trim, and really shorten up her bob, and if after a few weeks she still felt her hair was annoying, and if she still felt certain she wanted a pixie cut, well, then, she could have one.  So after gymnastics we headed over to the Sunset Boulevard branch of Rudy's Barbershop (where Alexander got his very first haircut), and got a good trim from a great stylist with a short curly bob.

It was a super-cute haircut.  We celebrated at the cafe around the corner.

Aliza loved the haircutting experience, but was in no way dissuaded from her goal of getting a pixie cut.

I stalled for two more weeks.  I showed her pictures of myself at roughly the same age with what ended up being a very curly and not-so-flattering pixie.  She correctly pointed out that there have been great leaps and bounds made in the curly-girl hair product market. 

We talked about the fact that people would most certainly mistake her for a boy.  She said she figured that would happen, but reminded me that somebody had even thought she was a boy when she was wearing a skirt back when she had her bob-with-bangs.  She said she really didn't care.  She knew she was a girl.  

We took her picture with her hair pulled back, uploaded it to the InStyle "Hollywood Makeover" site, and 'tried on' Audrey Tatou's and Keira Knightley's and Emma Watson's short haircuts.  Aliza loved every (frustratingly un-downloadable) iteration. 

So yesterday we printed out three pages of pictures of Audrey Hepburn and several modern-day, pixie'd, brunette beauties, and -- after a quick change out of her sweaty gymnastics togs -- we went back to Rudy's on Sunset.

We signed in and waited.  And waited.  We went to the cafe for a snack and cold drinks.  

Finally, we strolled up to the counter at Rudy's to check out our progress on the waiting list, and a bespectacled 20-something gent (straight out of a casting call for "Silverlake Hipster") walked right into Aliza as he approached the sign-up sheet.  The collision caused Aliza's go-cup of chocolate milk to explode all over her shirt, spattering a tiny bit of chocolate on the guy's arm.  He grunted huffily, arms held out to the sides as if he was covered with chocolate milk, obviously expecting an apology.  Aliza (who was in fact dripping with chocolate milk) blurted out an "I'm SO sorry!" before I could intercede.  I was only able to say -- loudly, in his direction as we dashed to the restroom -- "Oh Aliza YOU do NOT owe ANYBODY an apology.  YOU weren't even moving." Back on went the sweaty gymnastics togs.

Through all this, Aliza never lost her nerve about the haircut (while I had bigger and bigger butterflies in my stomach).

We took a "before" picture.

And then her name was (finally) called, and she was in the chair, showing her printed-out pictures to the stylist, and insisting that yes, yes, she was sure this was what she wanted.

I tried not to hover.

She chatted away to her stylist, who gave her all sorts of tips for caring for her new 'do.

And then:

(I emailed pictures home to Ander and Dubbadad so that there was no shock factor, and so that Ander could be coached a bit about what not to say.)

She LOVES it, and has already found all sorts of ways to wear it.

Of course, she also says she plans to grow it out all year, so that she can cut it all off again next summer.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Between Homework and Dinner (Whilst I Feigned Disinterest, Laid Low, Postponed Dinner, and Let it Run Its Course)

This went on for at least an hour.  

I don't think she actually asked him to "play;" I think they just accidentally ventured through the same portal at the same time and shared an adventure.

It was completely organic and spontaneous and amazing, and I should have filmed it, except I was worried that I would ruin it and make them self-conscious if I let on that I was watching.

They took turns being the customer and being behind the counter.  

Based on how he paid, I suspect that at least one of the customers was a time traveler.

I didn't even know that she knew where I had tucked away the toy food and dishes.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


at Meltdown on Sunset after school
(after bingeing at Mashti Malone's)

school fundraiser at Fritzi Dog at the Farmer's Market 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sometimes Monday Requires War Paint

She asked me to wake her up early so we could do this: five colors, two fingers in each color.

Now that it is finally blue and bright out in the morning, we have also been getting up early to try some of the fancier hair-dos in this book.

Squeezing this extra (sometimes ONLY) just-the-two-of-us time into our days has been...mood-enhancing?  attitude-adjusting?  maybe even life-altering? 

Yes, all of that, I think.  For us both.

Because it seems that as a result of Dubbadad and I and all of her loving grandparents trying so hard over the years to make everything as 'fair' and balanced as we can, and occasionally -- on the way to learning that this is an impossible and unrealistic endeavor -- making too big a deal about it when we 'fail,' this girl of ours is very, very aware of the divvying up of attention.  

She carries a clipboard and a tally-sheet and a very sharp pencil in her brain, Aliza does.  There are tick-marks and bar graphs and pie charts and Venn diagrams in there.  

There are days where I fret about disappointing her, about damaging her, and I beat myself about the head and shoulders with licorice whips of guilt.

And there are days where I just shrug, hope hard that chatting in the mirror while braiding her hair will satisfy, and quote Westley in "The Princess Bride":
"Life is pain, Highness.  Anyone who says differently is selling something."
And I remind myself that she would throw us all over for half an hour of inclusive activity with her Ander.  

(So, you know, it's all on him, heh, heh, heh.)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A (Decaf) Chai Latte and Dutch Baby Sort of Morning

Ander received SIX boxes of the concentrate for his birthday
(their OUGHT to be enough to share with his sister, ahem)

From the Seventeen Magazine recipe I have used since I was twelve
(served with butter-and-sugar-and-cinnamoned apple slices, and powdered sugar)