Hello There

My second trimester ultrasound was today. The baby is healthy. She has a strong spine and excellent kidneys. It runs in the family. It has to.

And yes...she is a she. We watched our daughter wave at us today.

At least, I hope that was a wave. Look closely at the scan and you'll see her hand at the top. It could very well have been a dramatic hand to the forehead. Is she already a drama queen? Is she reciting the 'Sir, spare your threats,' monologue from 'Winter's Tale'? Uh oh. She's her mother's daughter.

Merry Christmas, little lady. I can't wait to meet you face to face in May.

Cooper Christmas Concert

You know what's a great movie...'Parenthood.'

There's a scene where they go to the school play and their rambunctious toddler runs up on stage and disrupts everything. Uptight moms and dads in the audience start yelling at Steve Martin, "Your son is ruining the whole play!" He hears the ominous roar of a roller coaster in his mind and begins to feel the sensation of a wild ride take over his whole body. He looks to his wife and she's smiling.

Here we are at Coop's first holiday concert.

They put a golden halo on him. Looks like an angel, don't he?

He sang a lovely version of 'Away in a Manger," complete with choreography. And folks laughed out loud when during their rendition of 'Jingle Bells,' my child yelled out, "HEY DADDY! LOOK AT ME!!!" After that, he kept running over to play the piano. The teachers had to redirect him back onto the stage about 19 times. I was fine with that. Hey, the kid just wanted to rock out on the ivories.

It was after the singing was done that this roller coaster of an evening picked up speed. He must have been all hopped up on sugar cookies or something.Cooper was running around like a maniac. He wasn't listening. He was knocking things over. He grabbed a present from under the tree on the stage and stepped on it. He turned the dials on the microphone amp and caused a feedback sounds that made the whole room gasp.

"Thank you, TUJUNGA! Good night!"

Despite his not listening and openly defying me when I said, "Stop! Don't touch that! Quite please! Sit please!" I still stuck around and let him sit on Santa's lap.

When Santa asked, "Have you been a good little boy?" Cooper had nothing to say. Pleading the 5th, huh?

But I suppose the holidays make us all act a little crazy.

When I looked over at Jakob he was smiling. That made me happy. Jakob's always been a guy that hated roller coasters, but he's grown fond of this one.

Animal For Lollipops

I recently got a job and so you know what that means...blog neglect! But better late than never! Am I right? Right? Please say I'm right...

Ok, here's some pix from Halloween night.

Our pumpkin. Oogie Boogie, to go along with the whole 'Nightmare Before Christmas' theme. A women took pictures of my front yard paper mache display. I felt honored.

Cooper went to about ten houses. Everyone thought he was Elmo.

I stayed at home while the boys went out. There were not a ton of trick-or-treaters, but 3 princesses, 2 Batmen, 2 zombies, 1 wizard, 1 Mexican wrestler and an alien all came begging for candy at my door.

I told Cooper he could have one candy before bed. He started digging out all the lollipops and unwrapping them and trying to eat several at a time. I had to clarify that I did not mean one TYPE of candy--I meant one, SINGLE piece.

And who eats many lollipops at once? Yick! Yeek! Yuck! What's appealing about a lime, coconut, cotton candy, root beer lollipop flavor combo? According to Cooper, I'm missing out on a flavor explosion. That's just fine by me.

He won't touch any of the other candy. He says he hates chocolate. Um...that's fine by me, too. (Insert sound of a fun sized Milky Way wrapper being ripped open here.)

Happy Halloween 09' - OOGIE BOOGIE!

We've never had much money, but this year we were a whole new LOW level of broke, so I had to show restraint when it came to decorating for Halloween. But it was also our first year with a yard so I HAD to do something...

These are gravestone I made out of cardboard and paint.

But the real decorations are my paper mache Lock, Shock, Barrel and Oogie Boogie.

Yes, Ooogie is covered in paper towels. I couldn't afford the burlap. (Yup. Burlap's a luxury, peoples. I need that money for Coop's lunch.)

But perhaps it adds to the whole 'Eco-Etsy' look that's oh-so-chic right now.

Cooper likes to hug these creepy creatures. He says he loves Oogie Boogie. He sings the songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas to them.

Daddy's taking Cooper (or should I say, 'Animal') out for trick or treating. I'm on candy duty at home where I'll be watching every Simpson's Treehouse of Horror.



If you know my kid at all, you know that he has a sick obsession with The Muppet Show. It's my own fault. I always loved it when I was young and so I introduced it to him. Now he's addicted. He watches it every night before bedtime.

For Halloween this year, he wanted to be "Animal." Big surprise. He IS Animal. I didn't have a lot to spend, but give me some feathers, faux fur and Styrofoam and I can conquer the world!

It came out pretty good. Not perfect, mind you, but pretty darn good. What did Cooper think? Well, take a look...

He REFUSED to take the costume off once he put it on. I told him he had to save it for Saturday. He was outraged. To him, this outfit is perfect for any occasion, any day, any time, from now on and forever...I've created a monster.

It Came, It Saw, It Made Me Old...and Joyous, Too

Birthday week began with our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. We didn't venture to the super deluxe primo patch in Sherman Oaks that we usually patron. We stayed in our Tujunga neighborhood. We've been keepin' trips close to home...evil car woes. Don't get me started on car repair. I mean it. DON'T!

When traveling to a lot full of stinky hay...always wear your enormous sunglasses and pearls. You won't look out of place at all!

This pumpkin patch did not have the bells and whistles of our previous patch. There was no hot cider, no fun wagons to pull around, no face painting. But they did have a Spiderman Bounce House WITH A SLIDE...

To Cooper the place was Dave & Buster's.

We picked out a small pumpkin for him to take to school for an art project and a big fattie 20-pounder to carve on Halloween. Cooper already said, "Mommy, don't cut it!" Hate to break your heart kid, but pumpkins are here to be gutted and turned into ghoulish gourd art. And we're going to eat the seeds. Welcome to your new annual barbaric holiday ritual.

On my actual birthday, I made myself some cupcakes. My boy sang to me.

My husband gave me a Snuggie. EXUBERANT YEAH! Make all the fun you want. I've used it EVERY DARN DAY since I got it. I can relax on the couch and read, knit, talk on the phone, and catch objects that are being thrown at my face, all while staying comfortably warm. Why? Because my blanket has sleeves and yours doesn't.

I had to end birthday week with a bang. On Saturday I kicked the boys out of the house (they had a sleep-over at Uncle Sean's) and invited my gal pals over for a slumber party. I hear your thoughts. "Oh? Did you turn 32 or 14?" Answer...I'm forever 14. Not Forever 21. Their clothes are too small for me.

My friend Jess Trimble (and yes, I WILL always refer to her that way) flew in from New York. Sichi, Turnip, Carrie, Chantal, Kayla and Kenny (the only male aloud to attend) all came to party down. We made our own pizzas, did our nails, talked about stupid boys, played games, won prizes, ate candy, chips, and ice cream. I wish I had some pictures, but I was too busy laughing. I don't know if anyone else took photos. They were all really drunk! I wasn't drinking, for obvious reasons. More on that story as it expands, grows, bloats and takes over my body. Happy birthday to moi :)

Smile Like You Mean It

It's the day before my birthday. I'm suffering from the same "becoming elderlier" malaise that has plagued me on this day for the past several years. I'm glum. Why? Because I don't like getting older.

It's not a looks thing. I've dealt with having an appearance that has oodles of, um, "character," for most of my life. Seeing my body sag and drag is not worrisome. It's just more character, right?

What irks me is the idea that I'm running out of time to actualize my dreams. I think back to an idealistic college grad who was certain that by 30 she'd have a job as an actor or artist. I put my eggs in two baskets thinking if one falls, well, I have the other.

PRESENT ME TALKING TO YOUTHFUL ME: "Hey, Miss Ebulliant! Double checked the durability of those baskets! They're not those fancy baskets woven by hand in Nantucket. They're the plastic ones sold around Easter in CVS...cheap rubbish. One of those baskets should have more than just eggs. It should have skills and a career plan!"

I told you I was glum.

And when I'm that way, I put on a good face for my kid. That's what mommies do. They smile like they mean it. They make lunches that spell out their affection.

If you really mean it, say it with alphabet cinnamon cookies from Trader Joe's.

I do really mean it. And when my boy saw the plate and said, "That's for me! That says COOPER!" I didn't have to fake a smile. It happened quite naturally.


When we moved to Tujunga, we had a big wall that needed art. Jakob wanted to hang work I'd already completed. I begged him not to. I wanted to make something new.

I started this painting in August. It took nearly 3 months, but I am done. At over 160" long, it covers the entire wall.

The first panel features Cooper looking into the fish tank. I was going to add more color and detail to his hair and shirt, but there's something about the soft, almost out-of-focus quality of the image. I decided to leave it be. I don't make that choice often in my work. I usually futz with stuff until I futz it up.

The second panel is where I let things get nutty. There are Chicken Fish, fish with spectacles and mustaches, (kinda resembling R. Crumb) a stingray because one once jumped up at Cooper, and a Rock-A-Billy Fish. The Crossword Fish was a last minute idea for a fish that I just didn't have an idea for. It has grown to be one of my favorites.

The third panel is the most busy and the most representative of Cooper. There's a Peanut Butter and Jelly Fish. There are Jack-O-Lantern Fish, Santa Claus Fish, Dog Fish, Dinosaur Fish and an octopus--all things he digs. Oh, and a sea anemone, 'cause that's where Nemo lives.

This painting is for Cooper. I'm sure it's too big and too loud and too crazy...but I suppose that's indicative of his mommy. I hope he likes it.

I think he does.

Devo's First Birthday!

Thank you so much to the Gantz Family and to Devo for being born! Way to go, kid! Here's some pictures from the celebration...

We've Only Just Begun

I apologize for the poor quality of these pics. I busted my digital camera when we were evacuated for the fires. (BTW--we didn't burn! In the words of Ice Cube, "I gotta say it was a good day.")

Anywhose, here's a sneak peek of the painting I've been working on:

No, those are not real fish. I made them up. I meant to do that.

This here is a Joker Fish. The pink guy behind him is a Ziggy StarFish.

These are Hunter S. Thompson Fish. Yes, they ARE wearing fishing hats. This is the first of three panels. Each canvas is 54" X 42". I'll keep you updated on my progress.

And because there's no rest for the wicked, I started on Halloween, too!

Cooper and I are going to decorate the front yard with characters from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. Here are the humble paper mache beginnings of Lock, Shock and Barrel.

And...(drum roll, please)...I did my hair, too!

My hair in curlers, my pearls around my neck and my sunglasses on the end of my nose. That's how I painted outside today.

I know I'm ridiculous. I'm ok with that.

Nine Times

Today, 9/9/09 is my 9th wedding anniversary.

Is something magical supposed to happen? Tonight after dinner, I'll try to convince Jakob to take hands with me and spin around nine times whilst chanting "number nine" aloud...nine times, of course. Perhaps we'll be transported to The Goblin Kingdom or turned into Vermicious Knids.

I can't believe I've been able to hang on to Jakob for so long. I was pretty sure he'd bolt after the first six years, but it looks like he's in it to win it. He tolerates me so well. That's really a quality I admire in a man!

He'll even put up with me watching weepy women movies like The Hours over and over again. Thank you and Happy Anniversary, Jakob. I'll let Virginia Woolf put it better than I ever could...

"What I want to say is that I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good...I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been."

Ooooo De Lolli!

Coop's good behavior at Dr. Arboleda's earned him a rainbow lollipop.

He was determined to eat the whole thing, but the lolli won.