oh the wonderful things she can do

What are friends for, besides the obvious telling you about the large green chunk of food between your teeth, listening to you when you complain about the fact your significant other never takes out the trash, or dishing dirt on the latest celebrity gossip? Well in my world they serve the following purposes:

To notice my change in hair color and complement it with adjectives like hot and sexy.

To pick out a new accessory I’m wearing and ask where I got it, appreciate its stylish flare, and celebrate the fact it was only $14.99 at Target.

To compare notes on the previous night’s American Idol performances.

To sing the full libretto of Rent while imbibing “one last drink.”

To provide advice, counsel and insight on just about everything from a fashion ensemble to content for my latest project.

To help wipe snot from my toddler’s nose when my hands are full with the baby, a bottle, a binky, a snack, a diaper, a wipe, and a chai latte.

To lend me a book because she knows I will relish every word, just as she did.

I am blessed in life with many such friends for whom I am thankful for everyday.  But today I need to give props to one in particular…The ridiculously creative, talented, passionate and rock solid, Laura Lee.  She has been my dear friend for years, but recently she has been invaluable to me, for many reasons.

Her son Lucas was born 6 days after Lexi (though he looks like he’s Lily’s age) so we have been able to share the joys, fears, insecurities, frustrations and overwhelming happiness that accompanies the first year of a child’s life.


Also, she too is a member of “the Club” and has been my sounding board, design guru and overall traveling companion along my book project journey.  Yesterday we met for lunch to catch up and to disucss design elements for the book.  With her she brought a book she just finished reading by Anne Lamott called Operating Instructions, which is a non-fiction work about the first year of her son’s life.  It is AMAZING! I’m already half-way through it and I highly recommend it for any mom who has recently (or not so recently) had a child.  Lamott is candid, crass, honest and raw. I have read several of her fictional works like Rosie, Hard Laughter, and Crooked Little Heart, but I have never read her non-fiction works for which she is most famous.

So I love this book and am wondering why I’m not using the kids’ nap right now to be reading instead of typing but I fee compelled to write this right now.

Not only do I resonate with Lamott’s writing’s about her experience as a mother, but I also connect to her on another level…Anne Lamott is a member of “The Club.”  She discusses her grief throughout the book and how it permeates various aspects of her life.  I am now on a mission to get Anne Lamott somehow involved with my book project.  I don’t know how I’m gonna do it, but I’m gonna do it.  Just watch me go…

But now back to my friend: Thank you LL Cool J, my dear friend who inspires me and encourages me. This poem, inspired by the delightful Dr. Seuss, is for you:

Oh the Wonderful Things She Can Do:

She can act, she can sing, she can do anything


She can write, she can draw, she can paint on a wall.


she can work, wife, and blog and be an awesome mom.


Oh, the wonderful things she can do.  She can do it all and be an awesome friend too.
Check out her hilarously honest and sharply written blog – We Sit By Fire and her crazy good artistry at Lolly Lava Ink.


Pennies from Fallon

A few years ago I flew to New York to visit BFF Mariana with the third of our Three Amigos, Amy.  I was 3.5 months pregnant and just beginning to experience the ever-so-delightful perma-nauseum that accompanies the miracle of pregnancy.  As we slowly rolled out of bed on our first morning, jet-lagged and starving (yes, I still felt hungry through the nausea, it’s a wonderful combination), Amy and I debated our options for our morning meal.  Mern had already headed to the hospital for her shift, so Amy and I were left to our own devices.  It didn’t take much time for us to decide we were in need of a New York City bagel…STAT.  Good thing Gramercy Bagel was right across the street.

Here is where the conflict of my story comes in…Through the pukey hunger pains I needed to contemplate…Do I take time to put on make-up, brush my teeth, comb my hair and make myself presentable for the inevitable New York City Star Sighting or do I just throw on my nappy, stanky, airplane-stenched jeans and take care of my grumbling tummy and growing fetus?  This may seem like a no-brainer but to me it was a difficult decision of epic proportions:  On one hand… I RARELY go anywhere without make-up — at least my brows, mascara and lipgloss – and particularly if there is a chance of seeing a friend, foe, ex or celebrity. Vain?  Maybe. Precautious?  Yes.  Silly? Completely. But that’s the way it is, or at least was before I had kids.  On the other hand…Hunger and I are not friends, particularly when I am pregnant.  So the insatiable baby in my belly won and against my better judgment, and everything I stand for, I threw on the stale jeans, whipped up a pony and we headed for food. As I trepidatiously stepped into the elevator, Amy noticed my reluctance and said, “Don’t worry Mare, who would we possibly see?  We’ll only be gone a minute.”

Do you know where this is going?

We moseyed across the street to Gramercy Bagel with the cool New York air in our unkempt hair and before either of us landed both feet in the door, we saw him.  Hot hotterson funny man, even with a beanie, flannel and the “I partied pretty hard last night” eyes, Jimmy Fallon.  We looked at him, and immediately whipped our heads back at each other. Without a word we knew it was him and I knew I was going to KILL her when we got back to the apartment.  A mental image of my browless, glossless, nappy haired countenance made me shiver…Are you kidding me right now?  I patted my pockets in hopes of finding at least a tube of Bonnie Bell chapstick (cherry maybe?) but to no avail.

Disgruntled yet star-struck and sweaty-palmed, and still starving, we got behind him in line.  He was thowin’ out fist bumps and “what ups” to all the homies behind the counter. They knew his order. He was a local, a regular.  We were in his territory and I was beyond, beyond…Not sure what I even ordered.  As we neared the register, he dropped a penny.  Pretty sure it was a magic penny. Or in the very least a funny one. So there was the penny on the ground.  I wanted sooooo badly to say something witty, clever, memorable.  Then he would look at my cute baby belly (not the browless face) and make a comment like, “Oh, you’re pregnant, you should name your baby Penny?” Or something witty like that.  And that would be our moment. But no.  That’s not how it happened.  The penny fell between Jimmy and Amy.  She picked it up and gave it back to him and he said “No, you should keep it for good luck,” or some shit like that.  Being the attention hog that I am I poked my head around her and tried to speak, but all that came out was, “Good penny, luck you, hee hee.”  Oh for shit’s sake!  This is my moment with Jimmy Fallon?

But then I realized, oh ya…I’m married, happily, and to a hottie by the way.  And…on top of that pretty important detail, he’s a SUPER DUPER famous guy.  And he ordered two cups of coffee, probably to take back home to his lovely fiancé.  But yet… it was a brief fling in a bagel shop. And it was a fun story.  We smiled all day.  And continued to look for him, once we had our make-up on.  Just in case…

I’m telling this story tonight, on the eve of a VERY IMPORTANT DAY TOMORROW…
1)    My sister Laurie’s Birthday – Happy B-day LaLa~
2)    My friend Flo is having her second baby girl – Go get ‘em Flo!


3)    Late Night with JIMMY FALLON begins – With special guests: Robert DeNiro and are you ready for this one…JUSTIN TIMBELAKE…What??? Can you tell I am bursting out of my skin with excitement right now?

Good luck Jimmy, knock ‘em dead!


a recess in memory

Today on our morning walk, the girls and I passed by the neighborhood grade school. Typically the playground is empty when we walk passed, however today we hit it just in time for recess.  Oh recess…what a jubilant word.  I said “Look at all the kids, Lily.  They are getting out for recess.  They get to play on the playground.”  I paused and waited for the inevitable “why?” but it never came.  I looked down at her; she was staring out over the vast black pavement scattered with tether ball poles and basketball nets, completely mesmerized.  The kids filed out of the school doors, some single file, some in twosies, twosies and then others in big groups of laughter, energy and wonder.  Boys were pushing, girls gigglings, loners walking with their heads down and leaders rallying their troops for a big game of kickball or foursquare.  I began to move on up the hill but Lily yelled, “Wait mommy, I want to look at the kids.”  So I stopped, turned the stroller so she could have a good view and for a few minutes we watched the school yard spectacle.   I too became mesmerized.  I stood frozen somewhere between flash backs and fast forwards.

Flash backs of my grade school days, as one of the few tall girls along with Diane, Leslie and Stephanie, who dominated the tetherball field but couldn’t do a pull up to save my life.  Recess for me was a toss up between anxiety and pure joyful fun, depending on what games were being played, which bullies were around (I’m stil afraid of Heather Grund) , and where I stood that day with the other friends in my circle.  Finicky, fickle, pre-pubescent girls can be BE-YOTCHES to each other. I’ll be the first to admit, I was a bossy, bratty, beyotch at times (Was?  Who am I kidding, that pretty much still sums me up).  But I also had my fair share of being the tortured tormentee who played marbles by herself or just sat on the fence, and went home that night thinking life could not possible get any worse. Irregardless, I have only the fondest memories of those lower school days…

  • Dancing the complete Thriller choreography after school with all my girls, while the cute boys played kickball and pretended not to watch.
  • Pickle – not the briney cucumber but the brutal game played with a tennis ball – with the boys.
  • Sneaking into the cafeteria to steal the kindergartner’s graham crack snacks, always accompanied by at least one cute boy, one of whom was named Graham, which was always a good laugh.
  • Sneaking to some back hillside to eat sour lemon grass and talk about french kissing (talk being the operative word – at least for me – maybe there were others that got busy back there?) We maybe even played truth or dare, but as far as I can remember there was more talking about getting frisky than actual friskiness.
  • Falling off the slide in first grade, peeing my pants and breaking my arm. Then getting all the cute boys to sign my cast, take my spelling tests and carry my books for me.
  • Rainy day recesses, inside the auditorium, eating popcorn and watching “Escape From Witch Mountain.” Hoping a cute boy would sit next to me.

Hhmmm, is there a recurring theme to my memories?

Fast Forward in time to a few years from now when my own girls will be either enjoying or eschewing recess.  What kind of girls will they be?  Active, quiet, bossy, shy?  Boy-crazy, nerdy?  I am a little fearful of my own comeuppance…I am also fearful of the rate in which kids grow up these days and how savvy they are becoming, both socially and technologically. My hope is that they are well-adjusted, kind kids that know how to treat other people and don’t fall apart if others don’t know how to treat them.  I’m pretty sure my foot in the face disciplinary action is helping achieve that end.

All of these memories are being compounded by the fact that I have been able to re-connect with a ton of my grade school pals through Facebook.  If any of you are reading this, please keep your comments to yourself about my “bossiness”, but please share with me your memories about recess and the playground.  Especially any of you cute boys…Sean(s)?

A nearly perfect day

Today’s historic event has left me hopeful and invigorated, yet at the same time a little melancholy, as I wish my Dad was alive to have experienced it with me.  Although I am quite certain he would not have voted for President Obama, or been a big fan, I still wonder what he would have thought about this day.    I think he would have had something very profound to say about him, supportive and kind.  And he would have been proud of our country’s collective unity.  Pissed off about an inevitable tax increase, but nevertheless proud.

He was always the person I went to for information regarding politics or history.  He was incredibly knowledgeable.  Beyond, beyond.  Growing up, his diatribes on political issues and historical events bored me to tears.  Now, I shed tears because I desperately miss those diatribes I once disdained.  Oh, just to hear his booming voice make a smart ass remark about CHANGE…nothing would make me happier.

Today, watching the inauguration, with my girls and husband, I was filled with pride and joy.   I dressed the girls and myself in red, white and blue to commemorate this day (no, we do not wear matching outfits to theme parks).  My parents both taught me the importance of patriotism.  Today I felt it like never before.  My heart was a tight knot in my throat, butterflies did sommersaults in my tummy and the hairs on my arms stood on end as I prayed with the rest of the nation for our new illuminous leader.  I held Lily in my arms, with our hands over our hearts and sang the national anthem through my tears.  “Mommy’s happy tears, Lily.”  It was a day I will never forget.  It was nearly perfect.  I just missed my Dad.

Brand New Day

“At this defining moment, change has come to America.”


The collective mental state of our country is shifting.  It’s the power of The Secret on a national level.  I’m reminded of a song from the 1978 musical The Wiz

Everybody look around
‘Cause there’s a reason to rejoice you see
Everybody come out
And let’s commence to singing joyfully
Everybody look up
And feel the hope that we’ve been waiting for

Everybody’s glad
Because our silent fear and dread is gone
Freedom, you see, has got our hearts singing so joyfully
Just look about
You owe it to yourself to check it out
Can’t you feel a brand new day?


And a big shout out to the model makers at LEGOLAND for re-creating this historic moment in thousands of little LEGO bricks.  Thanks for helping me feel like I have experienced this day first hand, in a miniature, plastic sort of way.


Godspeed to you President Obama.  God Bless America.

a pleasant visit with the in-laws

It’s been a great week with the in-laws.

We laughed…




We crawled, almost.


We safaried.


We ate and unwillingly shared popcorn.


And loved on our Nana.


And now we’re wiped out!  Thanks Nana & Nanaman for a wonderful week!

T-G-I-Friday Night Lights!

where I’ll be

I may not be doing much blogging this week as my in-laws are in town. I am looking forward to their visit as we get along well and hopefully I’ll get a little quiet time to get my nappy nails done and work on my book project while they play with the kids. Though I’m not looking forward to getting out of our family groove now that we’ve only just found it again after the holiday craziness. And they might not appreciate my singing the Michael Franti “Barack Obama” song all day long as I have been, so I will try to abstain.

So until we meet again, here is a quick re-cap of my innermost thoughts.
Chargers lost – Boo!
Trevor Hoffman is leaving the Padres – This town had heard it’s last “bells” – sniff, sniff
Saturday Night Live had an entire skit about Broadway including Neil Patrick Harris as Mark from Rent – Not sure how many people really got it but fellow theatre geeks and me, but I love, love, loved it!
Tina Fey won & had the best speech at the Golden Globes – Maybe I should listen to Hayley and start watching 30 Rock
American Idol is premiering tomorrow night – Can’t wait, dawgs!
I’ve only had 1 Chail Latte in 2009 – Pat, pat, pat on my own back
Lexi is almost crawling – Yay and Boo!