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I complain on here…a lot.  Tonight I’m going to tell you all the things I love about my new house.

Why tonight? Well, as I was giving C his bath, we listened to the Raffi song “Thanks A Lot”.  Yes, I know I am siting Raffi as my writing inspiration, but you never know what spirit will move you.

So tonight I’m thankful for:

  • The stars. I can actually see them here.  At our old house in Redondo Beach, I could typically see about two stars at night.  Though Redondo is considered a “suburban” part of LA county, it is more urban than most of the places I’ve ever lived.  Ever block is crammed with houses, stores, apartments, professional buildings, etc.  Traffic (and traffic noise) is non-stop.  Thus, when sun sets, it is often brighter after dark than at dusk, thanks to the thousands upon thousands of street lights, traffic lights, security lights, neon lights.  Here in Huntington Beach, I live on the edge of nowhere.  There is literally nothing between me and the ocean except for a few old oil derricks.  When I look out my window at night, I am greeted by the blackness of the ocean’s night sky.  All that lights my view is a twinkling line of orange lights along Pacific Coast Highway.  And in return for my journey 30 miles south I am given a sky-full of stars.
  • The hawks. I am not a bird person.  At ALL.  I think birds are rather mean, spiteful creatures, who seem to have a special hatred for humans.  Not that I blame them.  We eat their kind, so it’s understandable.  But they are still mean.  And beautiful.  Mean and beautiful.  Anyways….I hate crows.  They are especially mean, just ask a friend of mine who got attacked by one while riding her bike.  Or ask my old room-mate about how we were tormented by a murder of crows that lived on the garbage bin behind our apartment during our sophomore year.  They would sit there and caw for hours.  HOURS! Redondo was no better.  For whatever reason, there are thousands of the horrible suckers in the area.  They would land on my chimney, lean into the chute and caw…loudly, driving me and my dogs slowly insane.  We have slowly been regaining our sanity, thanks in large part to the enormous hawks that patrol our beautiful backyard wetland.  They seem to hate crows as much as I do and for that, I am very thankful.

    My hero

  • My new view.

    ahhhhhh

  • The quiet.  Part of living in a city is the noise.  The constant noise! This made my poor Penny very nervous.  She takes her job as watch dog very seriously.  A loud truck? BARK! A distant siren? Bark! A couple walking their dog past our house at 11pm? BARK BARK BARK BARK! Now, I have literally 7 houses other houses on my street, sharing a wall with only one.  There is no house behind, no house to the left.  The closest street light is over half of a mile away.  Sure, people use the trail behind my house to walk their dogs, but mostly during the day, and a good 20 meters from the house.  Penny is, needless to say, relieved.  She only barks at people who come to my door (so mostly tolerant relatives and delivery men), and any trucks that rumble by.  Thus, trash days are awful, but the rest of the week is blissfully quiet.
  • The backyard. Since moving, C’s hair has gotten noticeably blonder, I’ve actually grown tanner, and my dogs have acquired bumps and scratches from joyfully racing through the rose bushes.  My poor Dodger ended up with a quarter-inch thorn stuck in his paw! But this is not what makes me thankful.  What makes me thankful is that all my children have yards and yards of space to run, frolic and play.  It’s not unusual to see one or both of my dogs squirming on their backs in the green grass or chasing each other full speed back and forth across my now expansive lawn.  And what of C? You can find him running, laughing after the dogs as they play.  Sometimes he’ll pick up one of their tennis balls, run after them, offering it (ok, trying to push it into their mouths) as he giggles.  I honestly feel that heaven may look a little like my backyard when they’re all having fun like that.

Yes, there are many, many things I do not love about my new house, but once the renovations start I’m sure you’ll get an earful about each and every one of them.

For tonight though, just assume that I am blissfully happy with my wonderful new-to-me Huntington Beach house. And I’m more than a little thankful for the beauty God put outside my window.

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And possibly the last one.

Seriously, the haircut could not have gone worse.

Here is my adorable son (treasure this picture as I don’t like to put pictures of him out on the internet):

16 month surfer boy

Notice his long shaggy hairstyle.  It’s pretty cute, but strands were dangling in his eyes while the back was beginning to resemble a mullet.  Overall, not the best look.

Today my mom and I decided C should have his first haircut.

My mom was hopeful that the process would be painless, while I was pretty sure we were in for a serious tantrum.  Guess who was right.

From the first second the stylist touched C’s hair with a comb, he began to squirm.

Squirming led to crying.  Crying led to flailing. Flailing led to full body tantrum, including head thrown back screaming in agony.

In order to just get an inch off of his hair, I literally had to pin his body to my own, holding his arms down with mine, with one hand on his head, while my mom held down his free arm. Really a lot of fun.

Even then, even with all of this adult restraint being placed on his 16 month old body, my freakishly strong son was able to occasionally free a hand to pull my hair or toss his head.

All the while he was screaming, crying out “Mooooooooommy Mooooooooommy MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMYYYYYYY!”.  When the crying and the pleading didn’t work, C’s sounds devolved into grunts and growls, low guttural sounds that were primal in nature.  The stylist at one point compared him to Linda Blaire in Exorcist (which is really what every mom wants to hear said about her child).

When at last we were done, or as done as we could be, C clung to me sobbing, drained of energy, as if he was the true Samson relieved of his long locks and rendered powerless.  I almost want to write a legend about the struggle he put up to keep his hair and how important it was to him.

But then, unlike Samson, C actually kept most of his hair.  We barely cut anything off due to his astonishingly strong reaction.  He looks more emo than surfer now, but at least the emerging mullet is gone.

After this crazy experience I am going to by C’s stylist.  He may end up with bowl cuts or a slightly uneven fringe, but until C enters the age of reasons in a couple years, we’re all just going to have to grin and bear it.  I think he’ll still be pretty cute.

Wiped out after his haircut!

(On a final note, I tried desperately to remain calm and stoic throughout the whole experience, while my mother fell apart.  Thinking back over the experience, though, I kind of want to cry a little.  My poor baby!!!)

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We had an accident in the tub.  No…not that kind of accident.

We had a slip and fall kind of accident. We had the kind of accident where my son does a little flip in the water and my heart follows suit.

Everything was going so well, at first.

C had another of his “challenging” days as the last of his one year old molars comes in.  As typical of these days I prepared him two separate dinners, of which he wanted neither.  After struggling to get any food in him at all (which ended up being an applesauce, a yogurt, and some crackers), I was looking forward to getting him in the bath.

Usually, he’s somewhat happy in the bath.  C loves to pick up his various bath toys and tell me stories about them, or at least I think that’s what he’s doing when he babbles to me for half an hour picking up toy after toy.  C has recently discovered how much he likes splashing, making bath time endlessly more entertaining.  He doesn’t seem to mind that he mostly splashes himself, as the sheer joy of roughing up the water seems to be enough.

C also likes to wander from the front of the bath to the back, usually sliding on his bottom, sometimes walking.  It’s the walking in the bathtub that I have been growingly concerned about.  But, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before on here, my son is a tad stubborn, or let’s say “independent” to put it nicely.

I’ve physically tried to make him sit down, picking him and putting his tiny butt down in the water.  I’ve tried holding his arm so he can’t actually walk any where.  I’ve tried strongly telling him no.  All of these approaches have resulted in tears…mostly C’s tears.

So I took a new approach.  I let C know that I did not approve of this walking around business.  I held his hand when I could.  I said “careful. CAREFUL!” over and over and over.  I watched him closely, refusing to play any games with him until he sits down.

This doesn’t sound so bad, right?

Well the truth of the matter is that I knew that one day C would fall.  He would slip and hit his head or his elbow or something on the side of the tub as he slipped back into the water.  All I could do was to catch him as much as I could, while letting him fall.

Bad parent? Maybe.

Here’s my justification: C was never ever going to learn his lesson until it hurt.

And, this time, it hurt.

He’s slipped a little before, but never enough to actually scare himself and learn that there’s a reason I’ve been telling him not to walk in the slippery bath.

This time he slipped, banged his head just above his left eye, and completely freaked himself out.  He screamed and cried and buried his head in my shoulder for about 20 minutes.  He rubbed his wet fists into his bruised eye again and again, as pain, exhaustion and frustration rolled over him.  C’s little wet body clung to me as he cried, soaking me through, using my dress  as his towel.

Yet as he cried, as he vented, as I comforted C with kind words and back rubs, I kept in the back of my mind the hope that maybe he learned his lesson.

Sad lonely duck

I included this picture of the duck to capture the mood of the bath.  There’s something very sad about a rubber duck floating face down in an empty bath, right?

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For those of you who are not a fan of the show, this blog post will be meaningless.  For those of you who are, you’ll know where I’m coming from when I say:

I’m really going to miss you, Law and Order.

You’ve been like an old, dear friend to me over the years.  20 years to be precise, which would technically have made me 9 years old in your first season, and therefore a wildly inappropriate audience for your dark subject matter.  Yet, when I did discover you, years later, it was an instant connection.

I wouldn’t say love at first sight because in those early days your video and sound production was shaky.  Perhaps you were trying to capture the grittiness of New York City, pre-Giuliani and the great clean-up of Times Square and the Great White Way.  Perhaps, because of your newness, your budget simply wasn’t that big.  Even your cast photos needed some polish back in those days.

Michael Moriarity and Richard Brooks

Though your actors have real names, often with illustrious careers prior to joining your cast or even after they depart, I’ll always remember them by their characters’ names.  For example, the pair above, the DA dynamic duo in the very early days, will always be Stone and Robinette to me.  And Jerry Orbach will always be Lennie Briscoe in my heart.

In fact, when Jerry/Lennie passed away a few years ago, part of my love for the show went with him.  Not that I didn’t still love you, but I loved you more when Lennie was with you.  In fact, Lennie was an important part of my personal “dream team”: Det. Lennie Briscoe, Det. Rey Curtis, ADA Claire Kincaid, Exec ADA Jack McCoy, and DA Adam Schiff.

Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed Jesse L Martin and Chris Noth as Lennie’s partners (and the partners of other detectives), but Benjamin Bratt’s role as Det. Curtis was so perfect, so spot-on as the young, excitable detective, who chafes at the old-school way of doing things, yet struggles with his own demons, that it successfully makes Bratt my favorite of Lennie’s partners.

Lennie, or Jerry Orbach I should say, was on the show for over 270 episodes from 1991-2004, making him third to Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson)  at 391 and Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) at 368.

These three characters weathered the technology revolution that shook the justice world to its core, both in reality and in fiction.  Through your eyes, Law and Order, we saw the world embrace DNA evidence, trace evidence, e-mails, cell phones, digital cameras, etc.  I saw the phone on Lt. Van Buren’s desk change from rotary to multi-line punch to sleek flat panels for caller id.  I saw the detectives go from checking pagers and using payphones to holstering their cell phones alongside their weapons.

But it’s not just the nostalgia of changing times that will make me miss you, Law and Order.  It’ll be all the times I spent with you that I miss the most.

You were there for me with a Saturday afternoon marathon when I was desperate to avoid homework.

You were there for me with regularly schedule early morning repeats on weekdays for hung-over college students, senior citizens, and stay-at-home moms (at various times, I fit all but one of these categories).

You were there for me everyday, like clockwork, when I was stuck on bed-rest with 1) a broken toe; 2) a bum knee; 3) a nervous breakdown; 4) pregnancy related illnesses.

You were there for me when nothing else was on.  I knew that even if the current season wasn’t to my liking, as it has increasingly been, there would be re-runs of you somewhere, out there on the web or the thousands of channels provided via satellite.

And so, I’ll miss you.

I’ll miss your legal nuances and blunders.  I’ll miss your “ripped from the headlines” stories and the ones that were just too bizarre to be true.  I’ll miss your “da du”.  I’ll miss the ironic one-liners.

So goodbye, dear Law and Order.  Adieu.

I’ll see you in re-runs.

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I may have gotten a little over-excited today, or maybe I was just suffering hunger pains from my diet, either way, I ordered a bread-maker.

In my defense, it was on sale and it’s a Cuisinart..and it was a ridiculously good deal….and I love bread….mmmm….bread.

Visions of fresh, steaming bread danced before my eyes as I hit the purchase button. The heady aromas of carrot or zucchini bread seemed to waft directly off the computer screen. What a wonderful mother I would be serving my child bread I baked with my own two hands (and the help of a fancy electrical appliance)! How great would that be?!?!? The answer: so great!

Ahhhh…I can already taste it…

Now that it’s late at night and I’m feeling rather bloated from my chicken and pasta dinner, I’m wondering WHAT IN THE WORLD POSSESSED ME TO BUY A BREAD MAKER?

When did I think I would have time to make bread? And when will I be eating said bread, since I’m allegedly on a low carb diet? Where in the world am I going to store this darn monstrosity?

I am already overloaded with unused or under-used appliances. My beautiful, cherry-apple red counter top mixer is currently collecting dust as it pitifully lays on its side in the back of a cupboard.

so beautiful, so lonely

And, I believe at this point that my sleek, oh-so-fancy immersion mixer has been used…once.

And so I bought a bread-maker to really round out my kitchen. I think we can safely say that now my kitchen is complete.

ooooohhhhhh….the Belgian waffle maker is also on sale? I totally need that!

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To borrow a phrase from one of my new favorite movies, Up, Dodger has been put into the “cone of shame”.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about here’s a picture:

The comfy cone "of shame"

It’s a heck of a lot better than those hard plastic ones that the vet’s office makes dogs wear.  Or at least I think it’s better.  I’m not sure what Dodger thinks.  I don’t think he’s very happy with any kind of cone.

As a result of his unhappiness with the cone situation, Dodger has spent most of the day pouting.  I tried to tell him this comfy cone “of shame” is better than the plastic one, but he just looks at me with big sad eyes and flops back down on the landing.

After hemming and hawing for the last week and a half about getting Dodger a cone, I finally sent my husband out to get one (in the few minutes my husband was home I sent him away to the pet store–I am an awesome wife).  I did so in a huff; not that I was annoyed with my husband, no.  I was annoyed with Dodger for forcing me to put him in the cone.

Why would this annoy me?  Well, because every time I look at him I feel guilty.  Ooooooh sooo guilty!  Dodger looks at me with his big black eyes and his poor little ears pushed forward under the cone, and I just feel terrible.  It doesn’t help that he keeps running into everything.

My already somewhat clumsy, but very lovable, pittbull has lost his peripheral vision and now catches his cone on everything from my legs to the wall to the baby gate.  Dodger even managed to catch his cone on the garden light when he went potty this morning (meaning I had to go outside at 7am in my nightshirt, picking my way through the dirt and dew, to release him from the mud pile he chose to stand on).  To his credit, Dodger just stood in the mud looking forlorn, making my guilt even worse than if he had been trying to escape.

Because my guilt overwhelms me at times, I remove Dodger’s comfy cone “of shame”, allowing him a few moments of respite, to shake his shame off.  Yet every time I do this, the result is the same: Dodger starts licking his sore paw again (it had healed but he licked all the scabs off until it was raw and sore again, thus the cone).  So once again, I have to sadly fasten the cone around his fat little neck, worrying about it being too tight, too loose, too high, too low, all the time trying to avoid those big sad eyes.

The only upside of this cone situation is that it reinforces Dodger’s diet, as he can only eat when I take the cone off.  However, the treats I keep giving him all day due to my guilt are probably not helping.

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