Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Boobie prize

So I received my early copy of Raising Arizona Kids in the mail today. As part of a collection of Mother's day stories for the May edition, they published an essay of mine titled Tales of a Breastfeeding Dropout, one I submitted over a year ago. I had given up on getting a response on it, when I received a message asking if it had been published yet.

Oh the piece about how I gave up on breastfeeding? The one I wrote for a class assignment called "something you don't want people to know about you."

Um, no.

It won't be online until June, so run out and grab yourself a copy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Green card

I might have been a late bloomer or maybe my parents had a little to do with it, but I didn't get my driver's license until I was seventeen. It was a big deal, practicing for test, especially the parallel parking. Even after taking a Driver's Ed class, I struggled to parallel park my tiny little Toyota Corolla. My Dad and I practiced in the school parking lot, he even made little cones with flags so I could see precisely when I would be backing into another car.

When I was finally ready, we went down to the local DMV in our small Georgia town. I was so nervous. I had just gotten my first job at an office supply store. I would finally have my own spending money, my only hope of procuring GAP jeans, and I had to get the license.

I was prepared for the tests, both written and road, and I had all my paperwork. My parents adopted me from birth while stationed in Germany, so my birth certificate is in German. There is an English translation, but it is literally a small book, so detailed the Germans are, so I brought along my naturalization papers just to be sure.

The woman at the window shuffled through my paperwork and then asked me to produce a green card.

"Excuse me?" I said. I turned to look for my father who was waiting clear across the waiting area. There was a line behind me, I didn't dare leave my spot.

"If you weren't born here, you have to have a green card." She insisted.

"But I am a citizen." I pointed to the naturalization papers, there I was at 2 years old, smiling in the picture, my mother with her seventies long hair, parted in the middle, holding me.

"I am sorry, you'll have to have a green card."

And with that, she turned me away. Because she didn't understand my paperwork. My perfectly legal paperwork produced by the U.S. government, proving that I was a citizen.

We left the office, no drivers test, no license. A few days later we went to the State Troopers office, where they did understand, and I took my test and passed with flying colors.

And that is why the new immigration laws in Arizona are so scary, because of the ignorant people who will be relied upon to enforce them.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to boil an egg

Yesterday I had to make egg salad for a spring party at Little Guy's school. Because we're in this temporary apartment I decided to save myself the trouble and stopped in a local gourmet shop to pick some up, but they were out. No problem, I picked up two dozen eggs and googled an easy recipe.

I know what you're thinking. Egg salad has got to be one of the simplest things to make, but I rarely boil an egg, so I wanted to make sure I got them right. Here's a confession: I don't do colored eggs at Easter. I know, I have to be the worst mother ever, right? Anyway, I found some directions, followed them exactly, and guess what? Eighteen eggs with runny whites and drippy middles.

Turns out, the recipe called for medium eggs and I had large ones. The large ones needed more time on the stove. Another trip to the store to pick up another two dozen eggs.

The second time I got it right.

But isn't that always the case? The simple things, like boiling a damn egg, trip us up. The hard stuff we slog through somehow. I can whip out an omelette like nobody's business. But boiling an egg?

Anyway, in case you're wondering, here's how you hard boil eighteen eggs:

Fill a pot with eggs and cold water. Bring the pot to a full rolling boil. Cover and simmer on lowest setting for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the eggs to sit covered another 2-3 minutes. Rinse, then soak the eggs in cool water. Once the eggs are cool, they are ready to peel.

Tune in tomorrow where I tell you how to make a slice of buttered toast.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's not you...

it's me. Me with a writers block that has now become a wall.

Or more like an enormous pile of bricks, some whole, some broken, all loose and tumbling over. Like there is some abandoned construction project in my backyard, maybe a path I was planning to build or a little wall for a garden. And I know I need to sift through them and make something, or at least clean them up a little, stack them, toss out the bits and pieces.

But then I eye the pile and think, they look so heavy. Tomorrow.

Friday, April 16, 2010

So now we're even

The other day I was signing up for some info in our new area and realized I didn't know our zip code. I did a quick zip code search on the USPS website and turns out it is 02468.

I don't know if numbers mean anything, but these numbers have to be the best zip code ever.

Simple, straightforward and even, there is something so balanced and right about them.

Let's hope it's a sign.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Last night I met a girlfriend at Modern Steak. It's a gorgeously girlie steak house next to Barney's in Scottsdale. We were there to celebrate her upcoming birthday, but also to raise a glass to our modern problems.

Hubs and I have managed to survive the recent mortgage crisis. We sold our house, and though we had to wire enough money to the closing that it felt like a down payment, the opening of a loan and not the close of one, we're out. The worst of it is over and we still have a little money left.

My friend and her partner have survived the employment crisis. Last week, her guy had not one, but two offers after being unemployed for quite awhile. He is making money again and they'll start to rebuild what they lost.

So we ordered a pricey bottle of wine and toasted the times. We talked about how things had changed, but how we both still felt a little gun shy about spending money. As I looked around the room, I spotted a table of botoxed lifted nipped snipped and tucked old ladies. The Joan Riversesque group didn't look any worse for the wear. Or maybe they were.

Maybe that is the modern way to survive it all - aging, the financial ups and downs, the personal losses. You freeze it, pretend it doesn't exist.

You gussy yourself up and head to a fancy restaurant.

Friday, April 9, 2010

No sweat-er

Yesterday I was poking around a local consignment shop. Little Guy's highchair was packed, so we needed some kind of booster seat for our temporary apartment. I hit the jackpot and found a new one for just $3. After finding it, I had some time to kill before picking up Little Guy from preschool, so I started wandering around the store.

Then I stumbled on the sweaters.

Since we've been living in Phoenix for two years, and I spent the previous winter in Georgia pregnant, my winter clothes supply is pretty non-existent. I certainly don't have snow ready gear like parkas and snow boots, and I don't even have very many sweaters. But because it's Phoenix, the consignment store had all kinds of barely used sweaters, in mint condition, for $5 or less. I managed to pick up two before I had to go, one was a full length wrap dress for $3.50.

So along with the boxes of the kids toys and my spices, we'll be shipping a giant box of $5 sweaters when we leave. And with the money I'll save, I can set my sights on some really rockin' boots to go with them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Big boxes

The movers arrive today to pack our things. We have a small pile of stuff going to temp housing and we won't see the rest of it for three months. This of course, makes me wonder how much of it we really need.

But when I look around, I'm thinking ALL of it.

House, I'll miss you.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Little boxes

So there is a little problem with the real estate situation in Boston. Little, as in someone shrunk the houses. Little, as in our smallish stash of available cash for the down payment.

We looked at a lovely 1400 square foot mini-ranch with 80's bathrooms (wow, really with the brass wavy light thing over the sink), for $519,000. On the plus side, it had a beautiful back yard. Except for the fact that I-95 ran right behind it, on two sides, if you count the access ramp. The agent actually said that once the trees fill in, we'd hardly notice it. Nothing says you only have a little bit of money like big whiff of diesel. There were a few other fixer uppers without the "great highway access," but nothing that stuck.

So we're going to rent for a bit, and give ourselves some time to recuperate from the Phoenix market. We found a great rental house, in an ideal location, without the backyard bumper to bumper. Now, the little dog is the only small thing holding us up. Fingers crossed that we can convince the landlord to take pets. He is mostly on the yes side, and we should hear something in a few days.

With a little luck, of course.