Why I'd Marry Him All Over Again

Because he had to go to a town council meeting tonight and do big boy things and because this is Game Two of the Avs' playoff series with the EVIL. DALLAS. STARS. Geoff disappeared earlier tonight, ostensibly to set the TiVo.

A bit later he came back. Rather conversationally he said, Honey, this thing with Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards is really heating up.

Uh huh, uh huh...interesting. How, exactly?

(With increasing rapidity and excitement)
Well, you know she filed a restraining order last week and said Charlie was threatening her and everything? Well, NOW it turns out that there are pictures of her kissing Richie Sambora from Bon Jovi...I mean you realize he's the not-yet-ex-husband of HER not-yet-exhusband's ex-costar. AND, she and Heather [uh, Locklear, just in case y
ou're not following] are supposed to be like best friends.

Whoa. My little Hollywood Insider. Now it really didn't have to get any better than that - my husband's shameless weakness for celebrity gossip - but it did. SO. MUCH. BETTER.

Of course, I had to go online to confirm the story
and apparently it's all true. Charlie Sheen's summation of the Richards/Sambora love sandwich?

And I quote, Those two give love a bad name. Shot through the heart, Charlie. Shot through the heart.


Chopped Liver

My baby girl loves blondes. Female ones, of the longhaired variety. One glimpse and she's riveted. Awe struck. Devoted. She seduces them into picking her up, all pudgy flailing arms and big blue eyes, then commences to stroke their long locks while gazing at them in utter adoration.

It started with Nanny-You-Are-My-Sunshine-Landon. She's beautiful in that way only 20-year-olds can be and she used her perfectly highlighted mane to curry favor with my little girl from day one. The prospect of running her sticky little fingers through that golden goodness compels unprotested naps and lick-the-platter-clean lunches from the Mamacita.

Next came Yarka (see previous reference to Scandanavian trollop), our swimming instructor. The salty elixir all around (same previous reference) is quickly forgotten as Theron holds her breath and plunges underwater toward her flaxen idol. For Yarka, I think the kid could execute a perfect backstroke.

Yesterday a complete BLONDE stranger caught the Mamacita's eye as we passed her in a parking lot. Theron directed a friendly shriek in the direction of the Fair-Haired and when that failed to get the woman's attention she offered mournful wails while wriggling maniacally in my arms. If only she could beam herself at will. Blondes all over the city would be terrorized by the magically materializing armful o' baby.

Now me, I'm all dark locks and short styles. Not a particularly effective look for coaxing Theron's good will. When the time comes for potty training there is only one solution. I'm buying a wig.


The Name Game

When I was pregnant Geoff and I thought a lot about what Theron would call each of her grandparents. Both sets of our parents are divorced and all but my mother-in-law are remarried so it's more complicated than it sounds. Not only did we have to think up seven terms of endearment, but then each must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate grandparental unit. Except for my dad and step-mom, this was the first grandchild for everyone so the only givens were Packy and Nana. Packy was supposed to be Pappy but grandbaby number one tweaked it through the power of mispronunciation and a Packy was charmed into existence.

It occured to us early on that my mother-in-law had also granted us a freebie of sorts. Her name is Mimi and everyone, my husband included, calls her this. It fits too. She is 'Mimi the Mahjong Maven' queen of the patio home community. When we asked if she'd mind her granddaughter calling her Mimi, she looked confused. What else would she call me? I told her we'd been considering Granny then had to think quick when she flicked her lit cigarette at my head.

My husband's father and step-mother ended up being equally simple. The most traditional of the lot, Grandpa and Grandma seemed the obvious choices. They must have thought so too because as I recall we never actually discussed it with them but when they visited Theron about a week after she was born they referred to each other that way all afternoon. Grandma, why don't you go inside and get Grandpa a whiskey. Grandpa, Grandma's going out front to smoke a cigarette. VIRGINIA. ULTRA. SLIMs. See? Traditional.

Things went smooth like that all the way through my step-dad, a self-proclaimed PaPaw, until we slammed into the 5 foot brick wall that is my mother. Having been a very young mother herself, Madre was witheringly unimpressed by the idea of being identified as anyone's grandmother. She couched this in a wish to have the baby pick the name - an 'organic' process. I reminded her that babies aren't born with speech but she was steadfast. I told her a cautionary tale about my friend Deb whose organic
grandson-given name is Grankle. GRANKLE. A combo of Granny and Wrinkle from the sound! Still unwavering.

So we did what any lucid parents-to-be would do. We decided to overrule her. I thought if we picked something quirky, not readily recognizable as a grandma's name, that she would be pacified. After some kicking about we settled on Nani. At the time I thought it sounded European even though I pretty much made it up from Nana. Turns out it really is a term for grandmothers in the Hindi culture. MATERNAL GRANDMOTHERS.

The woman poo-poo'ed us. Rolled her eyes, shook her pixie head and retorted in a negatively guttural way. Use your words, Nani. She decided she would pick the name if we wouldn't wait for the baby to do it.

Meanwhile, Geoff and I amused ourselves throughout the rest of my pregnancy referring to my mom as Nani - in and out of her presence. By the time Theron was born it was impossible for us to stop. PaPaw had been calling her Ma for eons so he stuck to that. She ignored us all and began referring to herself as Grandma but I could tell her heart wasn't in it.

At Christmas I labeled half of her gifts to Grandma and half to Nani. She signed her gifts to Theron as Grandmaw. About a month later she started in with GrandmaMaw, an attempt at solidarity with PaPaw. Now she did marry him, but this IS a man who wears short plaid ties with striped short-sleeved, button-down shirts. How united did she want to be?

Last week Mom called while Theron and I were running errands. She left a message about having dinner with her and PaPaw that weekend and asked me to call. Then, almost like an afterthought except I know better, she said this. Oh, I've been thinking and I think I want Theron to call me Grandmere.

I dialed her number. She answered.

Grankle it is then.


Margaret Atwood, Hello!

Sometimes being a Mama saturates my consciousness to such a depth that I start to feel as though I'm no longer, in any way, the person I was before my daughter was born. When that happens I like to waste an afternoon of childcare, originally earmarked for errands and responsibilities, on things I used to take for granted. Moseying about a bookstore for an hour or so is near the top of this list.

My favorite haunt is a used bookstore about 2 miles from our house and conveniently located in the same shopping plaza as our grocery store. At least after I mosey, browse and buy I can complete one of my original objectives. Plus the store, with it's long, tall, crammed shelves and tight, tight aisles is a place that guarantees at least one Eureka! moment per visit. Maybe I'll stumble onto an author who I'd wanted to read but then forgot because I NEVER write things down when I should. Or maybe a clever title or cover will catch my eye and I'll take a chance on a book because it's two-fifty and offers a lot more promise than a tall soy latte (which BTW costs $3.01 at our local Wal-Mart of Coffee).

Today I was in search of anything by Richard Russo as I just finished 'The Risk Pool' which sent me to be bed sobbing last night because I know those characters. KNOW THEM. No Russo on the shelves today. But as I scanned I stumbled upon this and this and if previous books by E.G. are any indication then that's $5.50 well spent. Finding the E.G. put me in mind to see if they had anything written by...Oh, what's her name? Come on - I KNOW her name. She wrote 'Blind Assassin' and I LOVED that book.

Mommy Moment.

So I had to ask the cool long-haired clerk (who once told me he liked my leather bag and yes, I am a sucker for ANY flattery) who wrote 'Blind Assassin' and 'Handmaid's Tale'. I felt better when he couldn't remember either and had to consult his giant chronological publishers' tomes that list every book published in a given year. While he searched I perused the books on a rotary display rack near the checkout counter.

There's Frey's 'A Million Little Pieces'. A memoir! Snicker, snicker. Anyway, that's been too overdone to even think about.

'A Map of the World'? Hmmm...think we already have that at home.

Not that, or that...NOT
that. Dum-de-dum...EUREKA!

Suddenly I spied the name Dow Mossman and something clicked...Yes, I remember. There was THIS on NPR and I really, really wanted to read that book but of course I didn't write down the title or the author and might have gone on in perpetuity not remembering except that I went to Bookman and had that magical moment once again.

When the cool clerk finally shouted out, 'Margaret Atwood!', I felt like smacking myself in the head ala those old V8 commercials. Hello. Earth to Mama.

I would have skipped the Atwood altogether except, OF COURSE, Bookman was having a Buy 3 Get 1 Free special so I picked up this
as my freebie. Four books in hand I headed onward to buy the groceries, diving right back into real life and responsibility and nutritional awareness. But damn if buying those books didn't bring me right back to myself. Now, if I can only milk some time out of the days to read them.


Pass the Salt

Good day for the Mamacita. Good, good day. Because today we returned to our 'Mommy and Me' swimming class and what does that mean? Salt water! All you can drink.

Before I give the impression that Theron's love of the pool is based solely on flavor, let me be clear. She kicks. She splashes. She belly laughs rather maniacally as our instructor,
Yarka (long-legged, blond, Scandanavian trollop!) pulls her through the water, the Mamacita's arms outstretched. And then? She skims for algae.

Well, of course I'm kidding. A country club pool certainly has no algae. But if it did we could skip lunch on swim days. Like her distant mammalian cousins, the baleen whales who troll the oceans mouths agape letting the maritime flora and fauna simply swim to their whale-dinner demise, so too does the Mamacita tackle the wild waters of the CCoC swimming pool.

In a members-friendly effort to alleviate deteriorating swimsuits, chapped skin and green-tinged hair the management of CCoC has chosen a non-chlorinated cleaning agent for the aquatics facilities. These alternatives are saline based and thus, a salt junkie is born.

I can't blame her having myself always preferred salty to sweet. Pass on the chocolate but hand me those french fries. For the Mamacita the sentiment is the same but with a twist. As one can imagine, this penchant for savoring salty goodness poses a problem when learning to swim. How do we convince her that keeping her mouth shut underwater is preferable to lungs-be-damned chugging?

So far she's proved formidable. Sitting on the edge of the pool she closes her mouth as I give a verbal count down. One...two...THREE! Then in she goes, my hands guiding her and as her head slips underwater I think this time, this time she's figured it out. But as I pull her back to me her excited eyes break the surface and I can see glee -- followed by her full, open mouth with which I swear she is gargling the lukewarm concoction as a sommelier would a fine Pinot.

We're going to a beach in Mexico in a few months. One taste and I imagine the Mamacita will see the ocean as one big dirty martini - or the toddler's equivalent thereof. Apologies in advance to those whose trips will follow our own. The water levels are sure to be low.


Ode to Click and Clack

Tom and Ray Magliozzi are gods in our house. I don't think we could get through a Saturday morning without Michael & Douglas' espresso and Car Talk. Plus, as long as my husband insists on taking cars in trade for legal services, we NEED them.

This week? Auto-themed haiku. Have I mentioned we LOVE these guys?