Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Empty Office

My husband is a dedicated and intelligent man. He graduated from law school at the top of his class, nearly twelve years ago. During his law school years he worked full-time during the day and went to school at night. This intense educational time frame also corresponded with the years that all three of our kids were born; making it even more of a challenge and even more of an accomplishment, for sure.

Shortly after he graduated, we started an online business together that made it possible for us to work together 24-7 and be at home with the little ones. We were busy in every aspect of the word and put in so much time and exertion, as we watched the business grow and tried to make our little venture succeed. And it has. For almost 12 years now, we rely on the shopping habits of internet-land customers to keep us busy, while their collectibles-focused shopping sprees pay our bills. Somewhere along the line, he also obtained his real estate license. The income from this extra job, we had decided, would be our "play money." But as so often happens, this eventually became "necessary money," as we slowly became more habituated to higher expectations of living.

So when the real estate market crumbled, we were faced with the strange ultimatum of not be allowed the luxury of working side-by-side, as we had been so accustomed to over the last decade. And so the roles we had played in the business shifted, as I acquired the responsibilities of some of the tasks that he used to carry out every day, while he found a great new job out in the **gasp** "real" (as in not-online) world.

We are quite grateful for the stability of - and the income from - his new career; so I am, by no means, complaining here. But it is suffice to say that the adjustment of settling into these new roles and playing the solitaire game of business was pretty hard for me to get used to. It's not so much the extra work that I mind, because I have this annoying, compulsive habit of over-working myself anyway; but rather the lack of my constant companion and business partner that took some getting used to (and still does).

I go through phases where it all seems apropos and cool. And then, on days like today, I feel a little more lonely and nostalgically reminiscent of the "way things were" for so many years.

It's funny how life truly does take you on one big roller coaster ride. The twists and turns, the ups and downs; the mazes of situations to ride your way through and to find your peace with. They are all an incredible part of the journey. I hesitate to feel melancholy at a time when so many struggle just to find a job, since we are so lucky to both have good ones; but certain days, I just really miss my best friend being across the desk from me and the comfort of his smile.

**Appropriately, this CD (The Martinis: Smitten) is persistently playing in my office. I especially adore track # 3: "You Are The One" and love that Joey Santiago is the guitarist in the band (ahhhh... the good old days of front row spots @ The Pixies shows).

Read more!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fridays, Infinite Jest & Politics

It's Friday. There is always something a bit
special about Friday. Even when I don't have anything particular planned and even when I still have work to do all weekend. Fridays just have a different kind of air; like there is more potential for something fantastic to happen.

My haiku to "the Friday"
Smitten by the vibe
Spirits fly high on Friday.
Hopeful and sanguine.

My new (and entirely enjoyable) hobby has been readi
ng this 3 pound literary wonder. I have wanted to tackle it for quite some time and sadly, the nudge it took to begin it was the untimely death of its author, David Foster Wallace, in September. Described as not only a "genius," but a "once-in-a-century talent," Wallace provided the literary world with wildly inventive stories. Among them, is this 1,079-page novel. While I am only 1/5th of the way into it, I find myself totally enthralled with the characters and can't wait to tackle each new part of the dense and ominous plot. The book manages to be hilarious in the midst of some of the despair-ridden themes. I definitely look forward to my "reading time" each day.

I find that I am so disenchanted with the "race" to the White House.
Honestly, at this point, it feels like more of a "leisurely jog" to the WH. I just wish that November 4th would hurry up and get here, already. I also REALLY, REALLY hope that Californians step up and vote for fairness and humaneness in regards to these measures:

Come on California! Everyone deserves equal rights! And farm animals deserve humane treatment (they really deserve more; like to be treated just like the family dog or cat, but that's another blog and at least Prop 2 is a START in the right direction!)

I find it incredible that in this day and age that either of these propositions are even issues in our society; but given the regressive era we find ourselves in, alas, they are. Let's step up and advance a bit, eh? VOTE NO ON 8 and YES ON 2!!!

On a random note, look at this funny photo that Steve and I took on the way to Fresh & Easy the other day. Maybe proponents of the "Yes on 8" campaign need to pull over at this little stop and LIGHTEN UP a bit! Ah ha ha ha ...

Read more!

Monday, October 13, 2008

After Bass Practice Haiku

Brain says, "Play hands, play."

The music should sound like this.

Hands say, "I'm trying!" -- J-Boo

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley, 1931

Read more!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Someday they will realize.
Someday they will regret.
The antagonism; the cynicism; the disdain.

Regret not stopping to smell the roses,
while they were in their last scents of innocence;
before the world moves on and the days disappear.

They make her want to run away.
They make her want to start anew.
They break off little pieces of her heart.

There will come a day when reflections are all there are.
When those minutes and moments are gone.
Can't recapture them; can't rewind.
She knows, because she faces her own ghosts and understands what regret means.

Someday they will wish that instead of asserting the struggle,
instead of fighting the wavelengths of understanding;
instead of believing that two entities are so different and diverse;
that it is merely because the two minds are so similar, that the struggle exists at all.

Someday they will realize.
Someday they will regret.
But she still hopes that they will change.

- J-Boo

Read more!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Ol' Swap-A-Roo

On Wednesday afternoon, our "Wife Swap" episode reran on the Lifetime Channel. Every time it airs, it's a bit strange and funny to us. Strange, because it's odd to see yourself on television and it's also so atypical to have people peering into your home life and routines. Truth be told, I did not watch it myself on Wednesday; as I had lugged the TV out of my office, when I made my vow to "turn off," but I know that it ran, as it was scheduled on Lifetime's website and hundreds of friends (and new acquaintances who are now friends after watching the show) emailed and commented me on myspace that evening, letting me know that they had caught the dramatic ride of wackiness.

Whenever we remember back to the twelve days that we lived in a whirlwind-of-a-filming-frenzy, it is a bit surreal to think that we even participated in such a bizarre social experiment. It all started when talent scouts from "Wife Swap" as well as the show "Trading Spouses" (on Fox) found me through myspazzz and inquired about our interest with doing their shows. At first, I said, "No way - I could never handle such an adventure." But they have their ways of reassuring you that it is so much easier and less invasive that you could imagine. They guaranteed that our work schedule could remain near-normal; a promise that did NOT end up being kept and caused extreme distress to our business and to Steve, who was trying to film from 6 am to 11 pm; and THEN catch up on work in the wee hours of the night. But that's a whole different story and I'm not here to complain about the excessive list of issues we had with the show; as I could write volumes-upon-volumes that would become quite dull, I am sure.

A better way to reflect on it, I suppose, is to remember what we gained from the show. Approximately two weeks after the filming wrapped, a producer called from the network to discuss lessons that they hoped were learned from the show, so that when they came back to film the "follow-up" segment that they could focus on these newfound epiphanies. I must admit, some of the questions she asked were INCREDIBLY ridiculous; like, "So now that you were exposed to life with a Christian family, do you go to church? And do you believe in God now?" WOAH ... really? "Ummm, no, we don't," I told her. "Are you living by the "Man Law" now? Have you changed the roles and chores at all in your home?," she asked. "Nope, not a chance." After five or six of these absurd inquiries, she frustratedly asked, "Well, what did you learn then?" I didn't even hesitate. I said, "We learned that we REALLY, REALLY, REALLY appreciate each other and our lives, just the way they are."

And that's the TRUTH!!
If you are ever looking for a jolt of awareness - followed by gratefulness - for the people surrounding you, the knowledge you are privy to and the autonomy in your life, try living for two weeks with people that get their direction in life from a literal interpretation of an archaic book; in a house
where men are kings and women are slaves; Halloween is considered evil and the kids get to celebrate "God Bless You Day" INSIDE the house instead; children think that they can pray for school grades and that demons will float out of their TV screens if they accidentally turn it to MTV; and where decorating your skin with tattoos or having friends that are gay means that you should, by default, not be allowed to procreate. I know that sounds dramatic and extreme; but it's true and it's just a small sample of the beliefs and ideas that our swap family exposed us to. So given this ... YES, I came home with a renewed appreciation for my husband, children, friends, job, mind, viewpoints, free thoughts ... and so much more! And when the "follow-up" film crew showed up for their supplementary story, we reiterated this gratitude and appreciation as clearly as we knew how to.

Looking back on the whole experience, I am glad that we participated. It brought me in contact with SO MANY incredible people that located me online after watching the episode. As crazy as some people still think we are, there were also many that initially saw our exterior appearance and judged a book by its cover; yet, by the end of the show, realized that just because you look different that you can still have a great family, a great marriage and a successful life. It brought some fun opportunities our way and exposed us to great people all over the world (the show has aired in all corners of the world and I continue to get emails from the most obscure places on a weekly basis). It was challenging and at times, emotionally draining; but when all was said and done, it was an interesting and unique learning experience. Even if what we learned from it was just to APPRECIATE LIFE. Really, what better lesson is there, eh?

Favorite Lines From The Show:

- "Big Momma is F**ing Nuts." - Steve

- "If you don't put on the Devil costume, then we will T.P. the church." - Shea

- "Ooooh, getting a little attitude, huh?" - Brynn

- "Freethinking is good... freethinking is great ...think for yourself ... this ain't no debate." - Brynn, Aidan, Shea together

- "My kids are atheists and they don't pray; and they get great grades." - me

- "The pole was not made for Big Momma." - Big Momma

- "You can't make someone believe in your God. You just can't." - Steve

- "dem da rulz" - Big Momma

**This is one of the commercials that promo'd the show. Please note that it encapsulates such a small portion of what happened on the show ... and more importantly, what REALLY happened during the filming; but even given that advisory ... it's still funny =)

Read more!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What October 7th Means To Me

October 7th is a special day to our family. Today is Shea and Aidan's 12th birthday. At the risk of sounding a little old, I really feel the need to reminisce a bit about this day and what it means to me. I remember this day, one dozen years back, so well. After being warned that I would most likely have a complicated pregnancy (as most twin pregnancies are), I breezed through with a seemingly smooth one. That is not to say that many of those nine months were not extremely uncomfortable and sprinkled with a few bumps (in more ways than one - ha) along the way; like an increased amount of Vitamin K - so much so that my levels were off the charts from anything the doctor's office had ever seen - that caused SEVERE itching; as well as suffering through the hottest summer for Southern California in over 20 years - whew! But all-in-all, I was quite healthy and quite excited to "grow" our family significantly with this grand event.

While excitement was in the air, there was also a lot of anxiety about just how we would handle this significant growth spurt; the constant care and attention that not just one new baby required - but two; how our then two-year old daughter would handle the "additions;" not to mention, how we would cope financially. Steve was in his last year of law school at the time and I had stopped working at my bookkeeping job when I hit the last trimester of my pregnancy, s
o life was definitely already hectic. It's funny though how your brain and your body compensate for fear and anxiety when it comes to making sure that the world is safe and happy for your children. I say that, because looking back, that must have been what got me through those long nights, long days and short hours of sleep. Having the opportunity to raise two more incredible people really puts all of the fears and worries aside, when you just reflect on how lucky you are to be in that position in the first place.

My C-Section was scheduled for 6:00 pm that day. It was discovered that Aidan was breech in the seventh month of pregnancy and given the risk that is associated with trying to turn/move twins and risking their cords being twisted, we had known for some time that a Cesarean birth was the plan. I remember triple-checking my bags and excitedly calling my sister, who was caring for Brynn while we were in the hospital that first night. I remember looking around our house and knowing it would be the last time that only three people lived in it. I remember sitting in the waiting room: anxious, nervous and excited. I remember the anesthesiologist coming in to administer the epidural and then I remember Dr. Lyons talking to Steve. Funny enough, I don't remember much in between until I heard Aidan crying ... and then one minute later, heard Shea do the same. And THEN... I remember that my whole world transformed into a completely new role from what it had been even moments before; adding extra doses of both responsibility and joy to my life. It's a pretty incredible moment to go from being a mom of one to a mom of three in just two minutes; and one that I would not trade or change for one second.

Sometimes days are hectic, stressful and hard. Sometimes, the accountability I feel for keeping up with my many roles can feel overwhelming. But it really is incredible that when the dust settles and the momentary "catastrophes" get resolved, that what it all boils down to is that who I am as a person and all that I contribute to this world throughout my lifetime are SO closely tied to the role of being three people's mom. That doesn't mean that this role is WHAT defines me, but that what I do with the position has EVERYTHING to do with how I measure my success with my life presently, as well as throughout the rest of my years. I think I sometimes forget, in the midst of busy days and endless to-do lists, just how lucky I was twelve years ago, to walk from the maternity ward exit doors out to our silver Honda Accord with two new car seats in Steve's grip and Brynn's hand in mine, and drive home to start living a new life that would never be as challenging, nor as rewarding, as it had been the day before.

Yes, October 7th is a very important day indeed! I just wouldn't be "ME" without it.

**The boys holding their Rise Against tickets, which I believe were their favorites of the presents received**
Read more!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My FAVORITE Rex Manning Day

This past Monday was a Rex Manning Day. For years now, I have referred to "tattoo days" as Rex Manning Days (for those who have seen the classic movie, "Empire Records" that will make perfect sense... and for those who haven't, I highly recommend watching it and "saving the Empire" = damn the man!).

This was no ordinary Rex Manning Day though, this was a very special and meaningful RMD. I have hundreds of tattoos, in all sorts of places. Some of them are just fantastic pieces of artwork that I wanted to preserve on my skin, some are silly, and some are sentimental. To date, the three portraits of my kids truly mean the most to me in the "significance category" and this new masterpiece I added on Monday falls right into that genre as well.

For eight hours, I sat and watched Mike DeVries layer abundant amounts of gorgeous, vibrant ink into my calf, shinbone and lower knee; as Ash, an artist from England, here for a seminar with Mike, conversed and learned by our sides. It was a positive, fun, enjoyable day ... but the part that made it the MOST marvelous was what I walked away with; and that would be THIS:

While I am always genuinely astounded at the degree of talent that Mike's work produces, I don't think I am ever quite as impressed as when the reference subject is someone that I know and love. And if there is ANYONE in this world whom I know or love better and more deeply... it is THIS particular person. For nineteen years, I have shared nearly every day with him. For nineteen years, I have made goals, created dreams, raised three children, been through incredible highs and struggled through difficult tribulations, eaten, sleeped, talked, laughed, cried, perservered, loved and lived life with him. Many thought we were too young when we committed to marry each other back in 1991; but we didn't agree. We realized that we had something very rare and unique, and we didn't want to waste one day not sharing it and trusting each other with our journeys and progressions through life. There was no reason to wait and we never looked back ... not for one day.

So this Rex Manning Day had special significance to me. It was a long-awaited moment to add this piece of artwork to my collection. This session wasn't any normal ink episode ... these hours etched a timeless tattoo onto my skin, one that is beautiful and excellent; but more importantly, commemorates the one thing that has been my most everlasting constant throughout my life - my partner, best friend, companion, soulmate. He is "officially" now on my skin - but he has always "officially" been my heart. Read more!